Through the Chamber's Lens: A Look Back at 2015

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At the Garland Chamber of Commerce, we believe that the key to a successful, sustainable business environment lies in dedication to continuous improvement and commitment to making valuable connections. In 2015, our organization set out to accomplish a set of highly ambitious goals in areas that we believe will help the economy grow and will help your business remain successful.

As we prepare to premiere our 2015 Annual Report video at the Chamber’s annual meeting, the Emerald Tie Banquet, we’re filled with pride at the range of achievements our membership and leadership have supported in the past year. Before we unveil the official video at tomorrow evening’s event, we wanted to take a moment to share a few of our proudest milestones with you.

As an organization, the Chamber took great strides toward fulfilling its mission of being a catalyst for positive change in the greater Garland community. 2015 was the first year of the Chamber’s five-year strategic plan, and we’re proud to tell you that every objective we set out to achieve in year one was successfully accomplished.

In 2015, we welcomed more than 60 businesses as new members and celebrated grand openings, anniversaries and ribbon cuttings with 28 businesses. Our ever-expanding networking event, Direct Connect, brought more than 300 individual professionals into contact with each other through the year. Events like this one have proven to be a launch pad that not only helps our local businesses to expand their network, but to eventually grow their client base as well.

Register for the Upcoming Direct Connect Event

As part of the Garland Economic Development Partnership, in 2015 the Chamber officially took primary responsibility for Small Business and Business Retention in Garland. We developed new initiatives around workforce development and laid the foundation for strategies that will strengthen our network of small business resources in the coming years. Because we recognize that our organization represents a highly diverse group of businesses, we made a dedicated effort to segment content and provide Garland businesses with resources that are highly relevant to their needs.

Thanks to the support of Garland ISD and its CTE department, we were able to partner with the district to create our first Job Match and Job Shadow Day programs. Students from three Garland ISD high schools were given a unique opportunity to step inside the walls of a real-world workplace and explore what may lie ahead in their future careers.

Learn More about the Job Shadow Program

For several years now, the Chamber has been honored to be part of Google’s “Let’s Put Our Cities on the Map” initiative. The City of Garland and Mayor Douglas Athas gained Garland the recognition that allowed us to be a pilot city for the initiative, which allowed us to give our local businesses a jump-start in extending the reach of their online presence by getting online. In 2015 we hosted how-to workshops and unveiled new Google tools that make increasing a business’s online visibility more intuitive and user friendly. Businesses from all around the city participated in the initiative, and one earned a spot on the official Google blog! Google representatives even came to Garland to film some of our own staff and small business owners for the initiative’s national launch video in March.

Learn More about Garland’s Involvement in “Let’s Put Our Cities on the Map”

From economic growth and personnel changes to terrorist attacks and natural disasters, the entire Garland community has been impacted by the year’s events in many ways; but the way our leaders, citizens and volunteers stepped up to support each other made an impressive name for our city on a national stage. Our organization was honored to be involved in many aspects of city-wide issues, including assisting with long-term disaster recovery efforts and playing a supporting role in major changes with our community partners. We watched and supported the passing of the torch from Bill Dollar to new City Manager Bryan Bradford and we joined the community in excitement and anticipation of Garland ISD bond projects, as well as redevelopment efforts downtown and within defined economic development catalyst areas.

Attendance averages increased at our monthly events, and our online engagement more than doubled over the previous year. We’ve employed various targeted engagement strategies that include seeking out high-quality, high-energy keynote speakers, creating new opportunities for sponsorship promotion and sharing more purposeful content that ensures the Chamber remains the trusted source of timely, relevant information for your business.
We had some changes in our staff last year too, as Alexander Helgar joined the team in our Membership Development role. We even hired a student intern, Timothy Zaman, as part of our effort to increase awareness about the level of talent produced in Garland ISD schools.

Get Connected to the Chamber Staff

Thanks to a clear mission, a dedicated staff and the support of our members and partners, we’re proud to say that 2015 was an immensely successful year for the Garland Chamber. Thank you for your continued connection to the Garland Chamber. We hope to see you tomorrow evening at the Emerald Tie Banquet and we look forward to working with you and your business in the year ahead.

Register for the Emerald Tie Banquet

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