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McAllen
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I Was There and Survived

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Pictured above from L-R: John Ingram, McAllen Commissioner District 5; Joe Brown, Border Capital Bank president and McAllen Chamber of Commerce Chairman of the Board; and Steve Ahlenius, President/CEO of the McAllen Chamber of Commerce. Great work by all of them. Photo by Roberto Hugo Gonzalez TBB.
Pictured above from L-R: John Ingram, McAllen Commissioner District 5; Joe Brown, Border Capital Bank president and McAllen Chamber of Commerce Chairman of the Board; and Steve Ahlenius, President/CEO of the McAllen Chamber of Commerce. Great work by all of them. Photo by Roberto Hugo Gonzalez

Successful Chamber Membership Drive Creates New & Improved ‘The Supremes’

By Roberto Hugo Gonzalez,

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As originally published by Texas Border Business newsprint Edition January 2010

McAllen Mayor Richard Cortez was right to say that you can find everything and anything in McAllen and that the entertainment district was becoming a popular place to visit. However he failed to mention that McAllen offers Las Vegas style shows like the one that took place on January 29, 2010 at the McAllen Chamber of Commerce.

I really don’t know how to explain it or how to describe it but here it goes. Three grown men, leaders of this community made a radical, dramatic change and became a ‘cross dressing trio’ and calling themselves the ‘Supremes’.  I still hurt when I remember the show.

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I was invited by Dora Brown, IBC bank VP of Marketing to attend the show. Her emailed invitation read as follows: “Straight from Las Vegas, NOT, you must be there to see the Supremes, aka Joe (Josephine) Brown, Steve (Steffanie) Ahlenius & John (Juanita) Ingram.” I have to admit; I couldn’t stay away even though I wanted to leave running.

Well there I went to cover the event. When I got there I saw Chris Julian, president of Advertir, Inc. and I thought, ‘Oh man, this could get messy’. I asked myself, could this be a first warning not to get involved. Not wanting to disappoint Dora, I entered. However, I prepared myself for the unexpected.

Well not quite, I was not ready to see what I saw; actually the scene blew me away. When Commissioner John Ingram the so-called ‘Juanita’ saw me and gave me his hand with a high five sign. I confess, I was hesitant in touching his hand but I gave in.

I wonder what Mayor Cortez is going to say when he gets a full report that a member of the commission which he presides got involved with the wrong people (aka Joe (Josephine) Brown, Steve (Steffanie) Ahlenius). I can attest that Ingram was not that way. As a matter of fact, a few days ago he came knocking on my door to tell me about the clean up of District 5.  I assure you he was okay, or at least he looked okay. Who knows what is pressing him.

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The situation even turned worse when I saw Debbie, Ingram’s wife cheering him on. I said, “What a sad story, sad? SICK frame of circumstances. But this was not all; Dora Brown was also cheering for (aka Joe (Josephine) Brown). Would you agree with me that this situation turned wild? Two wives who are respected leaders of this community dancing, singing, jumping and cheering their husbands dressed like the ‘Supremes’. Really! This was too much for me.

When I first saw Steve (Steffanie) Ahlenius), I said, “this woman is humongous” but he looked cute. I know Steve Ahlenius and I can assure you that he is a fine man but it is possible that his condition (dressed like a woman) was due to getting involved with a gangster. Particularly a person dressed in a silver suit with a ‘Tony Soprano’ accent. More than likely he is responsible and the corruptor of Brown, Ingram and Ahlenius.

Well enough of this, the truth is that the chamber celebrated a membership drive which exceeded the Membership Drive goals. According to Dora Brown the deal was that if the goals were accomplished, the president of the chamber, the chairman of the board of the chamber and the city commissioner would perform dressed as the Supremes.

The plan was that for two and a half days, over 100 volunteers led by 10 Team Chairmen worked against the clock. They competed against each other to sign up new chamber members and create a greater awareness of the important role the chamber of commerce plays in our community.

A group called Your Chamber Connection whose specialty is high-energy membership campaigns that allow volunteers to conduct ‘out of the box’ membership fun while building the membership base organized the event.

“It’s about business,” as Jimmy Cusano said, he is the guru that coordinated the event and performed as master of ceremonies. The event brought everyone together and built a stronger chamber plus 474 new members.

There is still time for you to be part of your chamber, if you are interested please call Blanca Cardenas at the McAllen Chamber of Commerce at (956) 682-2871.

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