Category Archives: Chamber

Condoleezza Rice is Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce’s annual speaker

UPDATED — Following in her former boss’ footsteps, Condoleezza Rice will be the speaker for this year’s Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce annual meeting in December.

riceRice was the second secretary of state under President George W. Bush, who spoke at the Chamber’s annual meeting in 2011.

“The reaction we’re getting is rivaling the reaction we got back then,” said Gary Plummer, Chamber president and CEO.

“We think that the way she has broken down barriers, particularly for … African Americans and women, we think we’re going to have a very diverse audience as a result,” Plummer said.

A Birmingham, Ala., native, Rice is a pianist who once planned to become a concert pianist. Instead, she went on to earn her doctorate in international studies from the University of Denver.

Rice was the first black woman to be secretary of state and was known for extensive travel and work to expand democracies globally. She also restructured foreign policy in the United States with something she called transformational diplomacy to further her goal of creating more democratic governments.

More recently, Rice has been a political science professor at Stanford University, where she has been on the faculty since 1981.

“One of her programs that she’s well known for is an after-school academic-enrichment program,” Plummer said. He said Rice is an “exemplary” national leader who cares about the plight of those less fortunate.

“A well-educated workforce drives economic development and Dr. Rice is well-known for her expertise and passion for education,” said Wayne Chambers, 2014 Chamber chairman, in a statement. “We’re very focused on helping area businesses increase their expertise in exporting and we believe we can also benefit from her global perspective.”

On Tuesday, the Chamber teased Rice’s Dec. 4 appearance by saying this year’s speaker has ties to football. Rice is an avid Cleveland Browns fan, is on the College Football Playoff selection committee and has said her dream job would be National Football League commissioner.

The Chamber often selects political speakers for its annual meeting. George H.W. Bush spoke at the chamber’s annual meeting in 2005, and political strategists and husband and wife James Carville and Mary Matalin spoke together in 2006. Last year, Gallup chairman and CEO Jim Clifton was the speaker.

“The line-up over the last 10 to 12 years is really remarkable,” Plummer said.

He said Rice has been on the Chamber’s short list of potential speakers for at least three years.

This year’s event will be from 6 to 9:30 p.m. Dec. 4 at Century II. Tickets are $115 for the dinner and reserved seating for the program. For those attending the program only, tickets range from $35 to $55. Tickets can be purchased at

Within two hours of announcing Rice as its speaker, the Chamber reported that it sold seven tables for the event and added another top sponsor. A YouTube video to announce the speaker had more than 200 views within the same time.

Plummer said, “That’s a pretty dramatic response based on our experience around here.”





Chamber thinks it scored a touchdown with annual dinner speaker

WICHITA — Futbol fever is sweeping the world, but the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce is more into football at the moment.

That’s because the group has selected its speaker for its Dec. 4 annual meeting, and though the chamber didn’t choose the speaker due to a football connection, the person does have ties to the sport.

The chamber is waiting until Wednesday afternoon to share the news, but spokeswoman Angie Prather was a good sport and played a little guessing game in the meantime.

Barry Sanders was our obvious first choice. Or another player?

Nice try, Prather says, but nope.

A coach? Team owner?

Our guesses seem to be getting colder.

College or pro official?

Getting warmer … sort of.

Prather allowed a few clues.

This football fanatic — again, not necessarily known for football — likely would don a brown jersey on Sundays and perhaps turn on some Led Zeppelin for a fabulous afternoon. However, this person would prefer to have a more official capacity in the sport that might surprise some.

Think you know who it may be? Thoroughly confused? Either way, check back here Wednesday afternoon for the full story.

You don’t say

“We can’t agree on what we’re going to say this morning, so we’re both going to speak.”

Judy Eberly of Eberly Farm on why she and her husband, Sam, both addressed the Chamber’s Sunrise Scrambler on Wednesday

You don’t say

“If I had a dollar for every time someone said, ‘Don’t run with those.’”

Janelle Bogart of the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce on the oversized scissors she brings to ribbon cuttings

You don’t say

“Just a sign my wife can’t keep her hands off me.”

Small Business Awards Luncheon keynote speaker Jon Rolph, who is president of Sasnak Management and the father of four children age 5 and under

“I was curious if there were any auctioneers in the house because I might want to put my business up for sale.”

– Tier 1 award winner Brandon Wilson of Icon Structures, joking about Rolph’s inspiring speech to seize the day, do what you love and make time for family

You don’t say

“I’ll feel much more comfortable during my presentation if only half the room applauds. I’m not used to everyone in the room approving of what I do.”

Bill Gardner of Gardner Design, speaking about lessons in redesign and rebranding at the Chamber’s Sunrise Scrambler on Wednesday

You don’t say

Wichita State’s #31, Ron Baker, scores career-high 31 points as Shockers go 31-0 on 3-1.”

Angie Elliott of the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce, sharing with colleagues what headline she dreams of seeing in The Wichita Eagle on Sunday

You don’t say

“I don’t know what kind of masochists you are, coming to hear a presentation on presentations.”

Todd Ramsey of Apples & Arrows, speaking on “The Practical Principles of Potent PowerPoint Presentations” at the Chamber’s Sunrise Scrambler today

You don’t say

“I thought I’d get in line right behind him.”

– Outgoing Chamber chairwoman Debbie Gann, who “about choked” at the group’s annual dinner Tuesday when possible mayoral candidate Jeff Turner suggested she would make a great mayor

You don’t say

“The more boring the speaker, the higher the internet usage.”

Kent Audio Visual general manager John Bazzelle commenting at the chamber’s Sunrise Scrambler that his company’s mobile wireless service shows real-time Internet activity and can indicate how well a presentation is going