PaperCity Magazine

April 2019- Dallas

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31 M cBee has commanded boardrooms and raised millions of dollars to fund community projects. But perhaps the most important experience that will serve her as she develops her voice in politics is her ability to successfully merge private and public-sector interests in order to be most impactful in solving community issues. McBee has had to navigate the pitfalls and the advantages of working in both the private and public arenas, when tackling civic initiatives such as helping build the Dallas Arts District; managing a hybrid private-public school network; or serving as chairman of The Bridge, a private-public coalition against homelessness. But despite her lengthy list of volunteer work in the community and her name- recognition in certain social circles, when it comes to the mayoral race, McBee is, to many, an unknown — and to some, she is an outsider. "I suppose every candidate has a perception and a reality," McBee says to me a little more than a week before the forum. We've met for an early-morning coffee at Yolk in One Arts Plaza before she embarks on another packed day of meetings. She orders a Diet Coke (her first of many throughout the day), but this morning will settle for Pepsi — it's all they have. On the campaign trail, image and perception have been some of her greatest challenges. "I think the biggest misconception has been: 'I don't know how in touch she is with issues because she looks a certain way.' I hate to say it, but it is. 'She looks a certain way, and she's had this kind of life. How in touch can she be?'" she says. Then, without pause, she deadpans: "I'm in touch." It is understandable why some voters would question McBee's ability to be entrenched in the issues facing Dallas citizens. Until August 2018, she and her oil-and-gas executive husband, Allan McBee, resided in a Highland Park home, which at press time was on the market for $3.9 million. They have since moved into a high-rise in Dallas proper, near Klyde Warren Park. Mayoral candidates must be Dallas residents for at least six months to be eligible to run; they cannot be residents of tony Highland Park or University Park, as citizens of these towns vote for their own mayors and therefore do not vote for Dallas mayor. Lynn and Allan are staples on the society and philanthropic scenes, with their photographs frequently published in magazines, including this one. McBee is also regularly referred to as a philanthropist — a word often casually used to describe a wealthy person who donates money to a cause or a nonprofit, regardless of their level of understanding or involvement. Since announcing her run, McBee has thus faced her fair share of stereotyped criticism in the media. In the press coverage surrounding the election, McBee is most often labeled first as a philanthropist — not a CEO, executive, or former research scientist, all of which she lists on her CV. In an online opinion piece published by the Dallas Observer titled "Early Take on Mayor's Race: Two Real Contenders, Lotta Stooges," long-time city columnist Jim Schutze referred to McBee as a "wealthy volunteer" and a "socialite fundraiser." His article continued, referring to McBee and fellow candidate Regina Montoya: "Both people are smart and have devoted good portions of their lives to helping the poor … but they live on Planet Elsewhere. They're not real candidates for mayor of Dallas." McBee waited several days before formally responding to the article on her official Facebook account: "When Mike Rawlings ran for Mayor, he was Park Board Chair, former chair of The Bridge and former CEO of Pizza Hut, yet I never heard anyone refer to him as a 'wealthy volunteer.' I'm a current CEO, a former biotech exec, former scientist, and current board chair — and my fellow candidate, Regina Montoya is a former General Counsel and former White House staff member, yet The Observer chose to label us the 'wealthy volunteer' candidates. Words matter. How we talk about each other matters. We should be lifting and supporting women who seek to break down barriers. I'm disappointed The Observer would choose to do otherwise, but conversely, I'm so proud that for the first time in history, Dallas has three strong, successful women and candidates for Mayor. Onward!" While the term philanthropist isn't an adequate description of McBee, it's certainly not incorrect. According to McBee's campaign website, she has personally logged more than 45,000 hours of service for area nonprofits. That is the equivalent of working a full-time job for nearly 22 years (without a single vacation). "It's been the greater part of my days every day," she says of her voluntary civic work over the 25 years she has lived in Dallas. McBee graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in biochemistry and is a long-time employee of New England Biolabs — now the world's leader in genomic research. As such, she has a methodical approach to solving problems. This has translated into her unique campaign style: Hers is a natural and direct demeanor. When asked questions, privately or publicly, rarely will she mention past accomplishments or experience. Unlike a career politician, her responses are step- by-step solution oriented. There is little contrived political-speak or rehearsed self-promotion. This logic-over-theatrics approach seems rooted in McBee's science background. "It's just the way I'm wired. When I was eight years old, I was asking a million questions, out doing science experiments, collecting bugs … My mind has always been curious," says McBee, who seems to view every solution to a challenge — including those facing the city of Dallas — as a series of steps that can be taken, as long as one does the proper research and assembles the right team. To her, the office of mayor is not an idealistic platform but a very specific job to be done — one that, when broken down, is simply anchored on agenda-setting, meeting-running, and decision-making. Despite her natural tendencies to take a granular, methodical approach, McBee is (continued on page 32) Lynn McBee photographed at her new high-rise apartment.

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