Editor’s note 11/1/2013: The Southlake Journal recently published an article on Mr. Guilbert and Southlake Chamber of Commerce. The link to that story can be found here.
Mark Guilbert is no stranger to Southlake, its Chamber of Commerce and business community. Having served on the Southlake Chamber of Commerce board of directors for more than six years and as chairman from July 1, 2011 through June 30, 2012, he is a familiar face and respected leader. Following the departure of former Chamber President Dana Davis in March, Guilbert has been running the day-to-day operations as interim president and assumed the role on a permanent basis in August.
During the past few months, Guilbert has been busy preparing a new budget, welcoming new board members, and gearing up for the Chamber’s largest fundraiser, Oktoberfest. But he’s just getting started. Guilbert discusses the Chamber’s plans to provide more value to members, assist with Southlake’s economic development initiatives, and gives a sneak peek of what’s to come in 2014.
Q: What is your background and how will this help the Chamber?
MG: I have a BBA in marketing and my background is building a small business into a mid-size company. I have 30 years experience as a small business entrepreneur, including 25 years as the owner/operator of a Chick-fil-A franchise; the last 10 years being in Southlake. As an entrepreneur versus an administrator, I bring a different approach and skill set to the job ̶ I understand the challenges that many of our members face and how to overcome them.
Q: What are your top 3 priorities for the Chamber?
Q: What are some ideas/plans you have to help small businesses in Southlake?
MG: I want to provide “off the shelf” resources to help business owners with marketing, finance, leadership and other important topics. The Chamber should be the go-to place for programs and templates to help members grow their business. My goal is for members to leave our events and seminars with practical knowledge and tangible ideas they can put into place.
To do this, the Chamber is partnering with the University of North Texas to provide high quality training opportunities. We are working together to create a preeminent training program with university level faculty/trainers with a comprehensive curriculum specifically tailored to meet the needs of small businesses in Southlake.
Q: What can we expect from the Chamber in the future?
MG: We are in the process of developing new membership levels that will bundle programs and marketing opportunities. The goal is to provide benefits and services to facilitate small business success and help members get connected in the community. One of the most important items on the Chamber’s to-do list is to redesign its website, which is already underway in conjunction with i5 web works and we hope to launch the new site in early 2014.
We made the decision to cancel Leadership Southlake this year and are already working to re-introduce the program Fall 2014. We want every module to be a home run and we didn’t think we could offer that this year.
Q: What do you like to do when not working?
MG: As a single dad, much of my time off is spent raising my three children. When time permits, I enjoy physical challenges, high adventure, and connecting with nature. I like working out, hiking, participating in mud runs and triathlons, sky diving, scuba diving and water skiing. I have been raising tropical fish since 4th grade.
For additional information about the Southlake Chamber of Commerce, contact Mark at 817-481-8200 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.