We had the good fortune of connecting with Tammi Wallace and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Tammi, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I co-founded the Greater Houston LGBT Chamber of Commerce because I saw a gap in terms of LGBTQ+ business owners having a voice locally and regionally. In terms of economic development, the LGBTQ+ business community is a part of the economic fabric of Houston and the region, however, there was no organization bringing these businesses together. The LGBTQ+ business community now has a “seat at the table” which means not only representation but advocacy for the issues that these business owners care about.

With the Chamber, the goal was to create a strong and thriving network of LGBTQ+ and Allied businesses. As we start the Chamber’s sixth year, the organization is growing and has done so every year since it launched even during the pandemic. From the membership base, including many Corporate Partners, to the Chamber’s strategic and collaboration partners, there is so much growth and opportunity. It’s a great time to be part of the Chamber!

Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
The Greater Houston LGBT Chamber of Commerce is the leading voice for the Greater Houston LGBTQ+ and Allied Business Community. The Chamber accelerates economic opportunity for the LGBTQ+ business community through a strong network of business allies, innovative programs, strategic partnerships and advance policies that foster economic inclusion and equality. The organization is the only LGBTQ+ focused organization at the intersection of business and community.

The overarching work of the Greater Houston LGBT Chamber is focused on economic empowerment for LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs. The Chamber’s work focuses on supporting and growing a thriving LGBTQ+ and Allied Business Community to create economic opportunities for the LGBTQ+ community.

The Chamber celebrated it’s milestone five-year anniversary in 2021. It’s been a wild ride since we launched in 2016! We have experienced major events such as Hurricane Harvey, a pandemic and the devastating winter storm. Not to mention losing water all over the City on the date of our 4-year anniversary celebration! Through it all, we’ve stayed the course, maintained our commitment to the Chamber’s mission, grown year after year and created connection and an incredible Chamber community. The work we are doing is critically important for our members and the LGBTQ+ community as a whole.

When I co-founded the Chamber in 2016, I saw a gap for the LGBTQ+ business community and all these years later I wake up energized about economic inclusion for the LGBTQ+ community! It’s become my passion because we must ensure our community has access to economic opportunity and the tools and resources to succeed especially considering years of systemic discrimination and marginalization. However, it’s definitely been a challenge over the past five plus years, not only for all the reasons mentioned previously but the process of taking the organization from a volunteer run startup to where we are today.

For LGBTQ+ business owners, there can be a second coming out process that has its challenges because the business is tied to their livelihood and, in many cases, how they identify their self worth. The Chamber is working everyday to help these LGBTQ+ (and Allied) businesses connect and be successful. We want every LGBTQ+-owned business in Houston and the region to know they have a place for support, resources and connection at the Chamber. Plus, we want larger companies in the region to not only partner with the Chamber on this important work but give their LGBTQ+ and Allied employees a great way to engage with the LGBTQ+ community.

We started this work to make sure LGBTQ+ business owners had a voice and we have become the leading voice for the LGBTQ+ business community but there is so much work to do in the years ahead. I often say…we are just getting started!

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
HTown has SO much to offer visitors! How can you possibly narrow it down?!?!? The museums are a must and one of the coolest spots is the National Museum of Funeral History. It’s such a gem and collection of amazing artifacts. People that visit the museum are in awe when they leave…in part because it’s not what they expected and also because of the sheer size of the exhibits. Another great gem is the 1940 Air Terminal Museum where you can step right out on the tarmac and see planes at Hobby taking off and landing.

You gotta love a great brunch at Harold’s in the Heights. A perfect day is brunch on the the terrace with fabulous mimosas. Of course, Landry’s on the boardwalk in Kemah makes for another great outing. And then grab a drink at BUDDY’S and maybe even catch a drag show!

Speaking of a show…another can’t miss is a show at The Alley Theatre. A must is a visit to the beautiful Houston Botanic Garden. And you can’t forget grabbing a fabulous dessert at the Desert Gallery Bakery & Cafe. Somewhere in between, we would definitely pick up some homemade dumplings from my favorite dumpling guys, DumplingDudez.

And…what do all of the above have in common? They are members of the Greater Houston LGBT Chamber of Commerce!

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My wife, Mercedes, is definitely my rock. Because of her support, I’ve been able to be involved in some pretty amazing work over the past ten years including co-founding the Greater Houston LGBT Chamber of Commerce. She is a remarkable and accomplished person in her own right. I’m so grateful that our paths crossed 15 years ago!

Website: https://www.houstonlgbtchamber.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/houstonlgbtchamber/

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/company/greaterhoustonlgbtchamber/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/HoustonLGBTCoC

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HoustonLGBTChamber

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwLi_DaqgFv9q5thQHd33Mg

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