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Celebrating Eight Years

Chamber Co-Founder, President & CEO Tammi Wallace reflects on the organization's 8th anniversary

Eight years to the day... Gary Wood and I co-founded the Greater Houston LGBTQ Chamber of Commerce, and we worked with some dedicated leaders on our Founding Leadership Council to launch the organization and sustain it in its early years.

At our Anniversary Celebration this week, someone looked around the room and asked if I ever could have imagined this, pointing to the people in the room, and talking about what we have done over the past eight years. My reply? Yes, I could see the opportunity for incredible impact at what I have called for years...this "intersection of business and community". 

What I shared is that I couldn't have imagined ALL we now see today in terms of what we can (and will) do in the months and years ahead. Because the vision has become even bigger when we strategize around the work we can do for our community at this important intersection of impact. 

We've grown...almost 500 members strong, 60 Impact Partners, Strategic Partners, Media Partners. Collaboration Partners, an amazing Chamber team, a dedicated board, supportive partners like the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce, U.S. Small Business Administration and many more.

Someone asked me what impact looks like over these past eight years... it's in the stories of the many business owners and nonprofits we have helped along the way, the safe space we have created for business owners, professionals and community to be able to be their full and authentic selves, the advocacy work that we have built and continue to build, the partnerships we have forged with local, statewide and national organizations, getting more businesses LGBTBE Certified and so much more.

We started the Chamber because when we looked at the business landscape in Houston, we saw that the LGBTQ+ business community was not at the table. And...if you're not at the have no voice...and as they're on the menu. 

Today, the good news is the LGBTQ+ business community is at more seats than when we started this journey in 2016. We've made progress and the LGBTQ+ & Allied business community does now have a voice, and we are seen, we are heard...yet there is still so much work to be done because it's not all seats where our community is represented. The Chamber is committed for the long haul to drive economic inclusion and opportunity for the LGBTQ+ community.

Gary Wood - he and I are forever intertwined in this important work. I am grateful for his tireless and unwavering dedication to the Chamber and belief that we could create a Chamber that was more than networking but focused on impact. I am not writing this post without Gary's leadership and commitment to the mission of the Chamber.

Our amazing group who truly goes above and beyond, day after day, working very long hours, dealing with a little stress  but they stay the course because they are committed to the Chamber's mission and impact and making a difference for our members, partners and the LGBTQ+ community.

Our Board....their dedication and belief that we can continue building a regional organization that is a game changer for the LGBTQ+ community. They are advocates and leaders who show up and support the Chamber's work every day.

Certainly, last but not our Inaugural Members and Inaugural Impact Partners...thank you for believing in a start-up organization eight years ago. You joined, you engaged and you helped us start this amazing journey. We are forever grateful. all of our members and Impact Partners...thank you for investing in the Chamber. We are celebrating this anniversary with you and because of you.

I am incredibly grateful to have the opportunity to lead this incredible "mission match" work every day, and for my wife, Mercedes Leal, who does so much so I can do this important work.

I say this every year...we are just getting started and, as I shared, we have so much more work to do on behalf of our community. If you are not a member, join us! Whether you own a business, professional, retired, young part of it! I's going to be an exciting eight years ahead and beyond!
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