It is a sincere honor to serve as chairman of the Wichita Independent Business Association in 2011. As co-owner of Right Recruiting, a recruiting and pre-employment assessment firm, I have found WIBA to be an invaluable resource — not just "another business club" to join.
One of the roles I am most enjoying is working with our members to help their concerns be heard by our local and state leaders. With the 2011 Kansas legislative session now in full swing, our organization is focusing a lot of energy on this area, while also keeping a full slate of networking and learning opportunities on the calendar for local business leaders.
Recognized by many as the voice of independent business in our region, WIBA takes the responsibility of speaking on behalf of its members seriously. Representing the interests of our business community helps lawmakers understand the constraints placed upon many business owners. We also share ideas on what steps can be taken to help businesses lead the charge to create a more productive environment for our community overall.
What do our members say they need to operate more effectively? They need a legislative environment supportive of employment and economic growth. We support the governor's approach, even if we may disagree on some particular cuts. The state needs to bring its revenues and expenditures into equilibrium for long-term success. While we work for jobs and economic growth, we also continue to look for solutions on what our members say is their biggest cost item, insurance.
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I look forward to joining WIBA president Tim Witsman and Pete Schrepferman, who is chairman of the WIBA governmental affairs committee, in traveling to Topeka for our members and with our members to speak on these important topics.
WIBA encourages all of its members to become involved in political efforts. To help make sure that everyone has the opportunity to better understand the political landscape at the federal, state and local level, we hold a variety of meetings, including Government 101 programs to deepen our members' understanding of how government works. Face-to-Face Forums provide a conversational atmosphere for our members to connect and learn from leaders at the city, county and school board, as well as state and federal elected officials and their staffs.
As is the case for many of my colleagues, my small business has been severely tested over the past two years of the recession. Cost cutting has been our unfortunate mantra. However, my partner and I never considered letting our WIBA membership lapse. Its value continues to shine and provide real-world business opportunities.
If you are interested in learning more about the WIBA political advocacy or other business networking programs that can help you establish valuable business connections, I encourage you to give WIBA a closer look.
Please know you have an invitation to attend one of our monthly networking events or luncheons as my guest. Just call the WIBA office at 316-201-3263. You can also connect with the WIBA team online at www.wiba.org, find them on Facebook at www.facebook.com /wichitabusiness and follow them on Twitter at www.twitter.com /wichitabusiness.
Let's lead the country and set an example of how to operate within our means and create an environment conducive for business development. I'm looking forward to great things in 2011. It will take hard work, but that's one of the things that Kansans do best.