Thirty-one Selected for 2018 Leadership Wichita Class

Thirty-one citizens from the Wichita region have been selected to participate in the 2018 Leadership Wichita class, an immersive leadership experience presented by the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce. This class will join the more than 1,000 other individuals who have committed to become stronger leaders for the community since the program was launched in 1983.

“Leadership Wichita provides professionals insight into community processes in order to use their talents and skills to tackle local needs, such as education and economic development,” said Ryan Bond, Chair of Leadership Wichita Board of Trustees. “Past participants of Leadership Wichita have made significant contributions in our community, and this year’s class will graduate equipped with the knowledge to build upon their professional successes, contributing to make Wichita the premier place to grow companies, careers and communities.”

Participants are identified through a nomination process, followed by submission of a formal application to the program’s Board of Trustees for selection. The 2018 class will participate in nine sessions that cover issues such as the future vision for Wichita, economic development, the impact of ensuring a highly-educated population, the importance of consensus within government, and executing their leadership skills through real-life examples, group discussions and collaboration.

The first session of the 2018 Leadership Wichita class will begin Thursday, Aug. 23 and the program will conclude Wednesday, Nov. 14 with a celebratory reception.

2018 Leadership Wichita Class:

  • Claudia Yaujar-Amaro, AB&C Bilingual Resources, LLC
  • Francis Baalmann, Foulston Siefkin LLP
  • Rachel Banning, Special Products, LLC
  • Courtney Bengtson, Wichita Community Foundation
  • Rachel Biggs, K·Coe Isom LLP
  • Brian Blackerby, INTRUST Bank
  • Todd Carter, Pathway Church
  • Angie Elliott, Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce
  • Sherii Farmer, Westar Energy
  • Levi Fitzmier, RSM Marketing
  • Dioane Gates, World Impact, Inc.
  • Christyn Gunter, The Kansas African American Museum
  • Anna Hatter, City of Wichita
  • Michele Ingenthron, USD 259 Wichita Public Schools
  • Donita Jarrell, Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office
  • Venus Lee, GraceMed Health Clinic, Inc.
  • Rusty Leeds, Sedgwick County
  • Erik Lopez, Airbus Americas, Inc.
  • Jeff Lucas, High Touch Technologies, Inc.
  • Tevin Manuel, United States Air Force
  • Thea Pajunen, Fidelity Bank
  • Laura Roddy, Mark Arts
  • Dan Shurtz, Oxford Senior Living
  • Chris Snyder, Kansas Air National Guard
  • Kevin Steckley, Syndeo HRO
    Rachel Thomas-Murphy, Thomas Grey Interiors
  • Brian Truskett, Eby Construction Company
  • Fe Vorderlandwehr, Alzheimer’s Association of Central & Western Kansas
  • Katie Wesbrooks, Spirit Aerosystems
  • Zach Wiggins, Martin Pringle Law Firm
  • Lora Winchell, Hunter Health Clinic

Please join us in congratulating this year’s class!

Member Minute with Retreat to Joy

Connie Porazka of Retreat to Joy
110 S. Main, Ste. 101 | 316-650-3761
retreattojoy.com
Facebook | Twitter | LinkedIn

Connie Porazka is a pioneer in the field of Mindfulness and says Wichita is on its way to becoming noted for its growing mindful community.

Recent studies have revealed that 80% of American workers feel stress on the job. And, nearly half say they need ‘real’ help in dealing with job-related stress. Connie Porazka and Susan Langmann founded Retreat to Joy in 2016 to address this workplace issue through the practice of Mindfulness, the process of bringing one’s attention to the present moment. Learn more about this Wichita-centric business with a goal of helping people elevate their sense of joy and happiness.

YOUR BUSINESS
Please tell us a little bit about your company.
At Retreat to Joy, our mission is to transform individuals and businesses through Mindfulness to create and nurture a kinder Wichita. We offer training in Mindfulness, emotional intelligence, and an 8-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program. Our vision is to make Mindfulness an integral part of local corporate culture. We do this by offering a variety of platforms, from 2-hour lunch-and-learn programs to half, single, and multi-day team workshops.

Describe your business’ most recent success.
We most recently were engaged in a full-day retreat entitled More Joy, Less Stress, a custom tailored workshop for 25 employees from Child Start. Participants learned about stress resilience and compassionate self-care.

To what do you attribute your success?
Mindfulness is becoming an in-demand mainstream need; the trends in the marketplace are indicating this. Some of the most downloaded apps of 2017 were Mindfulness apps, like Calm. Businesses often suffer because of all that weighs on their employees and are seeking solutions to equip workers with tools to improve workplace productivity. Joy is the missing ingredient in so many lives, so we are here to help more Wichitans access a daily sense of joy through Mindfulness.

What differentiates your business from your competitors?
Currently we are pioneers in this field and are actively networking and partnering with anyone who wants to join. Wichita is already well on its way to becoming noted for its growing mindful community.

Connie wants people to know that meditation is not just sitting cross-legged on the floor. She’s teaches businesses how to easily incorporate the teachings into each day.

What is something people may not know about you or your business?
I have trained in Mindfulness at the University of California, San Diego. In addition, I’ve completed Google Search Inside Yourself Institute training at Georgetown University. This has put me into contact with leaders and concepts in the Mindfulness movement at the national level, and I’m bringing that knowledge to Wichita.

Where do you see your business in five years?
I’d like all that we’re doing to nurture Wichita as a community. Part of doing that involves a long-term plan of establishing a school in Wichita for nutrition and Mindfulness.

What about your business are you most passionate?
I love helping people and businesses discover the joy of living in the present moment and the ability to reduce stress in their lives. My practice is very Wichita-centric to benefit the community I call home.

Is your company involved in any community/civic activities?
Yes, we work with Wichita in Mind, e2e, WeKan, and Breakthrough Club, to name a few. We also organize a monthly Mindfulness Meditation. This is a free service we offer to the community, which also provides attendees the opportunity to support and be supported by other like-minded individuals.

THE CHAMBER
Why did you join the Chamber and what do you think will be most valuable about Chamber membership?
Being part of the Chamber is a wonderful opportunity interact with other businesses. It puts us in a great space to meet people who also love Wichita and want to be part of the Renaissance going on here.

What is your favorite Chamber event, program, or service and why?
I am a morning person and really look forward to the Sunrise Scramblers.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how strongly would you recommend Chamber membership to a colleague?
10! I have had such a personal and warm welcome into the Chamber. Everyone has been so helpful!

SMALL BUSINESS
What is your biggest challenge as a small business?
I think for us, like most small businesses, it’s challenging to initially bring in enough capital to elevate the business to the next level.

What’s the best thing about being a small business?
I enjoy the freedom to build my business by connecting with others. There is a strong entrepreneurial spirit in Wichita and I love getting to be a part of that!

What’s your best piece of advice for new small business owners?
Work at it every day. It’s so easy to get overwhelmed with the big picture. But if you can do even just a little each day, those consistent efforts will bring about your dreams into reality.

What is something you wish you’d known before you started your business?
I wish I’d known more about all of the tremendous resources here available to up-and-coming entrepreneurs. Here are some that I’ve had the privilege of working with that I wish everyone knew about: e2e, Network Kansas, SBDC and Kauffman FastTrac.

Why do you like doing business in the Wichita area?
I love the Wichita community. I am native to Kansas and it is so fulfilling to be working towards creating even more connectivity and positivity in the place I proudly call home.

OTHER TIDBITS
Favorite business app?
My favorite business app is Insight Timer. It’s the app I use to time my daily meditations.

Favorite business book? Why?
My favorite business book is Bold: How to Go Big, Create Wealth and Impact the World by Peter H. Diamandis and Steven Kotler. The principles in this book have helped guide my vision, and I believe that making a positive impact in the community can send the effects rippling throughout the world. But it starts HERE.

What’s the most effective social media tool for your business?
I find that Facebook has been an enormously effective tool for spreading the word and bringing people together. You can expect to see lots of new and exciting content on our Retreat To Joy page on Facebook.

How many hours per week do you devote to connecting with your customers and partners on social media?
This is a tricky question, because spending too much time on social media can be considered a roadblock to Mindfulness. However, I post regularly to maintain engagement and raise awareness. I love using social media to spark real life meet-ups. You can often find me having meaningful face-to-face conversations over coffee as a result of social media interactions with individuals who want to learn more about Mindfulness.