Landon to join Wichita Community Foundation

Landon, Holly - webHolly Landon has announced that she will take the next step in her promising career as the Director of Philanthropic Giving for the Wichita Community Foundation. For the past seven years, Holly has managed some of our largest member events and built many valuable relationships for the Chamber in her role as Manager of Business Services.

Gary Plummer, Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce President & CEO, described Holly as an emerging community leader. “Holly has a wide network of business connections and she’s been a strong team player in our mission to drive economic growth and community advancement in the Wichita region. We will miss her dedication to our members and her drive to continually improving their Chamber experiences. We’re very pleased that she’s joining an organization that will utilize her talents to further benefit Wichita.”

Holly’s last day at the Chamber will be July 15, and she will begin her new role at the Wichita Community Foundation on July 20. We wish her all the best in this new adventure.

Chamber hits the airwaves

By Aless Garvey

Wichita Metro Chamber reps or radio stars? How about both? President and CEO Gary Plummer and Manager of Business Services Holly Landon were guests on two different radio shows last Sunday.

The Chamber in 2015

Gary Plummer at KNSS

Gary Plummer at KNSS

Plummer was featured on KNSS Issues with Steve McIntosh talking about the Chamber’s direction for 2015. He answered challenging questions about Wichita’s future:

— How will the new airport terminal building impact Wichita?
— Why is it important to promote the cultural side of Wichita?
— What has the success of Wichita State’s Basketball programs meant to the community?
— How can the Chamber encourage more foreign trade for Wichita companies?

When asked about his vision for Wichita in 2015 he said, “We can all agree that we want to see Wichita grow and we want to see job creation occur in this city.” You can hear how he plans to attain that goal by listening to the full interview here.

Honors Night

Holly Landon, Gayla Crouse and Jackie Comfort on 99.7 LITE FM

Holly Landon, Gayla Crouse and Jackie Comfort on 99.7 LITE FM

The Oscars have come to Kansas! Or at least the next best thing: Honors Night 2015! The Chamber will be rolling out the red carpet on April 21 to recognize some of our community’s finest, following a tradition started more than 50 years ago.

Honors Night celebrates an outstanding individual, three exemplary corporate citizens, exceptional commitment to the community, and a striking architectural achievement. All of the honors have special meaning because each contributes to the greater well-being of our community.

99.7 Lite FM hosted Holly Landon and Honors Night Committee Chair Jackie Comfort on Lite is Local – a half hour community advancement program featuring members of the community detailing their upcoming events. Holly describes Honor’s Night as “a big community celebration.” She notes that one of the highlights of the night are the videos produced for each nominee: “They give audience an inside view of the company that you wouldn’t usually see or read in the papers.”

You can learn more about Honors Night and other upcoming Chamber events by listening to the full interview here.

Honors Night tickets are now available and can be purchased at wichitachamber.org/HonorsNight.

Chairman’s Lunch panelists announced

Our 2015 Chairman’s Lunch will take place from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 5 at INTRUST Bank Arena. A panel of community leaders and elected officials will answer questions raised during the Fuel the Fire Speaker Series and what those answers mean for Wichita.

“Last fall, three national speakers spent some time in Wichita offering their ideas on national trends that are affecting Wichita – our quality of life, our workforce, and how we can retain and attract jobs,” Chamber President and CEO Gary Plummer said. “They posed some great questions for the community to consider, and we thought we would benefit from hearing what some of our local leaders have to say about these same topics.”

The program will emphasize the importance of continued collaboration between our business community, governing bodies, and educational institutions in promoting Wichita’s best economic development differentiators—our educated and experienced workforce.

2015 Chamber Chair Jon Rosell

2015 Chamber Chair Jon Rosell

The discussion, moderated by Chamber Chair Jon Rosell, will include the following panelists:

  • Dr. John Bardo, President, Wichita State University
  • Laura Bernstorf, Chair, Young Professionals of Wichita (YPW)
  • Carl Brewer, Mayor, City of Wichita
  • Richard Ranzau, Chair, Sedgwick County Commission
  • Gary Schmitt, Chair, Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition (GWEDC)

This community event is open to the public. Tickets are $50 for chamber members, $60 for general admission, and $650 for a corporate table sponsorship (includes eight tickets and sponsorship benefits). Call 268-1123 or visit wichitachamber.org to purchase tickets.

2015 Honors Night recipients announced

Each year, we recognize individual, corporate, and architectural achievement at our Honors Night celebration. The 2015 event will be held on Tuesday, April 21.

“Honors Night celebrates an outstanding individual, exemplary corporate citizens, exceptional commitments to the community, and striking architectural achievements,” said Gary Plummer, President and CEO of the Wichita Metro Chamber. “Each honor is bestowed in recognition of a unique contribution to the enhancement of our community.”

The 2015 recipient of the Spirit of Wichita award is Wichita State University. Established in 2002, The Spirit of Wichita Award recognizes businesses or not-for-profit organizations that have previously been given the Over the Years award. The organization’s culture must be basically the same as when it received the Over the Years Award a minimum of 20 years ago with employment, leadership, innovation and community involvement continuing to be strong.

The three 2015 recipients of the Over the Years award are: Meritrust Credit Union; The LDF Companies; and Youth Entrepreneurs. The Over the Years Award recognizes businesses and institutions with long-standing performances as good corporate citizens and major contributors to the community’s economic well-being; displaying leadership, innovation and community involvement.

The 2015 recipient of the Keeper of the Plains award is Cathedral of The Immaculate Conception. The Keeper of the Plains Award recognizes an outstanding architectural achievement completed by a firm, organization or individual, which has contributed to the beauty of our community.

The 2015 recipient of the Uncommon Citizen award will be announced later this month. Established in 1974, the Uncommon Citizen is the Chamber’s most prestigious individual award. It recognizes those who, by their individual efforts year after year, have made uncommon contributions to the people and institutions of Wichita and the surrounding area. These uncommon citizens are honored not only for their role in business but for their participation in cultural, civic, social and philanthropic activities.

Honors Night 2015 will be held Tuesday, April 21, at Beech Activity Center, 9710 E. Central. Tickets are now available for purchase at wichitachamber.org/HonorsNight or by calling 265-7771. Formal invitations will be sent to Chamber members, but the general public is also invited to attend.

Janelle Bogart to depart Chamber

Bogart_webAccount Executive Janelle Bogart will depart the Chamber after 1.5 years of service. During that time, she brought joy to our workplace and very effectively showcased the Chamber to many prospects and new members.

Beginning Dec. 29, Janelle will assume the role of Account Manager for Grainger, a Chamber member and leading distributor of industrial supplies, MRO equipment, tools and materials.

“I am so blessed to have worked with some of the most incredible talent in Wichita,” Janelle said. “I will look back on my time here with wonderful memories and look forward to staying actively involved in the Chamber community.”

“While we will miss Janelle’s expertise and contagious laugh, we wish her the very best and much success in all she does,” said Chamber President Gary Plummer.

Chamber President, Chairman be to featured on Lite Is Local broadcast

Lite is Local 001_smallChamber President Gary Plummer and 2015 Board Chairman Jon Rosell will be the featured guests on Sunday morning’s Lite Is Local broadcast on 99.7 LITE FM. During the interview with host Gayla Crouse, the two share their favorite takeaways from our recent Annual Meeting with Dr. Condoleezza Rice, as well as what the new 2015 Chamber board members bring to the table.

In regards to the Chamber’s 2015 Legislative Agenda, Gary states the goal as establishing “predictability for business.” Jon also lets us in on his vision for the upcoming year, and you may be surprised by his answer. Tune to 99.7 LITE FM this Sunday at 8 a.m. to hear his response.

Lite is Local airs every Sunday at 8 a.m. on 99.7 LITE FM. Hear podcasts of past interviews on their website.

Chamber and partners to work on community issues

There’s no getting around the fact that we’re disappointed with the results of the sales tax election on November 4 in Wichita.  I believe we missed an opportunity to move Wichita forward.

But the sun did come up on November 5 and there is still a need to make a difference in our hometown.  We still need to accelerate our community’s competitiveness and we appreciate how the process has raised awareness about jobs and economic development.

In addition, this community should continue to address water, transit and street repairs.  Addressing these community needs will take positive ideas from all citizens and we encourage you to continue sharing your ideas with members of the City Council.

Now is not the time to stop discussing solutions to the challenges that face us.  The community belongs to all of us and sales tax proponents and opponents must be included in the ongoing conversation surrounding these challenges.

One of the many positive byproducts of the recent campaign was the number of diverse groups that came together to form a broad coalition for community advancement. We need to ensure the coalition and additional partners continue to work together to improve our community.

As for the Chamber and Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition, we still have a job to do in growing our economyWe have an outstanding staff at GWEDC and we’re proud of the work they’ve done the past 11 years to retain or create more than 20,000 jobs in our region.  That team, working closely with local government and other partners, will continue to help existing and new companies create jobs.  We will also work with Wichita State University and other partners, through the Blueprint for Regional Economic Growth, to identify opportunities to diversify our regional economy.

I want to thank our elected officials for giving the opportunity to vote on this issue.  I also applaud the Chamber Board of Directors and Leadership Council for their courage in leading a community discussion of the issues we face and the options for resolving them.

The Yes Wichita campaign did a tremendous job of running a civil campaign with honor and integrity that was full of positive energy and effort.  We want to commend the campaign leadership and all of the volunteers who worked so hard on moving the community forward.  We appreciate the passion and funds they contributed to this important cause.

Let’s all continue this important work!

Chamber supports the Yes Wichita campaign

It’s September 4 today, which means we are only about 60 days away from the opportunity to vote YES for Wichita. As we announced on August 18, the Board of Directors for the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce voted to support the 1 percent sales tax referendum that was passed by the Wichita City Council on August 5. The referendum aligns with the Chamber’s Mission and Vision and the approval of this referendum is a top priority for the Chamber this year. It is critical to our economic development success.

The Chamber Board of Directors and the Chamber’s Leadership Council reached consensus on this issue and are aligned on the importance of supporting the sales tax referendum. We believe that venturing boldly means taking a leadership role and supporting the strategic plan developed by our elected officials and government leaders from citizen input. In short, we believe in investing in ourselves.

The Chamber’s role is to be the primary educator on this issue for our more than 1,700 Chamber members. We are actively asking our members to support this initiative by voting YES on November 4, because we believe it provides the innovation and infrastructure needed to move Wichita forward.

The Yes Wichita campaign is the primary educator for Wichita voters. The Chamber is not a financial contributor to the campaign, but a number of Chamber members and some staff are lending their expertise and support as campaign volunteers. There are a variety of ways Chamber members can support the campaign and we encourage your involvement.

We look forward to answering your questions about this issue on our blog and in other Chamber materials during the next few months. We welcome your questions and look forward to sharing the answers with all Chamber members. Please forward your questions to communications@wichitachamber.org.

Yes Wichita 006

Chamber President & CEO Gary Plummer signs a banner at a news conference launching the Yes Wichita campaign.

Stephanie Warren joins the Chamber as VP of Membership & Business Services

Stephanie Warren

Stephanie Warren

Stephanie Warren joins the Chamber today, Tuesday, September 2, as the Chamber’s Vice President of Membership & Business Services.

Warren holds a Master’s Degree in Communications and has spent the majority of her career generating revenue for non-profit organizations through membership growth and retention. She’s also experienced in developing non-dues revenue programs, sales management, strategic planning, and government and community relations. Much of Warren’s experience comes from organizations she’s worked with in the Kansas City area and in California. She earned her Bachelor’s degree from Wichita State University and returned to Wichita several years ago. She most recently served on the South Wichita YMCA Advisory Board and as an account executive for Entercom Radio Group.

Gary Plummer, President and CEO of the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce, indicated that an extensive search was conducted for this vital leadership role. “We’ve combined the leadership roles for the Membership and the Business Services areas with this position. Both are critical to the Chamber’s success. In addition to the knowledge she needs for this position, Stephanie brings 16 years of experience as both a staff leader and as a Board Member with two chambers.

“It’s very gratifying to return to my hometown with skills and experience gained in other markets to benefit Wichita,” Warren said. “I was immediately impressed by the professional staff and the quality and scope of the programming they offer their members. This is a first class Chamber and I’m honored to join it.”

Phyllis Robertson – Wichita’s newest entrepreneur

Phyllis Robertson

Phyllis Robertson

After five and a half years of service, Phyllis Robertson will leave her position as Vice President of Business Services at the Chamber. She has filled the role since 2009 when the position was created to evaluate how the Chamber could offer more resources and services to small business members. Phyllis has been a champion for small business members and local entrepreneurs, developing programs to assist them in growing their businesses.

“Phyllis has been instrumental in growing the programs available to our small business members, as well as a connector for small businesses and resources available in all parts of our community,” Chamber President Gary Plummer said. “We thank and congratulate Phyllis on her successful career with the Chamber, and wish her every success in the future.”

“There are so many wonderful people and businesses in Wichita, and I have truly enjoyed meeting and getting to know the stories of so many of them,” Phyllis said.

She plans to begin a new business venture as a consultant and executive coach. Her last day is August 28.