Leadership Wichita is a Chamber program designed to inform and inspire highly active leaders in our community. It offers an immersive experience that identifies 30 local achievers and then provides them with the tools and connections they need to take increasingly significant roles in the community.
Introduced in 1983 as Leadership 2000, it was eventually renamed Leadership Wichita and is now the longest-running leadership program in Wichita. More than 750 local business, government and military leaders have completed the program. Fidelity Bank chairman and chief executive officer, Clark Bastian, was a member of the second graduating class. He completed the training in 1984, and attributes part of his leadership success to the program. He described the benefits of the program and how it still helps him succeed in an article published in the March 27 edition of the Wichita Eagle. You can read the full interview with Bastian and learn more about Leadership Wichita below.
–What was your most important takeaway from the program?
The presenters were so friendly and eager to share their perspective on Wichita with us. They made us feel important and considered us to be the future champions of our city.
–What surprised you most about the program or agenda?
At our graduation dinner, one of the speakers pointed out that twenty years from now, there would still be fewer than 500 alumni from the program. It confirmed we were a part of something quite special.
–Any lessons you learned that you continue to use today?
It made me realize the value and enjoyment of mentoring future leaders.
–How did it differ from other leadership programs that you’ve experienced?
The Chamber’s Leadership Wichita program is unique in that the presenters are the top leaders of our community, who gladly give of their time to encourage the next generation of citizen leaders.
–What other community leadership positions have you held since 1984?
Well, it’s been over thirty years since my graduation and I’ve been afforded many opportunities to serve on committees and governing boards of organizations dedicated to improving the quality of life in Wichita.
–Do you still interact with any of your classmates from the program?
Of the original twenty…sadly, some have passed away; some left the area for other opportunities. In 1991, one of my classmates and I traveled with our wives to Europe. Another, I bump into regularly at community events.
–Do you continue to recommend the program or nominate others that you mentor?
I highly recommend the Chamber’s Leadership Wichita program. And, over the years it’s been fun to meet alumni and tell them, “Hey – I was in the class of `84.” It’s an instant bond of friendship.
–Do you think it’s important for the Chamber to continue to facilitate leadership training? Why or why not?
The Chamber is in a unique position to furnish staff support and engage community leaders as presenters for the program. We owe it to the future champions of our city to provide this experience.
Those interested in participating in the 2016 program must be nominated and then submit an application by June 22. The sessions will be held from Sept. 8 through Nov. 17.
Check the Chamber’s online alumni directory for a list of other program graduates.