SBTM October 2015 - Page 21

T The HMC Ambassadors are the liaison between the Chamber and the members. (Photo: lunch meeting at Chandeliers International) Photo by Rafa Saavedra. he Houston Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce (HMC) is a diverse group of leaders and businesses whose focus is on developing and nurturing greater prosperity for the community they serve. When they state that their motto is, “Connecting Commerce and Community,” not only do they talk the talk, they walk the walk. They are all about “cooking up success” for their members and going that extra mile to support each other. By doing everything possible to help their members create more prosperity and opportunity, they are instrumental in improving the quality of life for the entire community and the metropolitan area. First established in Bellaire, Texas as the Bellaire Chamber of Commerce in 1949, the name was later changed to the Greater Southwest Houston Chamber of Commerce. Over a period of time, the Houston Metropolitan area became such a diversified, multi-dimensional, multi-cultural global marketplace that the Chamber rebranded as the Houston Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce. In order to properly serve the Metropolitan area, the Chamber relocated to Greenway Plaza from Bellaire. They are now minutes away from the areas they serve which includes the Texas Medical Center, the Galleria, the Montrose area, the Museum District, the Theater District, and the three sports venues that are home to the Houston Texans, the Houston Astros, and the Houston Dynamos. With their primary focus on unity, education, visibility, and involvement, the Houston Metropolitan Chamber works very hard to develop a network for their members by exposing and encouraging them to use each other’s products and services. The Chamber offers special programs, professional development classes, ribbon cutting events, and business after hours events so that they are able to provide more opportunities for their members to get to know each other. The Chamber encourages their members to get involved with the councils, committees, and alliances that the Chamber has to offer that in turn will help them grow their business. In the process, members will also be giving back to the community. Getting involved is where the real, long term benefit of the Chamber lies. Peggy Wilson, HMC President and CEO, has a background in organizational development and has been instrumental in several start-ups, including two small businesses of her own. Her strengths include having a working knowledge of turnarounds, reorganization, and cultural changes. Her resume includes a Master’s Degree in Human Sciences with a concentration in workplace behavior; a license from the State of Texas as a Licensed Professional Counselor; national certification as a Nationally Certified Counselor; and a Certified Care Manager with extensive experience in organizational training at the corporate level. Ms. Wilson has provided training in companies such as Accenture, Mobil Oil, FDIC, and Exxon. In addition, she gained turnaround experience working as part of a four-person Senior Management Team at the University of Texas Medical Branch. Peggy reflected, “I especially identify with our small business members because I have walked in their shoes and know firsthand the challenges that small business owners face each and every day. My personal understanding of what small business owners experience motivates me on a daily basis to give them the support they need; and I use all of my skills as President and CEO of the Chamber to provide that support.” Since taking the helm in July of 2013, Peggy has doubled the membership, developed and strengthened programs offered by the Chamber, reorganized internal systems to make the Chamber more efficient, cut the Chamber’s expenses to fit their budget, and put the Chamber and their members on the road to a [ OCTOBER 2015 ] WWW.SBTMAGAZINE.NET 19