Connections Made at Exposure 2017

Another rendition of the region’s premiere business-to-business trade show is in the books, and what a wonderful day is was! You could feel the energy in the air in Century II Expo Hall during Exposure, and with 215 exhibitors and 1,700+ attendees, it was the place to be in Wichita business. Below is a recap of some of the day’s highlights.

Making Connections, Growing Business
First-time exhibitor

The Hairy Sofa’s four-legged exhibitors were popular with other exhibitors and attendees alike.

Julie Breault with Heartland Animal Hospital and The Hairy Sofa Pet Grooming Boutique said participating in Exposure was a positive experience for her company. “I was very impressed with the number of exhibitors and attendees. I enjoyed meeting my fellow Chamber members and making connections with people I would not normally be exposed to. Thank you Wichita Chamber for making this a super successful event for my businesses.”

Reverie’s coffee catering bar earned their team an award during their inaugural year.

Reverie Coffee Roasters became a quick favorite on the show floor, even winning the Best Biz Bite Award. Kaitlyn Wall, Reverie’s Operations Manager, said, “We loved participating in Exposure 2017 because of all the new and familiar faces we met and look forward to working with. At Reverie, we try to find and create ways to connect with the community; this is a great event for getting out and making those connections with other local businesses!”

We love hearing success stories like these, and invite you to consider participating in next year’s show!

Award Winners
The Exposure Awards have become highly sought-after and the exhibitors listed below took home the titles.

  • Best Biz Bite: Reverie Coffee Roasters
  • Best Branded: K. Lane’s Boutique
  • Best In Show: Hyatt Regency Wichita
  • Best Spirited: Auto Craft Collision Repair
  • Best Tabletop: Personal Touch Events
  • Best Technology: World Studios
  • Rookie of the Year: Shaken or Stirred Bartending

Post-Event Content
Several exhibitors and attendees shared their Exposure experience after the event via blog and video. Thank you to these companies for taking time to create content from the show!

Thank you to the sponsors, exhibitors and attendees who helped make Exposure what it was, and a special thank you to the show’s Presenting Sponsor, Cox Business!

See photos from the event on our Facebook page, and save the date of Thursday, September 27 for Exposure 2018.

 

The Chamber of Commerce Works for All

Today is National Support Your Local Chamber of Commerce Day. To celebrate, we asked Board Member Joy Eakins to share why she chose to join the Chamber and become more involved in creating a better business community.

By Joy Eakins
President of Cornerstone Design & Development, Inc.

I once assumed the local Chamber was just for big business. Not long after I started my business, my husband’s employer invited us to join their table for the Annual Honors Night. As we discussed the evening on the way home, Eric told me I should look at joining the Chamber. So I did. That was six years ago.

I still remember my first event: the Small Business Owner Roundtable. The location: High Touch Technologies. The topic: How to Recruit and Retain Employees.

I had just moved out of my home office. I had one part-time staff member. My business cards were printed on my home printer. I was intimidated and I almost didn’t go.

Every year since, a photo from that event (below) has popped up on my Facebook page, and I have been reminded how glad I am that I went. That day, I discovered one of the greatest assets of Wichita – other fantastic business leaders who care deeply about their companies, their employees, their customers, and the direction of the city and the state. I found people who are compassionate and giving. And I found people who honorably carry the weight of business ownership.

As a small business owner, I know the isolation that comes from wearing all the hats – the HR department, accounting team, janitor, lawyer and sales all at the same time. I know what it’s like to come in on the weekends and finish the books or get a head start on the next week. The nagging fear that it might not work out. The joy of the goal accomplished!

And at the Chamber, I found other business owners who understood. I found people who were willing to share what they learned when it didn’t work out, and leaders willing to celebrate the triumphs when it did. I found community. 

Sure, there are large businesses in the Chamber. There are also middle-size businesses, small businesses and micro businesses. The Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce has worked hard to ensure that all of us have a voice in this Chamber community. The support, advocacy, and work of their team make each of us better at what we do.

Need a leadership book recommendation?

by Rachel Douglass
Director of Engagement

Joe Tortorice, Jr (pictured center) visited with Vanessa Barnard and 2017 Chamber Chairman Scott Schwindaman shortly before his September 28 speech. Tortorice and Barnard are both with Jason’s Deli.

Joe Tortorice, Jr., founder of Jason’s Deli, opened his September 28 Chamber Sunrise Scrambler presentation with his reason for keeping a daily gratitude journal – simply put, “because grateful people cannot be unhappy.” That uplifting and motivating tone permeated his entire speech.

According to Tortorice, the key to your business is the people behind it. While addressing a nearly 240-person crowd, Tortorice emphasized servant leadership by encouraging attendees to remember that “people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” Attendees left the event inspired to focus on purposefully serving others with the simple reminder that investing in relationships will be fruitful for years to come.

A humbling inspiration to those he addressed, Tortorice gave a nod to the motivational authors he admires and even shared his recommended reading list:

Shackleton’s Way by Margot Morrell & Stephanie Caprell
The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor
The Paradox of Power by Pat Williams
Integrity by Dr. Henry Cloud
Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
The Servant by James Hunter
Why We Do What We Do by Edward Deci
Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
The Prayer of Jabez by Bruce Wilkinson
Living a Life that Matters by Harold Kushner
The Road Less Traveled by Scott Peck
Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor Frankl
Servant Leadership by Robert K. Greenleaf
Good to Great by Jim Collins
A Curious Mind by Brian Grazer
The Return of the Prodigal Son by Henri Nouwen
What Got You Here Won’t Get You There by Marshall Goldsmith
The World’s Most Powerful Leadership Principle by James C. Hunter

A special thank you to Joe Tortorice for sharing his time and insights with us and to our sponsors who helped make this event possible:

Presenting Sponsor: Emprise Bank
Host Sponsor: Hyatt Regency of Wichita
Showcase Biz Sponsor: Davis-Moore Auto Group

Follow this link to a Carrie Rengers interview with Tortorice about his thoughts on life and leadership that ran in the Wichita Eagle on September 27.

Join us for our next Sunrise Scrambler on Wednesday, October 18 and plan to attend the November 15 Scrambler when we’ll hear from Dr. Alicia Thompson, Superintendent of Schools for USD 259.

Member Minute with Wichita Animal Action League

Member Minute profiles are meant to highlight Chamber member businesses in a format that can be read in a few minutes. This Interview was conducted by Intern Claire Harpool.

Wichita Animal Action League (WAAL) joined the Chamber in April of 2017. We sat down with Sarah Coffman (pictured), founder and executive director, in her new Town West adoption suite. Coffman said Wichita is a great place to be, especially with recent strides to becoming more animal friendly.

Tell me about your organization.
WAAL was founded in November of 2013, and we got our rescue license shortly after that. Our new store front is beneficial because it gives potential owners a place to come and meet the animals. People are coming to this location so they get to interact with the animals before they adopt them.

Where do you attribute your success?
Our volunteers and our foster parents. With the volunteers, I have learned if you ask for something, someone normally has a connection to get what we need. For example, volunteers painted our store and donated kennels.

Favorite Chamber event?
We’ve only been to one Chamber event so far, Exposure, and it was fantastic! We got to meet a lot of other businesses in town that could help us further our mission of rescuing animals in crisis. Plus, people loved the adoptable dogs we brought to the event and I think we might have found a few adopters and new fosters. It was great “exposure” for us!

Also, I loved our grand opening because everyone came out to the big ribbon cutting ceremony.

What has Chamber membership meant for your business?
A sense of credibility. When people donate to a nonprofit, it is sometimes difficult to know where your money is going and what it is doing. When people find out that we are a Chamber member, it lends a little more credibility that we are legitimate.

Where do you see your organization in five years?
I would really love to have small facility. Spaying and neutering is a really big focus for us with our Spay it Forward program, which pays for owners to have their animals spayed and neutered at no cost to them. So eventually I would love to have a spay and neuter clinic, with a small portion dedicated to housing animals upon intake and then moving them to foster homes.

On a scale of 1-10 how strongly would you recommend Chamber membership to a colleague?
I think it is really important for nonprofits. We have not been a member for long, but I can send the chamber staff an email about an idea I have and they help connect me with others who could help me execute it.

Complete this sentence: When a customer walks into my business they can expect_____?
Free kisses and cuddles! We have gotten a lot of foot traffic at our new location. When people walk by, they get this look on their faces; they want to come in but they know they can’t because then they will fall in love and adopt.

In your company involved in any community or civic committees?
I participate with the the Animal Control Advisory Board’s discussions, which recommends policy changes to Animal Control and City Council. That board is a double-edged sword because you want to keep people safe but you also want to give the animals a shot. I also am a part of the Spay and Neuter Advisory committee.

Anything else?
Last year we took 220 animals off of death row, and adopted out 172, so we have grown bigger every single year. This year we are on board to exceed both of those numbers, we also started our new Spay it Forward program, and by the end of the year we will have sterilized 274 dogs at no cost to their owners.

If you would like to get involved in the Wichita Animal Action League, follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @WAALRescue, or on their website waalrescue.org.

Would your company or organization like to be featured in a Member Minute profile? Just send your request or nomination to Courtney Sendall

 

 

10 Tips to Make the Most of Your Time at Exposure

We hope you are planning to join us tomorrow, Thursday, Sept. 28 at Exposure for Wichita’s largest business-to-business trade show and networking event. Here are some helpful tips to prepare to make the most of the day.

Event Details: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 28 at Century II Expo Hall. See #5 for parking info.

  1. First, be sure to pre-register at no cost (click here)! This will expedite your check-in process and leave more time for exploring the show floor.
  2. Don’t forget the Exposure essentials: plenty of business cards for all the connections you’ll be making and comfortable shoes for all the ground you’ll be covering.
  3. Focus on leads, not sales. Use Exposure as an opportunity to meet people, make an impression and share knowledge about your company. Don’t be pushy – instead be friendly and comfortable.
  4. Stop by the Chamber booth on the red carpet aisle to test your hoops skills and pick up a Gregg Marshall/Dick Vitale basketball in anticipation of Annual Meeting on Nov. 7.
  5. Concerned about parking? Don’t be! Wichita Transit will be providing complimentary shuttle service from Lawrence Dumont Stadium to Century II every 10 minutes.
  6. Post to Twitter using #ICTExpo about your experience at Exposure to see your tweet on the big screens around the show floor.
  7. Practice your right to vote for the new “People’s Choice” award for your favorite booth or table display.
  8. Check out the live art demonstration by Mark Arts, which will take place from 11-3 at the end of the red carpet aisle.
  9. Think about what you would do with all the great prizes up for grabs at the show, like:
  • Massage and facial from Healing Waters
  • $100 gift card from K. Lanes Boutique
  • New FitBit from P1 Group
  • Wichita flag wall hanging and mugs from Pass It On Purpose Coaching & Training Center
  • Golf and carts for four players from Rolling Hills Country Club
  • Click here to see a full list of door prizes.
  1. Have fun – LOTS of fun!

See you tomorrow!

Sean Robinson named Director of Government Relations

Sean Robinson begins his new duties at the Chamber on October 9.

Sean Robinson will join the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce as Director of Government Relations in early October. He will direct the Chamber’s advocacy efforts at the local, state and federal level in his new role.

 

Robinson has been the Communications Director for the Fourth Congressional District of Kansas since 2016, leading communication initiatives for former Congressman Mike Pompeo and current Congressman Ron Estes. A graduate of Friends University, he holds a B.S. in Business Management with an emphasis in Marketing.

 

Chamber President and CEO Gary Plummer said he is confident that Robinson’s experience and skills will provide long-term benefits for Chamber members. “Sean has the key contacts and expertise required for this vital role of advocating for the best possible business environment. He’s adept at cultivating strategic partnerships and leading high-performance teams.”

 

Robinson’s first day at the Chamber is October 9. Please help us welcome him to the Chamber team.

#ILoveWichita Campaign Strengthened by Partners

Chamber Board member Ben Hutton leads the 2017 Quality of Place Initiative.

By Ben Hutton
Chamber Board Lead for the Quality of Place Initiative
Chairman and CEO of Hutton Construction

In early 2015, the Chamber initiated a very informal grassroots “pride in place” campaign centered around a hashtag proposed by the Young Professionals of Wichita (YPW), #ILoveWichita, and the city’s official flag. Collaborations with area businesses, media outlets, and other partners resulted in the creation of a positive platform and a microphone for those who believe in collaborating to create the best possible future for our region.

Shelly Prichard with the Wichita Community Foundation said, “Whether highlighting a person, place or activity, we use #ILoveWichita to promote all the unique happenings in our community. We’re proud to amplify the stories to both visitors and locals to encourage them to explore Wichita.”

The Quality of Place committee that I chair for the Chamber recently recommended leveraging this ongoing social media campaign in telling Wichita’s success stories and improving perceptions of the region’s quality of place. Implementing this recommendation included challenging our members to apply an #ILoveWichita decal to their front door to show community support and using the same hashtag in their company and personal social media postings.

Our Chamber Chairman and CEO Gary Plummer recently met with three of our partner organizations to invite them to participate and further strengthen the campaign. They’ve enthusiastically agreed to encourage their board members and investors to actively support the campaign.

My thanks to Shelly Prichard of the Wichita Community Foundation, Jeff Fluhr of the Greater Wichita Partnership, and Susie Santo of Visit Wichita who have committed to adopting and promoting this effort. All three are current members of the Chamber’s Board who already work diligently to ensure that Wichita is the best place to visit as well as grow a business, family and career.

Jeff Fluhr with the Greater Wichita Partnership recently applied the #ILoveWichita decal and said, “We are excited to be a partner with the Chamber in the Pride in Place Campaign. This is a dynamic time for Wichita and there is a noticeable increase in the community’s pride; we are a City of tremendous opportunities!”

We’ve also met with the current co-chairs of the Greater Wichita Partnership Perceptions Task Force (Jerry Jones, Moji Rosson and Laura Bernstorf) to brief them on our plans. We appreciate the dedication and spirit of collaboration of these three area leaders who are also supporting these efforts.

Since its inception, this campaign has been fueled by pride, passion and partnerships. The inclusion of these important organizations in our ongoing efforts will further energize and amplify the reach of the campaign and add new enthusiasm for highlighting what’s best about Wichita.

Join the effort! It’s easy for your business or organization to get involved, too. Simply contact Courtney Sendall at the Chamber (316-268-1153) to schedule a time to apply the #ILoveWichita decal to your door and begin implementing the hashtag in your social media postings. Together we can create a constantly updated digital brochure to share our passion for the region with each other, visitors to the area and other communities around the world.

See the Chamber Update page in today’s Wichita Eagle for a listing of some of the organizations and companies who have already applied the #ILoveWichita decal.

Do nonprofits benefit from Chamber membership?

The answer is a resounding yes. And the business community definitely benefits from interacting with and supporting nonprofits who are providing needed services for the region. Your Chamber currently consists of 179 nonprofit members and seven of our board members represent nonprofit organizations. Nonprofits use Chamber membership to increase community awareness, develop professional staff and improve operations.

One of our new nonprofit members recently asked for some tips for maximizing her organization’s Chamber membership so that she could connect with other Chamber members who “are looking to do some community givebacks through sponsorships or donate their time.” Here are the tips we shared with her:

  • List your upcoming events on our Community Calendar. Do you have an upcoming fundraiser or community event? Log in to the Members Only page of the website to list your upcoming events on the Chamber’s Community Calendar, and receive FREE promotion in our weekly digital newsletter. You’ll find the Community Calendar on our website. For instructions on how to post events, and your login credentials, contact nrobinson@wichitachamber.org.

    Envision participated in the Social Services Nonprofit Showcase at the December Sunrise Scrambler in 2016.

  • Plan a table display for our December 6 Sunrise Scrambler—Social Services Nonprofit Showcase.
    The holiday season is the perfect opportunity to devote to elevating the visibility of our social service nonprofit members and the way they improve our community. Follow this link for more information about how to get your organization’s mission in front of 160 breakfast attendees. There’s no charge for your organization’s table display and it comes with one complimentary attendee registration. The deadline for Social Services Scrambler participants is Wednesday, Nov. 22.
  • Offer a discount. Are you selling tickets to an event or fundraiser? Chamber members can offer a discount and publicize products and services to other Chamber members on the Chamber website. Your online coupon includes a link to your website. For instructions on how to utilize this benefit, and your Members Only page login credentials, contact nrobinson@wichitachamber.org.
  • Attend and participate in Chamber events. It’s all about relationships, so it’s definitely worth the time and effort you put into participating in events and committees. This is a great way to seek out new members for your Board, promote your events, find volunteers and sponsorships. Two of our nonprofit members received funding last month from one of our members as a direct result of discussions and business card exchanges at Chamber events. Our for-profit members often base their community givebacks on the relationships they’ve established. Some Chamber events do have an admission charge, but there are also free events like the Business Exchange, Small Business Owner Roundtable for your CEO or Board President to attend. You can also attend our B2B trade show called Exposure on September 28th for Free. Better yet, purchase a low-cost tabletop to display at Exposure, and give out materials about your organization’s mission. Visit our website to subscribe to our newsletter to see all of our upcoming events.

    Chamber President and CEO Gary Plummer attended a Milestone event for Wichita’s Littlest Heroes in July.

  • Request assistance with a Milestone Event. If you have started a new non-profit, if you are moving to a new location, celebrating an expansion or re-brand, our staff will assist you with planning a promotion of a Member Milestone event such as a Ribbon Cutting or Open House.
  • Connect with our Young Professionals group.  Young Professionals of Wichita (YPW) can be a resource for your organization in three major ways: 1) providing connection to ambitious young leaders through our Board Placement Program; 2) providing leadership and professional development opportunities for your young employees through membership at a discounted rate; and 3) promoting your events and volunteer needs through the community calendar. For more information, contact YPW Program Coordinator Alejo Cabral at 316-268-1171 or via email.
  • Submit a Member Minute profile. Help our members to get to know you and understand your mission and services. There’s no cost to participate and your profile will be published on our Chamber blog. A link to that blog post will be published in our weekly digital newsletter which has 4,500 subscribers. Contact Courtney Sendall at the Chamber for the questionnaire you’ll need to complete so that we can feature your organization.
  • Connect with us on Social Media. We utilize Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.  We utilize all three channels to keep you updated on relevant issues and events.

    Jennifer Keller of KPTS recently added the #ILoveWichita decal to the station’s front door.

  • Add the #ILOVEWICHITA decal to your organization’s front door. This is an easy way to familiarize the Chamber’s social media followers with where you’re located and how the community benefits from your services. Just let us know the date/time that works for you and we’ll bring out a decal and take a quick video of you applying it and giving us a sentence or two about why you love being part of the Wichita community. We’ll post it on our social media accounts. Some of our nonprofit members who have participated include KPTS, Alzheimer’s Association and ICTSOS. Contact Courtney Sendall at the Chamber to schedule a decal application.

We look forward to working with you!

 

 

 

Marshall, Vitale to headline Annual Meeting on Nov. 7

Gregg Marshall, head coach of the Wichita State University men’s basketball team, has been selected as the featured speaker for the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Meeting, which will take place on Tuesday, Nov. 7. Heading into his eleventh season as head coach of the Shockers, Marshall is the winningest head coach in WSU history. During the event, Marshall will speak about the school’s entry to the American Athletic Conference, as well as his personal perspective on why Wichita is the best place for him and his family to call home.

Joining Marshall on stage will be college basketball’s top analyst and ambassador Dick Vitale. Vitale joined ESPN during the 1979-80 season—just after the network’s September 1979 launch—following a successful college and pro coaching career. In 2008, Vitale received the sport’s ultimate honor when he was selected as an inductee into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

“The Chamber’s Annual Meeting is an opportunity to celebrate wonderful stories about our city,” said Scott Schwindaman, 2017 Chamber Chairman and President of Lubrication Engineers. “We’re continuing that tradition this year by hosting a dynamic discussion about Team Wichita: the impact of sports on our region and the positive outcomes that occur when sports put Wichita on a national stage.”

“The Wichita region has a lot to be proud of when it comes to the athletic arena,” said Gary Plummer, President and CEO of the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce. “From events like the Prairie Fire Marathon and hosting the first round of 2018 NCAA tournament, to producing Olympians and investing in new athletic infrastructure, we have earned the right to call ourselves a ‘sports town’.”

The 2017 Annual Meeting is presented by INTRUST Bank. General admission tickets start at $35 and student tickets start at $20. Tickets can be purchased at wichitachamber.org. Formal invitations will be sent to Chamber members soon, and the general public is also invited to attend. Sponsorship opportunities are still available and can be secured by contacting Rachel Douglass at 316-268-1127.

Courtney Sendall Promoted to Director of Marketing and Communications

Courtney Sendall has been promoted to Director of Marketing and Communications.

Gary Plummer, Wichita Regional Chamber President & CEO, announced today that Courtney Sendall has been promoted from Manager of Marketing and Communications to Director of Marketing and Communications. She joined the Chamber in February 2013 as a Communications Coordinator. During her career with the Chamber, she has gained both supervisory and project management experience. In her new role, she’ll assume more budgetary duties and provide additional input into overall strategic initiatives for the Chamber.

Plummer said that Sendall is an important asset to the Chamber team. “Courtney’s marketing and communications expertise are well recognized throughout the community. We’re fortunate to have someone of her caliber managing so many vital connection points for our members and volunteers while representing the Chamber throughout the region.”

Sendall is a graduate of Wichita State University and a volunteer for several organizations including the Kansas Humane Society, Make-A-Wish Kansas and Social Media Marketing World (an annual international convention).