Guest Commentary

This is why I love living in Wichita

Is it just me, or has Wichita become a really cool place to call home?

As one of the first Wichita Insiders featured on the new talent recruitment website launched by the Greater Wichita Partnership, www.ChooseWichita.com, I have a new side-hustle and it takes a few of my favorite things and combines them into one package – sharing with people the reasons I love living in Wichita and why they will too.

Whether I’m using my social media channels, emailing or just having coffee with someone, what I will tell them is this: The best thing about living and working in Wichita is the incredible sense of community. For me, I found a large Lebanese community here to keep me culturally connected. I’ve also discovered an encouraging professional network, a welcoming and fun social scene filled with diverse people my age and an entrepreneurial spirit that is inspiring.

Let me share my story of choosing Wichita not once, but twice. I first commuted to Wichita State University from Hutchinson, where I was born to Lebanese parents who immigrated to the U.S. in 1985. I moved to Lawrence while earning my MBA from Baker University and returned to Wichita in 2015.

I could have lived in other cities, but after exploring my options, Wichita was where I could see myself able to afford a nice-size house in my 20s, where I envisioned raising a family when the time is right and where I had the best opportunity for career growth.

Additionally, Wichita is just a great place to live. Whatever you like, you’ll find a wide range of options: downtown living, live music, beautiful art to explore and events that celebrate our diverse cultures. I was amazed at how many new restaurants, shops and other cool things to do had popped up during the three years I was gone. Since I’ve moved back, there has been a constant drumbeat of new activities and places to hang out with friends.

My job as a business specialist puts me in front of many passionate small-business owners. Their innovative spirit inspired me to start my own handmade soap business. I’ve been blown away by the incredible support from established female entrepreneurs, and I love that residents take pride in shopping local and go out of their way to do so.

I’m thankful my employer encouraged me to get involved in our community. My eyes have been opened to all the projects in progress and made me want to get involved as one of the first Wichita Insiders. Companies of all sizes can guide potential recruits to the new Choose Wichita website to learn about the Wichita region, and the site also will be promoted in targeted marketing efforts starting in Oklahoma City, Kansas City, Dallas and Los Angeles.

Personally, I can’t wait to see what’s coming next for those of us living here, and I’m looking forward to doing my part to help others choose Wichita.

Randa Shaban works at Meritrust Credit Union and volunteers as a Wichita Insider for the Greater Wichita Partnership.
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