Wichita Flag will soon be flying at all Wichita Public Schools

Last year, the Chamber’s marketing and communications team was invited to make a presentation about the Wichita Flag to students participating in the annual Comm Week at Wichita State University’s Elliott School of Communication (pictured below). Stressing that the #ILoveWichita and Wichita flag movement has been fueled by partnerships, passion and pride, we asked the students to spend a few minutes brainstorming ways to widen the movement and make it more inclusive.

The students came up with a list of about eight ways to further accelerate civic pride. One of the ideas at the top of their list was to donate a Wichita flag to every school in the Wichita Public Schools system so that students could see it flying every day.

Through the power of partnerships and collaboration, Together Wichita turned that great idea into a reality this week when ninety-three 3’ x 5’ Wichita flags were donated to Wichita Public Schools, one for each of their learning centers. The flags were presented at the November 30 District Council meeting to administrators from across the district.

Ben Jennings of Together Wichita (left) and Angie Prather of the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce (right) present USD 259 Superintendent Dr. Alicia Thompson (center) will a 3’x5’ Wichita flag at the November 30 District Council meeting. Together Wichita has purchased and donated ninety-three flags for the district, one to fly at every learning center.

Ben Jennings from The Wichita Eagle manages the Together Wichita initiative and made the presentation at the District meeting. Jennings is a long-time flag enthusiast and said it was an easy decision for the Board to approve the donation, “We don’t believe this has ever been done before and we loved the idea of making it happen.”

The Wichita Regional Chamber is one of twenty-one organizations working year-round on community improvement projects under the banner of Together Wichita. (See the complete listing on togetherwichita.com and below.) Organized, staffed and managed by The Wichita Eagle, past Together Wichita projects include bicycle and walking path signage, a Memories Park, community chalkboards, the Keepers on Parade and a large Together Wichita sign to display at area events.

School administrators also learned that Ben Hutton, CEO of Hutton Construction, has generously donated a Keeper of the Plains sculpture to USD 259. Hutton is a member of Together Wichita and also leads the Chamber’s Quality of Place Strategic Initiative. A student from the Wichita Public Schools will paint the Keeper. The finished sculpture will be unveiled sometime in 2018 when it’s completed. It will then be included on the Keepers on Parade map located on the organization’s website.

Visit TogetherWichita.com to learn more about how your organization or company can become involved and follow the organization on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

2017 TOGETHER WICHITA PARTICIPANTS

Sean Weaver
Allen, Gibbs & Houlik

Susan Armstrong
Armstrong Chamberlin

Patty L. Sanders
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices PenFed Realty

Walter Berry
Berry Companies, Inc.

Jeff Longwell
City of Wichita

Bob Thurman
Credit Union of America

Kacie St. John
EddysEverything.com

Charles Millsap
Fleeson, Gooing, Coulson & Kitch

Dr. Amy Carey
Friends University

Ben Hutton
Hutton Construction

Ben Jennings
The Wichita Eagle

Patty Koehler
JR Custom Metals Products, Inc.

Scott Schwindaman
Lubrication Engineers, Inc.

Dr. Noreen M. Carrocci
Newman University

Thomas Gentile
Spirit AeroSystems

Patrick J. Hanrahan
United Way of the Plains

Bill Voloch
Wesley Healthcare

Don Sherman
Westar Energy

Sheree Utash
Wichita Area Technical College

Gary Plummer
Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce

Dr. John Bardo
Wichita State University

Weller Named CFO

Sheryl Weller begins her new role on Monday, December 4.

Sheryl Weller has been named the Chief Financial Officer for both the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Wichita Partnership. Weller begins her new position on December 4 and said, “As I join the Wichita community, I’m very excited to share my expertise with these organizations for the advancement of economic development and quality of life for the entire region.”

Weller majored in Accounting at Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas. A graduate of the 2013 Class of Leadership Greater Topeka, she has held professional accounting and leadership positions in that community with the State of Kansas, Kansas Highway Patrol and most recently the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library.

Jeff Fluhr, President of the Greater Wichita Partnership, and Chamber President and CEO Gary Plummer said that Weller was selected based on her extensive experience and her desire to provide support for a community-focused organization and mission.

Please help us welcome Sheryl to the community.

The mission of the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce is to drive economic growth and community advancement in the Wichita region.

The mission of the Greater Wichita Partnership is to align resources and focus the business community on common strategies that fast-forward economic growth in the greater Wichita region.

Nominate your favorite small biz for Small Business of the Year

We are currently accepting nominations for our 2017 Small Business Awards through Friday, Dec. 15! The program, now in its 14th year, offers well-deserved recognition to small businesses for their achievements and contributions to our community and provides owners and employees the opportunity to showcase their company, share their story and be rewarded for their efforts.

The Monarch was the recipient of our 2017 Small Business of the Year Award in Tier One.

Nominations take less than a minute and can be made online at wichitachamber.org/awards. Please help us honor the small businesses that make our region unique and vibrant by nominating them for this award.

Business Criteria for Participation

  • Headquartered in Wichita metro area
  • Employ between 1-25 FTE for Tier One, or 26-100 FTE for Tier Two
  • Have been in business for at least three years
  • Demonstrate a commitment to good business practices
  • Maintain good employee relations
  • Contribute to the community
  • Have primary source of revenues from business operations, rather than grants, donors, or governmental funding (not-for-profits may be eligible to apply if they meet this criteria)
  • Be a member in good standing of the Wichita Regional Chamber at the time of application

Mahaney Roofing was the recipient of our 2017 Small Business of the Year Award in Tier Two.

Companies nominated will be invited to attend a complimentary nomination reception at the Chamber on Thursday, January 4 to learn more about the awards process and application materials.

Then in the spring, one business from each tier will be selected as the 2018 Small Business of the Year, which will be announced at an awards luncheon.

Member Minute with Profile by Sanford Health

Member Minute profiles are meant to highlight Chamber member businesses in a format that can be read in a few minutes.
You may have heard about weight management program Profile by Sanford from their advertisements in local media. But did you know that all of the people in their advertisements feature real people who have found success with their program, not paid actors? We sat down with Certified Profile Coach Sam Schaefer (pictured) to learn more about the business and how they can help Wichita businesses.

Please tell us a little bit about your company.
Profile is a weight management program using coaching, technology and meal replacements to help our members lose weight and keep it off. Profile was developed in 2012 by physicians at Sanford Health; one of the country’s largest healthcare not-for-profit healthcare systems. Profile Wichita has 7 Profile Coaches who support over 500 members as they push toward their nutrition, activity and lifestyle goals. Our mission is to change lives one relationship at a time.

Why did you join the Chamber?
Joining the Chamber was a “no-brainer” and is the perfect way to add value to the Wichita business community. The most valuable part is having instant access to people and businesses in Wichita who need our services and we need theirs.

What is the best thing about doing business in the Wichita area?
I think the best thing about doing business here in Wichita is the ease of networking and abundant business growth opportunities. News travels fast in Wichita and we’re looking to deepen our roots in this city.

Describe your business’ most recent success.
Here in Wichita, our coaches and customized coaching experiences have helped our members lose over 9,000lb. Profile was recently named #60 in Entrepreneur Magazine’s Top New 500 Franchises for 2017 and we’ve helped over 100,000 people lose a collective 1 million pounds.

To what do you attribute your success?
Profile’s success can be traced back to our physician advisory board, education and leadership team, but most importantly our coaches. Profile coaches are the heartbeat of our company. They build relationships with our members and are invested in their success.

What is your favorite Chamber event, program, or service?
Young Professionals of Wichita (YPW) is one of my favorite Chamber programs. I look back to when I first joined YPW and the connections I made five years ago – fast forward to now, and I’m still in contact with them and our companies do business together.

What is something people may not know about you or your business?
Profile by Sanford is a not-for-profit and our revenue goes back to Sanford Health to support the research and development of cures for cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and other life-threatening health conditions.

What has Chamber membership brought to you and your business?
Chamber membership has opened a lot of doors for Profile. The networking, business development, volunteering and community engagement opportunities are endless.

Where do you see your organization in five years?
Profile will grow from the current 30 locations to over 60 in the next 3 years, some of which will expand into Canada. Here in Wichita, I see ourselves opening a 2nd location to provide more value to our current and future east-side members.

What about your business/organization are you most passionate?
My aim is to coach our members to their weight loss goal, but through education and lifestyle modification they’ll be able to maintain their weight loss for a lifetime.

Favorite business book?
The MomShift by Reva Seth. Women share their stories of career success after having children.

Complete this sentence: “When a customer walks into my business, they can expect…”
…an extremely high level of customer service. Don’t be surprised if your coach greets with you a smile and a handshake, asks about your kids’ last basketball tournament, and helps you carry your food to your car. It’s just part of our culture.

Is your company involved in any community/civic activities?
We have partnered with area school districts, small businesses and large corporations to provide a free comprehensive wellness program. We have also joined the Greater Wichita YMCA in raising funds to support their Strong Communities Campaign.

Is there anything else you would like to include?
Coaches can work with individuals with various health considerations and children as young as 8 years old (with a physician referral). Profile has also expanded to include a performance line of products and the knowledge to build meal plans to support athletes and active adults.

You can find Profile by Sanford Health in Wichita at 2616 N. Maize Rd., or follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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

New Angles from the Triangle

by Scott Schwindaman
2017 Chairman of the Board for the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce
CEO and President of Lubrication Engineers, Inc.

Note:  this post was originally published as an editorial in the Wichita Eagle.

Scott Schwindaman is the 2017 Chairman of the Board for the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Recently, more than 50 business and community leaders returned from the Triangle with new ideas and thoughts about how to further advance the Wichita region in many areas.

The Triangle refers to the area including Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill in North Carolina and was the site of our yearly City to City visit. Famous for its Research Triangle Park, one of the nation’s oldest most notable planned commercial developments for research and innovation, it has attracted thousands of jobs to the area since the 1960’s. Although the Research Triangle development is nearly built out, it’s obvious that the Triangle area is not resting on its laurels to further advance the area.

The Wichita group toured a variety of sites and learned from a number of speakers who shared the secret of the area’s sustained success through the 60 plus years of existence. Among the most popular spots with the group was the baseball stadium which is the relatively new home of the Durham Bulls, one of America’s most successful minor league franchises. We also saw firsthand the Centennial Campus at North Carolina State in the heart of Raleigh. This university is the inspiration for Wichita State’s Innovation Campus, and we were delighted to have WSU President John Bardo join us to explain how this campus was the vision for Wichita State in attracting and engaging business in a campus setting.

Many other areas are visited during these trips that are relevant to our community included entrepreneurship, education, economic development and quality of life. One of our more timely stops was at the Raleigh Convention Center, which stimulated a lot of conversation among the Wichitans who made the trip due to the current conversation in our community surrounding the direction forward with the Century II convention/performing arts area.

One of the great side effects of these city leadership visits is the opportunity to get to know other Wichita leaders on a more personal level. Our group this year was very diverse, including young professionals and leaders from throughout the Wichita regional area. That diversity made the Raleigh trip even more rewarding and should build a more cohesive regional leadership connection going forward.

The real test comes in what our “take-aways” are and what we’re able to execute at home from these annual trips. You can certainly point to a number of recent Wichita projects that resulted from these trips over the past 10 years, including the Downtown Master Plan (Oklahoma City, 2008 trip), our entrepreneurial resurgence (Omaha, 2012 and Austin, 2014), diversity/inclusion efforts (Greenville, SC 2015) and more.

I’m excited about what will come out of the Raleigh/Durham experience and encourage everyone who has participated in the past or this year to remain engaged to move our great city forward. If you have not had the opportunity to participate in one of these visits I encourage you to contact the Chamber as these visits will open your mind as to what can be done here at home.

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!