The Texas City-La Marque Chamber of Commerce has a Diversity & Inclusion Initiative on its priority list of goals for 2021. The committee has been working over the past few months to develop programs and outreach efforts that promote the benefits of chamber membership throughout the community with intentional inclusion of minority-owned businesses. The “Level Up” workshop series is the first result of this initiative.

Offered by the chamber and the Galveston County Small Business Development Center, the series is designed to empower and equip local small business owners with tools to make their business “dreams” come true.

Four workshops are being held from now through early December, designed for chamber members and business people from start-ups to experienced managers. Topics to help all stages of business development will be covered. Some content is specifically geared to minority- and women -owned businesses, such as an “Introduction to H.U.B. certification.”

The committee is comprised of 2021 Chamber Board Chair Georgia Meyer Barzilay of Karat Creations Jewelry; Chamber Board Liaison April Jones of Queen’s Attic Boutique and Salon; Director Amy Reid with Galveston County Small Business Development Center; La Marque Mayor Keith Bell; La Marque City Councilwoman Kimberley Yancy; Texas City Mayor Dedrick Johnson; Texas City Commissioner Thelma Bowie; business owners Sharmell Huffman with Reality of Wrestling and Sissy Collins with Urban Gypsies; Mandalyn Salazar with Queen of Peace Catholic Church; and myself.

Bowie encourages local businesses to take advantage of this new series, quoting Van Gogh: “Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.”

Reid explains, “This new workshop series isn’t just about providing entrepreneurs the tools they need to be successful. The goal is to empower, encourage and guide them through the journey.”

Mayor Johnson said, “The chamber and the development center are literally showing you how to ‘TCYB’ ... take care of your business. What a great gift to take advantage of. When you grow your grind and perfect your passion with legitimate business practices, the entire community benefits.”

Huffman said, “Thanks to the chamber for hosting these workshops. Having access to pertinent and up to date information is a key component for any business to level up.”

Jones explained why businesses need to make time to attend the workshops and hear this valuable information, “You have a choice to make when you’re trying to scale your business. Success or more success. These workshops will help you be accountable for your business growth and sustainability.”

Workshop details can be viewed at Those interested can call the chamber at 409-935-1408 or email

It’s the mission of the chamber and the goal of the committee to provide relevant, innovative and impactful programming that produces a health business climate and enhanced quality of life.

Page Michel is president and CEO of the Texas City-La Marque Chamber of Commerce.


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