Is Wichita embracing or dismissing emerging trends?

Carol Coletta shared her expertise on developing communities that attract and retain talent during the first presentation in the Fuel the Fire speaker series. Coletta spoke to a group of more than two hundred who gathered to hear about emerging trends and how Wichita can provide catalytic growth opportunities. Cities ignoring or denying these trends will lose their competitive advantage.

–The world is moving too fast to research and replicate “best practices” in other places.

–58% of the success of your community is tied to college-educated talent. Your community’s college graduation should be measured, monitored and moving upward.

–An economically integrated community positively influences intergenerational mobility within that community.

–Economic mobility is more difficult than ever to achieve today, especially if you don’t live near a college-educated talent pool.

–A vibrant core is imperative for your community’s success and evidence supports the importance of ‘place’ as an accelerator of talent and opportunity.

–The 25-34 age group wants to live within a 3-mile (walkable) radius of the city core. This is a 40-year trend that keeps accelerating. This age group chooses ‘place’ first and then looks for jobs.

–Business is following talent back to city cores.

–Every city has a distinctiveness and you must find yours and promote it. What are the attributes that make your city unique?

–Brand exhaustion makes your city’s localness more appealing.

–The future of a city is no longer determined by a few bold decisions made by several key people. Community development is now a product of lots of decisions made by lots of people.

–Cities should retain and capitalize on loyalty from those who aren’t always physically present in the community, but might contribute their time, talent or treasure if asked. U.S. cities haven’t approached this fractional loyalty in an organized way, but the country of Australia has made a concerted effort to stay networked with their citizens who live abroad.

Coletta warned that that the non-believers will tell you not to invest in your community and will cause you to continue to fall further and further behind. She advised the crowd to put every community decision they are asked to support to a simple test. Does it increase talent, opportunity, or quality of place?

A challenge was also issued to the 25-34 age group in Wichita to have the courage to start building vibrancy now. “There’s no need to wait for permission to get started,” said Coletta. It’s time for all age groups to understand Wichita’s Localness and lean into it.

Next up in the speaker’s series is native Wichitan James Chung on September 17. He’ll share his insight into the demographic changes affecting communities like Wichita. RSVP for the remaining two events in the speaker series here, and see the official press release about the series here.

Carol Coletta speaks to a crowd of 200+ at the Fuel the Fire Speaker Series kick off.

Carol Coletta speaks to a crowd of 200+ at the Fuel the Fire Speaker Series kick off.


It’s Time to Fuel the Fire

PrintPositioning Wichita as the premier place to grow companies, careers and communities requires understanding changing demographics, new concepts in urban planning and other shifts in the consumer landscape. The Fuel the Fire Speaker Series provides a unique opportunity for Wichitans to listen, learn and ask questions at three upcoming presentations. The series is a collaborative effort between the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce, Wichita Downtown Development Corporation, and the Wichita Community Foundation to engage the community in discussions about changing national trends that will affect Wichita’s future.

Jeff Fluhr is the president of the Wichita Downtown Development Corporation (WDDC) and an enthusiastic supporter of moving Wichita forward. His editorial in today’s Wichita Business Journal provides more information about the speaker series and an invitation to participate.  “We need the unique perspectives and input of community volunteers, entrepreneurs, thought leaders, elected officials, young professionals, social service providers, artists, business leaders, educators and workforce recruiters. Consider yourself invited if you care about Wichita and want to be involved in making sure it thrives.”

You can also learn more about the series by tuning in to the LITE IS LOCAL program on 99.7 LITE FM this Sunday (August 17) at 8 a.m.  Jeff Fluhr and Shelly Prichard, President and CEO of the Wichita Community Foundation (WCF), recorded the program earlier this week and provided more details about how they hope the series will impact Wichita’s future.

Mark the dates on your calendar (August 28, September 17 and October 29) and plan to attend. Each session will be held at 5 p.m. at The Lux (120 East First). Please RSVP soon since space is limited.

The Fuel the Fire Speaker Series is made possible through a grant from the Knight Foundation Fund at WCF, as well as funds from WCF, WDDC and the Chamber’s Leadership Council.

Jeff Fluhr and Shelly Prichard at 99.7 Lite FM

                            Jeff Fluhr and Shelly Prichard at 99.7 Lite FM