Candy in chair Kent Barker photo

Thanks to her wicked sense of humor, Candy always has the absolute best presentations. If you’ve always wanted to learn about how to build your business with the power of personal branding and blogging, come out to the Northeast Tarrant Chamber of Commerce membership luncheon tomorrow. She’ll talk about how she founded the most talked-about real estate blog in the state and how the Internet influences the real estate business.

Be prepared to meet some fabulous people and have your funny bone tickled. The event starts at 10 a.m. with registration, with Candy’s chat starting at noon. Jump for more information!

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Photo: RealTech Dallas

John Backes, left, at the RealTech Dallas event “Cultivate: Building the Next Big Thing in Real Estate.” Photo: RealTech Dallas

John Backes is a young real estate entrepreneur, technology innovator, and champion of the city of Dallas. He practically vibrates with energy and ideas, and has a sort of raw enthusiasm that’s utterly sincere and unscripted.

The St. Mark’s grad is passionate about bringing new ideas to the real estate community by collaborating with the active start-up community in Dallas. That motivation is showing up in myriad ways in his life.

As we wrote about yesterday, he is launching the MOTIVE Accelerator Program this fall. This exciting program will fund selected commercial real estate technology start-ups, as well as provide mentoring through a program oriented around customer and product development.

Backes was also the co-founder of RealTech Dallas 12 months ago, which brings together the startup community with the real estate industry.

His new company, DXZ Media, is a full-service branding and digital marketing agency that aims to solve complex problems related to technology, identity, and strategy.

Sound like a full plate? It’s not even the beginning. He’s also a mentor at the The Dallas Entrepreneur Center and advisor at PoshPublic, a curated crowdfunding platform which allows artists or nonprofits to create a campaign at no upfront cost and no risk. There’s so much more. And the ideas just keep coming.

“We have an incredible story here in Dallas of innovative real estate companies, and so many tech start-ups, too. There was so much vibrancy, but no intersection,” Backes said. “Every day, I feel like I’m in a very dynamic center of change.”

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Nicole Schultz

Nicole Schultz describes herself as “a bit of a neat freak, but in a good way.”

As a mother of four children, being organized never really seemed like much of a choice for Schultz. Friends noticed, and what started as her efforts to help them maximize their space and offer solutions to eliminate chaos and clutter evolved into a business a year and a half ago. Get It Together is Schultz’s professional organizing company that offers services designed to create order in a client’s home, business, and life.

“Once items are placed in bins and labeled, or organized beautifully in drawers, it so much easier to find what you are looking for and the items have found a permanent home,” she said. “I absolutely love it and I feel like I make a difference. It’s like being part of an extreme home makeover show.”

Schultz is working with more than 40 clients now through word of mouth recommendations and her business is thriving. She sat down with me to share some of her insights on how to help the chronically disorganized.

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Jason Roberts

Always on the go, Roberts is involved in myriad projects and groups in Oak Cliff and around Dallas. Photo courtesy Jason Roberts

Much has been written about community activist, urban planning enthusiast, and Oak Cliff resident Jason Roberts. His energy is infectious as he spreads the gospel of urban revitalization around the world: building better neighborhoods by transforming vacant and underused properties into vibrant, thriving blocks abuzz with business, activity, and local participation.

His Better Block concept started in spring 2010 in a small part of North Oak Cliff, where Roberts asked the questions, “why are these buildings vacant and what can we do to rapidly transform them in days, not years, into bike- and pedestrian-friendly places that people love?”

The answer was a rapidly planned weekend project that created pop-up shops, filling underused or vacant spaces with the businesses he wished the area had: coffee shops, flower shops, and cafes, among others.

Better Block has since gone from a local experiment to a national and international model for urban redevelopment that showcases the possibilities in a neighborhood, no matter its current state.

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Monte Anderson

On Tuesday night, the Greater Dallas Planning Council honored North Texas developer Monte Anderson with its inaugural Urban Pioneer Award at the Urban Design Awards.

Anderson is the president of Options Real Estate, a multi-service real estate company that concentrates its work in southern Dallas and Ellis counties, specializing in creating sustainable neighborhoods that invite “gentlefication,” as opposed to gentrification.

Here’s a great working definition of “gentlefication”:

Moving into a neighborhood in an effort to reduce crime, create harmony, and build community. As opposed to “gentrification,” which changes neighborhoods by forcing out low-income residents with high-income folks seeking the next hip thing. Gentlefication helps long-term residents take back their neighborhoods, stabilize property values, and build safe spaces for their children and grandchildren.

“The award means a lot because it means people are staring to recognize that incremental development, or ‘microsurgery’, not big silver bullet deals, works in our southern Dallas neighborhoods,” he said. “My approach is to come in and get other small developers and entrepreneurs to come in very early and be a part of the change. These are the people who make it cool, like artists and restaurateurs, and they [usually] end up not owning anything and getting pushed out in the end.” (more…)