Amber Watkins serves as the Director of Operations and Special Events for the Coppell Chamber of Commerce where she spends her time producing events and getting to know members of the community. She is passionate about bringing people together for a purpose, and when she’s not working, Watkins can be found performing as the lead singer for her band called Penny and the Flamethrowers.
Tell me a little bit about yourself.
I am a Dallas native, born and raised, but went through school in Mesquite ISD. I am mother to one 17-year-old son, Anthony and two stepchildren, Dalton, and Kendra. My husband, Daren, and I have been married for almost eight years.
What do you do in your role as the Director of Operations & Special Events for the Coppell Chamber of Commerce?
On the operations side it is primarily back-end organizational duties with some light bookkeeping. Additionally, part of my responsibility is to be a back-up for Ellie, our CEO. Should she ever need to be out of the office and not able to attend an important meeting or event, I need to be able to attend in her place. For Special Events, I coordinate and oversee all the special events for the Coppell Chamber. Events such as the bowling tournament and Taste of Coppell as well as our luncheon series are all intended to support our membership, the business community, and the citizens of Coppell. Many of these events are volunteer committee led. These committees are made up of representatives of businesses who are members of the Coppell Chamber of Commerce, all of whom contribute outstanding talent to the events they serve.
What is your favorite part about your job?
Definitely producing events. It’s something I have loved to do for many years, so getting to be a part of this in Coppell is very exciting for me.
Where is your favorite place to spend time in Coppell?
That is hard to say right now since I am so new to the area. I love getting a cup of coffee at George, brunch at Hemingway Brunch, and seeing art or a performance at the Coppell Arts Center. Everyone I have met has been warm and friendly which makes getting to know the people and businesses fun.
How did you find yourself working for the Chamber?
In 2006, I had just been laid off from a digital marketing job due to the impending “tech-wreck” so was seeking a new opportunity. A friend of our family who was serving on the board of directors of the Mesquite Chamber of Commerce said they were looking for a new membership and events person, told me about the job and the culture – that’s where it all began. I got to work in my home community, serving the business community and playing a part in the greater good for my hometown. I shaped the remainder of my education around this, changing my major to business, finishing my bachelor’s degree at Concordia University. At the same time, I completed a four-year certification with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for non-profit management, specifically focused on Chambers of Commerce. Fast forward a few years with some twists and turns in my career path, my husband and I had been discussing moving to this area when a job posting came through for the Coppell Chamber of Commerce. Not only was it a great match with my experience, but I was immediately impressed with Laila and Ellie and all that they have done with this organization.
How did you know this career was something you wanted to pursue?
It serves me just as much as I serve it! Mentally, I get to nerd out in the back-office side of things. Artistically, I get to create things and be resourceful. Socially, I get to work with a lot of great people and see community coming together. All these things to help local commerce and community. That means a lot to me.
What are you passionate about?
Bringing people together for purpose. Whether that purpose is to have fun and smile, to learn and grow, to be informed or any number of other great purposes. When people take time out of their day to attend and find value in something I’m producing I know I’m on the right track.
Who or what inspires you?
My husband, Daren. He is intelligent, creative, and resourceful. He also produces events but for the City of Lewisville. When we originally became friends, we worked together in various community events and have continued to be involved in each other’s work even though our jobs aren’t in the same city anymore. I love learning from his experiences and have enjoyed watching his career as well.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I hope you aren’t tired of reading about my husband yet because, there’s more. We have a band called Penny and the Flamethrowers where I am the lead singer, and he is the lead guitar player. He manages the band while I do most of the creative work and marketing. I think we make a great team! Our band plays all over, but you’ll see us regularly in Mansfield, Lewisville, Mesquite and Dallas when we aren’t on the road or focusing on our main careers. Our other band members are Jerry Farmer from Flower Mound on bass, David Baird from McKinney on drums, and various saxophone players including Robert Gutierrez, Joyce Spencer, and Giant Boykin.
What kind of legacy do you hope to leave?
I always want to leave things better than when I came. People may not remember my name, but they will remember a meaningful experience they shared with their family and neighbors, how their community has grown and the improvements they have seen. I want to be able to look around and say, “I helped with that!”
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