Does Wichita need some swagger?

Brad Segal, the speaker in last night’s Fuel the Fire series, thinks Wichita needs a bit of an attitude adjustment. And he thinks that stopping to celebrate some of our accomplishments may help kick start our confidence in our ourselves and our City.

Several hundred people gathered on Wednesday evening to hear Brad Segal, the speaker for the final Fuel the Fire series.

Several hundred people gathered on Wednesday evening to hear Brad Segal, the speaker for the final event in the 2014 Fuel the Fire series.

Segal has worked in 35 states and with 150 different cities during his career as a real estate economist and planner. He’s spent time in Wichita on both a personal and professional level and believes the city would benefit from displaying a little more swagger. Why? It’s been his experience that successful cities believe in themselves, embrace their strengths and always celebrate their victories.

Previous Fuel the Fire speakers have stressed that Wichita needs to understand its differential advantages and then promote them. Segal echoed that theme and suggested that promoting the community’s affordable housing might be one of the keys to retaining, attracting, and bringing back the young professionals that local companies need to fill their skills gap.

Segal sees jobs moving to those cities that strengthen their millennial talent pool. By the year 2020, 50% of the American workforce will be made up of millennials.

Segal said, “It’s up to cities and regions to invest in their future.” Investment in infrastructure, education and innovation will need to be made at the local level as federal investment continues to decline.

For photos from the event, see the Chamber’s Facebook album. The video of Segal’s presentation will be posted in early November at Photos and observations from participants are also available on Twitter at #FueltheFireICT.

The Fuel the Fire Speaker Series was underwritten by the John S. & James L. Knight Foundation Fund at the Wichita Community Foundation, the Leadership Council of the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce and other generous community donors. It was organized and presented by the Wichita Community Foundation, Wichita Downtown Development Corporation, and the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce.

Coletta Kicks Off Fuel the Fire Speaker Series this Thursday

Carol Coletta

Carol Coletta

You have heard us talking about it, and now the time has almost arrived for the The Fuel the Fire Speaker Series to begin. Carol Coletta, Vice President of Community and National Initiatives at the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, is an expert on the development of cities and will be in Wichita this Thursday, Aug. 28 to speak about the importance of cultivating and sustaining talent in Wichita.

The series of three speakers, which is designed to engage the community in conversations revolving around national trends, will focus on how to competitively position Wichita for the future. The Wichita Community Foundation, Wichita Downtown Development Corporation, and the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce have partnered to make this series possible.

Before joining the Knight Foundation in 2013, Coletta was director of ArtPlace, a unique public-private collaboration to accelerate creative placemaking in communities across the United States. ArtPlace brings together leading private foundations, the National Endowment for the Arts, other federal agencies and major banks.

Coletta is also a past president and CEO of CEOs for Cities, a national network of urban leaders. She has served as executive director of the Mayors’ Institute on City Design, and also ran a Memphis-based public affairs consulting firm, Coletta & Company, focused on civic issues.

She has written and spoken extensively on the future of cities, including how communities develop, attract and retain talent, making her the perfect person to kick off the Fuel the Fire Speaker Series.

Coletta‘s keynote, which is free and open to the public, is on Aug. 28 at 5 p.m. at The LUX (120 E. 1st St. N.). For additional details, and to RSVP, visit

Media Links
Official News Release
Jeff Fluhr of WDDC and Shelly Prichard of WCF on 99.7 Lite FM Lite is Local 
Wichita Business Journal Article
Wichita Eagle Article