Chamber Connection

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The Odessa Chamber of Commerce is the business heartbeat of Odessa, promoting its members, hosting community events, serving as an informational hub for the business community and aiding in the development of area leaders. The Odessa Chamber of Commerce is a business organization that strives to make a positive economic impact for small businesses and the community. The Chamber focuses its efforts on providing support to its members through economic growth, promotion, networking opportunities and professional leadership development.

Promotion

The Chamber provides its members with increased visibility for local residents as well as visitors to the area. One way the Chamber attains this for its members is with the use of their recently redesigned website, www.odessachamber.com, which launched in August 2018. The primary goal during the redesign process was to create a more valuable, user-centric and responsive website across all platforms and devices. Specifically, the Chamber sought to create a seamless experience for its current and prospective members to learn and locate valuable information about the organization and the services it supplies. The Chamber’s new and improved website provides members with access to promote events on the community calendar, and help members fill open positions by offering a platform to share job postings directly onto the website.

The Chamber also works to create exposure for its members through the annual directory, which is placed throughout the business community, sent to large travel centers and hotels, and is mailed directly to all active members. The directory is also available on the Chamber website and sent to those requesting relocation information about the city.

Affordable advertising opportunities are also a membership perk. Last year, the Chamber launched a new advertising program called “chambertising.” It includes e-blast opportunities and mail-out inserts at a discounted rate for smaller businesses with a tight budget. E-blasts are sent to the Chamber’s membership base, subscription list, and members of the Young Professionals of Odessa, which reaches a little more than 2,000 individuals.

“We understand that not all businesses have a large marketing budget,” said Madison Tate, marketing and communications specialist at the Odessa Chamber of Commerce. “We wanted to create a program that could help our members gain more exposure without breaking the bank.”

Networking Opportunities

The Chamber offers top-notch networking opportunities for its members and the community with events, such as the ECISD New Teacher Welcome Breakfast, Chamber Challenge Golf Tournament, Business After Hours and the Basin BBQ Blowout.

The new teacher welcome breakfast is one of the Chamber’s newest events in its fifth year. This is a networking event at its finest, welcoming more than 300 new teachers to the area and allowing members to introduce them to their businesses.

“The Chamber is so appreciative of our educators,” said Reneé Earls, president/CEO of the Odessa Chamber of Commerce. “For those who are new to Ector County ISD, the least we can do is welcome them with open arms and show our Odessa hospitality. This breakfast allows our members to highlight and offer their much-needed services. It also gives the community an opportunity to show our deepest appreciation for the incredible job our teachers do with Odessa’s more than 32,000 students.”

Members set up booths throughout the venue in a business expo-type setting and provide information about services offered, and also hand out swag and door prizes graciously donated by businesses. The teachers enjoy breakfast, speakers from area leaders, and walk away from the event feeling truly valued and appreciated.

The Business After Hours is one of the Chamber’s most popular networking events, attracting an average of 100-125 guests per event. There are around eight of these events held each year. The after-hours events are hosted by various Chamber members through a paid sponsorship where the host is given the opportunity to welcome guests into their business, share information with the attendees about the business and give them an opportunity to network with one another.

Leadership and Professional Development Opportunities

Leadership Odessa and Jr. Leadership Odessa are two of the largest leadership and professional development opportunities the Chamber offers in addition to the Young Professionals of Odessa program.

The Leadership Odessa program is a nine-month program where up-and-coming leaders in the area learn about the city and what it has to offer. Not only is it a great development opportunity, but it is also a tremendous networking opportunity as well. Each year, approximately 50 people complete the program learning about Odessa and meeting new people. The program has been part of the Chamber for more than 40 years.

In addition, the community project for the Leadership Odessa program is the Jr. Leadership Odessa program. This program recruits on average 40 juniors from area high schools to participate in a program mimicking the Leadership Odessa program. This six-week course is developed by the Leadership Odessa program class, and juniors will also learn about different aspects of the city.

One of the largest and most accomplished programs of the Chamber is the Young Professionals of Odessa program. The development program began in 2012 seeking to create business opportunities, increase community involvement, provide leadership education and promote an overall investment in Odessa’s future for adults age 21 to 40. In 2016, the group exceeded 150 members with its membership base steadily growing each year since. The young professionals operate very similar to the Chamber in that its main goals and objectives include supporting community, networking, leadership and professional development and networking opportunities. Just like the Chamber, the young professionals group has seen tremendous success. n

chamber staff

Reneé Earls
President/CEO
432-333-7855
renee@odessachamber.com

Lynn Van Amburgh
Director of Operations
432-333-7862
lynnva@odessachamber.com

Valarie Leonard
Controller
432-333-7860
valariel@odessachamber.com

Madison Tate
Marketing & Communications Specialist
432-333-7863
madisont@odessachamber.com

Paula Davis
CEO Executive Assistant
432-333-7856
paulad@odessachamber.com

Carla Hartwig
Operations Administrative Assistant
432-333-7854
carlah@odessachamber.com

Yvonne Hernandez
Operations Administrative Assistant
432-333-7861
yvonneh@odessachamber.com

Pamela Andrews
Receptionist
432-332-9111
reception@odessachamber.com

Sherry Arroyo
Receptionist
432-332-9111
reception@odessachamber.com

Economic Development

Wesley R. Burnett
Director of Economic Development
432-333-7880
wburnett@odessaecodev.com

Tracy Jones
Economic Development Specialist
432-333-7886
tracyj@odessaecodev.com

Teresa Vasquez
Administrative Assistant
432-333-7881
teresav@odessaecodev.com

Kathi Vaughn
Research Specialist
432-333-7883
kathiv@odessaecodev.com

Convention & Visitors Bureau

Monica Tschauner
Director of Conventions & Visitors Bureau
432-333-7870
monicat@odessacvb.com

Melissa Aguirre
Sports Sales Specialist
432-333-7870
melissaa@odessacvb.com

Carmen Bejarano
Administrative Coordinator
432-333-7871
carmenb@odessacvb.com

Amanda Johnson
Sales Specialist
432-333-7872
amandaj@odessacvb.com

Dawn Stringer
Marketing Specialist
432-333-7874
dawns@odessacvb.com