Introducing Kirby, the Chamber dog

Kirby is being trained to become a certified assistance dog.

If you have visited the Chamber building in the last month, you may have noticed the pitter patter of little paws or been greeted by requests for belly rubs by Kirby, a 15-week old female black lab. While more and more workplaces are becoming pet-friendly, Kirby is no ordinary pup because she is being trained to become an assistance dog.

Kirby is owned by KSDS Assistance Dogs Inc., located in Washington, KS. The nonprofit organization is fully accredited by Assistance Dogs International (ADI) and provides guide dogs for the visually impaired, service dogs to assist individuals with physical disabilities, and facility dogs that assist professionals in the field of education, counseling, health care, retirement or the legal system.

Kirby once received an invitation to City Hall to meet Mayor Longwell.

Volunteers known as “Puppy Raisers” are an integral part of the KSDS mission. The Puppy Raiser is responsible for teaching the puppy basic obedience, house and public manners, and socialization. Chamber staff member Courtney Sendall and her husband Jeremy are Kirby’s Puppy Raisers, and key to her socialization is accompanying her humans wherever they go (hence coming to work at the Chamber each day). So really, the entire Chamber staff is contributing to her raising.

When Kirby reaches four months of age, she will receive her official “Assistance Dog In Training” vest. If you see her when she is wearing this vest, we ask that you refrain from petting her because wearing the vest is her signal that she is on duty.

When Kirby reaches two years of age, she will return to KSDS for a year of formal training, after which she will be matched will an individual in need of an assistance dog.

So for the next two years, Kirby is will be an official part of your Chamber team. Will it be difficult to give her back? Absolutely. But will it be worth it knowing that she is changing someone’s life? Absolutely.

Even though she is a future assistance dog, she is also still a puppy, so we appreciate your patience if you hear her barks while you’re at our building for a meeting or if she doesn’t display proper manners when she meets you. We’re working on it and she looks forward to meeting you.

Note: A fully-trained KSDS dog is valued at $25,000 and is provided to individuals at no cost, and there is currently a three year waiting list due to a shortage of Puppy Raisers. KSDS reports that 90 cents of every dollar donated goes directly to the support and placement of assistance dogs. Learn more at ksds.org.

Web marketing expert Marcus Sheridan coming to Wichita

Author and web marketing expert Marcus Sheridan will be speaking in Wichita on Oct. 27. His speech is titled “The Digital Consumer: How Today’s Buyer Has Changed and What Your Business Must Do About It” and is specifically designed for marketers and small business owners. The program, presented by Digital Wichita and the Wichita Regional Chamber,  will be held from 7:15 to 11 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 27 at Abode Venue and includes breakfast.

Marcus is the author of the Sales Lion, a sales, marketing and personal development blog, and a partner in River Pools and Spas, which he is credited with saving during the 2008 economic crisis.

An internationally sought after speaker and strategic marketing consultant, Marcus brings clarity to what B2B and B2C companies must do to not only align themselves with the recent shift in buyer patterns, but take advantage of the digital age as well.

Forbes magazine named him one of seven “Best Speakers for Business Growth,” while Entrepreneur magazine last week named him among “11 Marketing Experts Whose Insights Could Change Your Business.”

Early-bird ticket are available for $40 through Aug. 31. A Social Host Package is also available for $375, which includes eight tickets and logo recognition at the event. Each ticket holder will receive a copy of Sheridan’s book They Ask You Answer: A Revolutionary Approach to Inbound Sales, Content Marketing, and Today’s Digital Consumer. Find more information register here before prices go up.

Event sponsorships are still available. Contact Rachel Douglass for more information.

Arts and Culture Grow Wichita’s Economy

Gary Plummer is the President and CEO of the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce.

The numbers tell an impressive story. The non-profit arts and culture sector in Wichita is a significant contributor to the local economy, generating $94.7 million in total industry expenditures in 2015 (according to an updated study conducted by the Georgia Institute of Technology). Wichita’s arts and cultural offerings not only inspire joy and creativity, they also translate to 2,841 full-time equivalent jobs. The study confirms that “investing in this industry supports jobs, generates government revenue and is the cornerstone of tourism.”

There’s no doubt that the arts impact the perception we have of our own community, which is why one of the Chamber’s four 2017 Strategic Priorities revolves around continuing to improve our Quality of Life. Identifying transformational community projects that helps us grow our community and economy is of vital importance to our members.

The Wichita Art Museum won the Chamber’s Keeper of the Plains award this year for the popular new Art Garden.

Please take a moment to review the video prepared by Americans for the Arts and the area of the study that focuses on the economic impact of the arts on Wichita. Both are found on the Americans for the Arts web site.

VideoArts and Economic Prosperity 5
Economic impact of the artsWichita, Kansas 

Better yet, make it a point to support our many cultural offerings in the area. We are enriched by the museums, theaters, film festivals and dance companies we are fortunate to enjoy in Wichita. They are a key factor in transforming our lives and helping us retain and grow our workforce and businesses.

How Are you Celebrating Wichita’s Birthday? (Part 3)

We have four more ideas to share with you for celebrating Wichita’s 147th birthday bash on Friday, July 21.

Increased social media activity during the @wichitaflag’s 80th birthday celebration put Wichita on the map.

Share what you love about our city with the world
Using #ILoveWichita and posting on your favorite social media channel creates a constantly updated and authentic digital brochure about the best things to see and do in Wichita. During last month’s 80th anniversary celebration of the adoption of our city flag, Chamber Board member Mark Nichols with Koch Companies said he noticed the additional @wichitaflag Twitter activity and was impressed with the quantity, quality and creativity of the posts–everything from floral flags to flag cakes. And indeed, all those great posts put @Wichitaflag on the Twitter trendsmap. Nichols said Koch employees use Yammer as an internal platform to share ideas and create a sense of community. He noticed that many of the anniversary flag posts were shared that day in a popular group Koch employees can join called “We Love Wichita.”

Newman University shows their Wichita pride year-round on their digital signage.

Put a birthday message on your digital signage
We salute those Wichita businesses and organizations that have incorporated Wichita pride messages year-round on their digital signage. They’ve contributed to the growth in city pride. Return visitors to the community have noticed the change and first-time visitors are asking questions about the city’s flag. The ABC News crew that visited Wichita in February to cover local reaction to national politics wanted to know about the symbolism behind the Wichita flag since they noticed it displayed at all the locations they visited.

Add the #ILoveWichita decal to the front door of your business or organization.
You can join more than 50 Wichita organizations and businesses that have placed a decal on their front door. It’s fast and easy. And if your front door doesn’t have the perfect location for a decal, consider placing one in your employee break room or another spot that works best for your team. Check out the videos from area companies who have shared why they love being here after they’ve placed their decal and then call Courtney at the Chamber (316-268-1153) to learn about how to join the #ILoveWichita movement.

Stacy Ward Lattin just added the #ILoveWichita decal to the front door of Hopping Gnome Brewing on East Douglas.

Download a Wichita flag coloring sheet
Our partnership with Fidelity Bank has included the development of a coloring page for children and adults with flag facts. More than 900 have been printed and distributed to area basketball camps, preschools, and other organizations that provide services for children. The two-sided sheet is free to download and print and can be found on ilovewichita.org. It was developed at the suggestion of Wichita State University students from the Elliott School of Communication who recommended that the Chamber focus on instilling community pride at an earlier age. Download it, learn some flag facts, color the sheet, complete the sentence at the bottom, “#ILoveWichita because ______,” and then share it on social media.

Check out our previous two blogs this week for suggestions about more ways to celebrate.

How Are you Celebrating Wichita’s Birthday?  (Part 2)

Wichita’s 147th birthday bash is Friday, July 21. How are you celebrating? We shared some ideas in yesterday’s post and have five more listed below.

Hyde Elementary School proudly displays a Wichita flag.

Wave your #Wichitaflag
Gone are the days when only a handful of businesses and homes were flying the city’s official flag. Wichitans are showing their pride at home, school and work by flying their favorite civic symbol and tagging @wichitaflag on social media. Don’t own a flag, yet? Chamber members Henry Helgerson, The Workroom and Wings of the Wind Kites & Toys can set you up with various sizes of flags. Why is community pride and championing the flag imperative for rallying our city? Check The Chung Report article titled Raising the Wichita Flag and watch the Roman Mars Ted Talk about the impact city flags have on civic pride.

#FlagItForwardICT
Know a neighbor, business or organization you think would love to be part of the Wichita flag movement? Gift them a flag! A Wichitalks speaker proposed this idea last year and we think it’s a great one. This is the ultimate Wichita welcome, whether it’s for a business near you that just opened their doors or for a new neighbor who just moved to your block. And the connections built by becoming a better neighbor are imperative for growing our companies, careers and community. Visit this post from The Chung Report about the community and personal benefits of good neighboring – Good Neighboring and the Perception Challenge.

A young visitor from West Chester, Pennsylvania checks out one of Wichita’s outdoor murals.

Visit a mural
Take your picture at one of the many new murals featuring Wichita flag elements and post it on social media. What can you say about a community where three new Wichita murals went up just last weekend? We love art. The number of local-based outdoor murals has skyrocketed in the last several years. Locals and visitors are really enjoying all the new and interesting artwork and those murals are good for business. Check the Wichita Eagle story posted by Matt Riedel earlier this year about how a mural has attracted new customers for a local business. Find a current listing of mural locations at ilovewichita.org or the @wichitaflag mural Facebook album.

Area artisans are painting the Wichita flag on everything from tree stump tables to athletic shoes. This table was painted by local artist, Johnny Freedom.

Support a local artist
Stumped about how to mark a special occasion for a friend, family member or co-worker? Purchase some flag wearables or art to display at your home or office. The variety and quantity of creative folk and commercial art that Wichitans are creating is dazzling. Check the @wichitaflag accounts and look for the flag swag listing on ilovewichita.org

Watch and share flag videos
Look for these titles:

Your Wichita Flag – The Chamber produced a new video last month with member World Studios ICT that was released on the 80th anniversary of the Wichita flag. It’s received nearly 30,000 views on the Chamber’s Facebook page alone.

Resurgence of the Wichita Flag – A ‘first place’ was recently awarded by the National Federation of Press Women for the Resurgence of the Wichita Flag video that the Chamber developed last year with Washburn film student and Wichita native Ben Faires.

Check out yesterday’s post and watch for a new one tomorrow with more suggestions about how to celebrate.

How Are you Celebrating Wichita’s Birthday? (Part 1)

Wichita’s 147th birthday bash is Friday, July 21. How are you celebrating? We have some ideas to share with you in this week’s blog posts.

Attend a Birthday Celebration 
Several Chamber members are hosting special events.

Produce Your Own Birthday Bash
Offer a special discount or service for people wearing Wichita flag swag and promote it via your social media channels.

Watch for more suggestions on blog posts that we’ll publish this week.

Rachel Douglass promoted to Director of Engagement

Rachel Douglass

Gary Plummer, Chamber President & CEO, announced today that Rachel Douglass has been promoted from Manager of Engagement to Director of Engagement effective July 1. She joined the Chamber in September 2015, and her responsibilities include planning and implementation of events and programs which deliver visibility, education and peer connections for Chamber members. She has a comprehensive background in project management, marketing strategy and brand management. Douglass is a graduate of Wichita State University and a volunteer for several organizations including the Ronald McDonald House Charities and the Barton International Group.

Plummer said that Douglass has proven herself to be a valuable part of the Chamber team. “Rachel has shown a great talent for assessing Chamber member needs and connecting them with the most valuable program. Her ability to develop meaningful relationships with our members, vendors and the community at large makes her an important part of the Chamber’s membership engagement efforts. I’m very pleased that Rachel is assuming greater responsibility for the direction of Chamber programming.”

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.

Winning with Instagram

Chamber Communications Manager Courtney Sendall will share her social media expertise at a June 30 event.

When Alaska Airlines announced they were starting service in Wichita, we naturally began following their social media accounts. And their accounts are pretty dazzling. Like most airlines, @AlaskaAir fills their Twitter, Instagram and Facebook posts with breathtaking images of some of the #bucketlist destinations that we’d all like to visit.

But what really sets their accounts apart is the consistent stream of accolades from customers who appreciate the special touches the airline provides. The carrier’s social media team has done an exceptional job of capitalizing on the loyal brand ambassadors they’ve developed by providing stellar customer service.

So we’re eager to hear from Shannon Johnson (@shayboarder), a social media strategist for Alaska Airlines, when she shares her insights about Winning with Instagram in Wichita next week. Johnson is the keynote speaker for a June 30 luncheon event presented by Digital Wichita in celebration of global Social Media Day. The Chamber is one of several local event sponsors.

As an added bonus, six of the local experts who recently made the list of 2017 10 Rockstar Instagrammers in Wichita will also share their best practices. All five of the business accounts on the Rockstar Instagrammers list are Chamber members:  Events and Designs by Ashley, Local Legacy, Reverie Roasters, The Monarch Wichita, and Wichita Real Estate.

User-generated content like this image from Tillie’s Flower Shop make up most of the posts on the @WichitaFlag Instagram account.

We’re very pleased that the Wichita Flag Instagram account also made the top ten list and that Courtney Sendall will represent the Chamber on the panel of local experts. The Chamber secured the @WichitaFlag social media channels on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook several years ago to initiate a grassroots pride-in-place campaign. Wichitans enthusiastically responded to all three accounts and most of the daily posts are user-generated content. Some of the posts are from former Wichitans expressing pride in their city, while others are from Wichitans who take the flag with them when they travel. The Instagram account has more than 4,600 followers and posts that have originated from 29 different states, 17 countries and 4 continents.

Whether you’re an Instagram novice or a seasoned social media expert, we hope you’ll join us next week for some practical takeaways that will strengthen your business and your social media reach. The event is at Abode from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Friday, June 30, and the ticket price is $25.

Links:
Event registration
Video invitation from Shannon Johnson
#SMDayICT

Chamber Celebrates Wichita Flag Day and Abilene Trophy

This morning’s Sunrise Scrambler celebrated the awarding of the Abilene Trophy to the Friends of McConnell as well as the premiere of a new video for the 80th anniversary of the adoption of the city’s official flag.

Elected officials and military leaders helped the Friends of McConnell celebrate winning the Abilene Trophy award.

ABILENE TROPHY
The Friends of McConnell, an affiliate of the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce, was announced as the recipient of the 2016 Abilene Trophy on April 28. The award was officially presented today by Abilene Trophy representatives, Yvonne Batts and Scott Senter. It’s given annually to the community that demonstrates the most support of its local Air Force Base. Also known as the Air Mobility Command Community Support Award, this is the first time that Wichita has been selected for the award since it was initiated in 1998.

Elected officials and representatives of McConnell Air Force Base were on hand to congratulate the Friends of McConnell on the relationships they have built between the community and the Base. Colonel Al Miller from McConnell Air Force Base remarked during today’s ceremony that no other community that he has been assigned to comes close to the Wichita community in support of Airmen.

Please see our Facebook page and Twitter account for more photos and information.

The 80th anniversary of the Wichita flag was also celebrated today.

WICHITA FLAG DAY
Through the generosity of numerous sponsors and partners, the Chamber kicked off the 80th anniversary of the adoption of the city’s official flag this morning with a new video and free items that Wichitans can download to share their pride.

VIDEO

  • The Chamber partnered with World Studios ICT in downtown Wichita to produce a 3-minute video highlighting the history and symbolism behind the flag. The video, titled Your Wichita Flag, is posted on the Chamber’s Facebook page.
  • The video includes sixteen Wichitans who donated their time and talent to participate – Wichita Mayor Jeff Longwell, Jamil Malone, Tammy Allen, Ben Jennings, Madison Harris, Paul Blissett, Angie Elliott, Jonathon Long, Jason Villanueva, Ellen Decker, Courtney Sendall, Royce Stevenson, Jackie Ebert, Jackson Ebert, Cassandra Bryan and Brad Painchaud.

DOWNLOADS

  • A website devoted to the promotion of the #ILoveWichita and @WichitaFlag campaign now has three printables that can be downloaded at ilovewichita.org.
  1. Coloring sheet with flag facts
  2. 11×17 two-sided printed flag with flag information
  3. Copyright information about using the flag
  • Special note:  The coloring sheet was developed as a result of a Chamber brainstorming session with communication students at Wichita State University’s Elliott School of Communication last fall. After learning about the Chamber’s grassroots pride-in-place initiative, the students recommended instilling community pride at an earlier age and focusing on preschool and grade school children.

Special thanks to our Wichita flag partners: World Studios ICT, The Wichita Eagle, VIP Wichita Magazine and Fidelity Bank.

And our sincere gratitude to this month’s Sunrise Scrambler sponsors:  Golden Plains Credit Union, Friends University, Burnell’s Fine Jewelry, Davis-Moore Auto Group and Together Wichita.