Tami Bradley of Bothner & Bradley visits with Bill Roy of the Wichita Business Journal during an orientation session for the city-to-city visit

Tami Bradley of Bothner & Bradley visits with Bill Roy of the Wichita Business Journal during an orientation session for the city-to-city visit

The Chamber’s 2014 City-to-City trip takes place this week and 50 participants are visiting one of American’s fastest-growing cities, Austin, Texas. The Austin metro area doubled in size between 1990 and 2010, and now hosts 4,000 technology companies. Reports indicate that 110 people move to Austin on an average day.

The Chamber’s City-to-City delegates have ten sessions scheduled over a two-day period with Austin leaders to learn more about how they super-charged the city’s growth plan. Trip participants will also learn more about Austin’s successful talent attraction and retention efforts.

Suzie Ahlstrand, Executive Vice President of Community Development for the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce reports that many of this year’s participants are young professionals from Wichita. “Austin is a strong magnet for young professionals and we’re looking forward to learning more from their leadership. It’s imperative that our own young professionals become more involved in advancing the community, so we’re delighted that so many of them are participating. We need their ideas and energy to propel Wichita to the next level so we can retain the talent that’s been grown and nurtured here.”

The Chamber started sponsoring City-to-City visits annually in 2006, as a way to learn best practices from communities that have revitalized their downtown areas, successfully grown their own local companies, and attracted new talent. The purpose of each trip is to align, mobilize, and advance Wichita.

The group will be using #ICT2Austin to post comments and photos.

YPW sales tax forum

The Young Professionals of Wichita (YPW) are hosting a Sales Tax Forum with representatives from both sides of the issue. The Forum will be held Tuesday, September 9, from 5:30 – 7 p.m. at the Wichita Marriott (9100 E. Corporate Hills Drive).
Schedule of Events
5:30 p.m. – Networking
6:00 p.m. – Remarks from Jennifer Baysinger, Coalition for a Better Wichita
6:15 p.m. – Remarks from Moji Fanimokun and Jon Rolph, Yes Wichita!
6:30 p.m. – Q&A from the audience
Please register at ypwichita.org. This forum is free and open to the public.

“We believe that it is important for young professionals to express their personal point of view about how to best help Wichita prosper,” said Suzy Finn, Executive Director of YPW. “This event is designed to educate our members, and anyone in the community who cares, so that they can make an informed decision prior to voting in November.”

Housed and staffed by the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce, YPW’s mission is to attract, engage and retain diverse young talent to effect positive change for a brighter future. With a membership of more than 2,200, YPW’s number one aspiration is brain gain for Wichita by facilitating professional and social connections, encouraging leadership development and building community pride.

2014 Leadership Wichita class begins

Thirty Wichita-area citizens are participating in the Chamber’s 2014 Leadership Wichita class, which began this week and runs through November 20. Participants in the leadership training program are identified through a nomination process, followed by submission of a formal application to the program’s Board of Trustees for selection.

“Leadership Wichita provides professionals the training to use their talents and skills to tackle local needs, such as education and economic development,” said Darcee Datteri, PhD, Chair of Leadership Wichita Board of Trustees. “Past participants of Leadership Wichita have made historic changes in our community, and this year’s class will graduate equipped with the insight to build upon their professional successes to make Wichita an even better place to work, live and play.”

The 2014 class will participate in eight sessions that cover issues such as economic development and the future vision for Wichita, workforce development and the impact of ensuring a highly educated workforce in our community, the importance of consensus within government, along with building leadership skills through real-life examples, group discussions and collaboration.

Congratulations to each of the selected participants!

Todd Anciaux, Commerce Bank

Ryan Bond, Sasnak Management Corp./Carlos O’Kelly’s

Cherrie Brubaker, Westar Energy

Jennifer Caughron, KeyCentrix, LLC

Jeffrey Deitchler, PrairieFire Coffee Roasters

Jessica Dunbar, Laham Development – Bradley Fair

Amie Emerson, Spirit AeroSystems, Inc.

Jeffery Freund, Wichita Public Schools, USD 259

Stacy Gear, Citizens Bank of Kansas

Justin Graham, Schaefer Johnson Cox Frey Architecture

Dorothy Harpool, Wichita State University, W. Frank Barton School of Business

Justin Henry, Goddard Public Schools, USD 265

Troy Jordan, INTRUST Bank, N.A.

Paula Langworthy, Triplett, Woolf, and Garretson, LLC

Daniel Lawrence, Fleeson, Gooing, Coulson, and Kitch LLC

David Miller, Sedgwick County

Marc Milleson, AGH Wealth Management

Jason Mock, High Touch Technologies

Ryan Murphy, Fidelity Bank

Landon Plumer, IMA Inc.

Bill Ramsey, Cybertron International

Gavin Seiler, Wichita Police Department

Michelle Stroot, City of Wichita

Ryan Tacke, Delta Dental of Kansas, Surency Life & Health

Robert Taylor, Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office

Teresa Veazey, Wichita Art Museum

David Weishaar, Kansas Air National Guard

Cynthia Wentworth, Go Wichita Convention & Visitors Bureau

Jennifer Wold, Grant Thornton LLP

Jaimie Zellner, Wichita Downtown Development Corporation

Learn more about the Chamber’s leadership development programs here.

Participants work to complete a puzzle during the first session of 2014.

Participants work to complete a puzzle during the first session of 2014.

Chamber supports the Yes Wichita campaign

It’s September 4 today, which means we are only about 60 days away from the opportunity to vote YES for Wichita. As we announced on August 18, the Board of Directors for the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce voted to support the 1 percent sales tax referendum that was passed by the Wichita City Council on August 5. The referendum aligns with the Chamber’s Mission and Vision and the approval of this referendum is a top priority for the Chamber this year. It is critical to our economic development success.

The Chamber Board of Directors and the Chamber’s Leadership Council reached consensus on this issue and are aligned on the importance of supporting the sales tax referendum. We believe that venturing boldly means taking a leadership role and supporting the strategic plan developed by our elected officials and government leaders from citizen input. In short, we believe in investing in ourselves.

The Chamber’s role is to be the primary educator on this issue for our more than 1,700 Chamber members. We are actively asking our members to support this initiative by voting YES on November 4, because we believe it provides the innovation and infrastructure needed to move Wichita forward.

The Yes Wichita campaign is the primary educator for Wichita voters. The Chamber is not a financial contributor to the campaign, but a number of Chamber members and some staff are lending their expertise and support as campaign volunteers. There are a variety of ways Chamber members can support the campaign and we encourage your involvement.

We look forward to answering your questions about this issue on our blog and in other Chamber materials during the next few months. We welcome your questions and look forward to sharing the answers with all Chamber members. Please forward your questions to communications@wichitachamber.org.

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Chamber President & CEO Gary Plummer signs a banner at a news conference launching the Yes Wichita campaign.

Last Branding Summit Session Held Tonight

We need your participation in the development of a common platform to “sell” Wichita. Two community branding research experts are in town this week to gather input into our community-wide strategy for Wichita. Our thanks to all those who attended the session last night and the special session that was held this morning for Board members of the Chamber and its affiliates. The final public meeting takes place tonight from 5-7 p.m. at the Wichita Scottish Rite Center located at 332 E. 1st St. N.  The sessions are free and open to all who care about our community.

The interactive format solicits your answers to these questions:

  • What are the community’s values? What are the core beliefs, norms or assumptions that define Wichita and the surrounding area?
  • Which of these values sometimes present challenges for advancing our community?
  • What are the locational features and activity attributes that Wichita has to offer?
  • What are the emotional benefits of living, working and visiting Wichita?

Your answers will be used to develop a brand that demonstrates our uniqueness in a very crowded and competitive marketplace.

Follow this link to the official news release and review these media stories for more information:

Gary Sherwin and Don Anderson with the firm Believable Brands visit with Chamber President and CEO Gary Plummer during today’s Branding Summit Session.

Gary Sherwin and Don Anderson (with the firm Believable Brands) visit with Chamber President and CEO Gary Plummer during today’s Branding Summit Session.

Stephanie Warren joins the Chamber as VP of Membership & Business Services

Stephanie Warren

Stephanie Warren

Stephanie Warren joins the Chamber today, Tuesday, September 2, as the Chamber’s Vice President of Membership & Business Services.

Warren holds a Master’s Degree in Communications and has spent the majority of her career generating revenue for non-profit organizations through membership growth and retention. She’s also experienced in developing non-dues revenue programs, sales management, strategic planning, and government and community relations. Much of Warren’s experience comes from organizations she’s worked with in the Kansas City area and in California. She earned her Bachelor’s degree from Wichita State University and returned to Wichita several years ago. She most recently served on the South Wichita YMCA Advisory Board and as an account executive for Entercom Radio Group.

Gary Plummer, President and CEO of the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce, indicated that an extensive search was conducted for this vital leadership role. “We’ve combined the leadership roles for the Membership and the Business Services areas with this position. Both are critical to the Chamber’s success. In addition to the knowledge she needs for this position, Stephanie brings 16 years of experience as both a staff leader and as a Board Member with two chambers.

“It’s very gratifying to return to my hometown with skills and experience gained in other markets to benefit Wichita,” Warren said. “I was immediately impressed by the professional staff and the quality and scope of the programming they offer their members. This is a first class Chamber and I’m honored to join it.”