FOR WICHITA’S YOUNG, DIVERSE AND TALENTED
VOL. 2 ISSUE 4 | APRIL/MAY 2016 www.ictup.org
WICHITA’S ENTREPRENEURIAL EDGE: Risk takers and resurrectors reviving the city’s startup narrative
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WICHITA URBAN PROFESSIONALS SEEKING COLLABORATORS TO HELP FINANCE INITIATIVES TO IMPROVE WICHITA BY ENGAGING THE CITY’S YOUNG, DIVERSE AND TALENTED WE’RE OUTCOME DRIVEN
ichita leaders are committed to identifying ways to attract and retain young, diverse talent to improve our economy. Wichita Urban Professionals is helping lay the infrastructure to help people connect, develop and deepen roots through our programming and social networking opportunities. Our membership roster reflects some of the city’s most talented, driven and motivated young and rising leaders.
WE MAXIMIZE PARTNERSHIPS We believe in mutually-beneficial partnerships and collaborations. As a result, our operational budget is lean. We innovate programming and leverage relationships for cost-effective approaches to meeting our mission of creating a rising network of leaders to improve the urban communities of Wichita.
OUR REACH IS BROAD With a bimonthly magazine generating more than 13,000 impressions, our Facebook page with more than 500 “likes” and an e-blast that has more than 190 engaged subscribers (and growing), our reach is broad. Additionally, our members represent more than 30 area civic, business and professional organizations, further spreading our influence.
FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES TO CONSIDER •
URBAN EMPOWER HOURS: These hour-long professional and personal development sessions offer a chance to share your expertise in front of an audience of go-getters who have reach and influence. Investments begin at $400/session. URBAN MAGNATE ADVERTISING: Place your company and organizational messaging in a publication that reaches our membership and top city, civic, business and political leaders at a fraction of the cost of traditional advertising. Full-color, full-page ad plans begin at just $275/issue with price breaks available for multi-issue purchases. DREAMCHASERS: Our annual recognition event offers numerous ways to place your company within the celebration. Sponsorship packages ranging from $1,500 to $10,000 are available and offer opportunities for customized perks for your investment.
TAX STATEMENT - Wichita Urban Professionals is an auxiliary of the Urban League of Kansas, which is a 501(c)(3) organization.
LET’S PARTNER: CONTACT JONATHAN LONG, FOUNDING PRESIDENT, WICHITA URBAN PROFESSIONALS 316-207-2548 | JLONGACHIEVES@GMAIL.COM
recently got a not-so-subtle reminder about the difference between people talking about change and those willing to actually do something about it.
During the presentation I had the opportunity to attend a presentation given by the Greater Wichita Partnership to CEOs/Executives and their spouses who relocated to Wichita less than a year ago. The Greater Wichita Partnership (GWP) shared its focus on growing Wichita and the region in six specific categories: Perception, Entrepreneurship, Education, Jobs, Talent and Downtown. Leading the GWP is Jeff Fluhr, who has successfully led the Wichita Downtown Development Corporation. While presenting, Fluhr made a statement that the reason we are seeing such momentum and growth in downtown Wichita is because people who want it don’t just talk about it; they invest in it. Fluhr backed up this claim by highlighting the $180 million in development that was initiated on the downtown stretch of Douglas Avenue. He also highlighted the new downtown apartments going up and the River Vista Complex that broke ground earlier this year. As I thought about this more that night, I started to wonder what some of the other areas of Wichita would look like if more residents decided to invest in them. Would 13th and Oliver be a talking point or an investment option? Would 21st street between Grove on the east and Waco on the west be a bustling shopping, living and dining district featuring diverse business owners as the 21st Street Revitalization Plan promised nearly a decade ago? Would the Dunbar Theater near Ninth Street be an anchor to another diverse business hub much like the Warren Theatre helps to anchor Old Town? Investment matters, as Fluhr showed example after example of how investment in downtown Wichita caused blighted blocks to be reborn; an infamous pit to be filled with an innovative urban pop up park with further plans for redevelopment and more. What could our areas look like with such investments? By invest, I don’t mean strictly financial. Sure, at some point money will come into play. But there are other needs that can be addressed that don’t require someone throwing a lot of money at them. Also, money is one of the scarcest resources in terms of availability. So what are you willing to invest? Time, manpower or other potentially valuable —but overlooked — resources? What would things look like if we took a more active role in being catalysts for what we wanted to see happen in our communities? The GWP has already identified its six focus factors in creating a thriving community. What actions are we willing to take to do something about these issues in our communities? The time for just talking is over. While we’re talking, others are investing. And the difference is definite.
Jonathan Long, President Wichita Urban Professionals
IN THIS ISSUE// PG. 3 7
ON THE SCENE
LEAD ICT-UP • 6 SIGMA LAMBDA BETA • 7
ICT-UP MEMBER NEWS COVER STORY
THE “MILLION-DOLLAR CORNER” • 12
Wichita E-Community • 17 1 Million Cups ICT • 18 Wichitalks • 20 Create Campaign • 22 Entrepreneurship Task Force • 23
The UrbanSMALL League of Kansas BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT presents FusionSkyPass • 24
FEATURES 62nd Annual PARTNER Equal Opportunity Dinner Kansas Leadership Center • 26 Urban League of Kansas • 29
316 MUSIC FEST• 9
SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENT• 10
Learn Today – Lead Tomorrow: 20
Empowering Our Youth
URBAN MAGNATE Thursday, May 26, 2016
Wichita Urban Professionals (ICT-UP) exists to develop a network of rising Magnate Contributors East Urban M. Long of CML Collective, LLC oversees leaders to improve the quality of life in the urban communities ofHoliday Wichita. InnChristina the majority of reporting, writing, editing, layout and Urban Magnate is the premier publication of Wichita Urban Professionals 549 S. Rock Road design of this publication in partnership with ICT-UP. covering events and issues of interest to the city’s young, diverse and talented. This bi-monthly publication is available in electronic and hardcopy formats. Jonathan Long, Contributing Writer/Reporter Hardcopy editions are strategically distributed to ICT-UP members and city, civic Armand Fruge, Contributing Writer and business organizations. Subscriptions are available for $30 annually.
Reception 6 p.m.-7 p.m. & Awards Checks may be made payable to the Urban League ofDinner Kansas E. Woods, Contributing Photographer c/o Wichita Urban Professionals’ Urban Magnate,7 p.m.-9:30Michael p.m. David D. Wallace, Jr., Contributing Photographer 2418 E. Ninth Street, Wichita, KS 67214.
Limited ad space is available for purchase. Contact email@example.com or call 316-371-8145 for ad inquiries.
To purchase tickets or for more information please On the front cover: Marty Spence and Angelo Rodriguez at Songbird Juice Co. Photocall, credit: Christina M. Long On the back cover: Jonathan Long being introduced as a Senior 316-262-2463 Wednesday speaker at the Wichita Art Museum. Photo credit: Christina M. Long
PG. 6// ICT-UPDATE LEAD ICT-UP PROGRAM DRAWS CROWD TO TALK LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT, RACE AND DIFFERENCE-MAKING More than 100 people attended the most recent installment of Wichita Urban Professionals’ Leadership Exploration and Development (LEAD ICT-UP) training, which featured Dr. Marche’ Fleming-Randle and Ted Ayres, both of Wichita State University. The interactive discussion, led by ICT-UP, focused on the Kansas Leadership Center principles of Diagnosing Situations and Managing Self.
IN THIS ISSUE// PG. 7 SIGMA LAMBDA BETA FRATERNITY, INC. CELEBRATES 15TH ANNIVERSARY AT REGIONAL EVENT
Members of Sigma Lambda Beta Fraternity chapters throughout the region gathered at Wichita State University to celebrate the organization’s 15th anniversary. Guests heard messages of the fraternity’s origins from Carlos Contreras and received insight into the history of Wichita’s Mexican neighborhoods presented by Carolyn Benitez . Courtesy photos.
YOUNG DIVERSE & TALENTED IN WICHITA? New Children's Book out now! New Children's Book out now! Available online at Amazon and in stores at Watermark Books Available online at Amazon and in stores at Watermark Books & Urban Connections Flea Market & Urban Connections Flea Market Contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information Contact the author at armandtfruge.gmail.com for more information Contact the author at armandtfruge.gmail.com for more information
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Volume 1, Issue 1, Date
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Wichita Urban Professionals ictup.org
COMMUNITY SPOTLIGHT// PG. 9 WICHITA NATIVES BRINGING MUSIC FESTIVAL BACK TO HOMETOWN FOR FOURTH YEAR By Armand T. Fruge, Urban Magnate Contributing Writer
he City of Wichita gave us so much growing up that we feel it’s only right to give back to that same community that raised us and gave us our foundation. Our community has a rich heritage of serving others and this is our part of giving that back,” says Cyrel Foote Jr., CEO of Strongwill Enterprises, LLC, who is a Wichita native now residing in Atlanta, Georgia. That passion and love for the communities of Wichita is what Foote and his partners intend to share during the 4th Annual 316 Music Festival being held May 28 at McAdams Park, located at 1329 E. 13th St., from Noon to 7 p.m. Families looking for a fun event to attend in a safe environment during Memorial Day Weekend, can expect live music, food and activities for children of all ages. In addition to Jazz, Gospel, Hip-Hop and many other genres of music, the festival will feature local poets and comedians showcasing their skills, food and service vendors selling and promoting their products, local health clinics offering free screenings, a barber college providing free haircuts for children and political party representatives assisting with voter registration. A coinciding event within the festival, also organized by Strongwill Enterprises, will be the “Chopper Sound Battle.” The battle will feature ten biker clubs competing for the loudest sound system. The winning club will be awarded a trophy and crowned 316Musicfest Champion. This event will take place from 3 p.m.-4 p.m. also at McAdams Park. “The festival is an event for the community to network and for families to come out and enjoy the Historic McAdams Park,” Foote said. “We are still looking for individuals to sponsor and assist in any capacity and look forward to the city bringing its biggest turnout, yet.”
Please contact Cyrel Foote, Jr. at 404-748-2055 FOR MORE INFORMATION or email@example.com. or visit www.strongwillenterprises.com.
PG. 10// MEMBER NEWS
ICT-UP MEMBER TAKES CHANCE, EARNS FULL-RIDE SCHOLARSHIP TO LAW SCHOOL Story and Photos by Christina M. Long, Editor, Urban Magnate
anna Allen, 34, is heading to Washburn University on a full-ride scholarship to study law this fall thanks to an opportunity she learned about through Wichita Urban Professionals. When ICT-UP member, Attorney Robert Moody, shared information in 2015 about a scholarship the Wichita Bar Association’s Professional Diversity Committee was offering to help offset costs for the Law School Admission Test, commonly called the LSAT, Allen said she couldn’t help but to think that she fit the candidate profile the association was looking for — those who like critical thinking, logic games and problem solving. “I didn’t see anything to lose,” Allen said and jumped on the opportunity. Allen had been contemplating what opportunities she could find in Wichita or elsewhere that would let her continue to evolve. She proudly shares that she was Wichita’s first African-American female firefighter from 2007-2015. She currently works for the Wichita Area Sexual Assault Center and now, with her newfound field of study, Allen said she has an opportunity to deepen her advocacy for LGBT communities, the conditions of immigrants in detention facilities and those who experience sexual assault in the military. The scholarship, Allen says, has brought particular joy to her mother, who Allen said, pegged her as a doctor or attorney since her childhood days. The accomplishment has also allowed Allen to overcome the habit, she says, of “playing small.” Earning the scholarship reminds Allen of a nugget of truth that she picked up while reading the book, “The New Psycho-Cybernetics, The Original Science of Self Improvement and Success,” by Maxwell Maltz. In the book, Maltz, compares the human mind to a guided missile system. “A missile’s got a target and, instead of flying a straight line to the target, it’s constantly correcting its course— veering to the left and veering to the right — but it always hits its target,” Allen said. “If we have grace with ourselves and allow our journey to be one of zig zags, then I think we can stay encouraged.” As for her accomplishment, “It’s been hard for me to brag on myself,” she says, joking that Moody, the attorney, doesn’t seem to mind sharing with everyone about her accomplishment. “I’m also a very cautious person and I don’t get excited about things too far in advance,” she said. “I try to focus on today, but it was a huge blessing to have been given that award.”
// PG. 11
PG. 12// COVER STORY
// PG. 13
North Riverside’s “Million-Dollar Corner”
Story and Photos By Christina M. Long, Editor, Urban Magnate
hey call it their “Million-Dollar Corner.”
The business owners whose storefronts are located at 11th and Bitting in north Riverside are proud to be part of a revival that has brought quality entertainment, products and employment to the area. Angelo Rodriguez, 35, was the first of a new wave of entrepreneurs to set up shop when he opened R. Coffee House in 2012. The coffeehouse was the home of the former Riverside Perk. When Rodriguez learned owners were planning to close the well-known “Perk,” he put his savings in action to open his own establishment. “I went with my instinct, my intuition and I went with the potential of what it could be,” Rodriguez said.
“The owner, Angelo Rodriguez, has truly created a place that is a so important for the musical health of our city, and I am honored to be a part of it,” she said. And the transformation – which included paving a formerly dirt parking lot – ignited improvements to other businesses, such as a barber shop, in the area. Now, the corner includes Songbird Juice Co., which owners tag as the city’s first cold-pressed juicery, and FarmShop, LLC, which features organic fertilizers, organic animal feed, raw, local honey and beeswax and sustainably-grown fruits, vegetables and herbs, among other products. Across the street, also sits Chiquita’s Corner, a carryout restaurant. “It came together very well,” Rodriguez said. “You’ve got to spearhead sometimes and say, ‘Here’s what it can be.’ Then comes the synergy and the rest is God’s work.” A MORE TRADITIONAL APPROACH Marty Spence, owner of Songbird Juice Co., said, unlike Rodriguez, she took a more traditional approach to opening her business. Having studied business at Wichita State University’s Barton School of Business and “with professors ringing in her ears” she secured an attorney and an accountant, invested in developing her business plan and worked with NetWork Kansas, the South Central Kansas Economic Development District and attended courses at the Kansas Small Business Development Center to make sure her idea was feasible and to secure funding. She also sought and secured certification as a Woman-owned business with the Kansas Department of Commerce.
“It’s a dope place,” he recalls thinking years ago when he jumped on the opportunity to purchase it. “It’s a cool location. It needs work, but we can transform it.” A full-scale renovation, the purchase of equipment and the invitation to area creatives and musicians to perform keeps R. Coffee House packed. Rodriguez, a musician, himself, has created a space for live musical acts to jam, artists to display and intellectuals to converse. “R. Coffee House is such an awesome place,” said singer Kim Bowie who joins her husband to make up the musical duo, 88 Diamonds. “It has such a great vibe for being musically creative and some of the most elite musicians get to really let loose when we play there.” Bowie describes the coffehouse as inspirational and inviting where the audience is “open and accepting of a very widerange of styles including jazz, folk, avant garde, musicians just beginning and even the most seasoned of musicians exploring new avenues of improvisation.”
Her inspiration for opening, however, came from Rodriguez. Spence shared that Rodriguez encouraged her to take her love of juicing and create a business after she questioned why there were no juice bars in Wichita. Spence said she took on the challenge, which also meant leaving a job she loved. On September 25, 2015, Songbird opened. The couple now joke about their different styles to business ownership. “He’s more behind the counter and I’m more behind the scenes,” Spence, 33, describes. But it works, they say. Together, the two employ nearly a dozen workers; some bordering full-time. While Rodriguez combines events with his servicedelivery model, Spence is exploring product
// PG. 15
development, including cleanse packages. She’s also identifying partner organizations to hold workshops with such as the “Healthy Body for Baby” series.
For Rodriguez, cubicle work may have provided a steady paycheck but not the soul-satisfaction that entrepreneurship has provided.
Spence said Rodriguez’s challenges to open businesses didn’t end with her but also helped to encourage the owners of FarmShop to open next door to Songbird.
Rodriguez said he is aware of profit margins and revenue goals, but being able to give people opportunities like R. Coffee House has provided “is priceless.”
“It’s been humbling for the both of us,” Spence said of the corner’s evolution. PRIDE IN WICHITA Rodriguez and Spence share an excitement for the momentum building in Wichita based on the increase in microbreweries to the establishment of the Downtown Urban Pop-Up Park and the increase in bicycling and running events. “I have so much pride in Wichita,” Spence said. “I feel like we have come a really long way.” As has their corner. “There is so much more room for growth here,” Spence said. And while business ownership is a risk, Spence says, “If you can dream it… there’s a way to do it.”
“There are tradeoffs versus having a job that was paying,” Rodriguez said. “I’d be set. I’d probably be making more money than I’m making right now, straight up. But I don’t care. That’s not how my story goes. That’s not what moves me.”
PG. 16// PHOTO SPREAD
Wichitaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Entrepreneurial Edge Package by Christina M. Long, Editor, Urban Magnate
ichita is flexing its entrepreneurial muscle. The city that was the launchpad for businesses such as Pizza Hut, White Castle, Rent-a-Center, Freddyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers and more is seeing an aggressive push for entrepreneurs to connect, communicate and collide. The entrepreneurial ecosystem is filling with online and offline opportunities for entrepreneurs to get information, resources and inspiration. The following package offers just a glimpse into Wichita taking back and reshaping its entrepreneurial narrative and edge.
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THE WICHITA E-COMMUNITY
he Wichita Entrepreneurship Community, or E-Community, is among more than 50 across the state that work to help entrepreneurs start or grow businesses. In partnership with NetWork Kansas and the South Central Kansas Economic Development District, the United States Small Business Administration and other partners, the Wichita E-Community has helped businesses such as Ruben’s Mexican Grill, located in Delano, to secure funding to expand. Other Wichita E-Community loan clients include Angelo’s, 316 Barber College and Hopping Gnome Brewing Company. Ruben’s owners say the funding they secured with the assistance of the Wichita E-Community has helped to increase their revenues by 20- to 30 percent. For more information about the Wichita, or any other, E-Community, visit www.networkkansas.com.
Photos by Devon Bray
PG. 18// PHOTO SPREAD
1 Million Cups Wichita Overview: The program, developed by the Kauffman Foundation, is based on the notion that entrepreneurs discover solutions and network over a million cups of coffee. Each presentation ends with an audience Q&A where the last question is always, â&#x20AC;&#x153;What can we as a community do to support you as a startup?â&#x20AC;? Happens: Wednesdays weekly. Doors open at 8:30 a.m., presentations from 9 a.m.-10 a.m. Location: Mostly at WSU Oldtown, 238 N. Mead but occasionally varies. Check updates via Facebook and Twitter Cost: Free
Learn more or sign up to present: www.1millioncups.com/wichita
URBAN MAGNATE • 19
1 MILLION CUPS ICT
Photo by Christina Long
Courtesy Photo Photo by Christina Long
Photo by Christina Long
// PG. 19
Courtesy Photo Wichitalks Overview: The vision for Wichitalks is to have a stage for rapid-fire ideas. Wichitalks gets people together to talk about the things they are passionate about. Its founder is Kevin Falting. The format is 20 slides auto-advancing every 15 seconds for a 5 minute total presentation. Presenters may not pitch their business, product, or service, but rather teach and share with the Wichitalks community their passion. These are the only guidelines, otherwise the presenter is encouraged to speak on whatever topic they choose and in whatever manner they desire. Happens: Varies; next Wichitalks is scheduled for April 13, 2016. Doors open at 6 p.m., talks begin at 7 p.m. Location: Central Standard Brewing, 156 S. Greenwood Cost: Free; donations accepted
Learn more or sign up to present: homePage: Wichitalks.com eventPage: Wichitalks.com/ CentralStandardBrewing Twitter: @Wichitalks Facebook: Facebook.com/Wichitalks Speaker Signup: http://goo.gl/forms/ qjiQjWM8DN Attend the event: https://www. eventbrite.com/e/wichitalkstickets-22199745035
// PG. 21
Courtesy Photo Courtesy Photo
APRIL 13th 6PM - DOORS OPEN / 7PM - TALKS BEGIN 20 SLIDES 15 SECOND AUTO-ADVANCE NO PITCHES. ONLY PASSION. HOSTED BY
156 S Greenwood St, Wichita, KS 67211
THE CREATE CAMPAIGN The Create Campaign Overview: The Create Campaign is coordinated by Christina Long of CML Collective, LLC in partnership with NetWork Kansas and the Entrepreneurship Task Force. The campaign exists to help African-American entrepreneurs start, sustain and grow their businesses.
Save the Date
The Create Campaign
Helping African-American business start, sustain and grow
The campaign features a half-day workshop and encourages participants to tap into local resources through existing service providers such as NetWork Kansas, the Kansas Small Business Development Center, the US Small Business Administration, SCORE and others. Happens: Annual campaign event; Saturday, June 11, 2016 from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Location: Wichita State University’s Rhatigan Student Center Cost: Free for participants; vendor fee exists For more information, visit www. cmlcollective.com and select the Create Campaign link
Coordinated by CML Collective, LLC in partnership with NetWork Kansas
Saturday, June 11, 2016 Wichita State University, Rhatigan Student Center More than 75 African-American business owners in the Wichita-area gathered in 2015 to learn what resources exist to help grow their firms.
Make plans to participate and attend as we take a deeper dive with experts, service providers and others who care about creating a stronger black business environment in Wichita. Special thanks to Venue sponsor: WSU’s Center for Entrepreneurship
FEATURED SPEAKER: DELL GINES Senior Community Development Advisor for the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City “It is time to put in strategies and tactics that fulfill the promise of the Civil Rights Movement, and this can only be done through economic empowerment.”
Let’s Create! WORKSHOP PRESENTERS AND VENDORS WANTED.
For more information, contact Christina Long, 316.371.8145 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
// PG. 23
THE ENTREPRENEURSHIP TASK FORCE
The Entrepreneurship Task Force Overview: The Entrepreneurship Task Force exists to identify, activate and mentor entrepreneurship support organizations; identify, activate and invest in entrepreneurs and has a strong focus on diversification through entrepreneurship. It is affiliated with the Greater Wichita Partnership and engages numerous liaison groups in biweekly strategy and planning meetings. Establishing the e2e Accelerator in downtown Wichita, supporting 1 Million Cups ICT and establishing a collaborative framework to reach even more students with existing entrepreneurship programming through DECA, Youth Entrepreneurs and Junior Achievement are among the task force’s priority initiatives in 2016. For more information, visit www.e2ewichita.com.
ADDITIONAL OUTLETS Though not comprehensive, this list offers additional outlets and organizations pushing entrepreneurship in our area • • • • • • • • •
The Kansas Small Business Development Center, www.wichita.edu/ksbdc The Center for Entrepreneurship at Wichita State University’s Business Booster Series, www.wichita.edu/BusinessBooster Wichita Independent Business Association, www.wiba.org Heartland Wichita Black Chamber of Commerce, www.heartlandblackchamber.com Wichita Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, www.wichitahispanicchamber.org Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce, www.wichitachamber.org US Small Business Association Wichita District Office, https://www.sba.gov/offices/ district/ks/wichita SCORE, https://wichita.score.org/ Wichita Public Library workshops, resources and events, www.wichitalibrary.org
PG. 24// SMALL BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT
DEVELOPING FUSIONSKYPASS STORY AND PHOTOS BY CHRISTINA M. LONG
// PG. 25
aymond “Bo” Lewis said he has always been an entrepreneur with great ideas and work ethic.
Now, it’s the entrepreneurial lifestyle that he’s becoming more comfortable with. The lifestyle, for him, now includes taking risks and navigating the unknown in his relentless pursuit of product development. His pursuit focuses on developing FusionSkyPass, a social media marketing tool that allows users to receive discounts, deals and incentives from participating businesses in exchange for users posting about the participating businesses on social media. Users are able to access their benefits by signing up for FusionSkyPass. The company sends participants a card that can then be presented at participating businesses for access to the deals and discounts. Lewis, who began working four years ago on a similar concept which grew to this iteration, presented his idea recently at 1 Million Cups. Every Wednesday, Wichita entrepreneurs join other entrepreneurs across the world to share information about their businesses and approaches then answer questions about their models from the audience in an effort designed by the Kauffman Foundation to help educate, engage and connect entrepreneurs. Participating in 1 Million Cups, Third Thursday and other similar area events, Lewis said, has helped him get to know the local tech community in his quest for additional knowledge, expertise and to be engaged in a network of like-minded peers. And while the engagements have offered great leads, the path to his 1 Million Cups presentation, Lewis said, was a long one filled with hurdles that he has
been able to overcome. Among the hurdles: he isn’t a software developer himself and he initially had difficulty finding talent that understood his concept. Lewis said he ended up discovering a platform that connects projects with people who have the development skills. After a number of dead-ends locally, Lewis said he took a chance on the platform and was able to shop his idea to developers internationally. “If you want to win in life, you have to take a chance,” said Lewis, 31, who graduated from Metro-Midtown. Taking a chance also means navigating environments where he’s “the only one in the room.” “It’s really challenging to be in the tech space period in Wichita because there’s not a lot of us out here and then to be an African-American in this space can be more of a challenge,” Lewis said. “But I’ve never strayed away from a challenge.” Besides that, Lewis said, “It’s not helpful for me to focus on being only one or two in the room,” he said. “I have to adapt to my surroundings…to do what I need to do.” Lewis, who has invested his own money to develop his business, said he is pleased with the attention he has received following the 1 Million Cups presentation. Currently, he’s looking for businesses and users to sign up FusionSkyPass members. For any imitators, Lewis says that he has already achieved at levels some people said he’d never reach. “No matter what happens from here on out, “Lewis said, “it will forever be known that I am the creator of the electronic social media card.”
PG. 26// PARTNER FEATURE
Photo courtesy of the Kansas Leadership Center (Jeff Tuttle)
HACKING A CITY, FOR THE BETTER
By Joe Stumpe, Contributing Editor, The Kansas Leadership Center Journal
he aroma of Mexican food wafts out of the break room of the Labor Party, a shared workspace in Wichita’s lively Old Town entertainment district. It’s been brought in to feed about two dozen people attending the monthly “Hack Night” held by Open Wichita, a volunteer group trying to make life better through the sharing of information and technology.
computers, discussing a proposed mobile app that would make public transit easier to use and a website devoted to reducing infant mortality. The size of each subset grows and shrinks as people come and go. There’s no agenda, no one taking minutes and nothing like Robert’s Rules of Order in effect here.
Despite Open Wichita founder Seth Etter’s urging, the food finds relatively few takers. The participants, mostly men and women in their 20s and early 30s, seem much more interested in talking about where the organization is headed.
The effort inches forward. Later, Etter says he’s happy with the progress. Rather than one handy app for bus riders or easily accessible list of local food sources, Etter’s vision for Open Wichita is broader: the engagement of citizens, by and for citizens, in all sorts of fields using technology and previously inaccessible sources of data.
Etter, craft beer in hand, stands in the middle of one group that’s throwing out ideas to increase voter participation. Another group sits around a long table, hatching strategies to promote the local food movement. A handful of others hunker over laptop
Read more about Etter and the efforts of Open Wichita, and find out how to participate in a 24hour civic hackathon on June 4 in the Spring issue of The Journal, which will be published in May. Visit klcjournal.com to learn more about the magazine.
INCREASE YOUR CAPACITY TO EXERCISE LEADERSHIP.
f or t he
common good OD
KANSAS LEADERSHIP CENTER
Join those who share your goals and aspirations at the Kansas Community Kansas Leadership Center Leadership Initiative Summit NOVEMBER 5-7, 2014 KANSAS LEADERSHIP CENTER 325 E DOUGLAS AVE WICHITA, KS 67202 Upcoming Session: You. Lead. Now.
July 12-14, 2016 FOR MOREby INFORMATION Register June 21, 2016 AND TO REGISTER CONTACT: Call, 316-712-4950
Shaun Rojas 316.712.4956, email@example.com The Kansas Leadership Center equips people to make lasting change for the common good. KLC focuses on leadership as an activity, not a role or position. Open to anyone seeking to move the needle on tough challenges in the civic arena, KLC envisions more people sharing responsibility for acting together in pursuit of the common good. or position. Open
April 16, 2016 11:30am — 2:00pm
2016 Saturday April 16 The
CLASS (A program of Rise Up For Youth, Inc.) presents its 8th Annual Sisterhood Of Queens Event
Location: Holiday Inn, 549 S. Rock Road, Wichita, Kansas Tickets: $40 Call (316) 440-9255 for additional information/questions
Save the Date
Join us for
9 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Urban Prep. Academy 2821 E. 24th St.
Old Mueller Elementary
Keynote Speaker: Valerie Jarrett, Sr. Advisor to President Obama
Valerie B. Jarrett is a Senior Advisor to President Barack Obama, overseeing the White House Offices of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs, and chairing the White House Council on Women and Girls. Ms. Jarrett has worked throughout her tenure at the White House to mobilize elected officials, business and community leaders, and diverse groups of advocates behind efforts to strengthen and improve access to the middle class, to boost American businesses and our economy, and to champion equality and opportunity for all Americans. We are honored to have Ms. Jarrett as our guest speaker this year to inspire, motivate and encourage our teen girls to reach their highest potential as “Rising Stars.” Your attendance at this event will be a great support and investment in the lives of the teen girls we serve. Please plan to purchase your tickets early. Also, please consider being a “Table Host”! (No Tickets Sold at The Door).
Free Event • open to the public • Free credit reports • Prizes • 24 workshop sessions • Vendors • Info for all ages -- 0 to 100+ • Get professional advice • Free • Lunch
Partial List of Workshops
LEARN in our 45 min. sessions • Building Credit to Get the Things You Want• Get off the Pay Day Lending Lynn Gilkey, Executive Director Rise Up For Youth, Inc. Program Director, CLASS
“It is better to build strong girls than to restore broken women.”
Spiral • Getting into the Investment Housing Business • • Buying a Home 101 • Get out of Debt Quick • • Don’t Retire Broke • Turn Your Idea into a Money Maker • Renter’s and Landlord’s Rights • and Many more.
Win time in the money machine + more great prizes
PARTNER FEATURE// PG. 29
The Urban League of Kansas presents 62nd Annual Equal Opportunity Dinner
Learn Today â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Lead Tomorrow: Empowering Our Youth
Thursday, May 26, 2016 Holiday Inn East 549 S. Rock Road
Reception 6 p.m.-7 p.m. Dinner & Awards 7 p.m.-9:30 p.m. To purchase tickets or for more information please call, 316-262-2463
Please Save the Date
WE'RE HERE; NOW IT'S TIME TO BE PRESENT www.ictup.org