Linda Woods

Shenandoah CVB director retires after 14 years

Linda Woods served as director of Shenandoah's Convention and Visitor's Bureau for 14 years before announcing her retirement in May and has contributed to the city for far longer. Although she focused mostly on the city's tourism over her career, when she arrived in Shenandoah in 1973, Woods started serving the community by knocking on doors to support an incorporation vote that passed by a mere 13 votes.

"[Incorporation] was a hot, hot issue, but thank goodness we won because look at us today," Woods said. "I just thought it was very far-sighted to think about incorporating the city so that the city would not be engulfed by Houston. That was quite a battle, but little Shenandoah won."

Woods moved to Shenandoah from Corpus Christi with her previous husband, Eddie Boyde, and son, Benjamin. After the city's incorporation, she served as Shenandoah's second city secretary in 1974, at which point Boyde was elected as the city's second mayor.

Although Woods' first stint in Shenandoah ended in 1982, when she moved to The Woodlands, she continued serving South Montgomery County. She has served on several boards, including the Ambassador's Committee, United Way and various youth sports organizations. Woods was also one of the founding members of the South Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce, of which she is a lifetime member.

"We decided because South Montgomery County was growing at a very rapid rate in that time period, that we needed a chamber of commerce to support commerce," she said. "There are many success stories which have come out of the chamber, and it certainly has played its part in the development of South Montgomery County."

Woods possesses a passion for tourism and organizing events, which led her to work for former Precinct 3 Commissioner Ed Chance at The Big Event, a company that organized major events around the The Woodlands, including The Bottom of the Lake Festival at Lake Woodlands in 1984 and the dedications of banks, post offices and overpasses.

She returned to Shenandoah in 1999 to serve as the city's CVB director. During her 14 years as CVB director, the community has grown from only three hotels to seven, with another five in the planning stages. Hotel room stays grew 60 percent from about 89,000 hotel rooms sold in 2003 to almost 150,000 in 2012, city officials said.

Woods said she considers herself the "squeaky wheel" who literally helped get the city of Shenandoah on the Texas state map. She said she also guided the city's economic development through tourism and the recruitment of sports events through the city's two Conroe ISD facilities: the natatorium and Woodforest Bank Stadium.

"We have now changed our focus to strictly sports-oriented [events]," she said.

An advertisement placed in Texas Monthly by Woods even helped get the NCAA's attention. The city just hosted its first NCAA event—the 2013 NCAA Division III Swimming and Diving Championships—in May. Shenandoah Mayor Wes Stephens praised Woods' service to the community, including her work to attract the NCAA event.

"Linda has been instrumental in our growth over the years," Stephens said. "We're just so honored to have worked with her and have had her ideas be part of the growth of Shenandoah."

By Matt Stephens
Matt Stephens joined Community Impact Newspaper in December 2012. A Tomball native and a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, Matt joined as a reporter for The Woodlands team before being promoted to help launch the Spring | Klein edition in spring of 2014 and later to North Houston managing editor in late 2015. He has served as managing editor to the Phoenix and Nashville papers since August 2020.