Wichita flag gains VIP status in VIP Wichita Magazine

Wichita Eagle publisher Roy Heatherly is an enthusiastic community champion and an active Chamber Board member. And he understands how passionate our Chamber staff is about promoting Wichita and elevating community pride. So we were happy to comply when he asked us to contribute a short article to his organization’s newest monthly publication, VIP Wichita Magazine.

VIP Magazine_Aug16

It was a great opportunity to partner with the Eagle and invite more Wichitans to be part of the #WichitaFlag and #ILoveWichita movement. The article on pages 14-18 of the August edition of VIP Wichita Magazine includes interviews with just a few of the movement’s earliest supporters.

While we didn’t have the time or the resources to profile everyone who has played a role in promoting Wichita’s pride over the last decade, we feel like that’s great news! Because there are so many organizations and people now united in propelling Wichita’s image forward, we could easily fill all the pages of several issues of VIP Wichita Magazine with fascinating stories and compelling images.

Wichita native Ben Faires provided an added bonus to the article we developed. He videotaped some of the interviews and then produced a short video that has already been viewed more than 4,000 times on the Wichita Flag Facebook page. A film student at Washburn University, Ben donated his time and talent to produce this tribute to his hometown, which he titled The Resurgence of the Wichita Flag.

We’re grateful to Roy for this opportunity, to Ben for his gift of the video and to everyone who made time to participate in interviews for the article. And we applaud and appreciate all those who are dedicated to improving Wichita and growing pride in those things that make Wichita so special.

Don’t miss these other Chamber-related features in the August issue of VIP Wichita Magazine.

  • YPW #ILoveWichita T-Shirt Unveiling event, page 7
  • Chamber’s Metro Maui Mingle event, pages 32-33
  • Why I Love Wichita feature with two former Chamber Board members, page 40

Dr. Condoleezza Rice inspires Wichita crowd at Chamber Annual Meeting

TJ7_6940Last week’s Annual Meeting kicked off with 2014 Board Chairman Wayne Chambers passing the gavel to 2015 Chairman Jon Rosell and ended with Dr. Condoleezza Rice answering questions submitted by the public. A crowd of 3,000 people were in attendance to hear the former U.S. Secretary of State’s presentation, which was packed full of quotable insight as she addressed a wide variety of topics from 9/11 and ISIS to education and football. We have collected some of our favorite Condoleezza quotes below.

  • “If you were in as position of authority on September 11, every day after that felt like September 12. From that moment on, our perception of security would never be the same.”
  • “Before we get impatient, we should remember democracy is really hard. And it takes a really long time.”
  • “The men and women of the military who volunteer to defend us are a gift the United States enjoys.”
  • “When the U.S. steps back, those who don’t believe in free people and free markets will take power.”
  • “When the world is this chaotic, we have to hope someone will lead. I hope it is the extraordinary country of the USA.”
  • “Education is the single most important intervention we have against social inequality.”
  • “We have to make sure if people work twice as hard, they have a chance.”
  • “Your role models and mentors don’t have to look like you. My role models were white men. If I had waited for a black, female Soviet specialist, I would still be waiting.”
  • “It doesn’t matter where you are coming from but it matters where you’re going.”

A big thank you to all our event sponsors (see below) and to all who attended.  See conversation from the event on Twitter using #RiceDec4 and view photos from the events on our Facebook page.

Media Coverage
Wichita Business Journal – “Condoleezza Rice sees education as route to equal opportunity”
Wichita Eagle – “Condoleezza Rice: Education disparity biggest threat to U.S. security”
Carrie Rengers – You don’t say

Presented by Murfin, Inc.

Premier Sponsors
Bank of America/Merrill Lynch, Cox Business, High Touch Technologies,
INTRUST Bank, Kennedy and Coe, LLC, Lubrication Engineers, Inc.,
Meritrust Credit Union, Spirit AeroSystems, Inc., Westar Energy

Wichita Eagle’s Progress Edition Provides Insight into the Community

Progress EditionThe Wichita Eagle’s Progress edition published a few days ago on March 2. This annual update on our community provides information about how Wichita and the surrounding areas are advancing in four key areas: 

  • Where we live
  • Education
  • Health
  • Business

The special edition includes articles about the activities of the Chamber and its affiliates. Be sure to review these three articles that include observations from Chamber employees and volunteers.

Each year the Eagle also offers the Chamber and many of its partners the opportunity to submit columns about the progress being made in their areas of focus.  If you haven’t had a chance to review some of these columns, I’d encourage you to do so. In particular, take a few minutes to read the column by the Chamber’s 2014 Chairman, Wayne Chambers. His submission is titled, Time to act is now to ‘change the game’ for Wichita.  Ian Worrell, the 2014 Chair of the Young Professionals of Wichita, submitted a column titled, Really, what doesn’t Wichita have to offer?  You’ll also find informative columns by elected officials, education leaders, healthcare experts, and other community leaders.

It’s a great resource for checking the pulse of the community and understanding the priorities of area leadership.

February 6 Chairman’s Lunch Focused on Wichita’s Economic Recovery

Chairman's Lunch

We were pleased to have a SOLD OUT crowd attend our annual Chairman’s Lunch last Thursday. The discussion-style format provided some great insight into how our local leadership views the need to strengthen our local economy. Both The Wichita Eagle and The Wichita Business Journal covered the event. Here are links to articles and photos they published:

We’ve received multiple inquiries from participants about how they can access the slides that were used to set the stage for the discussion about Wichita’s economic recovery. We’ve POSTED THEM HERE for your review.

2014 Chamber Chairman Wayne Chambers closed our discussion with an observation about the imperative components we need to bring more primary jobs to South Central Kansas.

  • A full tool box Ready sites and buildings, a trained labor force, a war chest of money or incentives that our community leaders can use when needed, and an “open for business” sign. 
  • Low and/or competitive taxes
  • A business-friendly environment  
  • A common or unified voice that “we are Wichita”
  • SpeedIt’s not the big that eat the small.  It’s the fast that eat the slow.  – Jason Jennings
    Let’s leave here today and take a page out of WSU Basketball Coach Marshall’s playbook. As a community, let’s go out and “play angry” and win the competitive game.

We’d like to recognize our presenting sponsor, Grant Thornton, LLP for making it possible to host this important discussion.  We appreciate all the sponsors who participated and supported this event as well as all of those who braved the cold temperatures to join us. Our special thanks to Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer, County Commission Chairman Dave Unruh, and our 2014 Chamber Chairman Wayne Chambers for their participation. Please check the album on our Facebook page for event photos.

Gary Plummer
President & CEO

This is My Town

Last night nearly 1,000 area business leaders had the opportunity to hear the Chairman and CEO of Gallup, Jim Clifton, share his thoughts about how to stimulate job growth.  Mr. Clifton’s presentation was part of the Chamber’s Annual Meeting program.

We’ve covered many of Clifton’s ideas in previous posts.  Here are a few additional thoughts that Mr. Clifton provided for us to consider.

  • The start-up conversation is very different in communities that encourage job growth. It’s all about leadership. You need about 100 people in your city who gather together and say, “This is my town and I’d rather die than lose it.”
  • Americans are still an exceptional tribe of people. Winston Churchill said, “You can always count on Americans to get it right—after they’ve tried everything else.”
  • We have to “out-enterprise” the rest of the world if the U.S. is going to rise again.
  • The next group of leaders must have enormous talent for developing people—moving our workforce from unengaged to engaged.

You can follow these links to articles, photos and videos that provide coverage of the event.

Annual Meeting 125


Hosting Chamber Executives from Across South Central Kansas

This week the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce hosted a group of 15 Chamber executives from across South Central Kansas. The group hadn’t formally met in several years. We assembled to discuss whether we should resurrect our regional group and begin meeting formally again.

We shared some of the challenges facing our communities and enjoyed learning more about upcoming events that our colleagues are planning to stimulate business growth. In a fairly short time we reached consensus that we would all benefit from quarterly meetings in 2014. Chamber executives from Wellington, Kingman, and McPherson graciously volunteered to host the group next year to exchange ideas and network.  The Wichita Metro Chamber will host the group during the fourth quarter of 2014 with a focus on advocacy and to discuss the upcoming 2015 legislative session.

This is a dedicated and talented group of people who are very passionate about growing their communities.We are all looking forward to learning “best practices” from each other about how to improve member services, retain members, build community with social media tools, and keep membership services affordable.

In 2014 we hope to attract more area Chamber executives to the group as we learn from each other about ways to strengthen the business environment in our own communities, and ultimately strengthen the economic viability of South Central Kansas.

Gary Plummer
President & CEO
Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce

SCK Chamber Execs


The op ed piece in the September 29 edition of The Wichita Eagle, Local action needed in global jobs war, by Wichita Metro Chamber Chair Debbie Gann, couldn’t have been timelier. The front-page story of the same edition, Layoffs leave Wichita with a smaller workforce, was another sobering reminder that our friends, family, and neighbors have been suffering from job losses.

It is critical to maintain the jobs that we currently have in the metro area and develop a culture that fosters innovation and creates new jobs. The Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce is inviting community leaders, entrepreneurs, innovators, volunteers, educators, elected officials, and business leaders to become more engaged in developing a local battle plan for addressing this issue.

Attending the Chamber’s Annual Meeting on November 5 is a great place to start. The featured speaker, Gallup Chairman and CEO Jim Clifton, will share his insights into how we can jumpstart job creation in Wichita.  Printed invitations are being mailed this week or you can register here for the event.