LAREDO, TX (January 22, 2014) – Miguel A. Conchas, President/CEO for the Laredo Chamber of Commerce, announced the promotion of Miriam Castillo to Vice President of the organization with the start of the new year. Castillo has been affiliated with the Laredo Chamber for the past seven years, most recently serving in the role of Director of Special Projects. Stated Conchas in making the announcement, “Chambers of Commerce are interesting entities – although nonprofit, they operate largely in a small business format.  Managing this type of operation requires certain skills and knowhow.  Miriam has proven herself in this area.”

                Castillo joined the Laredo Chamber in November 2005 as Assistant to the President.  She quickly outgrew that role and within a year was promoted to serve as Membership Coordinator.  Gradually she took on the role of Special Projects Coordinator, which eventually led to the Director position of that same department.  Conchas explained that her ability to perform and deliver within the various departments, each of which requires particular expertise, led to the promotion.  The members of the Chamber Executive Committee, many of who have worked alongside Castillo in various projects, wholeheartedly endorsed the promotion.

                Under her guidance, the Chamber has launched and/or expanded a number of successful projects.  These include: The Cola Blanca Hunting Contest web site, the current Laredo Chamber of Commerce web site, the Customer Service Training Seminar Series, the Small Business Saturday Campaign, the implementation of new online tools to enhance membership engagement, and a Chamber venture into the social media realm for increased marketing.  With the support of board members, she was also involved in the successful renewal of the Chamber’s 4-star accreditation with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a prestigious honor that only 222 of the more than 7,000 chambers in the United States carry.

                Castillo has an Associate Degree in Applied Science from Laredo Community College and is a graduate of Texas A&M International University, having received a BBA degree in December of 2011 while being a full time worker and student.  This spring she will begin work on graduate studies toward an MBA.  In addition, this January she completed the third of a four-year executive training under the U.S. Chamber Institute.  Institute for Organization Management is the professional development program of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation.  It is the premier nonprofit professional development program for association and chamber professionals.  Through a combination of required courses and electives in areas such as leadership, advocacy, marketing, finance, and membership, Institute participants are able to enhance their own organizational management skills and add new fuel to their organizations, making them run more efficiently and effectively.

                Prior to joining the Chamber, Castillo worked in the import-export industry.  A native of Laredo, Castillo attended school in Nuevo Laredo, but completed studies at Laredo Community College prior to entering TAMIU.

                The Laredo Chamber of Commerce, founded in 1915, is Laredo’s longest running business organization.  With a total membership approximating 700, it represents every facet of industry within the Laredo/Webb County region.