Hey there –  I’m Ashleigh Alwood, the director of marketing for your chamber here in Conroe, Texas.  Now that I am just a month away from my first year of Chamber work under my belt, I am determined to educate the public about the mission of the Conroe/Lake Conroe Chamber of Commerce and its impact on the community.

A CHAMBER OF COMMERCE IS NOT A MARKETING FIRM. A CHAMBER IS A CONNECTOR AMONGST BUSINESS PROFESSIONALS.
Although many business professionals will join the Chamber with the idea that we are a marketing firm, this is incorrect. We can, however, refer you to local marketing, public relations firms or freelancers who can get you started. We don’t offer graphic design, won’t schedule your social media or network FOR you.  However, we are more than happy to organize and facilitate the workshops and events to help you do so, such a job fairs, breakfasts and happy hours, and educational workshops.

At the Chamber, we create an ATMOSPHERE for you to easily and successfully market yourself. Building authentic relationships in business is critical to identifying and capitalizing upon new opportunities. We host and facilitate a variety of events and gatherings each month that provide members with unique networking and business-building opportunities, such as our networking events, Morning Mingle and Fun After Five. The internet is great for reaching out, but everyone wants to do business with people they KNOW.

Bring business cards and brochures to events, sponsor our special events to gain exposure to your brand, or ask any of our employees to aid you in making a valuable connection. Set your collateral pieces with the others in our lobby for folks to pick up. Join committees focusing on the organization of events, governmental affairs and even mobility to have your voice heard. All of these things can help us to help you. We are passionate about helping local businesses thrive through relationship building.

OUR CHAMBER IS A NONPROFIT, NOT AN ARM OF THE CITY OR COUNTY, NOR THE CONVENTION AND VISITORS BUREAU; WE ARE A MEMBERSHIP-BASED NONPROFIT – 501 C (6) ORGANIZATION.
The Conroe/Lake Conroe Chamber of Commerce exists to be a catalyst for business advancement, financial growth and stability in our area. We are a convener for leaders, influencers and champions for stronger communities and organizations. We are an economic development engine, the voice of business in government, and we work every day to make our community a better place to live, work and play, for transplants, families and even people who have left the corporate world to start their own business later in life.

Chamber revenues go directly back into the membership so that we can provide small and large networking events, an online business directory and website, and host professional development and educational opportunities. Our staff is in tune with the specific issues that affect the business owners and citizens of our area, and we advocate for our businesses at local and state governmental levels.

The Chamber is managed by an employed President and staff. However, the direction of the Chamber is in the hands of its Board of Directors. These Board of Directors work tirelessly to ensure the Chamber effectively serves as many voices in the community as possible, representing various industries, points of view and ages.

A CHAMBER IS NOT A SMALL BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT CENTER. HOWEVER, WE HAVE THE TOOLS AND CONNECTIONS YOU NEED.
Although we cannot set up your small business taxes or give you a business license, we can provide valuable information through several outlets, such as the Small Business Development Center at Lone Star College – Montgomery and the Small Business Administration. We also facilitate a program called Professional Business Development that can help you make a business plan, budget your finances and create engaging marketing pieces. Our website also includes helpful links and contacts to area allies, business licenses and permits, and available incentives.

WE ARE NOT THE BETTER BUSINESS BUREAU.
The Better Business Bureau, or BBB, is a non-profit corporation that uses an Accredited Businesses system to assign rankings to businesses, charities and non-profit organizations. The BBB stores data about companies and uses dispute resolution procedures established by the Council of the Better Business Bureaus. Local BBBs administer procedures designed for consumers to file complaints against accredited and non-accredited businesses. Membership, sponsorship or attendance in the Conroe Chamber or its events is not an endorsement of a business’ services by the Chamber nor is our staff equipped to take or record complaints or facilitate disputes between individuals or companies and businesses. This is the core function of the Better Business Bureau.

AND FINALLY, A CHAMBER IS NOT AN EXCLUSIVE, SNOOTY CLUB. THE CONROE CHAMBER IS A FAMILY.
Through the Conroe Chamber, I have found an extremely caring group of business professionals that pour themselves so generously into this community and are committed to its success and growth. They work relentlessly to be an asset and resource to each other. I have witnessed people thrive both professionally and personally as a result of their Chamber membership, and I haven’t been to a networking breakfast, a luncheon or gala where folks weren’t hugging each other right and left as not just colleagues but as neighbors and friends in Conroe and the Lake Conroe area.  We live in a very unique community and witnessing people who are this loyal and generous to keep it alive and progressing is a wonderful thing that we HAVE TO keep fostering. Being a part of this new generation taking the helm of business here and nationwide, it is a wonderful place to find mentors and glean advice from the people who have done it so successfully for years.

On the cusp of this Millennial, Gen X generation that can be misunderstood and fall through the cracks when it comes to what we’re about, I am grateful that this organization stumbled into my life just under a year ago, and has continuously provided me personal growth opportunities and, of course, personal and business friendships that I can lean on in professional and personal settings.

If you have any questions, or if you are interested in looking further into the Conroe/Lake Conroe Chamber, please check out our website at Conroe.org, or drop me a line. I look forward to hearing from you!