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Tara Watson-Watkins, the first female President and CEO of the Lufkin/Angelina County Chamber of Commerce, is a proud Lufkin native and a 2001 graduate of Texas Christian University. After starting her career as a pharmaceutical representative with Pfizer Pharmaceuticals in Dallas and Austin, Tara returned to her hometown in 2006 as the Marketing Director for Woodland Heights Medical Center.

With a passion for community engagement, Tara later served as the Executive Director of the Lufkin Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Artistic Director of The Pines Theater for nine years. Her efforts brought numerous events and visitors to Angelina County, fostering lasting partnerships for the benefit of East Texas.

Tara, a 2012 Leadership Texas graduate and 2017 Leadership Lufkin alumna, actively contributes to her community by serving on various boards, including Hospice in the Pines, Angelina Beautiful Clean, Angelina Arts Alliance, The Cultural District, the George H. Henderson, Jr. Exposition Center, and as a founding board member of the Lufkin ISD Education Foundation. Additionally, she is a sustainer in the Junior League of Lufkin.

As Miss Texas 2000, Tara traveled across the state, advocating for education, drug-free living, and goal-setting to over 300,000 school-aged children. She was also a Top 10 finalist at Miss America in 2001. Tara, a church choir member and HIV/AIDS advocate, balances her community involvement with family time alongside her husband, attorney Brent Watkins, and their daughter, Analeigh Grace. Beyond her active civic life, Tara enjoys beach relaxation, cooking, and spending time at the Pine Not out west.


Director of Marketing & Communications

In June 2023, Amanda Crocker assumed the role of Director of Marketing & Communications at the Chamber, overseeing key publications like Connect Magazine and the Chamber Directory. Her responsibilities extend to managing press releases for local media and maintaining the Chamber's social media presence. Amanda, who initially joined the Chamber in March 2020 as the Director of Membership and later took on the role of Director of Events and Engagement, expressed enthusiasm for creating and executing events to enhance investor services.

Currently, Amanda is an active board member for the City of Lufkin HOT Funds Board, contributing to community initiatives. Prior to relocating to Lufkin in 2017, she resided in Denton, where she dedicated over 13 years as the Marketing Director for a media company. During her time in north Texas, Amanda was deeply involved in the community, serving on the boards of the Denton Chamber of Commerce, Denton Parks Foundation, and Denton Holiday Lighting Festival, among other community engagements.

Amanda earned her Bachelor of Arts in Marketing and General Business from Texas Tech University. She shares her life with her husband, Mark Crocker, and their two daughters, Taylor and Payton, along with their beloved rescue dog, Jack.

Mackenzie Herring

Membership Coordinator

Mackenzie Herring serves as the Membership Coordinator at the Chamber. A proud Hudson alumna, Mackenzie brings a decade of professional marketing experience, with a specialization in copywriting and comprehensive marketing strategies. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Stephen F. Austin State University in 2013 and is currently pursuing a Master of Business Administration degree at WGU. Mackenzie is eager to engage with local businesses and collaborate with both new and existing Investors at the Chamber.


Director of Events & Engagement

In June 2023, Colleen Murray stepped into her new role as the Director of Events & Engagement. She is responsible for the Annual Chamber Banquet & Meeting, Cheers with the Chamber, and Power Networking Breakfast, among other Chamber happenings. Colleen joined the Chamber in May 2021 initially serving Administrative Assistant before stepping into the Director of Membership role.

A Texas native, Colleen has a degree in Floral Design and Marketing, along with a degree in Business from Angelina College. Self-described as a plant lady, Colleen can be found planting herbs and flowers for the bees in her garden when she's not staying busy at the Chamber. She resides in Lufkin with her son, Landon.


Administrative Assistant

Cris joined the Chamber team in 2023 bringing with her several years of experience in administrative support.  She is responsible for event registrations, membership data management, offers guidance to callers and visitors and collaborates with the team to organize events throughout the year.

Cris worked at a non-profit electric utility for 20 plus years in southern Oregon before coming to the Chamber and is excited to be living back in Lufkin, where she was raised.  She is looking forward to getting to know more faces and plugging into this amazing community.

When not at work, Cris’ favorite place to be is on the beach.


Chief Financial Officer

Janice Tidwell joined the Chamber team in February 2022 as the Chief Financial Officer.

She said she is excited to be a part of the Chamber family in her new role.

“The Chamber works for the community,” she added, “and I want to help in making a positive impact for Lufkin and Angelina County.”

Originally from Indiana, Janice received a dual degree in Accounting and Computer Science Programming from Lockyear College. She then went on to complete a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Resources Management from Oakland City University. Working in different fields within various industries throughout her career gave her a diverse business background, which led her to be a Self-Employed Independent HR/Business Contractor for a few years. She has enjoyed many facets in her career path before joining the Chamber staff.

Outside of work, Janice enjoys the outdoors including fishing, boating, traveling and horseback riding. She also loves finding the latest treasures around town thrifting, spending time with her animals, and volunteering. She resides in Lufkin with her husband, plus their 3 cats and 5 dogs.

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