Last Day to Nominate Innovators, Challenge Seekers and Continual Learners

Still mulling over who to nominate for our 2018 Leadership Wichita class? Three program graduates offer some insight into the qualities they look for when submitting nominations. Submit your nomination today on the Chamber’s website.

Coleen Tabor

CONTINUAL LEARNERS
Coleen Tabor,
Talent and Diversity Director
at Spirit AeroSystems, Inc.

“I consider these qualifications when making my nominations: people who have demonstrated leadership capabilities by leading cross-functional teams both inside
the company and in the community; people who show a strong commitment to continuous learning in both personal and professional realms and whose commitment is based in a humble understanding of their strengths and opportunities for growth; and people who have a desire to impact the region by building economic and cultural value for all community members.”

Matt Cortez

CHALLENGE SEEKERS
Matt Cortez,
VP & Opportunities Studio Lead
at GLMV Architecture

“When submitting my nomination for the program, I look for the intangible qualities in a person that allow them to see opportunities in every difficulty (along with qualifications that show up on a resume). These individuals must have integrity, they must be
visionaries and they also must have a substantial amount of grit to overcome challenges.”

INNOVATORS
Sheelu Surender,
Director of 
Financial Aid and Scholarships
at Wichita State University

Sheelu Surender

“The individuals I nominate have a passion and commitment for innovation and growth, both in their organizations and in our community. They are leaders who give of their time, talent and resources to advance the greater good. As they participate in the program and gain a greater understanding of the local environment, the perspective gained will be transformative.”

Today is the last day to nominate our next group of 30 community changers who will participate in the 2018 Leadership Wichita class. This annual immersive experience is managed by the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce and the program runs between August 23 and November 14. Visit wichitachamber.org/leadershipwichita for more information about the program or contact the Chamber’s Director of Community Advancement, Jonathan Long, at 316-268-1170.

Help Shape Our Region with a Leadership Wichita Nomination

We asked three area leaders why they have consistently nominated candidates for the Chamber’s Leadership Wichita program. They shared their responses in the Chamber Update that published in today’s Wichita Eagle. We’re also sharing them here to inspire you to submit a nomination before May 25.

VALUE

Sheelu Surender

Sheelu Surender, Director of Financial Aid and Scholarships at Wichita State University

“I nominate someone for the Leadership Wichita program every year because of the tremendous value I believe it offers participants, their organizations and the larger community. The program is unique in that it brings together cross sections of our community and offers a rare opportunity to learn, network and develop relationships with other leaders who are committed to improving and growing our community.

“This type of intensive immersion, over a relatively short period of time, truly connects participant with their community and helps underscore how we, as engaged citizens, can make immediate and direct impact on community success.”

Matt Cortez

OPPORTUNITY
Matt Cortez, VP & Opportunities Studio Lead at GLMV Architecture

“I believe the Leadership Wichita program provides individuals with a unique opportunity to understand their community by exposing them to issues and opportunities facing Wichita and the surrounding area. The Leadership Wichita program has a rich history of alumni who have gone on to have tremendous success within their organizations and the community. This success can be attributed to the development of their skills within the program, along with the motivation from classmates to become more effective leaders. The Leadership Wichita program sets itself apart from all other leadership programs in this way and that is why I nominate individuals for this program every year.”

CONNECTIONS

Coleen Tabor

Coleen Tabor, Talent and Diversity Director at Spirit AeroSystems, Inc.

“I nominate someone for Leadership Wichita every year because the program plays an important role in Spirit’s leadership development programming by providing context, connections and involvement. The program accomplishes these goals by exposing leaders to the strategic plans for the community, connecting them with people and organizations influencing these plans, and involving them in the forward motion for the business, government and cultural advancement of the region.”

Leadership Wichita is an immersive experience for 30 area achievers that runs between August 23 and November 14. The program provides interactive learning experiences for those interested in taking increasingly more significant roles in shaping the region. Since it was introduced in 1983, the program has graduated more than 1,000 representatives of local businesses, government and the military. For more information about the program, contact Director of Community Advancement Jonathan Long at 316-268-1170.

2018 Leadership Wichita Nominations Underway

Nominations opened this week for the 2018 Leadership Wichita program and will close on May 25. Managed by the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce, Leadership Wichita provides an immersive experience every year for 30 area achievers. The program runs between August 23 and November 14 and provides interactive leadership learning experiences for those interested in taking increasingly more significant roles in shaping the region. Participants gain valuable insight into local government, economic development, education, and media; and interact with the key community and business leaders working to make progress in each area.

Ryan Bond of Sasnak is a 2014 graduate of Leadership Wichita and currently serves as the Chair of the Leadership Wichita Board of Trustees.

Since Leadership Wichita was introduced in 1983, more than 1,000 representatives of local businesses, government and the military have completed the program and have committed to become stronger leaders for our community. Those interested in participating must be nominated by another person and then submit a completed application.

Ryan Bond, Director of Brand Experience for Sasnak Management Corporation, graduated from the Leadership Wichita program in 2014. He currently serves as the Chair of the Leadership Wichita Board of Trustees. Bond said the Board plans to announce the 2018 Leadership Wichita class on August 6. “Our Board’s goal is to have a group of participants, representing a broad spectrum of industries, backgrounds and viewpoints from across the region, that desire to make a positive difference in the community we share.”

Please visit the Chamber’s website to find more detailed information about the program and to submit a nomination by the May 25 deadline. For more information, contact the program manager Jonathan Long at 316-268-1170.

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.

Introducing our 2017 Leadership Wichita class

Thirty-three citizens from the Wichita region have been selected to participate in the 2017 Leadership Wichita class, a leadership training program presented by the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce. This class will join the nearly 1,000 other individuals who have committed to become stronger leaders for the community since the program was launched in 1983.

Leadership Wichita participants are identified through a nomination process, followed by submission of a formal application to the program’s Board of Trustees for selection. The Chamber received a record number of both nominations (202) and applications (101) for the 2017 program.

“Leadership Wichita provides professionals the training to use their talents and skills to tackle local needs, such as education and economic development,” said Tyler Heffron, 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 insight to build upon their professional successes to make Wichita the premier place to grow companies, careers and communities.”

The 2017 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.

The 2017 Leadership Wichita class will begin Thursday, Aug. 24 and will conclude Wednesday, Nov. 8.

2017 Leadership Wichita Class:

  • Abigail Arthur, FreeState Healthcare
  • Keturah Austin, Sedgwick County
  • Kyle Blasdel, Conco Inc.
  • Maggie Butler, Via Christi Health
  • Anne Chandler, Boys & Girls Clubs of South Central Kansas
  • Carrie Cox, Allen, Gibbs & Houlik, LC
  • Mike Ellis, Delta Dental of Kansas
  • Amy Feimer, Hunter Health Clinic
  • LaShonda Garnes, City of Wichita
  • Clay Germany, Wichita Police Department
  • Michele Gifford, Textron Aviation
  • Andrew Gough, Reverie Coffee Roasters
  • Jeff Hersh, USD 265 Goddard Public Schools
  • Jennifer Hughes, High Touch Technologies
  • Danielle Johnson, Wichita State University Office of Diversity and Inclusion
  • Justin Kasel, USD 259 Wichita Public Schools
  • Jason Knobbe, Kansas Air National Guard
  • Melissa Knoeber, Fidelity Bank
  • Paul Lavender, Sasnak Management Corporation
  • Jonathan Long, T-Mobile
  • Sheila McGuire, Hutton Construction Corporation
  • Cindy Miles, Nonprofit Chamber of Service
  • Robert Moody, Martin Pringle Attorneys at Law
  • Justin Pfeifer, Wichita Area Technical College
  • Mark Pierce, Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office
  • Jake Ramstack, Insite Real Estate Group
  • Tyler Roush, 18th Judicial District
  • Courtney Sendall, Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce
  • Sharla Smith, University of Kansas School of Medicine Wichita
  • Ty Tabing, Hudbella Government Affairs
  • Jacob Wayman, e2e Accelerator, Inc.
  • Rachel White-McQuillan, Westar Energy
  • Rachael Woods, Spirit AeroSystems

Leadership Wichita Nominations Increase 68% in 2017

Claudio J. Ferraro is the President of Via Christi Hospital Wichita St. Teresa, Inc. His guest blog post appeared on May 16.

The nominations and completed applications for our 2017 Leadership Wichita class are in. And for the second year in a row we’ve experienced an increase in applicants. From 2011-2015, the Chamber averaged 90 nominations per year. In 2016 we received 120 nominations. This year the number increased to 202.

Nearly 1,000 local business, government and military leaders have completed the immersive leadership experience since it was initiated in 1983. During the last two years the Chamber’s Marketing and Communications team has worked closely with the Community Advancement group to increase the program’s visibility, differentiate it from other local training initiatives and increase the number of qualified nominees.

Suzy Finn, the Director of Community Advancement, attributes increased engagement from the program’s Board of Trustees and the development of a new integrated marketing plan for the recent successes. “During the last two years our Marketing and Communication staff has worked with some of our high profile graduates to develop blog posts about their Leadership Wichita experiences. We shared their posts on the Chamber’s communication channels, including LinkedIn and other social media platforms. The Chamber’s printed monthly Update in the Wichita Eagle was also a great spot to share testimonials from our guest bloggers. Those testimonials were a big differentiator last year. We repeated that proven approach this year and also adjusted the nomination process so that each nominator could submit two names rather than being limited to one.”

Clark Bastian is the Chairman and CEO of Fidelity Bank. He shared a Leadership Wichita blog post on May 17.

The Chamber recently won an Integrated Ad Campaign award for last year’s successful Leadership Wichita nomination marketing and communication plan.

Invested volunteers and trustees make the difference in so many of the Chamber’s programs and initiatives, including Leadership Wichita. Our thanks to our three 2016 guest bloggers, Tammy Allen, Denise Sherman and Tyler Heffron, who helped the Chamber earn a 2017 Silver Award for an Integrated Ad Campaign from the Wichita American Marketing Association for last year’s successful nomination campaign. And to our 2017 guest bloggers, Clark Bastian and Claudio Ferraro, who helped us exceed the 200 nomination mark.

Watch for an announcement about the 2017 class participants in August. The first session in the program takes place on August 24. You can follow this link to learn more about the program on the Chamber’s website. To search for past participants, follow this link to the Leadership Wichita Directory.

Leadership Wichita Graduates are Community Game Changers

Clark Bastian is the Chairman and CEO of Fidelity Bank.

Nominations for the Chamber’s 2017 Leadership Wichita program are underway. We’ve asked some area decision makers to weigh in on the benefits of the Leadership Wichita program. This blog post is by Clark Bastian, Fidelity Bank Chairman and CEO.

There are a number of ways you can increase your organization’s visibility and viability. One proven method is to provide your best and brightest employees with new learning experiences and opportunities to connect with their peers. Investing in their growth provides your organization with knowledgeable and respected ambassadors. And retaining the most engaged members of our workforce can change the course of a community.

Leadership Wichita is a highly successful Chamber program designed to inform, connect and inspire active community leaders. It’s an immersive experience that identifies 30 local achievers and then provides them with the tools they need to take increasingly significant roles in the community.

Top area leaders present and interact with the class over the course of nine intensive sessions. They willingly invest their time in the program every year because they see the results. Leadership Wichita graduates can be found leading game-changing initiatives for their companies and their communities.

The nomination process is easy.

  • Look for potential nominees in your own company, professional organizations, and places where you volunteer. Target those who want to make more meaningful contributions to the success of their employers, the business community and the region.
  • Spend two minutes on the Chamber’s website nominating them for Leadership Wichita.

We owe it to the future champions of our region, companies and organizations to equip them with the best possible understanding of the progress being made in our community as well as the challenging areas where we need their talent and energy. Mentoring the next generation of leaders is critical. It clearly demonstrates our confidence in their future contributions and our desire to make them an integral part of our community’s advancement.

Leadership Wichita is a program of the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce and Wichita Educational Foundation. Nominations are due Friday, June 2.

Leadership Wichita – A Powerful Community Investment

Claudio J. Ferraro is the President of Via Christi Hospital Wichita St. Teresa, Inc.

Nominations for the Chamber’s 2017 Leadership Wichita program are underway. We’ve asked some area decision makers to weigh in on the benefits of the Leadership Wichita program. This blog post is by Claudio Ferraro, President, Via Christi Hospital Wichita St. Teresa, Inc.

Every day we assess the return on investment (ROI) for many aspects of our business, from equipment purchases to employee training. Most employees already have the technical training needed to do their jobs. And many companies offer internal leadership training for those who have demonstrated an aptitude for taking on more responsibility. So why should a local company or organization nominate candidates for Leadership Wichita and invest in that program?

The true value of Leadership Wichita goes beyond refining skills. It’s an opportunity to forge relationships with people across other industries and understand their perspectives. It’s the formation of long-lasting partnerships that strengthen and advance our businesses and organizations. Ultimately, it’s laying an important foundation for the future of our business community and the economic health of our region.

I think it’s quite possible that my own career might have taken a different trajectory if I hadn’t participated in the Leadership Wichita program in 2000. So many of my classmates from that program are now playing important senior leadership roles throughout the community. Michael Grier is the President and CEO at Martin Eby Construction. Debbie Gann is the Vice President of Communications and Public Affairs at Spirit AeroSystems and was part of the leadership team that led them through their transition from a Boeing facility to Spirit AeroSystems. She was also the 2013 Chair of the Chamber. Richard McCafferty is an owner/officer at Key Construction. The list goes on and on. We share a common bond from our Leadership Wichita experience and I still interact with them in my role at Via Christi.

So when I nominate someone for this program, I’m looking for a candidate who is perceptive enough to understand that they will be doing much more than honing their own leadership skills. They will be learning about the dynamics of the region and building interpersonal connections with people who will eventually become key community leaders and contributors.

The nomination process is easy.

  •  Look for potential nominees in your own company, professional organizations, and places where you volunteer. Target those who want to make more meaningful contributions to the success of their employers, the business community and the region.
  • Spend two minutes on the Chamber’s website nominating them for Leadership Wichita.

The earlier we can identify our future decision makers and help them build relationships with each other, the more quickly we can achieve the maximum return on our investment with better results for our organizations, businesses and community.

Leadership Wichita is a program of the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce and Wichita Educational Foundation. Nominations are due Friday, June 2.

Who is Wichita?

A Call to Action for Intentional Inclusion
By Courtney Hough

courtney_citytocity

Young Professionals of Wichita members Courtney Hough, Ellen Decker and Ebony Clemons on the 2016 City-to-City trip.

I moved to Wichita from Detroit fifteen months ago and in that short period of time, I have learned about Wichita’s culture and the passion that people have for the Emerald City/Air Capital. I’ve made it a point to get to know my community by being a part of it. But when I boarded the plane for my first City-to-City Leadership visit, I did not know what to expect. I knew only a handful of people and questioned if I could relate to our group and if I added any value to the experience. Let’s just say that by the end of trip, I was sharing work and family stories and I had a voice! This experience allowed me to be the change that is being demanded from our community.

Wichita’s population is extremely diverse since there are many Hispanic, Asian, African American, Native American, African, and LGBTQ communities within the city. The diversity of our population is not always reflected in our businesses and the identity of Wichita. I think this City- to-City Leadership Visit opened our eyes to ways we can rebrand and develop a “Wichita for Everyone.”

Our biggest “ah-ha” moment was learning ways to engage and mentor young professionals. There is usually a negative perception of who millennials are and the tone is sometimes dismissive. The idea presented was to target 21 to 40-year-old professionals to mentor and mold them and to enhance their leadership and professional development skills. This will stabilize Wichita’s development, retain talent and increase opportunities. The reality is that in twenty years, many of our current community leaders and CEOs will be retired or will no longer be in a leadership capacity, so we are the future of Wichita! Opportunities for professional development and community outreach must be abundant to retain young talent.

My challenge to every Wichitan is to invest: invest in our businesses, invest in our children and young people, invest in our disenfranchised communities, and invest in our infrastructure. We must invest in order to recreate and grow!

Courtney is the Strategic Engagement Specialist at United Way of the Plains, as well as a YPW Access Team member and volunteer. She participated in the Chamber’s 2016 City-to-City Leadership Visit to Nashville in September. 

Introducing our 2016 Leadership Wichita class

Thirty-one Wichita-area citizens have been selected to participate in the 2016 Leadership Wichita class, a leadership training program presented by the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce. Leadership Wichita participants 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 Tyler Heffron, Chair of Leadership Wichita Board of Trustees. “Past participants of Leadership Wichita have made significant 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 2016 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.

The 2016 Leadership Wichita class will begin Thursday, Sept. 8 and will conclude Thursday, Nov. 17.

2016 Leadership Wichita Class

  • Aaron Bastian, Fidelity Bank
  • Shannon Benoit, Wichita Public Schools
  • Laura Bernstorf, Airbus Americas Engineering
  • Vicki Bond, Medical Provider Resources
  • Ann Buckendahl, Via Christi Health
  • Stacey Burke, Sedgwick County Sherriff’s Office
  • Scott Crawford, Kansas Collegiate Athletics Conference
  • Heather Denker, Greater Wichita Partnership
  • Katy Dorrah, Mark Arts (formerly Wichita Center for the Arts)
  • Ben Drouhard, Citizens Bank of Kansas
  • Holly Dyer, Foulston Siefkin
  • Ryan Entz, Sasnak Management Corporation
  • James Finkeldei, Catholic Diocese of Wichita
  • Mandy Fleming, Youth Entrepreneurs
  • Clark Goetzinger, Westar Energy
  • Josh Herrman, Hutton Construction
  • Troy Houtman, City of Wichita
  • Kevin Hunt, Spirit AeroSystems
  • Diane Iseman, INTRUST Bank
  • Tracy Lucas, High Touch Technologies
  • Lindsay Poe Rousseau, Sedgwick County
  • Alicia Sanchez, Wichita State University
  • Nicole Schaar, Bank SNB
  • Mallory Schwan, House of Schwan
  • Carmen Simon-Phillips, SJCF Architecture
  • Kent Simpson, KCoe Isom
  • Greg Unruh, Wichita Area Technical College
  • Bradley Warzeka, Cargill Meat Solutions
  • Leslie Wessel, J.P. Weigand & Sons Wessel Team Home Sales
  • Ken White, Howerton + White
  • Col. Vonda Wigal, Kansas Air National Guard

Please join us in congratulating this year’s class!

The 2015 Leadership Wichita class heard from Wichita entrepreneur & Freddy's Frozen Custard co-founder Scott Redler.

The 2015 Leadership Wichita class heard from Wichita entrepreneur & Freddy’s Frozen Custard co-founder Scott Redler.