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Melissa Steen/KBC

Meet Melissa Steen, executive director of Keller Business Connections, an organization working to merge business and the community. With "hometown" roots in Keller, Steen is dedicated to seeing the community thrive and grow. Her motto mirrors that of the Rotarian, "Service Before Self".


We wanted to get to know Steen a bit better and she was kind enough to answer a few questions about herself, Keller Business Connections and the communities it serves. 

Dawn Tongish: Can you begin by telling us about the Keller Business Connections?

Melissa Steen: Keller Business Connections exists to unite local commerce and the community.  Our core focus is to create (1) better business results for our members and (2) positive mutually beneficial experiences for the City of Keller.  We currently have over 900 members and we have done that in less than 12 months.  KBC is more than a membership organization, it is a community in its true definition.  There is an energy within KBC that isn’t tangible, but is solely there based on a demand of something different for business owners in the city.  In KBC we focus on relationships…people do business with those they know and trust.  We feel like if we put the right people in the right relationships, compiled with educational resources to apply to their own lives…the community and commerce will move forward.

DT: How did you become involved with the Keller Business Connections, and why are you so passionate about the work being done at the organization?   

MS: I had previously worked in the chamber of commerce world.  It had challenges and so much open room for change.  100 years ago you bought the feed store and you did what?  You walked into the chamber of commerce and joined, you had a ribbon cutting and hung a plaque on your wall stating you are part of the club.  The world doesn’t operate that way anymore.  Commerce demands satisfaction now, technology has forced us to the expectation of having immediate value.  When you show a member, this is the value behind the relationship with KBC and they can see it and feel it…it’s a win/win

Personally I am passionate for Keller as it is where my family is from.  My first memories of this town are profound as I was disconnected from my parents whom were from here.  Bear Creek Farms was my parents place, it was one of few houses that were on Rt.1…now known as Keller Hicks Road.  My sister and I would walk to Food Fare where our mother worked and life was just simple. I to this day can listen to my dad for hours speak of the stories of the past, how life was when he graduated from Keller High at the rock gym and coffee mornings at JR’s Café.  It was just a way of life.  I don’t think that we can keep Keller from growing, but we can instill that “hometown” feel and we can do that thru relationships.  

DT: Why do you work in the non profit sector? 

MS: I believe in service work. I am a Rotarian, and our simple guiding value. Service Before Self.  I was a Rotarian long before I actually joined…I live my life by that value.  We attach a charitable organization to every one of our events.  KBC is at the heart of the community, connecting our members to one another and to opportunities for commerce.  A core value is also supporting our non-profit organizations/members, which provide vital services to area residents while allowing businesses to embrace their mission.  There are many ways to engage with our local community both through KBC and directly through our members.

DT: It can be difficult for any non profit to pay the bills. How do you stay afloat? 

MS: You ask for help.  It is the companies who sponsor all of our events that keep KBC going.  It is the members whom pledge of a commitment in KBC financially that are equally investing in the City of Keller.

DT: How can the people of Keller and beyond help you meet your needs for 2014? What are your biggest needs? 

MS: Participation.  Everything we provide in KBC is to offer resources and to celebrate the successes within our city.  If we have a Grand Opening Celebration of a company that chose Keller to do their business, join us celebrate the decision and show your support.  This year is our first year and throwing a festival to truly celebrate Keller.  The community can show their support by attending, volunteering and participating in all of the events of the two day weekend April 18th and 19th.  

DT: What was the memorial moment for you so far at Keller Business Connections?

MS: For me it was the 1 year mark.  It flew by and to look back at pictures of everything we have accomplished it was truly an AHA Moment. 

DT: What is the first thing you do when you walk into work each day? 

MS: I make coffee…lol  I look at the girls that work for KBC and we laugh.  We talk about what was for dinner, what are kids or spouses may have done the night before, and what’s on the books for today.  It’s no different than what conversations you may have with your family.  Every day  I tell people constantly, find a life group.  These are the people that support you, lift you up and when the going gets tough are there to make it better.  KBC is not any different.  We are a community and we all want to see and touch the spirit of Keller, T X.  The power of the ‘many” will always outweigh the negativity of the “few”  Together WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE.


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