Thibeaux takes over as head of Magnolia Chamber

Jason Thibeaux was ready for a change. 

After spending most of his professional career in the corporate sphere — most recently with Texas Instruments in Dallas — the field didn’t hold the same appeal it once had. 

“To me, the corporate world was kind of losing its luster,” he said. “I wanted to find something different.”

With that came the decision to move to the Pacific Northwest in August of 2015, along with his wife and daughter (though, his 20-year old son chose to stay behind). 

“It was not an easy decision, because family and all of our friendships and stuff like that are still in Texas,” he said. “But it felt like this is what we were supposed to do.”

Before long, he found a position in publishing, one that had him interacting with small and medium-sized business owners. 

“That’s the best part of my job, really,” he said. “It’s those windows of each day where I get to sit across from somebody. You ask them, ‘How long have you been doing this? How did you get started? What’s your passion or your vision for your business going forward?’ and you kind of see their faces change a little bit, their eyes light up as they dream aloud.”

Now, he’s tasked with balancing that role with another, after recently taking over for the retiring Greg Carnese as executive director of the Magnolia Chamber of Commerce. Thibeaux said replacing someone who has spent more than a quarter-century involved in the community is a tall order. 

“In some ways you’re kind of afraid to follow someone like that,” he said, “because they’ve had so much invested in here, and they know so many people, and they’ve really done a great job in the last year in really growing the chamber.”

Thibeaux said he hopes to build on that momentum in his new role, while responding to input from members to incorporate the business community outside of Magnolia Village. 

“How do we become all-inclusive, and make sure that everybody’s got a voice?” he said. 

However, that goes beyond just business. He also sees an opportunity to broaden the impact of the Chamber when it comes to the neighborhood as a whole. 

“It’ll be exciting to see how we become a part of the bigger story,” he said. “Not just make successful the businesses here in Magnolia, but how do you make Magnolia as a whole a better place to live?”

As a whole, Thibeaux said the average person often doesn’t realize the brain power of those that own businesses at the local level, seeing them only through the lens of their position. But each of those people combine can form something greater. 

“If you put all those [people] together as a group, and put it behind something that positively can change the community, the potential is almost limitless,” he said. “It’s just finding a way to get those groups together to work as one voice.”

The passion, he said, is already there, not only in Magnolia but throughout the city. 

“Seattleites are very passionate about things,” he said. “When you point passion in the right direction, you can do a lot with it.”

Now more than a year and a half removed from his move to Seattle, Thibeaux said there are things he misses about his old home. But, there is one thing he was particularly happy to get away from. 

“I don’t miss 105 degrees in the summertime,” he said.

To comment on this story, write to