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

PR News takes ‘cheap shot’ at the Shockers

scoreUPDATED — In a bid for more subscribers through a national e-mail blast on Wednesday, PR News touted its “expert opinions” on communications and crisis management, among other things, through what a Wichita State University spokesman calls a “cheap shot” at the Shockers.

The PR group now needs a little crisis management help of its own.

The e-mail, which was about how to “score big” in the business, has a subject line that says “Don’t be like Wichita State.”

“Really, that’s the approach you’re going to take to generate business?” asks WSU spokesman Joe Kleinsasser. “It’s just a marketing attempt gone awry. Is it the end of the world? No. But it’s unfortunate.”

His day began with a couple of e-mails from his counterparts at Wake Forest University and Princeton University alerting him to the slam against the school and its beloved Shockers.

“And, yes, I am unsubscribing from their distribution list,” one said after saying how much the slam annoyed him.

It’s a sentiment others locally and nationally are echoing.

“We think this approach is mean-spirited and beneath contempt,” wrote Barth Hague, WSU’s associate vice president for university relations and chief marketing officer, in an e-mail to PR News about playing on the Shockers’ “heartbreaking loss.”

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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

“This B2B is A2Z. From Angry Birds at the Meritrust Credit Union booth to Zany décor (a leg lamp from the movie A Christmas Story) at the Green Biz Wichita display.”

– An e-mail quoting Angie Elliott of the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce on the group’s 2013 business-to-business EXPOsure trade show

Peterson Publications no longer will produce Go Wichita’s visitors guide

WICHITA — Last year, Have You Heard? reported that Peterson Publications no longer would produce the Kansas Official Visitors Guide, much to the disappointment of the Topeka-based company’s president, Jeff Peterson.

Now, the company is no longer going to produce the Go Wichita visitors guide, but Peterson says that was his choice.

“We’re just reorganizing some of the things that we are doing here,” he says. “This was really strictly a business decision.”

Peterson says he hopes the convention and visitors bureau would hire a local company to do the work.

“With the Wichita guide, it really takes … going and seeing a lot of the smaller businesses there. We’re not right in Wichita, so it was quite a bit of travel for our sales manager.”

Peterson says it may have been different if the company still was producing the state guide.

Go Wichita has hired Arizona-based Madden Media, which also produces the state guide.

“They did excellent work with the state, so we included them in the opportunity to bid,” says Go Wichita spokesman James Williams.

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You don’t say

“I know you are all wondering if that beautiful new red car parked over there is a door prize. It’s not. It’s the speaker’s gift.”

Delta Dental of Kansas vice president of human resources Kara Hunt, speaking at the Chamber’s Sunrise Scrambler about a car that Davis-Moore had at the event