Our February 2020 Chair’s Lunch seems like it took place eons ago, but the message from Karen Carter, our keynote speaker, about intentional inclusion couldn’t have been more powerful or more critical for the year 2020. I challenged every one of you at that event to #LevelUp your intentional listening and inclusion efforts and I provided some important action items for you and your organizations to consider implementing.
As I begin the second half of my term as your 2020 Chair, I’m leading a Board of Directors and a Chamber team that support a #CommitToChange and an end to racial discrimination. We must all become change agents to accomplish this transformation.
There’s much more urgency to the new set of action items that I’m sharing with all of you. We must say more. We must be more. We must do more. And we must embrace a new way of doing things. We must collaborate in order to build an inclusive learning community. In order to do that, I invite you to:
- Be willing to be uncomfortable.
- Be willing to be better educated on various topics and reasons.
- Use your voice, resources and influences to advocate and invest.
Efforts to dismantle systemic racism have been underway for many years and the Chamber has a history of working on solutions for assisting disadvantaged businesses. But it’s time for that work to be placed at the forefront. I’m changing my theme from #LevelUp to #AmpItUp during the second half of my term as your Chair. Why? Because it is time to do more. And I am thankful for all of you who have called, texted and emailed asking about how you can be part of the solution.
More importantly, I am thankful for those of you who have committed to amping it up. That includes making changes at your own businesses and helping to support other minority businesses like sponsoring Chamber memberships, providing scholarships for other opportunities, etc.
We stand united with our affiliate W and other business community groups to promote economic opportunity, equity and inclusion. The Chamber has begun convening local businesses to help them build their intentional inclusion efforts. This will be the foundation of a follow up discussion with Karen Carter that will focus on how local businesses can build their own diversity, equity and inclusion playbook made up of a unique guide, measurements and toolkit. We are excited to share the takeaways from this with the Wichita business community.
Monumental change requires maximum efforts from every single one of us. And I’m very thankful for a team of dedicated Chamber professionals who are prepared for this new challenge, a Board of Directors who opposes complacency and a business community that seeks to become an example for other regions to emulate. We can and will #AmpItUp all that we do in 2020 and the years beyond it so that we support all of those who seek opportunity and pursue equality.