Gabri Samia joined the Chamber’s Community Advancement team this month.
Gabri Samia recently joined the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce as the Manager of Community Advancement. In her new position Samia will plan and execute several of the Chamber’s unique leadership development programs, including: Leadership Wichita, City-to-City Leadership visits and Wichita Insight.
Samia’s role involves interacting with numerous community leaders and assisting with the Chamber’s inclusion and diversity programming. “Gabri really enjoys working with people and building community,” said Suzy Finn, Community Advancement Director for the Chamber. “She’s enthusiastic about working with others who want to continually improve Wichita and the region.”
A graduate of Wichita State University, Samia earned a bachelor’s degree in Sociology and minored in English. One of her past experiences includes teaching in South Korea. Her first day with the Chamber was May 9. She replaces Stef Flores who recently relocated to the Denver area.
Please help us welcome Gabri to your Chamber team.
We are pleased to announce that Rita Malinauskas has permanently joined the Chamber staff as a Coordinator of Business Services, working with Angie Elliott and Rachel Groene. Rita was hired on a temporary basis in April 2015 and has since become a valuable part of our Business Services team.
“Rita has shown an excellent level of service to our members. Her warm manner and attention to detail were instrumental to the success of major events such as Small Business Awards, the Golf Classic and Exposure,” Director of Business Services Angie Elliott said. “She is skilled at connecting members to our services and to each other, and we’re pleased to have her on board in a permanent role.
Rita earned her BS in Business Administration from the University of Missouri, and she most recently worked at Butler Community College in Andover.
This week the Chamber welcomes Rachel Groene (pronounced Gree’nee) as the Manager of Business Services. A graduate of Wichita State University, Groene brings more than five years of marketing and brand experience to her new role.
Rachel Groene is the Chamber’s newest team member.
Chamber Director of Business Services, Angie Elliott, hired Rachel after an intensive search for someone with relationship management and special event experience. Elliott said, “We had many qualified candidates who were interested in being part of the Chamber team. We were impressed with Rachel’s accomplishments, experience and professionalism. We’re confident that our members will enjoy working with her and that she’ll help us continue to provide value-added programming and services for our members.”
Angie Elliott was recently promoted from the Manager of Business Services to the Director of Business Services by Chamber President and CEO, Gary Plummer. Elliott started her Chamber career in 2008, and is a graduate of the Institute for Organizational Management (IOM), a professional development program of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation. Elliott holds a BA in Business/Marketing from Friends University and an MEd in Sports Administration from Wichita State University.
Angie Elliott has been promoted to Director of Business Services.
Plummer commented on the recent staff changes. “We’ve already been congratulated on Rachel’s hire by some of our members who have worked with her during her career. And I’m very pleased that Angie will now be able to take on more responsibilities in her Director role. She’s a team player, strategic thinker, and an excellent resource manager. She’s well respected by our Board, staff and volunteers for her vision, leadership abilities and management skills.”
Please help us congratulate Angie on her promotion and welcome Rachel to our Chamber team.
Teufel Departs Wichita
Debra Teufel has promoted Wichita’s workforce and positive business environment across the continent and around the globe since joining the organization more than seven years ago. She’s represented the Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition (GWEDC) in her travels to Norway, Spain, Germany, France, England, the Netherlands and Canada. Hosting international representatives who wanted a closer look at Wichita’s capabilities has also been part of her duties. Officials from Japan, China, Germany, Hong Kong, Belgium, Brazil and Denmark have benefitted from her extensive knowledge about the local economy and the large network she’s developed in her role as GWEDC’s Vice President of Business Development.
Debra has recently accepted a position as Director of Public/Private Partnerships for Price College of Business at the University of Oklahoma. We’ll miss her passionate advocacy for our community, region and state when she departs Wichita later this month. Please join us in wishing her all the best as she begins her new role on September 1.
Bay Joins GWEDC
Wichitan Craig Bay joined GWEDC last week as the Director of Special Projects. He brings 18 years of project and process management, customer relationship management, and leadership team experience from NetApp Corporation to his new role. Bay joins GWEDC’s Nick Campbell in supporting the Blueprint for Regional Economic Growth (BREG). Follow this link to learn more about the eight regional BREG cluster teams and how they are defining specific actions to increase their economic strength in south central Kansas.
Toni Porter is already well-known to many of our Chamber members who will be pleased to learn that she has joined our organization as a part-time Project Manager on the Government Relations staff. Toni recently left her full-time position as District Director for
Toni Porter brings a wealth of experience to her Government Relations position with the Chamber.
Kansas Congressman Mike Pompeo’s organization to explore new career opportunities. She is temporarily filling a Chamber vacancy left on the team with Jaime Dupy’s promotion earlier this month to Manager of Investor Relations.
Toni has enjoyed the smooth transition to her new position. She said, “I couldn’t have felt more welcomed on my first day at the Chamber. Since the Chamber works so closely with elected officials, I was already familiar with many of the staff and had visited the offices on many occasions. It’s a great opportunity to utilize my business background and my government experience.” Earlier in her career Toni worked in corporate communications and in the real estate market.
Barby Jobe, Vice President of Government Relations for the Chamber, is pleased to be working with someone who has so much expertise to share with Chamber members and staff. “Because of her extensive network, Toni was able to begin contributing to our advocacy work on her first day at the Chamber. I’ve always been impressed with her professionalism and we are thrilled to have an opportunity to work with her.”
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.”
Meg Foreman has joined Young Professionals of Wichita (YPW) as the Program & Marketing Manager within the Wichita Metro Chamber. Her responsibilities will include overseeing YPW’s social media channels, working with volunteers, and supporting the executive director.
She was most recently at Eastminster Presbyterian Church as their associate director of communications and spent two years as the communications coordinator at Creative Oklahoma in Oklahoma City before that. Her experience includes working with volunteers, graphic design, social media marketing, and grant writing.
We are excited to have her on our team – welcome, Meg!
Beth Shelton has joined the Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition as the Manager of Business Development. She has more than five years of economic development experience and was most recently employed as the Director of Economic Development for the Salina Area Chamber of Commerce. She begins her duties on Monday, February 10.
Her primary responsibilities will be the retention and expansion of our existing industries by organizing more than 100 formal visitations to discuss how the community could help them grow. Shelton will also be a member of the team responsible for national and international marketing to generate leads for recruiting new companies.
A graduate of Friends University and the University of Oklahoma’s Economic Development Institute, Shelton was the Economic Development Coordinator for GWEDC from 2008 to 2013.
“We are very excited to welcome Beth back to our team,” said GWEDC President Tim Chase. “We know she did a great job at her post in Salina, which will make her invaluable to GWEDC and the Chamber’s efforts.”