MISSION—The Greater Mission Chamber of Commerce is working in a different direction on a new vision, according to President and CEO George Myers, adding that the chamber has new programs it’s getting ready to roll out to the community.
“When I first came on board, the chamber had some issues,” Myers said. “It had gotten certainly much, much better with my predecessor Matt Ruszczak. He came in and did some real dramatic changes here.”
With new staff additions and responsibility changes, Myers said he believes his current team is one of the best formed by the chamber.
Member Relations Manager
New employee Crystal De Los Reyes will greet and assist visitors when entering the chamber. De Los Reyes is the first face seen, and she is incredibly excited to be on board with the new team.
“I’m going to be assisting everybody with whatever they need,” De Los Reyes said. “I’m also going to be the photographer for the chamber.”
This is the first week with the chamber for De Los Reyes but she added she is picking things up quickly. She said she is looking forward to jumping in and working on the multiple events the chamber already has lined up.
Lupita Herrera has worked for the chamber since September 2013, and she’s getting a new title, which allows her to participate in business events. Herrera will be coordinating the preparation of events and assisting with the Go Mission Card project.
“I’m going to be more concentrated in assisting the rest of the crew and making sure the building is running properly,” Herrera said. “I have a very close relationship with the community as far as how the Go Mission program works.”
Herrera conducts presentations on how the Go Mission Card works, she adds her current goal is to work with community on any questions they have about the card.
Director of Membership Operations
Laura Vela, director of membership operations, plugs in each new member’s data electronically. She is the administrator for consolidating and the information and making sure entry on the computer is swift and correct.
“I will also help operate with ribbon cuttings, grand opening and ground breakings,” Vela said. “I get to organize events and talk to members, making sure they have everything they need.”
Vela started as an intern for the chamber in 2013 and after graduating from the University of Texas-Pan American she was hired full-time at the chamber. She said networking would also play a big role in her new position.
Director of Membership and Business Development
Alejandra Alvarez grew up in the Sharyland area and is one of the newest members of the staff. She plans on creating new relationships with potential members and would like to present how much the chamber has to offer to the community.
“We will be having a huge amount of seminars and workshops members can attend,” Alvarez said. “There will also be a lot of mixers where members can network and get to associate themselves with other businesses to help grow theirs with Go Mission.”
Alvarez said business growth in Mission goes hand-in-hand with the restructure of chamber staff. The changes made will benefit new businesses planning to come to the area.
“The Go Mission card is free and you have free access to getting discounts at stores you go to, why not use it?” Alvarez said.
VP of Tourism and Events
Paola Lopez, Vice-President of Tourism and Events, has been with the chamber since February 2013. She handles media relations and now has the responsibility of promoting the chamber.
“I love being the face of the chamber,” Lopez said. “I promote the city of Mission outside of the state as well, like on trade shows. I get to let people know what we have to offer.”
Lopez said one project on the horizon is the polishing up of the Discover Mission campaign. She added it is her first project under her new title, she hopes the changes will catch the eye of community members.
Discover Mission will also be marketed as Descubre Mission, and Lopez said a billboard is displayed when traveling via Anzalduas Bridge with the campaign in Spanish.
“Since we are so close to the border, I think it is important to have all of our information bilingual,” Lopez said. “We are doing promotions in Mexico as well for the Go Mission card and I’ve been getting emails from people in Mexico City asking about what the card is.”
Myers explained that while the chamber is updating their tourism website. Once completed, the finished product would include an English and Spanish version to accommodate the community as well as Winter Texas and visitors from south of the border.
VP of Finance and Personnel
Melly Palacios said the chamber acts as one big operation, and in no way is this group a one-man show. She added her responsibilities as vice president in finance and personnel are to make sure everything flows through systematically.
“I’m just at the end of this powerful circle,” Palacios said. “It’s a big puzzle, I’m the one at the end of the chain putting it all together. I also work closely with George (Myers) because he is the visionary.”
Palacios makes sure, financially, that everything is tracked properly and adds up at the end of each month.
The vice president has been with the chamber for nearly two years and added there is a new energy in the building. She added there is a new tone to the staff and it makes the bunch a valuable source.
“Now, we are a valuable source to our members. We are the connection to promote the city of Mission,” Palacios said. “We are giving these businesses the opportunities to connect and network.”
For more information on chamber events, the Go Mission card or membership call 585-2727.