The Gay and Lesbian Alliance (GALA) North Texas and the North Texas GLBT Chamber of Commerce announced today (Tuesday, Dec. 18) that beginning in 2019 the chamber’s Business Exchange Network — BEN — program is beginning in Plano.

The new Plano group — BEN-Legacy Shops — will meet on the second and fourth Thursdays of each month, from January through May and from July through November, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Henry’s Tavern, located in The Shops at Legacy, 5741 Legacy Drive, No.100, Plano. This is the same location where GALA holds its Third Thursday Happy Hour events.

BEN is a closed-category business referral program “designed to create professional relationships and develop presentation skills,” the chamber explained. As such, only chamber members are allowed to participate. But if GALA North Texas participants who aren’t already chamber members can still get the benefits of BEN, since they can join the chamber at a special rate through Jan. 15.

GALA North Texas participants can join the chamber and get a 15-month membership for the price of a 12-month membership, or they can get the initial fee to join waived if they take the subscription membership option (in which the membership fee is paid monthly via a credit card).

The usual $35 set-up fee is being waived on both annual and subscription membership options.

It’s important to remember that because BEN is a closed-category program, individuals can join on a first-come, first-served basis, based on industry. If someone from your industryfield has joined the group, you will have to join the BEN wait list until that spot opens up again.

Those who want to get an idea what BEN is all about before they actually join can attend the BEN – Legacy Shops meeting on Jan. 10 free of charge.