The Wichita Independent Business Association has named Alicia Holloway as its top staff member, effective Monday.
She replaces Ray Frederick, who notified the board earlier this month of his decision to pursue another position. Holloway is the first woman to serve as president in the organization’s 85 years, although she has served on WIBA’s board, including a stint as chairman.
Holloway is owner of Right Recruiting of Kansas, where she tested and screened job applicants for business for 17 years.
She will be the president of WIBA full time. Her partner at Right Recruiting, Nancy Chadick, will continue to operate the business.
Holloway graduated summa cum laude from the University of Texas in 1994. She held marketing positions at Pizza Hut and Rent-A-Center before beginning Right Recruiting of Kansas.
Holloway said she has served in a lot of organizations, but WIBA has a special place in her heart.
“It was one organization that I never lost passion for,” she said. “I believe in it, the unique approach that the management and the staff take toward members.”
WIBA has had to re-establish itself after changes in the national medical insurance market ended its longtime health insurance program for small business. It lost most of its membership.
Frederick, a longtime volunteer, helped stabilize the organization and started to chart a new direction. Holloway is carrying it further.
The organization hired a membership recruiter, stepped up its programming and events and is continuing its economic development outreach.
WIBA staff members worked with the City of Wichita in helping 200 businesses over the past year with a wide variety of issues, from recruiting employees to drafting business plans, resulting in 162 new jobs, she said.
WIBA does not duplicate the efforts of the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce, she said, but rather acts as a complement.
“I see us as a hand out and help up to start-ups and emerging businesses,” she said.
“Our members are business owners. Our events are designed to network with other members who need or want to learn about something new, such as bargaining or politics.”