Photo: Dr. Sydney Kroll Register stands at her desk in her Pineywoods Psychological Services office located in the downtown Nacogdoches Plaza at 507 E. Hospital St. (Photo by Kelly Daniel)
Why I chose Leadership Nacogdoches
By Dr. Sydney Kroll Register
When I moved to Austin to become a Longhorn in 1999, I told myself (and everyone who would listen!) that I’d never move back to Nac. Austin was a great fit for me, and after a short detour up IH-35 to Waco for graduate school, I returned to the Live Music Capital of the World with every intention of making it my permanent home.
But then life happened, including a new son, and it became increasingly hard to balance my career as a clinical psychologist with being a mom and spending time with my family. After working at the Veterans Affairs Hospital for 10 years, I began to explore private practice options. Unfortunately for me, however, it seemed every psychologist in Texas lives in Austin! So with much surprise to both ourselves and our loved ones, my husband Damon and I decided to return to the Oldest Town in Texas to start businesses and to raise our son, Lane.
Damon expanded on his real estate investment and construction experience, establishing Onsite, Fix it and List it!, and I began working full-time at my clinical practice, Pineywoods Psychological Services.
We were so blessed to have the support of this community to be successful in our endeavors, and to have resources like the SFA Early Childhood Lab to help love and educate our son. Plus, two sets of grandparents help out with date nights and calls from school alerting of fevers.
We still had connections in town thanks to both being BINs - a term of which, by the way, I was so unfamiliar that I thought I was being insulted the first time someone labeled me. However, pretty quickly Damon and I realized that there was a large community of business owners and entrepreneurs we’d like to get to know.
So, I joined the Nacogdoches County Chamber of Commerce, and started attending Friday luncheons and Alive After Five events. During one of these events, I was lucky enough to be seated at a table with Paul Smith and Gary Lee Ashcraft, and I began to hear about this thing called Leadership Nacogdoches (LN), a program offered by the Chamber for entrepreneurs and business leaders.
After some investigation and discussions with several friends who completed the program in the past, I decided, “What the heck? I’m sure I know everything there is to know about Nac, but maybe I could meet some folks.” I was set on a path that would not only change my skills and knowledge as a small business owner, but also my quality of life here in Nacogdoches
It’s actually pretty difficult to fully describe LN, in large part because the greatest benefits are somewhat intangible. In the simplest terms, it is a nine-month program, organized by the Nacogdoches County Chamber and co-chaired by Charlotte Ashcraft and Paul Smith in which participants meet once each month to learn about different aspects of our community. The monthly sessions, which range in topics from Public Education to Healthcare to City Government, are led by various community leaders and generally include fun, behind-the-scenes glimpses of how our community operates. For example, I went on a ride-along with the Nacogdoches Police Department, ripped apart a car and rappelled down a wall with the Nacogdoches Fire Department, saw (and smelled) the water treatment plant, witnessed some amazingly dedicated teachers, and met with some of our leaders in State Legislation. Each session was incredibly informative and fun, and I was amazed by how little I actually knew about how my hometown was run.
This experience has allowed me to become more involved in the Chamber and in other organizations around town. I even made connections and did some networking that led to greater revenues for my business.
However, it was really my fellow LN classmates that were the most memorable part of this experience. No matter what event I attend around town now, I know I have one of them there to laugh with me. My LN alumni are leaders in all walks of life in Nacogdoches and are now always there to support and encourage me, whether in business dealings or just over a drink at Liberty Bell. Somehow, this experience helped me to feel even more at home here in Nac.
The applications for the next LN class are available on the Chamber’s website, www.nacogdoches.org, and at the Chamber.
I can’t recommend this program enough for anyone in Nacogdoches looking to expand their appreciation for and understanding of this town and its needs. While it takes a commitment of time and energy, you will definitely finish the nine months with more business and leadership skills and most importantly more friends! And for all you Leadership Nacogdoches Alumni, encourage your colleagues and friends to apply, and don’t forget to "like" our Facebook page to watch for upcoming Alumni events!
Dr. Sydney Kroll Register is a Clinical Psychologist with Pineywoods Psychological Services, specializing in psychotherapy and psychological assessment. She is a graduate of the 2014-2015 Leadership Nacogdoches class.