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Gloria Ray headlines Chamber breakfast

Knoxville Tourism and Sports CEO Gloria Ray urged members of Farragut West Knox Chamber of Commerce to “dance in the rain” at a luncheon Tuesday, Jan. 19.

Ray said she admired East Tennesseans’ intense spirit, even in an economic “black cloud.”

“Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass. It is about learning to dance in the rain,” she said.

Ray compared the economic downturn affecting so many businesses to a rainy day but said, “Sometimes I even like for it to rain,” adding she often got more housework done on a rainy day than a sunny one.

An economic down time is the perfect time to perform inventory, make personnel changes, do staff development, refocus or complete a strategic plan, she said.

“This is the time to be bold. This is the time to try things, even if it’s scary.

“What you do and how you act will determine the outcome,” she added.

Lenoir City Utilities Board general manager Shannon Littleton agreed.

“This has actually been our theme. I’m glad to hear her say this today. Our theme at work has been: the economy’s down, we’ve got time, so let’s get prepared for what’s coming to us,” he said.

“She’s a wonderful speaker,” Littleton added.

Curtis Johnston, Appalachia Business Connections, also appreciated Ray’s comments.

“I totally agree … [with] her analogy about getting a lot of housekeeping done when it’s raining, so when it’s sunny outside you’re prepared to make it happen.

“That translates very easily into our own businesses. It’s ‘raining’ now, so let’s get a lot of housekeeping done … let’s get prepared … and get everything in line so when the sun comes out, figuratively speaking, we’re poised and ready to go,” he said.

“It’s encouraging. I feel like we’re doing that, especially this year, and the Chamber is one of those ways. … In that down time, we need to push a little harder on getting our name out there,” Carol Smith, with Michael Brady Inc., said.

For more coverage of the Chamber breakfast, see WestSide Faces on page 8A.


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