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How do you measure the success of an event? It might be a 522% increase in new audience and dozens asking when the next will be held! While the Choose Wichita Summit received rave reviews, many have already asked to bring coworkers and team members who missed out to the next one. 

An inspirational opening of the Choose Wichita event came when City of Wichita Mayor Lily Wu shared her own stories of why she chose Wichita and what the community has meant to her and her journey to this point. She emphasized the importance of asking people to choose Wichita and share the amazing opportunities in our community.

Greater Wichita Partnership’s President Jeff Fluhr then welcomed the crowd of over 125, thanking them for participating in this important event. He shared how grateful he was not just for the formation of the Choose Wichita brand but also how it has continued to flourish and be helpful to leaders year over year.

Visit Wichita’s Vice President of Sports Development Josh Howell shared with the crowd how Wichita competes for sporting events with other locations across the country. From airport convenience and affordability to 50 museums and attractions, hundreds of restaurants and top-notch facilities, Wichita wins bids. Some of these wins even provide quality of life entertainment like U.S. Figure Skating Championships and the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.

Josh was followed by a panel of well-known leaders from Evergy, Delta Dental, Cox Business and Home Base Wichita. They shared their most successful tools and strategies to both recruit and retain employees in Wichita. Host Joseph Shepard, Chief of Staff for Lead for America, kept the crowd engaged while moving them into an interactive networking and content creation break.

Shepard then welcomed an amazing group of influencers who have been dedicated to sharing the culture, cuisine and entertainment people must see in Wichita. Former Miss Kansas Annika Wooton, Wichita by E.B. and National Association of Asian American Professionals - Wichita President Andy Kim answered questions about getting started in social media influencing and how to stay relevant as well as how to use content as a recruitment tool, showing a side of Wichita that not everyone knows. While Wooten is a transplant (one who never thought she would stay), she proudly shared with the crowd, “I think I am a Wichitan now!”

Wichita by E.B. emphasized that how we talk about this community and events such as Riverfest and Elsewhere Fest matter. “What you say at home reflects in that child. We need to start championing the good for the younger generation,” he shared.

Annika added that pairing local talent with a nationally known name is so smart of Elsewhere Fest organizers. She and a group of friends followed Rudy Love & the Encore to Fort Smith, Arkansas when they opened for the national band Teddy Swims. Since Elsewhere Fest will do similar, we need to support that locally to get even more of those names to the region.

“Being credible and authentic is the best way to engage,” said Wichita by E.B. “And we value quality over quantity,” added Andy Kim. “We want people who want to be a part of the conversation and get involved in these events.”

Leah Lavender with The Local then shared how to craft a personalized recruitment process. If companies are short-staffed, they can also contact her directly and outsource to her this important process. The Partnership Communications Team touted the assets available through the Choose Wichita website. “These tools can help recruit from a distance by sending links to collateral or sharing stories of Wichitans that your recruits can connect with and even meet,” Shared Executive Vice President of Strategic Communications Cynthia Wentworth. “We want everyone considering Wichita to find themselves in these stories and know they are welcome in the Wichita region.”

The closing with Wichita Habitat for Humanity’s Executive Director and the Partnership’s Talent Community Engagement Committee (TCEC) chair Danielle Johnson was equally inspiring.  She shared why it’s important to be “asset minded.” Johnson called the crowd to “be intentional and active, learn to collaborate and have a spirit of curiosity.” The examples she shared were Mission Wichita pairing our military individuals and families to locals, collaborations of our local school districts with colleges and universities, and events such as the Asian Night Market, Juneteenth ICT, Nomar, Open Streets, and Pride Celebrations.

She encouraged the participants to use these resources and even tap six new people to let them know what Wichita has to offer. “Together, we can be our best selves,” Danielle shared.

The conclusion of this event was just as exciting as the opening with Jessie Hartke, co-owner of WAVE and the Cotillion, co-founder of Midtopia and so much more, inviting everyone to Elsewhere Fest, partake in Wichita-inspired mocktails being served and enjoy Rudy Love & The Encore playing live for all those who choose Wichita.

This event would not have been possible without our sponsors Workforce Alliance of South Central Kansas, Visit Wichita and Wichita State University’s Office of Academic Affairs. We appreciate their support of this important event.

Read more about those who choose Wichita

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