Chamber FIRST

The Lufkin/Angelina County Chamber of Commerce is launching a new industry-exclusive program called Chamber FIRST. This group of professionals will be focused on building each other's businesses by supplying genuine referrals to their members.

Built on trust and follow up, Chamber FIRST members will maximize their membership with professional education and resources, while encouraging mutual support and increasing sales. It also provides opportunities for small business owners to work with experienced coaches and mentors for the purpose of developing connections with their peers, local leaders and the financial community.

Being a part of Chamber FIRST will provide members:

1. Increase your exposure through other business professionals.
2. Increase referrals for your business.
3. Build relationships that foster growth and support.
4. Learn business strategies to find and attract new customers.
5. Learn about other businesses in the community.

CLASS SIZE: 15-25 people (Industry Exclusive) 

AUDIENCE: The desired participants are executives of small, poised-for-growth companies that are potential job creators. These small business owners, controlling partners, financial and operations are decision makers for the company. (Owner/Operator/President/CEO/CFO/General Manager/Director/Administrator) 


  • Class will consist of no more than 25 and no less than 10 Chamber Investors in good standing from a variety of non-competing businesses. Membership into Chamber FIRST will be on a first come, first pay basis. Upon selection of 25 members for one group, additional groups will be created pending demand. 

  • The cost of a membership in the Lufkin/Angelina County Chamber of Commerce Chamber FIRST includes a fee of $350.00 which includes lunch for the year. These fees will be billed once a year and are non-refundable in the event of exiting Chamber FIRST or not obliging to the attendance policy.

  • Chamber FIRST will meet once per month from August to May, with each meeting lasting approximately one hour, and members will be expected to enthusiastically furnish valid business referrals or leads on a continuing basis to other members. An average of one referral per month will be considered the minimum requirement for participation in the program.

  • If a member has more than three unexcused absences for the year, the member will be removed from the Chamber FIRST program with no refund. Members are expected to pay their dues and be an investor in good standing.

In the event that an investor leaves their business, they may find someone from their prior employment to replace them without penalty.

Here is a breakdown of the schedule for Chamber FIRST for 2021-2022:  

August: Welcome & Program Introduction | Aug. 11, 2021
Each member gives a three-minute elevator speech about their business and who they are.

September: Market Research and Competitive Analysis - Sept. 15, 2021
Instructor: Eric Robinson, CFO, CHI St Luke’s Health Memorial
Market research helps you find customers for your business. Competitive analysis helps you make your business unique. Combine them to find a competitive advantage for your small business.

October: Know Your Budget - Oct. 20, 2021   
Instructor: Trey McWilliams, Owner, McWilliams and Son Heating & Air Conditioning
Accounting for revenue and expenses can help keep your business running smoothly. Make sure you maintain proper bookkeeping and have a basic knowledge of business finances.

November: Understanding Your Customer - Nov. 17, 2021
Instructor: Brant Lee, Director of Convention Services, City of Lufkin
Discover resources that will help you understand your customer and increase sales.                                                                           

December: Pricing Models for Successful Business - Dec.15, 2021
Instructor:  Jackie Polk, LeeTrans Services
Set prices, calculate costs, assess competitors and much more.

January: Marketing 101 - Jan. 19, 2022
Instructor: Crystal Williams, Founder, Lemon Seed Marketing
Define marketing and understand its vital role in the growth of your business. 

February: Sales - Feb. 16, 2022
Instructor: Chris Carraway, VP Branch Manager, Commercial Bank of Texas Review sales plans and other tools to get your product or service into your customer/consumer’s hands.

March: Staying Legally Compliant - March 16, 2022
Instructor: Jule Fenley, General Counsel, Brookshire Brothers
Staying compliant with state and federal business laws. Your legal responsibilities will depend on your business and location.

April: Employee Recruitment and Retention - April 20, 2022
Instructor: Julie Walker, Operations Manager, Chick-fil-A
Strategies to help you locate, recruit, and retain talented employees.
May: Customer Experience & Closing Reception - May 18, 2022
Instructor: Tara Watson-Watkins, CEO/President, Lufkin/Angelina County Chamber of Commerce
How do you capture customer attention, retain engagement and foster customer loyalty? When delivering a customer experience, how do you identify and fill the gaps in customer engagement? Use these resources to improve the purchasing experience for your customers. This session will guide you through what you need to do to design the customer experience process. 

To join Chamber FIRST, email Director of Leadership Programs, Jessica Hill at [email protected] or call 936-634-6644.