By Suzy Finn
Director of Community Advancement
The Heartland Wichita Black Chamber of Commerce held its second annual Black & White Ball on April 22. The Ball is the Chamber’s main fundraising event, as well as an opportunity to honor inductees into the Black Business Hall of Fame.
2017 Hall of Fame inductees included Juanita Hayes-Hill, Ed Givens Sr., and James Arbertha. Wichita Public Schools Superintendent Alicia Morris-Thompson received the new BIG Apple Award, and Cox Business and Walmart were inducted into the Presidents Circle.
At the end of the evening, Heartland Chamber President Bernard Knowles recognized two other individuals in attendance, one of which was Christal E. Watson, President and CEO of the Heartland Chamber, based in Kansas City. Knowles also recognized Gary Plummer, President and CEO of the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce, for the Chamber’s efforts to promote inclusion and diversity in the Wichita business community, such as inviting the presidents of the Heartland Wichita Black Chamber, Wichita Hispanic Chamber, and Wichita Black Chamber of Commerce to be part of The Chamber Board of Directors.
“We are truly honored by this recognition,” Gary said, “and I accept it on behalf of Junetta Everett, Suzy Finn and many others who are dedicated to this important initiative.” Junetta, of Delta Dental of Kansas, is the Chamber’s Vice Chair of Inclusion, and Suzy is the Chamber’s Director of Community Advancement and Young Professionals of Wichita.
Inclusion is one of the Wichita Regional Chamber’s four strategic priorities in 2017, with a goal of convening business leaders and partners to enhance Wichita’s image as an inclusive community that values the many aspects of diversity.