Local Competitors: Faith and Friendly Collaboration

We see so much angst and ugliness in the business world. Some businesses operate with a deeply entrenched belief that the competition is “the enemy,” or that any type of collaboration is threatening. But is this fierce urge to dominate at all costs necessarily good for modern businesses? Is a cutthroat philosophy something that Christians should buy in to?

In fact, playing nice has benefits. Two amazing local business women slice through all the hype and drama to run their enterprises in a remarkably civil — and collaborative — manner. They each have strengths, and find in each other ways to bridge gaps and meet the needs of their clients. Meet Tracey Cleckler of You Squared Media Advertising Agency and Holly Chervnsik of SuburbanBuzz.com. These two have their own sets of clients, but have developed a friendship that reaps reciprocal rewards.   “Our communities are now interconnected through the Internet and social media, and with a talent pool that reaches across industries, it makes sense to collaborate,” says Chervnsik. “Instead of feeling threatened or territorial, a really sound business will help others when possible and also gain the help of friendly competitors. Everyone benefits — especially the client.” For instance, Chervnsik owns several businesses, all stemming from her Master’s degree with a business core and a concentration in graphic design — marketing, website development, and the Stinger Sports Agency that caters to race car drivers such as Antron Brown, the Bumbera sisters, A. J. Foyt and Alec Udell. She works with television producers, but is also busy around town publicizing clients and helping grow businesses.

Cleckler’s agency is similar, working in publicity, media placement, outdoor media, paid search campaigns (pay-per-click), social marketing, website design, print, press releases, web and commercial production. After 18 years of radio, TV and agency experience she opened her office in the Galleria and commutes back home to Katy. Both she and Chervnsik rely on one another for complicated campaigns, and go-to answers for clients. “Identifying reputable companies and seeking mutual opportunities to best service customers is just smart business,” says Cleckler, who interned for Willard Scott back in the day.

Perhaps never being privy to a good ol’ boy’s network makes today’s modern business women play to their strengths: relationship-building. “It really boils down to nurturing relationships within networks, but also outside, constantly being accessible and open to new opportunities and meeting needs,” says Cleckler. Chervnsik agrees. “It isn’t healthy to buy into the old concepts of ‘enemies’ or try to paint the competition with one negative brush. Not only is that silly, but it isn’t ethical. There’s plenty of business out there, and relationship-building makes hay. Negativity repels.”

Both Cleckler and Chervnsik are Katy wives and moms. “I want my girls (an older daughter and a set of twins) to become wonderful mothers and independent women,” says Cleckler. “We say prayers before dinner, go to church and Sunday School, and I enjoy Wednesday night Bible study.” Chervnsik has a pastor in the family — her mother-in-law — who inspires her to be the best person she can be. Her daughter, Nadia, was featured in a previous Christian student profile in Katy Christian Magazine.

Check out www.yousquaredmedia.com, www.suburbanbuzz.com and www.stingersports.com for more information on these remarkable women who refuse to operate in the negative, but instead collaborate in the positive. Truly, faith and friendly competition can coexist in wonderfully rewarding ways.

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