This month, we’re shining the spotlight on the Conroe/Lake Conroe Chamber of Commerce, a nonprofit organization based in Conroe. We spoke with Brian Bondy, chamber president, to learn more about what they do.
What do you want the community to know about your organization?
The Conroe/Lake Conroe Chamber of Commerce is an 84-year-old organization made up of businesses from all over the Conroe/Lake Conroe area. We have members from as far down as the Houston area, as far north as Dallas, and everywhere in between.
We advocate for our members. We provide marketing opportunities for our members, as well as networking opportunities and advertising opportunities.
What makes you proudest of your organization?
We are a 3 Star Accredited chamber of commerce by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. That means our entire organization has been looked at upside down and inside out, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce views us as one of the top chambers of commerce organizations in the United States.
Less than 5 percent of chambers of commerce in the U.S. are accredited with either three, four, or five stars, and Conroe has three.
The other thing I’m proud of is that we’ve built our membership up to just under 1,100 members, and we continue to grow.
What’s something that might surprise people about your organization?
The chamber is not a governmental entity. So many people think a chamber of commerce is part of city government. We are actually a 501(c)(6) nonprofit organization that is managed by a professional, paid staff, and the direction and policy is set by a volunteer board of directors.
Does the chamber partner with other community organizations?
We have a lot of opportunities where we do things together. For example, we have a partnership with the Education for Tomorrow Alliance. We put on a program for high school seniors called Next Generation Leadership.
Three years ago we started with 16 students, and this year we’ll have 40 students from all over Montgomery County.
Please tell us about your role with the chamber.
My job is to implement the policy decisions of the board. That includes our annual program of work. That is everything from membership growth, program development, special events, advertising and marketing programs, and any other programs and seminars that may be necessary to help our members’ businesses grow.
I’m kind of the orchestra leader, making sure that each of these areas is being addressed and that we are operating and functioning smoothly so that we’re not only successful in our endeavors but also successful as a business.
What are some of the things you do when you’re not wearing your “President of the Chamber of Commerce” hat?
My wife and I, who are avid wine tasters, spent a full year writing a wine blog where we tasted and wrote about a different bottle of wine every day for a year. From that endeavor we learned that not all good wine is expensive, and not all bad wine is cheap. It was a great learning experience.
The blog was called bjwine365. We had just gotten done watching the move, Julie and Julia, and we said, “We should write a blog about something.”
My wife said, “Well, what would we write about?” I said, “We enjoy wine.”
So on September 1, 2012, we started writing, and on August 31, 2013, we finished writing.
What it also became was a catalog of our daily lives throughout the year. There may have been things going on, and we dovetailed those into the wine experience.
Montgomery Self Storage is a member of the chamber. What kind of impression has this business made on you?
You know what I like about them? They have multiple locations in the area, and each one of them is professionally managed. They take good care of the property.
Let’s face it, there are so many storage options out there. To be able to find one that’s as well run as Montgomery Self Storage makes a big difference.
Conroe/Lake Conroe Chamber of Commerce
505 W. Davis
Conroe, TX 77301