We are a leading economic voice in the greater Houston region. We achieve economic parity resulting in unprecedented economic opportunities for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender and allied business community.
We accelerate economic growth for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender business community using an entrepreneurial approach through a strong network of business allies, innovative programs, strategic partnerships and advance policies that foster inclusion and equality.
Strategic Focus Areas
• Business Development & Growth
• Education & Networking
• Collaboration & Partnerships
• Leadership Development
The overarching work of the Greater Houston LGBT Chamber is focused on economic empowerment for LGBTQ business owners. Our work focuses on supporting and growing a thriving LGBTQ and Allied Business Community to create economic opportunities for the LGBTQ community.
What is economic empowerment? Economic empowerment means when an individual or community has an equality of opportunity to participate in, contribute to, and benefit from such opportunities. The Chamber promotes economic empowerment and equity for LGBTQ business owners and entrepreneurs.
We are proud to have many of our members that are strong LGBTQ Allies. We welcome Allies as a vital part of the Chamber. Our Allies have played and continue to play a role in supporting the LGBTQ Community.
The Chamber's History
In December 2015, two members of the Houston LGBT business community, Tammi Wallace and Gary Wood, began discussions with the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) about launching an affiliate chamber in Houston. On February 24, 2016, the Greater Houston Chamber of Commerce officially launched. The launch event was held in conjunction with a “LGBT Business Builders” event sponsored by the Small Business Administration (SBA) and the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. Other collaborating partners for the event were Affinity Magazine, Houston Community College and OutSmart Magazine.
As Chamber Co-Founders, Tammi and Gary were instrumental in creating the vision for the new Chamber and recruiting key Steering Committee members to support the ramp up of operations. The Steering Committee played an integral role in operationalizing the Chamber.
The original members of the 2016 Chamber Steering Committee were Roy Alvarez, Jr., Jon Marrs, Jonathan Netek, Tammi Wallace (Steering Committee Co-Chair) and Gary Wood (Steering Committee Co-Chair). Each of these individuals believed strongly that the Chamber could have a remarkable impact for the LGBT business community and its allies. They each dedicated considerable investment of time and energy in the organization’s inaugural year, thus laying a strong foundation for the Chamber. Today, these individuals are recognized as part of the Chamber's Founding Leadership Council (FLC).
The Chamber Steering Committee collaborated with the North Texas LGBT Chamber of Commerce in order to launch the organization as quickly as possible. Through the tremendous support of Tony Vedda, CEO of the North Texas Chamber, the Houston Chamber was up and running within a very short period of time. The Houston Chamber owes a debt of gratitude to Tony and the North Texas Chamber Board for their leadership, support and friendship. As a result of the strong relationship developed during the initial launch year, the Houston Chamber continues to collaborate with North Texas as well as our sister chambers across the state on various initiatives including statewide advocacy/policy initiatives and sharing of best practices.
The Chamber has grown tremendously and continues to thrive. The organization provides major programming, member resources and other opportunities. It’s an exciting time to be part of the new Greater Houston LGBT Chamber. Join the Chamber and help us continue to make history!
The Greater Houston LGBT Chamber launched in February 2016 under the leadership of the Chamber Steering Committee. We appreciate the leadership and tireless dedication of each member of the Steering Committee and the support for the vision, mission and work to lay a strong foundation for the Chamber.
In recognition of the tremendous contributions from this group, each person is recognized as part of the Chamber's Founding Leadership Council (FLC). The FLC serves as a source of expertise and institutional knowledge that is crucial to the long-term success of the Chamber. Many members on the FLC continue to serve in various capacities within the Chamber.
Founding Leadership Council
Tammi C. Wallace
Tammi is the Founder & Principal Consultant for EnFocus Strategies, which supports clients through high-quality training and consulting services focused on public affairs and LGBTQ diversity & inclusion. She currently serves as the Chair of the Chamber. In addition, she is involved in other organizations including on the board of the Mayor's LGBTQ Advisory Board, Hollyfield Foundation, Montrose Management District and Victory Fund Campaign Board. In 2017, she was recognized as OutSmart Magazine’s Gayest & Greatest Reader's Choice Awards for Female Business Person. Tammi was named Female Grand Marshal of the Houston Pride Parade in 2011 in recognition of her leadership and activism in the LGBTQ community.
Gary W. Wood
Gary is the Founder & President of Integrus Solutions, a consulting firm that specializes in Business Analytics, Accounting & Finance, Information Technology, Engineering & Energy Services, and Mortgage Servicing Solutions. He served as the inaugural Chair of the Board and is now Chair Emeritus. In addition, Gary is on the board of the Montrose Center and is president of Outreach United, a nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing a more positive awareness and understanding to the Houston GLBT community. In 2010, Gary was named Male Grand Marshal of the Houston Pride Parade, in recognition of his volunteerism, fundraising, and activism.
Roy Alvarez, Jr.
Roy recently retired from HEB grocery retail company following 38 years in, managing IT desktop & administration support team, and is a lifetime HEB Corporate Diversity & Inclusion Ambassador. Currently he serves as president of Alvarez Business Solutions along with major interests in a home and business security firm and a business that manages operations for men’s health clinics. Roy is an active program facilitator for World Youth Foundation, volunteers on Montrose Center committees, HRC, and HEB’s Houston Seniors Retirement Club.
Samuel M. Jacobson
Sam is a self-employed project and operations manager. He has over 30 years’ experience in operations, training, budgets and project implementation in various restaurants, institutional and corporate settings. He has an emphasis in social responsibility and diversity and inclusion components of an organization. Outside of his work, he shares his knowledge of diversity with a variety of organizations advancing education and arts, as well as those in the LGBT and Jewish communities.
Jonathan Marrs arrived in Houston in June 2013 to launch the U.S. division of a global energy consulting firm responsible for the United States and Mexico. He then went onto start the first U.S. registered apprenticeship programs in IT and Cybersecurity in the states of Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. Jonathan is part of the Founding Leadership Council of the Greater Houston LGBT Chamber of Commerce. He was pivotal in the formation and launch of the Chamber in 2016. Jonathan also sits on the board for the British-American Business Council (BABC). Passionate about both the UK and the US, he works for the UK’s Department for International Trade in Houston as Head of Trade & Investment.
A.J. is director of marketing and digital communications for the Greater Houston Partnership. There he oversees external communications, content and creative services for the region's largest economic development organization and chamber of commerce. He previously served as director of public relations for Visit Houston and prior to that was an award-winning journalist for newspapers and magazines in Texas and Louisiana.
Jonathan is a designer and creative strategist with over 10 years in the advertising, marketing and communications industries. He has worked within large corporate environments (Edelman PR in NYC) as well as small to medium local businesses and startups. With ample experience in branding/identity, print and web design, he strives to keep the end user in mind in every design solution. He has also worked within the community on many of the events put on by Outreach United.
Tiffany is the Founder and President of REFUGE Marketing & Consulting, an LGBTBE® certified firm. A Houston native, Tiffany is passionate about her local community and most importantly local businesses. REFUGE was created to serve as a strategic marketing resource for businesses. They help businesses grow through all aspects of digital marketing including Branding, Website Design and Development, Content Creation, Online Advertising, Email Marketing, and Search Engine Optimization (SEO), as well as marketing consulting, coaching and training services. Tiffany has 25 years of marketing experience with almost 20 of them focusing on Digital Media and Marketing. In the past, she served on HRC's National Board of Governors and in several positions on the Houston Steering Committee, including three years as Gala Tri-Chair. Tiffany was the winner of the Chamber's 2018 Roy Alvarez Jr. Volunteer of the Year Award.