Samia Joins Chamber Team

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.

Finn adds Community Advancement to her Chamber work

Suzy Finn is the Executive Director of the Young Professionals of Wichita.

Suzy Finn is expanding her Chamber work to include Community Advancement.

Suzy Finn thrives on connecting people, ideas, and resources. She’s been focusing that passion on the Young Professionals of Wichita (YPW) since she returned to Wichita to earn her MBA in 2010. As a YPW member and volunteer, and then later as the organization’s Executive Director, she’s been fully engaged in YPW’s mission to attract, engage and retain the diverse young talent mix that Wichita needs to drive economic growth and community advancement.

Finn understands the allure of leaving Wichita to establish a career in a larger metropolitan area. She’s been there and done that. After completing her Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations and Studio Art at Marquette, she worked in the Washington, DC area for several years.

She also understands the many benefits of returning to your hometown to advance your career and how critical it is to widen and deepen Wichita’s talent pool. Her experience makes her a great choice to add Community Advancement to her Chamber resume.

Effective September 1, Finn will begin splitting her time between her current YPW work and her new endeavors in the Chamber’s Community Advancement area. A Program Coordinator will be hired to assist her in both areas. A news release was issued earlier today detailing her new Chamber responsibilities.

We’re confident that the Chamber programs in these two areas will be strengthened as a result of Finn’s commitment to the Chamber and we invite you to congratulate and support her in her newest endeavor.

Your 24-year old employees: What skills, abilities and qualities does your business need from them?

The Chamber and the Business and Education Alliance (BEA) are encouraging local business leaders to participate in a communication session about the future of education on Tuesday, June 2 at the Wichita Art Museum (1400 W. Museum Blvd) from 9 to 11 a.m. The session is being led by representatives of the Kansas State Department of Education and participants will be asked to weigh in on the following three questions:

Business leaders are urged to provide input to the Kansas Education Commissioner during a special session on June 2.

Business leaders are urged to provide input to the Kansas Education Commissioner during a special session on June 2.

  • What are the characteristics, qualities, abilities and skills of a successful 24-year old Kansan?
  • What are the needs of business and industry and what skills and abilities are lacking in today’s 24-year old?
  • How can business and industry partner with K-12 and higher education in creating the 24-year old that has those skills and abilities?

BEA member Ray Frederick is the President/Owner of Frederick Plumbing & Heating in Wichita. Frederick plans to participate because, “I believe it’s critical to integrate the 3 R’s of business (respect, responsibility and relationships) with the 3 R’s of education (reading, writing, and arithmetic).”

Information collected during the session will be used to help guide the state’s strategic plan for education. Additional events are being scheduled throughout the state as part of a state-wide initiative to involve the business community in shaping the future of the education of their workforce.

To RSVP for the event, please contact the Chamber’s Manager of Community Advancement, Renee Anderson at 316-268-1141 or To learn more about the initiative, titled Kansas Children Kansas’s Future, please contact Penny Rice at Kansas State Department of Education, 785-296-3202 or