Get to know your Chamber Chairman, Marshall Morris
By now you’ve already met Marshall Morris, Senior Vice President for First Financial Bank, the current Chair of the Abilene Chamber of Commerce. As we enter into the final stretch of his term as Chairman and begin taking nominations for Chamber Board, we thought it was time for you, our member, to learn more about his role as Chair and what it entails.
Chamber involvement: Around 2013 I started taking advantage of the great opportunities provided by the Chamber to help expand my professional network in Abilene. I became a regular at Business After Hours, Wake Up Wednesday and later AYP After Five. Events like these and many others were such an important catalyst for my career. I was also fortunate enough to be a member of the Leadership Abilene class of 2015 and later served on the steering committee of AYP from 2016 to 2019. Most recently, I have served on the Chamber’s executive committee since 2018.
Why it’s important your business is a part of a Chamber: Your Chamber membership is an investment in the effort to create and sustain the very best environment for businesses to thrive in Abilene. In fact, that’s the very mission of the Chamber. Your membership is an investment in small businesses (who make up 85 percent of our membership!) and entrepreneurs who are the backbone of our economy. It’s an investment in the advocacy efforts that take place in Austin and D.C. to make sure the voice of Abilene businesses is heard. It’s an investment in the future jobs that will come to our region because of the hard work being done today. And last, it’s a direct investment right back into your own organization because there’s no better venue to create visibility and recognition than the Chamber’s many events and programs.
Something that has surprised you in your role as Chair: I am constantly blown away by the amount of volunteer and staff manpower that goes into all the great work being done on behalf of the Chamber. One of the perks of being Chair is I get invited to every affiliate and subcommittee board meeting and it didn’t take long for me to realize we have a lot going on! If you’ve ever wondered if there’s a place for you at the chamber, the answer is a resounding YES! Reach out to our fantastic staff and they’ll be glad to get you plugged in.
Favorite part about volunteering with the Chamber: I love being a part of an organization that has such a breadth of impact on our community. From business advocacy to the arts, military affairs to downtown revitalization, the Chamber is taking every avenue possible to accomplish its mission.
Favorite thing to do when not working: Spending time at home with my family. These days, a night-in is pretty rare, and I don’t dare pass it up.
Dogs or cats: Both! Our family is currently pet-less for the first time in 14 years, but I grew up with lots of cats and dogs. Our kids have been asking for a dog for a while, but we had another baby instead.
Last good book you read: Excellence Wins: A No-Nonsense Guide to Becoming the Best in a World of Compromise by Horst Schulze. Horst was one of the original founders of the Ritz Carlton, and I’ve had the opportunity to spend some time with him during his consulting work with First Financial over the last couple years. He is an incredibly wise man with a straightforward approach to personal and professional excellence.
Favorite place to vacation: Anywhere by the water. I am a really low maintenance traveler. Give me a campfire, good people and good tunes and I might break out the air guitar.
Family: Married to my best friend, Melanie, for 12 years. We have four children: Laney (11), Parker (9), Brooks (9) and Georgia (1).