FOR WICHITA’S YOUNG, DIVERSE AND TALENTED
VOL. 3 ISSUE 2 | DECEMBER 2016/JANUARY 2017 www.ictup.org
WICHITA TAKES ON TALENT EXAMINING THE CITY’S “BIGGEST EXPORT”
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T H A N K S TO A L L O U R M E M B E R S, PA RT N E R S A N D S U P P O RT E R S. L O O K I N G F O R WA R D TO C O L L A B O R AT I N G E V E N M O R E I N 2 0 1 7 . JOIN US I C T U P. O R G
PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE The ability to develop and retain talent is the great equalizer. Whether it’s sports, business or even in the nonprofit sector, this is often what separates those who succeed and those who don’t. Developing and retaining talent is a topic that has definitely been on the radar of various Wichita leaders. Over the last year, there has been lots of talk about Wichita’s inability to do this. Most of the mainstream buzz was brought on from James Chung’s initial Focus Forward Initiative. However, many young professionals in communities of color have watched their peers migrate away from Wichita for years. In 2014, Wichita Urban Professionals launched “Our Future – Now,” a survey that captured the perceptions of minority professionals on a variety of topics including retention and professional development practices. In every category offered, there was the perception that Wichita was failing at an alarming rate to be a major player in the development and retention of talent in the eyes of minority professionals. Earlier this year, The Chung Report — a website that focuses on bringing more awareness to the research provided to us by Mr. Chung — stated that, of the 130,000 members of the alumni network from Friends University, Newman and Wichita State, 85,000 left the state of Kansas. The website also states that 70
percent of the engineering grads, 56 percent of Masters and Ph.D. grads and 49 percent of fine arts grads left Wichita for other cities. These are extremely alarming rates considering the impacts that these fields of study have on income and culture. Perception has gotten the biggest blame for losing talent – and rightfully so. Wichita has rallied together to aggressively attack this through more social promotion of events and developing new groups, hash tags and websites to spread the word about the great things going on in Wichita. However, we have not dealt with why the perceptions exist in the first place with the same vigor. Perception is based on what you hear, see or think. The perceptions captured from the “Our Future – Now” survey were built on years of talented individuals not being given the opportunity to advance here, which led them to find opportunities in other areas. Those perceptions were passed along when we watched our peers find success in other places. The perceptions were reinforced as we continuously saw no one who looked like us in the seats that we hoped to be in one day. I hope that going into 2017, the Wichita community can continue the strides that have been made in terms of the role of inclusion in trying to retain and attract talent. The Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce, now the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce, is a great example of this especially in its entrepreneur sector. Not only has the chamber been a big supporter of inclusive entrepreneurship initiatives, it has made diversity and inclusion a prime focus by hosting meetings around the topic, bringing in Daymond John of FUBU and “Shark Tank” to speak at its annual meeting and housing the ICTalent Alliance project. While we’re working on the current chapter of the Wichita narrative, we have to be mindful that the next chapter is also being forged — maybe not on paper, but in the minds of those who are looking at today’s leaders. It’s within the thoughts of those who are envisioning themselves in opportunities and positions in Wichita that they could, one day, fill. Will these hopefuls have individuals here to look up to, or will they have to find inspiration elsewhere and follow their leads?
Jonathan Long, President Wichita Urban Professionals
IN THIS ISSUE// PG. 5 ON THE SCENE
SUIT AND TIE IV • 6 WICHITA CHAMBER MEETING • 7
MID-AMERICAN DIVERSIFIED ENTREPRENEURS (M.A.D.E.) • 8-9 NEWMAN UNIVERSITY BSU • 10
WICHITA TAKES ON TALENT • 11 WHERE ARE THEY GOING? BY THE CHUNG REPORT • 12-13 ICTALENT ALLIANCE • 14 TALENT SPECIALIST • 15 NEW LEADERS • 16-17
18 28 15 16
5 MINUTES WITH...
COURTNEY HOUGH • 18-19
ICT-UP MEMBER SPOTLIGHT QUANG NGUYEN • 20-21
FONTAINE BARTLETT PHOTOGRAPHY• 22-25 SMALL BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT • 26 #BELLACUSTOMLIPSTICK
KANSAS LEADERSHIP CENTER • 28
URBAN MAGNATE Wichita Urban Professionals (ICT-UP) exists to develop a network of rising leaders to improve the quality of life in the urban communities of Wichita. Urban Magnate is the premier publication of Wichita Urban Professionals 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. Hardcopy editions are strategically distributed to ICT-UP members and city, civic and business organizations. Subscriptions are available for $30 annually. Limited ad space is available for purchase. Contact email@example.com or call 316-371-8145 for ad inquiries.
Urban Magnate Contributors
Christina M. Long of CML Collective, LLC oversees the majority of reporting, writing, editing, layout and design of this publication in partnership with ICT-UP.
Jonathan Long, Contributing Writer/Reporter Michael E. Woods, Contributing Photographer David D. Wallace, Jr., Contributing Photographer
On the front cover: Léah Sakr Lavender, Talent Specialist, Greater Wichita Partnership, courtesy photo On the back cover: Jonathan Long with Kevin Myles, Southeastern Regional Field Director, NAACP
PG. 6// ON THE SCENE SUIT AND TIE IV FEATURES LOCAL TALENT, TWO DJS AND HOLIDAY FUN Backdrop photos courtesy of Power Point Photography
An after-Thanksgiving tradition continued with Kevin Harrison and Friends presenting Suit and Tie IV at Abode. This yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s event featured local musical acts including Infinite Layers and Willie Wactor III. DJ Fluid and DJ Carbon kept the crowd moving through the night with a wide-range of musical throwbacks through current hits. Top photos: (L) - Infinite Layers (R) - Willie Wactor III Photos by Christina M. Long
ON THE SCENE// PG. 7 ICT-UP MEMBERS INTERACT WITH “SHARK” DAYMOND JOHN AT WICHITA REGIONAL CHAMBER OF COMMERCE’S ANNUAL MEETING Photos by Christina M. Long
Members of Wichita Urban Professionals attended the annual meeting of the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce, formerly the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce. The event featured the induction of new Chamber board members, including Christina Long of ICT-UP. Daymond John, a business mogul who created the FUBU brand and who regularly appears on the network television show, “Shark Tank” was the Chamber’s featured speaker. John gave an address and moderated two business pitches from Wichita companies, KingFit and BuddyRest. Long was also among local “experts” who participated in the onstage Q&A of participating companies. The night ended with BuddyRest being awarded an investment from the e2e Accelerator through the e2i E-Community. Afterward, several ICT-UP members participated in a VIP Meet & Greet photo opp with John.
PG. 8 // COMMUNITY SPOTLIGHT
M.A.D.E.: An emerging organization looking to help “everyday people, every day” Story and photo by Christina M. Long
M.A.D.E. founder, Quantin McIntosh (right), speaks with area bank representatives at a recent meeting of the Wichita Urban E-Community. M.A.D.E. was formed to help local entrepreneurs.
ince he was 12 years old, Bryce Graham has been an entrepreneur. Now, the 28-year-old owner of Shock Shop, a barbershop at 21st and Grove, is part of a new organization working to help develop aspiring entrepreneurs. Mid-American Diversified Entrepreneurs (M.A.D.E.) has a twofold vision: to help people starting their businesses get access to knowledge and also to advance the act of investing. The group is also building a hub for skills such as website development and social media management, among other activities. The group is led by Quantin McIntosh, 33, a serial entrepreneur whose businesses include Fat Boyz BBQ & Burgers, 816 S. Broadway. Rather than pushing a certain agenda, beyond business development and growth, Graham said entrepreneurs working with their organization are motivated because “M.A.D.E. is about what you’re passionate about.” Ocie A. Beacham, 25, and his wife, Jerica V. Beacham, 26, are owners of At Your Door Laundry, LLC, a participating business. The couple launched the concierge-style company in September saying that “the overall concept is to provide convenient services that save people time and money.” For Beacham, M.A.D.E. provides a network of roughly a dozen like-minded entrepreneurs who meet monthly. During the group meetings, members discuss growth strategies and ways to support one
FOR MORE INFORMATION
another’s businesses. Ultimately, they’d like to see their work lead to a “Black Wall Street” in Wichita referring to the historic Black business district in Greenwood, a neighborhood in Tulsa, Oklahoma during the early 20th century. The district held more than 300 African-American owned businesses including theaters, grocery stores, night clubs and more. Unfortunately, the neighborhood was torched by white residents and hundreds of African-Americans were killed during the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921, which is considered one of the deadliest domestic attacks in the history of the United States, according to multiple sources. Working towards a thriving Wichita-area Black Wall Street full of businesses is the vision anchored in M.A.D.E.’s slogan, “We help everyday people, every day.” In addition to monthly meetings, the group participates in conference calls with nationally-known entrepreneurs and scholars such as Dr. Boyce Watkins, Damon Dash and others. The momentum has even prompted Graham to launch a wireless phone company, Shock Wireless, from his barbershop. Graham says that Shock Wireless is set up to allow people to start their own cellphone business online or in a brick and mortar with no money down to start. As for the organization, Graham said M.A.D.E. plans to hold more events such as a block party that Graham held on his property earlier this year that included business vendors and drew about 200 people and get people more knowledgeable about investment opportunities. One member, for example, is interested in sharing knowledge about investing in cryptocurrency— similar to bitcoins. “We just want to empower individuals to grow and develop businesses—to first encourage it and, second, to help with development,” Graham said.
M.A.D.E. meets the first Sunday of the month at 6 p.m. at 2221 N. Grove in central-northeast Wichita. For more information, please see the following contact information:
M.A.D.E. Fb.com/316made 316Made.com 316-530-Made (6233)
AT YOUR DOOR LAUNDRY fb.com/atyourdoorlaundry AtYourDoorLaundry.com 316-530-2935
SHOCK SHOP, LLC fb.com/shockshopllc under development: shockbarbershop.com 316-768-7288
SHOCK SHOP WIRELESS fb.com/ShockshopWireless/ MyShockWireless.com 316-530-3796
PG. 10// COMMUNITY SPOTLIGHT II
NEWMAN UNIVERSITY LAUNCHES BLACK STUDENT UNION
Story and photos by Christina M. Long
ust approved this fall, Newman University’s Black Student Union has wasted no time organizing events reflective of the current national dialogue on diversity and inclusion. The student union has held a town hall meeting on public protests using the demonstration by San Francisco 49ers’ Colin Kaepernick as a talking point to launch discussion as well as delving into conversation about the Black Lives Matter movement. The meeting engaged coaching staff members, student-athletes, students, university administration and community members, including officers with the Wichita Police Department. The university also held a candlight vigil following yet another police-involved shooting; this time of Terence Crutcher, who was shot and killed in Tulsa. The Black Student Union’s faculty adviser is Devin Smith, who holds the Graduate Assistantship - Diversity position. The union was approved along with other cultural organizations including the Asian Student Association and the International Student Association, the university reports. For more information on the union, follow them on Facebook at @nublackstudentunion.
WICHITA TAKES ON
This multi-story feature looks at how Wichita organizations are putting the areaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s talent-retention needs in focus, and what these efforts mean for diverse professionals.
featuring submissions from: The Chung Report Suzy Finn, Young Professionals of Wichita The Greater Wichita Partnership Local Leaders: Natalie Rolfe Portia Portugal BreAnna Monk
Image used with permission from The Chung Report
t’s no secret that Wichita suffers from brain drain - a more dated term for the number of young, educated professionals who leave the area for other metro areas. As researcher James Chung puts it, “One of Wichita’s biggest exports is talent.” The Chung Report, www.thechungreport.com, is an online initiative that aims to “stimulate collaboration, business growth and entrepreneurial energy.” The platform is a response to the research conducted and shared by Chung, who has been tasked by the Wichita Community Foundation to conduct a multi-year study on our city in an effort being called, “Focus Forward.” As it relates to talent retention, The Chung Report delved deeply into the topic by reviewing alumni data from Wichita State University, Newman University and Friends University. Here are some of the findings:
Images are reprinted with permission and featured courtesy of The Chung Report. See full coverage at www.thechungreport.com.
CONNECTING THROUGH DIVERSITY ICTALENT ALLIANCE TO LINK INCOMING JOB CANDIDATES WITH AREA AMBASSADORS BY SUZY FINN
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, YOUNG PROFESSIONALS OF WICHITA AND EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF COMMUNITY ADVANCEMENT, WICHITA REGIONAL CHAMBER OF COMMERCE Courtesy Photo
magine living in one of the six major metropolitan areas that are now a majority-minority in population, where people of all ages, races, religions, political affiliations, and sexual orientations regularly interact with each other. One day, you get an offer to interview for a job in Wichita, Kansas. All you know about the city is what you read in the national news – there’s a pretty good basketball team and the politics tend to be conservative. As a Muslim; as an African American; as a young, single parent; as a someone who identifies as LGBT; as an atheist; as a Democrat; as someone with one of the many dimensions of diversity that are not immediately identifiable as common in this area, you are skeptical about finding the connections you would need to find your fit within the community. And you can’t or don’t want to talk to the HR person or hiring managers about your concerns, deciding to take a similar job in a different community instead. Now imagine that you are given the opportunity to connect with a local ambassador in Wichita with similar dimensions of diversity. You can email each other, talk on the phone, or even meet in person while in town for your interview. They can answer your questions about what they value in Wichita, and provide honest input about where there are still challenges. You walk away from your interview knowing that you have a fantastic job offer and the first connection you need to start building your network in the area. The goal of ICTalent, a program of the Wichita Educational Foundation and the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce, is to facilitate the second scenario, resulting in a more diverse talent pool in the Wichita area.
The combination of a website and app paired with a team of area ambassadors will provide candidates the opportunity to make connections, increasing the likelihood of a candidate relocating to Wichita. Developed by a team of eight professionals participating in the Advance Kansas program, and modeled after a similar concept in South Carolina, ICTalent will promote economic development efforts in the Wichita region by enhancing candidate and new hire perceptions of the community through information and interaction. The planning phase of the program was funded by a grant from the Knight Foundation Fund at the Wichita Community Foundation. The team is currently raising additional funds through the Wichita Chamber, and hopes to launch the program in the second quarter of 2017. You can help by contacting Suzy Finn (sfinn@ wichitachamber.org) at the Wichita Chamber for more information about how you or your business can be involved.
// PG. 15
TALENT SPECIALIST JOINS GREATER WICHITA PARTNERSHIP LÉAH SAKR LAVENDER, Talent Specialist, is responsible for coordinating efforts to advance the community’s workforce development strategies.
he Greater Wichita Partnership has created a new Talent Specialist position and hired Léah Sakr Lavender. The new position is responsible for coordinating efforts to advance the community’s workforce development strategies, according to an organizational news release. “Companies have identified that the recruitment of talent and the development of workforce is central to their success,” said Jeff Fluhr, Greater Wichita Partnership President. “The Partnership created this position to work with companies to aggressively market the assets of our community and to complement their recruitment efforts.” Lavender brings diverse work and cultural experience to the role having worked and lived in United Arab Emirates, Australia, Spain and the United States, working in both corporate and education positions. Most recently, Lavender worked as an academic coach and mentor with previous roles as a human resources manager, media analyst and high school teacher. “I am looking forward to connecting with members of the
community and to start supporting shared workforce strategies,” Lavender said. “The Wichita region has so much to offer, and I am excited to share its story with people and talent of all ages to ensure we have the right workforce for the future. I am ready to start collaborating with all the great organizations that are already doing incredible work in retention and recruitment.” Lavender holds her Bachelor’s degree in International Studies from the University of New South Wales in Sydney and her Master of Teaching at the University of Sydney graduating from both with honors. She looks forward to applying her international and cultural experiences to the role and is fluent in English, French, Arabic and Spanish. “Local businesses tell us the same thing we hear nationally: that we must keep and recruit the highly skilled and highly creative talent to be globally competitive,” Fluhr said. “Because this is such an important position, we included human resource professionals from a variety of companies on this search committee. Léah will do a great job forging new, global strategies to retain and recruit talent while accelerating and connecting existing efforts to retrain workers.”
NEW LEADERS TAKING CHANGES AND BREAKING THROUGH Wichita-area nonprofits are seeing a rise in the number of diverse, millennial-aged leaders holding key positions, including executive director roles. Here are their stories.
Natalie Rolfe, Executive Director Down Syndrome Society of Wichita, Hired April 2016
What does it mean to you to be a millennial and at the helm of your organization? I think it adds value to the recognition of talent within this generation! Often times, we’re overlooked or considered “too young” or “not experienced enough” for executive leadership roles but, with the right opportunity, millennials can flourish. I think Millennials are a fascinating generation – one that breaks limits and ignores boxed ideas, both personally and in the professional world. Leadership within this generation challenges the beliefs of so many large companies and organizations who won’t promote unless you’re a certain age or have a certain amount of years under your belt. What would you say Wichita can do to encourage more millennials to grow roots here? Continue to rethink business, rethink the current models utilized and see how to accommodate rather than eliminate. We’re too quick to shoot down ideas without, at least, examining its components. I think because of our geographical location and the way that trends reach us, we’re sometimes the last to catch on. That won’t change unless you have forward-thinking individuals involved in decision-making alongside seasoned leadership. Millennials are catalysts of change. It’s a great thing for the city to retain those we have and figure out how to become a bit more attractive. I believe city life, entertainment opportunities and being able to voice concerns and see measurable growth are all ways to attract Millennials.
Portia Portugal, Executive Director // PG. 17 Dress for Success Wichita, Promoted December 2014
What does it mean to you to be a millennial and at the helm of your organization? It’s very exciting. Most of my staff would be considered millennials as well and I think we are a very hardworking group. We put in as much work as possible to ensure the organization is running well, which I think directly combats the notion that millennials are lazy. I think being a millennial in this role gives me a greater appreciation for it. I have many friends who have had a great deal of trouble finding steady employment, let alone a leadership role for an organization they love. To see so many of my peers in this situation makes me value my role even more than I think someone else might. It also affords me the opportunity to challenge the status quo; we don’t do things around here simply because that’s how they’ve always been done. We are not afraid to try new things and take risks. At the end of the day, we have a mission to fulfill and we are willing to make any necessary changes in order to do so. What would you say Wichita can do to encourage more millennials to grow roots here? The flexibility that my job has provided has truly made a difference in my willingness to lay down roots here. I’ve only lived in Wichita about 2.5 years and was initially convinced that I would want to leave as soon as possible. However, once I got this job that gives me opportunities to grow personally and professionally, I was significantly more inclined to stay. Many of my professional relationships have turned into friendships and a support system that I feel comfortable leaning on. It’s this network of support that makes me love this city now. Even though my family is far away, I feel as though I’ve made a family right here. That all started at work. So I encourage any leaders in Wichita to offer as many networking and growth opportunities to their millennial employees. That network will be the catalyst for their love for this city which will in turn become their reason to want to stay. This was exactly my experience and it’s been so successful that my husband and I are now looking to purchase our first home here!
BreAnna Monk, Senior Center Administrator Derby Senior Center, Was named to the position by the City of Derby, July 2016 What does it mean to you to be a millennial and at the helm of your organization? It means that I am able to give a fresh outlook into the future of my organization, a change agent. When I first started, I was asked to give a facelift or new look to the center; one that speaks to the current members and attracts new members. I was able to grab a true picture of my organization, analyze the members and relevant market and then focus on delivering an outcome that would grow and retain membership. What would you say Wichita can do to encourage more millennials to grow roots here? By crafting an image that shows our unique resources. We have to show that we can be globally competitive by creating avenues of recession-proof ideas. Wichita can be considered a college town and, in college towns, technology, environmental practices, shops, cafes, galleries and even urban housing stock would be great areas to tap into.
5 minutes with
COURTNEY HOUGH Strategic Engagement Specialist, United Way of the Plains
Please describe the level of engagement from young professionals across the city in volunteering or giving with United Way.
e have an affinity group called Young Leaders Association which allows young professionals (ages 21- 40) to make a powerful and lasting impact in our community. To be considered for membership, Young Leaders must participate in our Step Up contribution program and contribute a gift of $500 the first year, a suggested gift of $750 the second year, and $1000 by the third year. Members may combine their gifts with their spouses. Our Young Leaders Association provides volunteer, social and leadership opportunities to its members.
// PG. 19 How is United Way contributing to communities of color in the Wichita area? The United Way of the Plains serves seven counties in south central Kansas and, just last year, we helped 81,013 people in our service area. United Way uniquely provides multiple resources to assist and impact our community. We fund 34 partner agencies which serves those in need. Although all of our agencies serve communities of color, we do fund organizations which are led and founded by people of color. We proudly fund the Boys and Girls Club of South Central Kansas’ Youth Development program. This year, we began a new partnership with Rise Up for Youth which was founded by Lynn and David Gilkey. Both of their mentor programs, Caring Ladies Assisting Students to Succeed (C.L.A.S.S.) and Do You Want to Live or Die? (DYWTLOD) are proudly funded by the United Way of the Plains. We also have United Way specific funded programs which provide resources for our community. 2-1-1 is a toll- free phone number that connects people with important human services and volunteer opportunities. If a community member is in need of mentoring, senior care, food pantries, disability services, disaster relief assistance, parenting resources, free tax preparation information, and volunteer opportunities, they can call 2-1-1 and it will connect them to their local United Way. What is a major lesson you’ve learned about the value of giving during your time at United Way? When you are a part of a particular community, many times you learn to serve through your church, school, community center, etc. You begin to become familiar with the work that is needed in a specific area because you identify with that community. You know that Sister Johnson is in a wheelchair and she needs transportation assistance or your little brother may get help with the local tutoring program because he’s dyslexic. While working with the United Way, I’ve learned that the need for service is not exclusive to a particular zip code. I have learned about so many service organizations and how people from all backgrounds can help their fellow man. When you give to the United Way, you are helping individuals, groups, non- profits, service projects and initiatives and much more! The United Way is engaged in nearly 1800 communities across more than 40 countries. When you give, your dollars stay local but the impact is worldwide! What advice would you offer to individuals, particularly young and urban professionals, who wish to plug into the United Way to perform even more community service or come up with other fun ways to volunteer? United Way allows people to get involved in three ways: give, volunteer, and advocate. Most of our young and urban professionals are able to give via workplace campaigns. We encourage our young professionals to advocate for the United Way by encouraging their leadership to participate in a workplace campaign. Companies and organizations are able to raise money on behalf of the United Way through workplace events and payroll deductions. A unique way to get young and urban professionals engaged in the field is to volunteer. We have our Volunteer Center which places groups with our funded agencies and other community groups for opportunities. We also have a new Strategic Engagement piece which can create and coordinate on- going volunteer experiences for your company based on their Corporate Social Responsibility. Any other information you’d like to share? If you are interested in getting involved in the community, we welcome you to get more information on the United Way of the Plains at unitedwayplains.org. Whether you are interested in giving, volunteering or advocating for our education, income or health initiatives; we welcome you to join us and #LiveUnited!
PG. 20// member spotlight
// PG. 21
QUANG NGUYEN Change making through connecting Quang Nguyen, 23, is a proud Wichita native who sees himself as an emerging leader who is determined to work with others who have a passion for improving urban settings. As the Communications and Marketing Specialist for the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at Wichita State University, Nguyen believes his skills in marketing help to bring a new perspective to the community at-large through various projects. He’s also thoroughly interested in learning and understanding the importance of the local government to put individuals in positions of power to be able to make positive changes in Wichita. “An example I would like to provide,” Nguyen said, “is engaging the Wichita Asian Association to be able to connect the citizens of Wichita even more with the organization through their annual events.” He has the experience to make this vision happen. As an incoming member of the Wichita American Marketing Association (WAMA), for example, Nguyen said he was given the opportunity to help establish the ambassadors program for the organization. The WAMA Ambassadors, Nguyen said, serve as representatives for the organization to promote member and non-member inclusion and participation on all levels through its program and
mission statement. Nguyen also served to help revamp the Men of Excellence program that focuses on undergraduate and graduate students at Wichita State University within the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. The group, Nguyen said, supports the experiences of men of color at a predominately white institution that will provide a space to strengthen the bonds between men, create a network between the students, faculty, staff and alumni of color, develop leaders, improve communication and collaboration and strengthen the values and self-esteem of the members. Beyond programmatic advances, Nguyen said he’s looking forward to growing even more professionally and building alliances within the community. Additionally, he’s planning to continue his education by pursuing a Master’s of Business Administration at Wichita State University. And, as for the advancement’s he’s seeing in Wichita, Nguyen says, “I am very excited that Wichita is making various transformations to its downtown area, such as a new central library. “Also, construction is currently underway on highways and streets and it’s exciting that it will ease transportation in the future. Aside from that, I am also excited that Wichita’s initiative is to support the locals, which allows me to learn about the great businesses established in the city. Lastly, the Food Trucks at the Fountains is always something for me to look forward to on the weekends.”
PG. 22// PHOTO SPREAD
FONTAINE BARTLETT PHOTOGRAPHY FAMILIES & MORE COLLECTION
Photo Credit: Fontaine Bartlett
Photo Credit: Fontaine Bartlett
PG. 26// SMALL BUSINESS FEATURE
#BELLA CUSTOM LIPSTICK: THE PRODUCT LINE THAT FEATURES EVERY COLOR
herika Bray is used to the entrepreneurial grind. Her husband, Devon, is a well-known photographer and videographer behind the Bray Film brand. But, when it came to building her own business, #BellaCustomLipstick, Bray said she was just trying to fill a void. Too many women complained that they were unable to select correct shades for their preferences, or were frustrated with products that were out of stock or discontinued, she said. “I created a lip-line that would give them the opportunity to create their own color, and they can control how much matte or shine they want,” said Bray, 34. Her line features sassy names such as: Mom’s Night Out, Spellbound, Black Night, Deep Water Blue and many more. She even encourages her customers to name new colors she crafts. As a result, #BellaCustomLipstick has become a big hit, Bray said, in Wichita, California, Florida, Oklahoma City, Kansas City, Missouri, Georgia, Louisiana and Texas. Her success has created opportunities for her to design lipstick lines for other vendors starting in Kansas City. Details are currently being worked out. In the meantime, she’s continuing to grow her customer base. Many of her clients are all-too-happy to snap a selfie and post on her page, which also serves as a way to see her shades on a variety of skin tones. In order to gain such traction, Bray said she spent time building her brand through a rigorous series of questionasking. “What did I need to make matte, how was I going to make the bullet (or the colored sticker on the bottom of a tube of lipstick)? Where was I going to find a bulk of lipstick cases? What was I going to use to create the color? Where would people go to purchase this lipstick since it’s custom,” Bray said as examples of her initial product development research. Her findings have resulted in a line that boldly claims to contain “every color.” Among her biggest lessons, “Do it right the first time and be realistic.” For more information about Bella Custom Lipstick, visit her Facebook page, #BellaLipstick, or call, 316-806-2603.
PG. 28// PARTNER FEATURE
FIVE LAWS OF ATTRACTION
By Chris Green, Managing Editor, The Kansas Leadership Center Journal When it comes to attracting and keeping younger residents, does Wichita have anything to learn from communities in rural Kansas?
professionals opportunities to be influential. Give them the opportunities to shape the community in ways that meet their needs.
Maybe so. Republic County, in the north-central part of the state, has struggled with population losses in recent decades. But recently it has scored some successes in convincing young professionals to return home after college and stay.
3. The magic happens when multiple generations work across factions to get on the same page. You know you are winning when groups with different viewpoints listen to one another, understand their differences and still find ways to work on shared goals.
Here are some leadership lessons from Republic County’s experience that Wichita might want to take to heart: 1. Challenge the established story. People from Wichita are often prone to underestimate their community. You must test conventional wisdom and not assume that what’s been true in the past will remain so for the future. 2. If you want to attract and retain young professionals, you have to give the work back to them. Prosperous communities give their young
4. Gains don’t come without assuming some risk. You can’t just talk the talk. You must put resources into efforts to make your community more attractive. 5. Attitude matters. Nothing changes without hope. You must truly believe your community can be successful. Read more of The Journal’s coverage of leadership and civic issues at klcjournal.com.
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