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Cabarrus Magazine

New Episode of 'Up Front' Looks at Local People; Organizations Giving Back to the Community

Aug 23, 2019 01:39PM ● By Jason Huddle

Here, you can read the full transcript of the show, or click the link at the bottom to listen as well!

Huddle: (00:00)
Coming up on this addition of up front with Cabarrus Magazine, sponsored by Atlantic Bay mortgage, CERTEC Automotive, Code Ninjas, Concord downtown Development Corporation, family wealth partners, Merle Norman cosmetics and Edie's Salon and your CBD store of Concord. We're going to be talking about making a difference in our community. We're going to be talking to three different organizations who are actually taking time out to give back to the community that has given so much to them. I'm your host Jason Huddle. Get ready for all the fields. 

So once again, the high school football preview edition did not work out as far as the podcast, the current edition of the magazine, which previews all nine high school football teams from our area is going very well and very well received. But it is really hard to get coaches on the phone much less in an interview. So, but that's okay because something better came up this week and it all started when I got a press release from the Charlotte Motor speedway on Monday morning that said on Wednesday they were going to be out doing seven different projects around the community. Just to give back, and they wanted to let me know about it. And so I went out to see what it was all about and I realized this is really cool when an organization like Charlotte Motor speedway who doesn't have to do these kinds of things, takes a step back and gives back to deserving individuals in our community. It makes an impression on me and I hope it makes an impression on you. So it got me thinking, what about other people that are giving back in our community? So first we went and talked to Greg Walter, he's the general manager of the speedway, and let him talk about his day of service, the second annual day of service for the speedway. And then we've also found a couple of new sort of grassroots, if you will, organizations to tell you about the brown stone foundation and also a lovely lady named Nancy White who heads a group called Heart Strings. And she's going to tell you about how she's helping to empower women to become strong entrepreneurs in their fields. So we have a great show lined up for you today, but of course I cannot proceed without - you know what it is. It's shameless plug time 

Speaker 2: (02:22)
[inaudible] there are 

Huddle: (02:24)
There are lots of great features on Cabarrus in fact, we have new content pretty much every day so I encourage you to make that part of your daily routine to check out our website for all the latest news and events. We have a community calendar, we have a business directory. You can leave reviews for your favorite businesses or ones that you don't like so much. But there is one feature that continues to dominate every month and that is our restaurant report. It's released about the 17th of every month for the previous 30 days from the 15th of the last month to the 15th of this month and it highlights our top three and bottom three restaurants based on health grade scores conducted by the Cabarrus health alliance. It's not subjective. This is completely based on the scores and the numbers of major violations. If there's a tie and then the numbers of total violations, if there's a tie on that. So we have a couple tiebreakers to create our top three and bottom three and I've noticed that some of the restaurants when we first started this, they tended to end up on the report a lot, especially the bottom three. They kept ending up on the report. I think word got around because they've really improved. In fact, we've had some that have been on the bottom three that are now showing up on the top three so if you're a restaurant owner out there, realize that we are watching, we are helping inform our community about your scores. So get those top scores, get those 100's so we can celebrate you. We're not out to get anybody in trouble. What we do is report the news as it is and you know if you're in the bottom three that's the way it is. So make sure that you are doing what is necessary to stay out of those bottom three every month. But that one feature tends to go viral and we want to thank Blue-J ECO friendly office cleaning for sponsoring that very, very popular feature. I encourage you to go check it out. The latest report is up, so make sure you check that out along with lots of other things at and that's this week's shameless plug. 

Huddle: (04:38)
Right after the break, we're going to head out to Charlotte Motor speedway and talk to Greg Walter about their day of service and how they gave back to the community this week. Stay tuned!

(Commercials): (04:49)

Huddle: (06:11)
Welcome Back, once again to Upfront with Cabarrus mMgazine. I am joined by a returning guest. That's right. Uh, our fearless leader, Greg, of the Charlotte Motor speedway. Thank you once again for joining us. 

Walter: (06:23)
Anytime my friend. 

Huddle: (06:23)
Uh, so today we are talking about making a difference on the podcast and the timing was impeccable because the Charlotte Motor speedway today did several projects all over Cabarrus county, just basically giving back to the community. Uh, so why don't you tell us about that? 

Walter: (06:40)
So, um, you know, we, we serve the guests and fans that come through our gates to the more than 1.1 million people every year, every day. And so this was a chance for us to serve the community where we, where we live, the community that makes it possible for us to put on these extraordinary events. You know, our folks, it's in their DNA to give, right? They have this servant's heart that that just permeates all that we do. So to put them in a position with seven, eight charities around the county, and it was important for us to give back to Cabarrus county, right? That's where we reside as we've walked lock step with Cabarrus county since our, our foundation in 1960. So it was important for us to, to align ourselves with charities that have an impact or directly affect this area. Um, so 170 plus people were deployed today. Um, not only we did this last year and it was just a Charlotte team, Charlotte Motor speedway team. This year we actually had, um, people from us, legends, cars was a company we own, um, SMI properties, uh, our corporate folks downtown as well as in some of our aviation folks and our pilots all wanted to participate. So, um, 170 people here, probably another 30 or 40 people who were actually doing work here at the track, you know, stuffing backpacks, billing hygiene kits for the homeless. So I think everyone actually had a role today in giving back to the community. 

Huddle: (08:04)
That's completely awesome. Let me just real quick say that we are in an open room. There is lots of background [inaudible] 

Walter: (08:09)
There is, we just finished up our recap meeting so, 

Huddle: (08:12)
so if you hear anything in the background, it's not my fault. 

Walter: (08:16)

Huddle: (08:17)
No, that's completely fine. So how did you guys, before we get into specifics of where you serve today, how did you guys select the sites that you serve today? 

Walter: (08:28)
Well, the first, like I said earlier, the first parameter was that it had to be something that was in converse county, right. Or had a direct impact on compares county. That was the first parameter. If we wanted to, we knew that we can make a difference. Second part of it was, let's pick organizations that we can really move the needle, right? If we have 25 or 30 people show up to do lawn work, you know, mulch, paint, build fences, repair things. We have an operations that works all the time. He was, you know, the fabricators, they're, they're welders, they're electricians or painters. Where can we go where it would truly make a difference and have an impact and amplify the effect that these charities have in the community. So that was the, the first smell test. And then, um, you know, did the align, do background checks to see what they do in the community. Um, and you know, we had a couple of reoccurring ones this time around. Then we had some new ones. Um, we wanted to kind of spread the love, if you will. So those, basically how we looked at these are, we have a group called the pit crew, um, on staff that basically looks every month where we can help the community. And the last two years they've been been building towards these big events that we do. And so they're pretty well connected, um, with the area and what charities need help. And so they were kind of triage what, where we could best be used. 

Huddle: (09:52)
There are, I think there were seven different places. Um, and for a full list of those, go to Cabarrus We have a whole article on it, but what are some of the highlights for you today? 

Walter: (10:04)
Um, it's just, first of all, it's just getting, putting a face with the beneficiary mean we were today with a purple heart home. This gentleman was a Korean War veteran and the Korean War veterans, Vietnam veterans really didn't have the kind of homecoming or received when they came back from deployment the way our veterans are now. So 91, 92 years old I believe, um, came out of the house. There was just a beehive of activity, put a flag pole in his front yard. And his daughter today said that she heard him talk more today than she heard him talking the last four months. 

Huddle: (10:44)
That's cool. That's so awesome. Cause I, as I understand it, he was suffering from Alzheimer's. So to see him light up like that and I was actually there to see that, um, that was, that was, that was really neat. 

Walter: (10:57)
Yeah. Um, the, the, the ops guys who just worked tirelessly around here and I went to almost all of the places we were deployed to see them be the heroes of the day, you know, and the people realize what they do day in and day out and just the extraordinary things they accomplish to see the folks who are in, in suits or executives here to work alongside them. That kind of camaraderie was really neat. Um, you would see, you would see folks be able to bond in a way you wouldn't normally see. They had some great stories and if you guys were here for the luncheon, um, just some laughs, there was one person got bit by fire ants and telling about she got bit by a copperhead, which wasn't quite accurate. They gave me a - 

Huddle: (11:45)
That's her story and she's sticking to it!

Walter: (11:45)
Exactly right. We should be on the - run on the news for that. People talk about, you know, the beneficiaries pull aside and say, you know, we always looked at the speedway as being, you know, maybe unapproachable or you guys were kind of up on the hill. And for you to do this for us just is incredibly humbling. And that's humbling for us. We talk about customer service, we talk about being constructively discontent, we're talking about giving back to the community. Um, but when you see it on someone's face and how it really impacts them and made a difference in their life, um, that's where the rubber meets the road. I think I told someone earlier that I read that when you serve someone else, eventually you're serving yourself. And that is you realize by, by giving, you know, it puts life in perspective. You know, one of the groups served at, um, caused downtown and they said, we realized that even the, the, the least of us are incredibly wealthy compared to those who, the two meals we fed them today. That was the only food that they were going to get. 

Huddle: (12:49)
Oh my goodness. 

Walter: (12:50)
And that, that makes a difference. 

Huddle: (12:55)
So real quick before we have to wrap up the segment, don't you guys have a race coming up? What are you thinking doing all this? 

Walter: (13:02)
How do you think I got my gray hair? So we have the Roval coming up. Um, and as you probably saw when you came into the infield, we're making some changes to the backstretch chicane we announced today the, that Mario Andretti, um, is a going to be the honoree pace car driver. Mario was instrumental in helping us design the Roval. Originally we didn't want to put a chicane on the backstretch. And for your listeners, a chicane is, is basically a set of turns that disrupts the flow of the course so that you bleed off speed and in racing, breaking equals passing. And when you have a chance to break, you have a chance to overtake a competitor. You know the mistake they may make, the may overbreak, they may go too far into the turn. So this creates more (inaudible). When we first designed the course, we didn't want to put a chicane back there. We just thought it'd be great for them to have all this speed and inertia going into traditional tuns three and four before they came to the front stretch. We had Mario Andretti come out and he drove a Porsche Spyder - million dollar car - and he got out there and he got out and told Marcus, he said, no, no, no, no, no, no, you've got to put a chicane. And Marcus is like why? He said, because we're race car drivers were crazy. You got to help, you got to help prevent us from hurting ourselves. So we have a chicane. We changed it after we learned some things we learned last year. We've made some changes which I think will have a huge impact on the quality of racing you see out here, which of course last year was phenomenal. Um, I thought also I was, I was in Africa last summer and a coffee shop in Nairobi and had someone stop me cause they saw my Charlotte Motor speedway shirt, you know, logo on my shirt and said, asked me about what he called it, the rovall cause he was English but asked me about the race. And um, tough to imagine where you have people from all over the world focused on our little backyard and think it's something extraordinary, which of course we believe it too. 

Huddle: (14:52)
Awesome. Greg Walter, uh, executive general manager of Charlotte Motor speedway. Thanks for taking a few minutes with us today and congratulations on giving back to the community. 

Walter: (15:01)
Thanks my friend. Always good to see you. 

Huddle: (15:03)
Alright, you too. Stay tuned. We'll be right back. 

Huddle: (16:43)
welcome back to this episode of up front with Cabarrus Magazine where we're talking today about making a difference. I became aware of an organization called the Brown Note Community Foundation just this week and I was so interested in their mission that I asked them to come onto the program and they graciously accepted. So I appreciate it. Uh, we have the founder of the organization, Sarah Varnado and her director, Shiloh Qasserras, who is also with chicken salad chick. And they have come into the studio today to talk about the Brown note community foundation and what it is they do. So first of all, ladies, thank you very much for coming onto the program. 

Qasserras: (17:22)
Thank you for having us. 

Varnado: (17:23)
Thank you. We're happy to be here. 

Huddle: (17:24)
So tell us about Brown note, first of all, what is it and how did you get it started? 

Varnado: (17:30)
The Brown note community foundation is to empower the individual to make a positive impact. We're also aiming to engage our neighbors in a conversation around community support. 

Huddle: (17:42)
That all sounds wonderful, but I still don't know what it is you do. So when you're talking about conversations and community, I mean are we talking about just a changing of thinking? Are we talking about something that you physically do in the community in schools? Tell us a little bit more. Give us a little more detail in that respect, Sarah. 

Varnado: (18:04)
Sure. To speak to our engagement in the community. We have a short story dinner series a right now. We're using it to engage in these conversations around the different aspects of community support, what those look like in our growing community and how we can all get involved to make the positive impact that we so desperately need. 

Huddle: (18:25)
So when you're talking about a positive impact, where are we going with that? I mean there are lots of ways you could have a positive impact in your community. You can enact change for laws that are no longer necessary. You could enact change from a way of thinking or things that are done that shouldn't be done anymore. Um, i.e. You know, the me too movement or uh, bullying, cyber bullying, that kind of thing. So is there a specific change that you guys are looking for or is this just an overall mission to create positivity within the community? 

Varnado: (19:06)
Yes, to both of those. We do have a mission, uh, to create positivity, to infuse more positivity into our environment. We're working to build a mobile coffee shop that will fund local community school programs. That way each individual person in our community can feel like they are doing something to support our school. 

Huddle: (19:29)
Okay. So now we're getting to it. We're going to support community schools. How are we supporting community schools? What, what kinds of things? What kind of programs do we want to help support with the schools that this coffee shop will, will assist us in doing? 

Varnado: (19:42)
We will work with the principals, the pto's of individual schools. Uh, we're aiming for schools that are performing below par so that we can help to pinpoint the programs that need funding. And we can work together from there. All of the sales from our coffee shop will go directly to school programs. Uh, what program gets funded will depend on input from the schools themselves. 

Huddle: (20:09)
Okay. So it might be that you're helping an arts program and it might be that you're helping a tutoring. Is that pretty accurate? 

Varnado: (20:17)
That is, yes.

Huddle: (20:17)
Shiloh. Let me get to you. You already have a full time job with chicken salad chick. You stay quite busy with that and handling their catering. So what are your job duties as director and how did you get involved? Why did you get involved? 

Qasserras: (20:30)
So Sarah and I met, um, because our kids were in preschool together and she approached me one afternoon and said, we don't really know each other, but I think it'd be a good fit for this. And so I'm an avid crochet or, and that's kind of where we hit off together. We both Crochet and Sarah came to me with her idea and I was all over it. I've, you know, my child being in the school system, um, I want her to have every opportunity to excel. And I think every child should have that opportunity. Um, unfortunately, funding being cut consistently, right and left to just save a penny here and there, um, is a shame. And, um, teachers I feel like are having to pick up that slack. So when Sarah asked me to be a part of the program, we have called think piece. I have taken that on as the creative director and we started it out by using a free commodity that we could get our hands on and that was, um, grocery bags that have been squirreled away in a closet or otherwise, then, uh, thrown away into a trashcan and become a part of our landscape, unfortunately. And so we've taken those bags and we are recreating them into reusable, um, market bags or shopping bags that we can take with us. Um, and that's about 70 bags per reusable bag that we're keeping out of the landscape. Then we redirected a little bit towards, um, cotton market bags, so the cotton being a little more environmentally friendly and it also has a longer lifespan. Um, as far as stretch goes. And, um, recently we are helping a family, uh, in the Lake Norman area that uh, lost everything in an apartment fire. Um, there's four people in this household, um, two parents and two kids and we are selling, um, tee shirts that would otherwise again be disposed of and turning them into bags to be used, um, as a reusable material. Um, so those, the a hundred percent of the sales for that are going back to the family to help them get back on their feet. 

Huddle: (22:49)
That is incredible. Uh, it sounds like a great mission certainly in its grassroots state, but a mission nonetheless and I commend you ladies on, on doing that. So before we close out the segment, for those people that are wanting to get involved or wanting to get more information, how can they find you on the internet or contact you? 

Varnado: (23:07)
You can reach us at our website, We are also campaigning as Shiloh mentioned for our Huntersville family that lost their belongings in a fire. The website to support this family is town. O n e t o w N. Uh, you can also find us on Facebook and instagram at 

Huddle: (23:35)
And are you guys a full nonprofit with five oh one three c - c three? I can't even remember which one it is. Is that, is that accurate? 

Varnado: (23:41)
Fove O one c three, yes we are. 

Huddle: (23:43)
Yup. So tax deductible. Awesome. Shiloh, Caceres and Sarah Varnado with the Brown note community foundation. Thank you so much for coming on the program today. 

Both: (23:53)
Thanks for having or having us. 

Huddle: (23:54)
All right, stay tuned. We'll be back in just a few minutes. 

(Commercials): (23:58)

Huddle: (25:12)
Welcome back in this final segment as we're talking about people making a difference. I was also made aware of a incredible woman named Nancy White and she heads up the heart link network. And I wanted her to tell you about this because she is empowering women and giving them the opportunity to network, to succeed, uh, to gain confidence in business. And I wanted the opportunity for you to meet her and we have her on the line now. Nancy, thanks for being on up front with Cabarrus magazine today. 

White: (25:45)
Oh, Jason, thank you so much, um, for the opportunity to talk with you and, and share a little bit about what we do to help collaborate with other women in the area. 

Huddle: (25:56)
So tell us about the heart link network, Nancy and exactly what that is. 

White: (26:02)
Okay. Jason is the hard fleet network and sometimes when people hear about it, they think it's about, um, people with heart problems. But it's really about heart attitudes. And Hartley network was, um, created about 12 years ago and it was a networking group that was created just for women, sorry guys. But it's for women to come together. We don't have membership, but we do have industry specific, um, meetings. And some of our industries crossover, but we give each other grace and space and um, to be able to help promote whatever we need to. But we have up to 20 ladies, um, Jason that come for either a candlelight dinner or a lunch once a month and these women don't know each other at the beginning and they come from all over from Concord Kannapolis just Huntersville Davidson Rock Hill. So it's always a different group of diverse ladies. And so we also have a different nonprofit that we feature each month, Jason. And even though we have a featured nonprofit, we still have other nonprofits that come because that's one of the things about collaboration, um, is that, you know, it doesn't matter if you both have, um, a nonprofit, there's things that you can even come together to accomplish. And so pretty much Jason, it is women coming together with an open heart and with a willingness to get to know each other and have other ladies get to know them and learn about their businesses. And I've been an entrepreneur for over 35 years. Jason and I love giving these ladies some business information. This month we were talking about monetizing Facebook because we either in business we have to continue to grow our businesses. So that's sort of a quick nutshell. Um, Jason about the heart link network and I've had every 3,700 different ladies in my home over the last 11 years. 

Huddle: (28:08)
Before we turned on the mic, you had told me that women and men network differently. Can you explain that? As a guy, I don't necessarily understand that statement. So can you elaborate on that? 

White: (28:21)
Absolutely, Jason, because women and men, um, speak different languages. I loved, you know, the book men are from Mars, women are from Venus. It's just, you know, women and men, they're different but just great. And um, um, and I love networking with men and women, but this is built on a science. When women get together, we have a hormone in our brain called oxytocin and that hormone flourishes and just it releases and helps to combat cortisone levels. And so there is a science behind the heart link network. Don Billings, the CEO and founder of the heart link network has worked with women and children for over three decades. And so when women get together, there is something that they don't feel, um, they don't have any walls up. They can ask questions as many questions and, and you know, very well Jason Women's speak about 2,500 more words per day than men do. 

Huddle: (29:23)
I have no comment on that.

Speaker 9: (29:25)
(laughs) It's a way for women really to feel comfortable, um, to be able to communicate in a way that women understand each other. And so, and just, you know, and they're - and some women are huggers and you know, some women are just, you know, it helps them come out of their shell. It helps them to learn how to talk about their business and about themselves and an atmosphere that is just a little bit more relaxed and peaceful. Um, and so that's what is what I mean by men and women network differently. Men Do great on the golf course. Women do great. Getting um, together and just, you know, having, having a meal. 

Huddle: (30:11)
Uh, real quick, I understand you are also an Amazon bestselling author. You just had a book signing in Kannapolis. Tell us about your book. 

White: (30:18)
Oh, my book is called G R T Journal. It stands for gratitude, reflections and tips. It is a tool, Jason, um, for anybody, men and women to use at the end of the day, 10 minutes at the end of the day. And it's so simple. It's like fill in the blanks, check the blocks because when we stop and reflect over our day in the things that were good that happened, whether it was a deed of kindness but ever it is. Um, and then we could also, um, in health and wellness be able to self check and hope, self accountability as far as sleeping, drinking water, eating healthy choices, exercising, which is something that everybody has a little challenge with. It is a great way for us to be able to sit down goals to be able to work towards them and accomplish them. And there's some great scientific evidence about the health benefits of journaling. And so that's the GRT journal and I encourage people not to buy it on Amazon. Nothing about Amazon, but they can go to my website and save money and often has free shipping. So my book signing was so much fun and I've done several so far and has several more coming up but Additions Book Store and coffee shop is a precious, amazing place. And I'll be going back for another one, um, in a couple of months there, Jason. 

Huddle: (31:50)
Real quick, uh, how can people get in touch with you or learn more about the heart link network? 

White: (31:55)
Well, the fastest way is on social media and I'm on Facebook. I'm on Linkedin (inaudible) but I think the fastest way for people to get in touch with me is probably just to call me. I might text her or a person to call. They can go to my website. Um, and I've got a heart link website that also, my website is www d p h e healthy cells, C e l l s or again, fastest way. Great phone text is (704) 756-9295 

Huddle: (32:34)
Nancy White with the heart link network and also bestselling author. Thank you so much for joining us today. 

White: (32:40)
Thank you Jason. You have an amazing day and thank you again for the opportunity to come and talk with you. 

Huddle: (32:48)
You as well Nancy. Hey I only have a couple of minutes cause we are already a couple of minutes over but I did want to tell you about something. I read an article from Chip Gains this morning actually and you probably know chip and his wife, Joanna Gains from their show on HGTV and all kinds of things that they do and if you know anything about them, these people are like the kind of people that you want to be best friends with. They are so kind and so giving and graceful and he said in the article that one of the foundations of not only his marriage, but their business as well, is that kindness is contagious and it's a very simple, simple thing. But man, is that true. I know that my wife and I have experienced this just recently where we were dealing with some difficult things with problems with the house and and other issues and we realized that people to whom we had shown kindness years ago, were just waiting for an opportunity to give back. It was very humbling, but very, very cool. So let me just propose this. Let's just say in my little idealistic world, and I know it's a little rainbow and Unicornish, so don't judge, but let's say we could get past our petty differences. Just imagine that for a second, and I mean petty, whether it be political or religious. At the end of the day, John F. Kennedy said, we all inhabit this planet. We all breathe the same air, we cherish our children's future and we all are mortal. If we could get past our petty differences and do what these people we talked to are doing and taking a step back and giving to people that need it, what a better world we would be in already. Just think about that and you have two weeks to think about it because that's when I'll be back next week asis a fifth week of the month. So we always take a break on the fifth week and I will be back with you in two weeks when we will be talking about family time. What do you mean by family time? Well, I mean we're going to be examining things to do in the area for your kids, your teens date nights and I'm going to try to - no promises, but I'm going to try to get somebody on from the Cabarrus county fair to talk about what's new this year. As you know, the fair is right around the corner and so we're going to be talking about that as well. So make sure you tune in in two weeks. And in the meantime, go onto Facebook, join the up front with Cabarrus magazine podcast group where you can continue conversations that we've started on this program and other episodes as well. And you also still have the chance to win Carolina Renaissance Festival tickets. Just go on, comment, share, do something on the podcast. You'll automatically be entered for free tickets to the Carolina's renaissance festival, which is coming up in October. Let me real quick thank my sponsors, Atlantic Bay mortgage, CERTEC Automotive Code Ninjas, Concord Downtown Development Corporation, family wealth partners, Merle Norman cosmetics, and Edie's Salon, and your CBD store of Concord. I've been your host, Jason Huddle. We'll see you in two weeks. Have a great Labor Day!

Episode 25: Making a Difference

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