New Engage & Ignite Small Business Conference Scheduled for May 11

2016_SBA_awards_4cLeading-edge ideas and enlightening discussions about the fundamentals of running a small business are the topics of a new conference that has been added to our annual Small Business Awards event. The Engage & Ignite Small Business Conference will be held on Wednesday, May 11, prior to the Small Business Awards Luncheon and the announcement of the 2016 Small Business of the Year.

Angie Elliott, Vice President of Business Services, says the new conference is the brainchild of the Small Business Awards planning committee. “The annual Small Business Awards luncheon is always well attended because people really enjoy learning the stories behind the success of our top ten small businesses. They like to peek behind the scenes and learn about the obstacles those businesses have overcome and how they can apply some of those lessons to their own organizations. We’ve been working on expanding that learning experience and the result is a new morning conference that will be followed by our annual luncheon.”

The conference will be held from 9 to 11 a.m. at the Hyatt Regency of Wichita. Three sessions are available for attendees every half hour with a short break in between. Topics range from Dealing with Common Family Business Challenges to Low-Cost Marketing Ideas. The luncheon begins at 11:15 a.m.

Elliott said the Small Business Awards committee kept the conference cost affordable at $15 per person. “We’re hoping that businesses will send more than one person to the conference since we have so many interesting speakers who are focused on providing valuable take-aways that attendees can immediately implement in their operations.”

Small Business Awards Events

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Elliott named Chamber Vice President

Angie Elliott has been named Vice President of Business Services for the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce. Her promotion was effective January 1, 2016.

Angie Elliott has been named Vice President of Business Services for the Chamber.

Angie Elliott has been named Vice President of Business Services for the Chamber.

Elliott has been with the Chamber since 2008, when she was named Manager of Business Services. In her new role she oversees the largest business-related events in the community, including the Chamber’s Annual Meeting, Honors Night, and Exposure. In 2015, the Chamber recorded a total attendance of 9,600 at 34 business service events.

Chamber President & CEO Gary Plummer said that Elliott had been promoted as a result of her strong performance during her Chamber tenure, but particularly for assuming more leadership responsibility for her department in 2015. “She’s a strategic thinker who brings a great deal of leadership to our team. We feel very fortunate to have someone of her caliber dedicated to developing the events and programs our members need.”

Elliott earned her bachelor’s in Business from Friends University and earned a Master’s degree from Wichita State University. She’s a graduate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Institute for Organization Management. Elliott has also volunteered for the Kansas Humane Society and is currently a Big Sister mentor.

Waving Wichita’s Flag

City of Wichita

Post pictures of your organization flying Wichita’s official flag to @WichitaFlag on Twitter and Instagram.

In case you missed it, today’s Wichita Eagle Business Today section has an editorial by Angie Elliott about Wichita’s official city flag. Angie is the Manager of Business Services for the Chamber and has been part of a recent grassroots movement to elevate the flag’s prominence in our city’s landscape. She’s always been one of Wichita’s most vocal advocates and a Wichita flag lapel pin is now an essential part of her wardrobe. She’s found it to be the perfect entrée into daily discussions about what people love about Wichita.

Angie has enthusiastically swept the rest of us up into her project to educate Wichitans about the flag. We’re now flying it daily at the Chamber building and we distributed flag lapel pins to all of our Board members at our monthly meeting in June.

As we approach Wichita’s birthday on July 21, we hope you’ll join us in posting flag images to the @WichitaFlag Instagram and Twitter accounts. Be sure to use #WichitaFlag and include the reasons you love Wichita. It’s an easy way to demonstrate our pride in the people, organizations, businesses, and places that make Wichita so special.

Waving the Flag of Wichita

With Flag Day approaching this Sunday, June 14, we wanted to share the message behind Wichita’s (often unknown) flag. Our Manager of Business Services Angie Elliott has prepared the post below about what the flag means to her.

Angie Elliott

Angie Elliott

Let’s play a flag game. I’ll mention a flag and you visualize it.

  • The United States flag. Got it! Too easy.
  • The Canadian flag. Of course you know that one too.
  • The Olympic flag. Oh yeah, the five rings.
  • The Wichita flag…. Huh?

Don’t feel bad if an image of the Wichita flag doesn’t immediately come to mind. You’re in the majority. Today, I’m quite pleased to introduce it to you. But first, humor me just a moment longer. Try to visualize the Wichita flag, based on its description below.

“Three red and three white rays alternate from an off-center blue sun. The rays are the path of freedom to come and go as one pleases. The blue disc represents happiness, contentment. Stitched on the blue sun is an Indian symbol for hogan or permanent home. It’s a white circle with four sets of three parallel rays emanating from the circle’s principal axis.”

You can see the flag image here. Is it what you pictured? You may have seen it around town but not realized its significance. It was the winning design by a local artist, Cecil McAlister, in a 1937 city flag contest and was accepted by proclamation on June 14, 1937, Flag Day.

Truth is, by reading the description, I really wanted you to think about the design’s meaning, not just visualize the image. I imagine the feelings Cecil incorporated in his design were a commentary on what he valued about his city. Freedom, Happiness, Contentment, Home.

I wear a Wichita flag lapel pin. When someone asks what it is, I share a little knowledge and offer them their own pin. I always wonder if, by taking the pin, they’re just being polite, or if they find special meaning in this little point of Wichita pride. What is it they find valuable about Wichita?

Each of us experience this city differently. My experience as a Wichitan is unique to me. Cecil’s experiences were unique to him. And you have a unique Wichita story, too. The flag is a symbol of pride. Pride in what we share, pride in our differences, pride in why we all work so hard to invest in and build our community.

I share the flag with others because I value their unique Wichita perspective. My appreciation of this city grows when I understand another’s perspective. When I see someone wearing or flying the flag, it makes me smile, and I want to know what part of this city they are celebrating.

Let me know if you’d like a pin. I’m ready to share and I hope you will too.

You can email Angie at

Welcome Rita!

Please help us welcome Rita Malinauskas to the Chamber.

Please help us welcome Rita Malinauskas to the Chamber.

Rita Malinauskas has joined the Business Services team as a Coordinator, working with Chamber Managers Angie Elliott and Holly Landon. She’s been hired to temporarily fill a vacancy left on the team with Jaime Dupy’s promotion earlier this month to Manager of Investor Relations. Angie Elliott said, “Rita joined the Chamber the day before Honors Night (April 21), which is one of our largest events. She didn’t show any hesitation about jumping in and making sure all the details were taken care of for our 710 guests.”

Rita’s first week at the Chamber was a busy one with preparations for a number of spring events underway. She said, “The work is really varied. Everyone has been so welcoming and given me the sense that what we do at the Chamber is important. It’s not just ‘talk’ around here. Everyone believes in what they are doing for our members and that’s been very apparent to me.”

Holly Landon said, “Rita is already connecting people with some of our services. She’s enthusiastic, professional and a quick learner. A great addition to our team.”

Rita earned her BS in Business Administration from the University of Missouri. She most recently worked at Butler Community College in Andover.