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

25 graduate from YPW’s Leadership Academy

We are pleased to congratulate the 25 young professionals who graduated from Young Professionals of Wichita’s Leadership Academy yesterday evening. Over the course of six weeks, they participated in interactive exercises, issue exploration, self-assessments and in-depth conversations with Wichita’s top community and business leaders.

Because millennials will comprise 50% of the American workforce by the year 2020, we believe programs like this are crucial to the betterment of our community. It is quite possible that the young professionals listed below could soon be leading our companies and our city. Please join us in congratulating this year’s Leadership Academy class!

Ambur Alfaro, Delta Dental of Kansas
Amanda Brown, Cargill
Chris Clark, Schaefer Johnson Cox Frey Architecture
Mary Clavo, Bombardier Learjet Inc.
Charlsey Czernicki, Exploration Place
Thomas Dalton, Textron Aviation
Chandler Dopps, Bank of the West
Hilary Erbert, Sullivan, Higdon & Sink
Craig Goodloe, Airbus Americas Engineering
Chelsea Granheim, Hearing Lab Technology, LLC
Drew Hays, Go Wichita
Lyndsey Hogg, Via Christi Health
Danielle Johnson, Wichita State
Courtney Looney, Wichita Community Foundation
Jade Martin, Klenda Austerman
Joe McDowell, Friends University
Deeanna Nelson, Cox Communications
Thea Pajunen, Apples & Arrows
Portia Portugal, Dress for Success Wichita
Mollie Smith, INTRUST Bank
Chris Smythe, Ronald McDonald House Charities
Rachel Steiner, Friends University
Jason Villanueva, Aviator Church
Tyler York, US Senate
Lindsay Zimmerman, Youth Entrepreneurs


For more information about Young Professionals of Wichita, visit

Latest Wichita magazine, annual summary in your mailbox

2015 CoverChamber members should have recently received a copy of our 2014 annual summary in the mail. The annual summary highlights our 2014 activities and the results of our membership survey. An electronic version can be seen here.

Also included in the mailing was our 2015 Metro Wichita Kansas magazine (pictured). The magazine showcases the best of Wichita and surrounding communities – our skilled workforce, progressive business climate, amenities and cultural attractions. Original articles feature Wichita’s emerging startups, airport improvements and medical advancements.

We use this publication year-round to familiarize potential businesses, employees and residents with the community and our quality of life. It’s also distributed to local companies and young professionals to increase their awareness about the advantages the area has to offer.

A digital version of the magazine is free and available online and can be shared through email and social media. An optimized tablet version is also available. Printed copies of the magazine can be obtained by calling 265-7771.

Solving the Mystery of Employee Engagement

Sunrise Scrambler 039_cropEmployee Engagement: what does that really mean? This month’s Sunrise Scrambler tackled this important topic when Carrie Wiegand of AGH Employer Solutions presented “Destroying Employee Engagement Myths: What Really Matters in Engaging Employees.” Attendees learned that 1 out of 3 employees are disengaged from the organization they work for. Her presentation offered ideas and examples to continually re-engage those working with, around and for you. We have recapped some of her main points below.

Mistakes organizations make in attempting to engage employees

  • Programs like “Employee of the Month” – While it is nice to recognize employees, it does not often drive engagement because criteria for choosing the star employee is often unclear.
  • Free food and drinks – This can promote a sense of comradery but does not inspire engagement.
  • Employee surveys – More often than not, little action comes as a result of these kinds of surveys, which can leave employees feeling even more disengaged than before.

What does engagement look like?

  • Organizations with a clear mission and whose employees can tie what they do to advancing that mission tend to have more engaged employees.
  • People who are passionate about their work are more committed and more engaged.

Other Main Points

  • Only 37% of 23,000 surveyed employees understand their organization’s goals, and only 15% feel empowered to execute their goals
  • Gallup research indicates that companies with engaged employees have better attendance, less turnover, fewer accidents, and are 12% more profitable.
  • Tips to improve engagement: establish open communication between employees and supervisors, know your brand, and hire people who fit that brand.
  • Managers have to be able to distinguish characteristics vs. behavior. Example: the term “customer service” can mean several different things to different people. Managers must clearly define the expectations and how that looks.
  • Positive feedback and recognition is cited as the #1 reason employees are high performers.
  • Newton’s 1st law of motion applies to employees as well. Employees will continue doing what they typically do unless corrected. When you need to give negative feedback to an employee: give specific examples of undesired behavior, explain impact & consequences, then follow up.

Our thanks to Carrie for sharing her expertise with us yesterday morning. You can see her full presentation via SlideShare.

A huge thank you goes to our event sponsors as well: Emprise Bank, Davis-Moore Automotive, Inc., Kansas Sports Hall of Fame, and Truffles Catering!

See photos from the Sunrise Scrambler on our Facebook page, and remember to follow us on Twitter (@ventureboldly) and tweet the reasons that you love living and working in Wichita using #ILoveWichita to be entered win a ticket on Southwest Airlines.

Tell us why you love Wichita to be entered to win a ticket on Southwest Airlines

We already know that everyone loves free airfare, so we want to know all of the reasons why you love Wichita! If you would like to be entered to win a ticket on Southwest Airlines, follow us on Twitter (@ventureboldly) and tweet the reasons that you love living and working in Wichita using #ILoveWichita. A winner will be drawn from all submissions on Friday, Feb. 27. Let’s show Wichita some love!



1. To Enter: NO PURCHASE OR OBLIGATION NECESSARY to enter or win this contest. Void in Puerto Rico, Hawaii, Alaska, Rhode Island, and where prohibited. Contest begins February 16, 2015, at 10:00a.m. C.T. and ends at noon C.S.T. February 27, 2015. To enter without purchase or obligation, please FOLLOW the Chamber’s Twitter account at at tweet a reason that you love Wichita using #iloveWichita. Incomplete subscriptions are not eligible. Completed subscriptions must be received by noon C.S.T., February 27, 2015.

2. Drawing: A random drawing from all eligible entries received will be conducted between 3:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. on February 27, 2015. Entrants need not be present to win. Prize is guaranteed to be awarded. Sponsor reserves the right to substitute prize of equal or greater value. Odds of winning will depend on the total number of eligible subscriptions/entries received.

3. Prize: One (1) Prize to consist of one airline ticket issued by Southwest Airlines with an expiration date of June 1, 2015. Tickets will not be redeemable for cash or credit at any time, nor will tickets be replaced if lost or stolen. Tickets are subject to conditions imposed by the airline. Certain restrictions may apply. Prize is not transferable (and must be accepted as awarded). Winner is solely responsible for payment of all federal, state, and local taxes that may apply. Approximate Retail Value of Prize: $400.

4. Eligibility: Sweepstakes is open to all legal U.S. residents of the Wichita, KS, metro area. Subscribers must be 21 years and older as of January 1, 2015. Employees of Southwest Airlines, Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce, their advertising and promotions agencies, any subsidiaries or affiliates and their immediate families (spouse and parents, children and siblings and their spouses) and individuals living in the same households of such employees are ineligible. This sweepstakes is subject to all applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations. By participating, entrants agree to these official rules and accept decisions of the Sponsor as final. This promotion is offered in the United States only and shall only be construed and evaluated according to United States law. All federal, state, and local laws apply.

5. To Claim Prize: Potential winner will be notified by email and will be required to complete and sign an Affidavit of Eligibility and Liability Release and a Publicity Release. If prize is undeliverable or if potential winner is ineligible, the prize will be awarded to an alternate winner in a random drawing. Acceptance of prize constitutes permission (except where prohibited) to use winner’s and winner’s guests name, voice, biography, hometown and likeness for purposes of advertising, promotion and publicity in any media without additional compensation.

6. Limitation of Liability: Neither the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce nor its affiliated entities, is responsible for printing or typographical errors in any contest-related materials; or transactions that are processed late or incorrectly or are lost due to computer or electronic malfunction. Winner is solely responsible for payment of all federal, state, and local taxes on prize and for any travel or other expenses not specifically mentioned in prize description. Sponsor reserves the right to cancel or modify Contest if fraud or technical failure compromises the integrity of the Contest as determined by Sponsor in their sole discretion.

This Contest offer is being made exclusively by the Sponsor. Sponsor is not responsible for technical, hardware, software, or telephone failures of any kind; lost or unavailable network connections or fraud; incomplete, garbled, or delayed computer transmission whether caused by Sponsor, user, or by any of the equipment or programming associated with or utilized in the promotion or by any technical or human error which may occur in the process of submissions which may limit a participant’s ability to participate in this promotion.
Winner and guest assume all liability for any injury or damage caused, or claimed to be caused by participation in this sweepstakes or use or redemption of any prize/offer.
By entering, entrant agrees to hold harmless and indemnify the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce and their respective parents, subsidiaries, affiliates, directors, officers, governors, employees, and agents against any and all liability, damages, or causes of action (however named or described), with respect to or arising out of (i) entrant’s participation in the sweepstakes, (ii) the receipt or use of the prizes/offers awarded herein.

7. Winners List: Official printed rules are available at the reception desk of the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce. The rules are also displayed on the Chamber blog at Winner list can be obtained on or after February 27, 2015, by sending a self-addressed envelope and request to Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce, 350 West Douglas, Wichita, KS 67202-2970.

8. Sponsor: Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce, 350 West Douglas, Wichita, KS 67202-2970.

Videos from Chairman’s Lunch available on YouTube

Last week at our Chairman’s Lunch, a panel of community leaders responded to questions raised during last fall’s Fuel the Fire Speaker Series. Almost 500 people were in attendance and heard that by 2020, millennials (those currently between the ages of in the 18 to 34) will comprise more than 50% of the American workforce. This statistic makes the need to attract and retain young, talented workers more urgent than ever before. In response to a question about how Wichita can be successful in those efforts, Young Professionals of Wichita Chair Laura Bernstorf said, “We have to be excited about our city before anyone else will be.”

Other topics covered included how to promote Wichita’s educated workforce and the need to continue to encourage people to seek college degrees. According to Fuel the Fire Speaker Carol Coletta, 58% of the success in a community can be explained by the percentage of college graduates in a population. “If anything determines 58% of your success, it ought to be a top priority.”

When asked about the importance of collaboration, Wichita State President Dr. John Bardo said, “We all have skin in the game in regards to building community collaboration to move Wichita forward.”

Attendees took to Twitter to add their comments during the event, and you can see those discussions using #chamberict. You can also see videos used during the Chairman’s Lunch event on our YouTube channel and photos from the event on our Facebook page.


Panelists from left to right: Richard Ranzau, Chair, Sedgwick County Commission; Laura Bernstorf, Chair, Young Professionals of Wichita; Jon Rosell, Chair, Wichita Metro Chamber; Carl Brewer, Mayor, City of Wichita; Gary Schmitt, Chair, Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition; Dr. John Bardo, President, Wichita State University

Todd accepts permanent position with Chamber

Cindy Todd

Cindy Todd

Cindy Todd, who has temporarily staffed the Chamber’s reception desk since last August, recently accepted a full-time position at our organization as the Director of First Impressions. She’s enjoyed using her knowledge about Wichita’s business community to connect visitors with their information requests.

Chamber President Gary Plummer said, “We appreciate her professional representation of the Chamber and our community, so we’re very pleased that she’s accepted the permanent position. She’s resourceful and always puts people at ease with her helpful disposition.”

Todd was originally born in California, but has no plans to head back west any time soon. She enjoys living and working in Wichita where she likes to spend time outdoors enjoying nature with her family and pets. Todd said, “I enjoy connecting people with everything Wichita has to offer. The Chamber works with such a variety of companies that it’s always interesting and rewarding to assist them.”