By Lori Lee
NDG Contributing Writer
The Collin County Black Chamber of Commerce (CCBCC) recently named Dewayne Gibson as its new President. Central to the organization, Gibson was on the Board of Directors prior to accepting the position. Gibson took on his new post on January 1, replacing Interim President Debra Austin, who chose not to renew.
Board Chair, Valerie Warrior, who nominated Gibson, described him as very forward thinking and connected in the community, and he has been with the Chamber since its very beginnings. “I know he is very passionate, and he is committed to seeing the Chamber grow and be successful.”
Similarly, Vice President Liz White described him as “a highly dedicated leader who is hyper focused on growth, expansion and the bottom line, which makes him the right for this time to advance the needs of Collin County business owners.”
The previous administration did a phenomenal job in getting us to this point, said Gibson. “The senior leadership that we have in place right now has basically carried the chamber on their backs,” he said. “I appreciate them deeply, but I can’t expect them to carry the chamber on their backs forever. I see this as an opportunity to step up and carry on.”
As CCBCC leadership continues to fill current vacancies, Gibson said he is wearing several hats — helping with communications, social media and marketing, and doing the necessary legwork to ensure CCBCC programs are well presented.
Gibson brings experience in finance from Bank of America and in marketing as Assistant V.P. of Sales and Media for North Dallas Gazette, a Black-owned newspaper.
Born in Odessa, Gibson was educated in Waco, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science from Baylor University. He has been in Texas all his life—in Dallas/Fort Worth since 1999 and in Collin County since 2006.
Gibson comes from a long line of educators and general laborers. There were many educators on his mother’s side and general laborers on his father’s side, including his grandfather, who was a bellman at a fine Midland hotel. “I come from a family that gets up every day and makes something of their lives, and that’s where I get my work ethic,” Gibson remarked.
Last year, when asked to join the CCBCC Board of Directors, Gibson answered the call, and since then, a lot of good has happened. Inspired to support small businesses, entrepreneurs and Black-owned businesses, Gibson said he feels compelled to carry on the organization’s rich business traditions.
Though, at times, this has meant making the most of limited resources, the Chamber is now in a position of adequate resources, and Gibson wants to build on that.
We have a strong team now that works well together, said Gibson, and if we continue to be consistent, we’ll grow the chamber. With a passion for learning and growing, Gibson hopes to double Chamber membership and bring in new leaders in the next two years.
“Starting a business is a good thing, said Gibson. “You can put yourself in a position of earning money your way and increasing your earning potential — possibly with unlimited potential.”
Not everyone can be an entrepreneur, but everyone can definitely be a professional, he teaches, and in any atmosphere, there is an opportunity to help build the community with your skillsets.
There is a huge opportunity to get the message out, said Gibson. “While there are a lot of people that know about us, there are a lot that do not.”
There will be a lot of work to do to get their message out. Gibson is seeking more media outlets and hopes to create compelling content to carry their message of opportunity to small businesses. Based on his research, unlike many businesses, most chambers do not leverage using YouTube. Gibson hopes to increase the volume of video the organization develops, while using all its platforms to push out their message.
“Put the right people in the right places, and I believe we can create a compelling suite of services offered to our target market, which is Collin County,” said Gibson. This Chamber is unique in that it targets the entire county, unlike most, which serve specific cities. The great number of African Americans and Black businesses in Collin County offers a huge opportunity to bring resources and ideas together, while providing great mentorship and leadership.
Given its strong partnerships, like IKEA, NTTA, Toyota, and several financial institutions, CCBCC also does a good job of bringing together opportunities to win contracts, to do business with municipalities, to secure financing, and to gain procurement opportunities.
Still, Gibson wants to bring in more sponsors, while making a stronger push to reach nonprofits. “There is a lot of synergy between businesses and nonprofits,” said Gibson. The Chamber wants to foster more such relationships. Relationships drive enterprise and business, he explained. Relationships drive donations and put you in position to close deals.
As a small business or business professional, it’s great if you can grow your business and have success, explained Gibson, but it’s also important to have a way to give back and a way to pay it forward. It’s good for business. It’s good for your soul, and it’s good for the community.
“Black people in America have a very rich and long history of being entrepreneurs and starting their own businesses, and when like-minded businesses come together to collaborate and learn from each other, collectively, we are better able to move forward as a progressive community.”
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