Spanning all the way back into my high school days, I always needed to be doing something, otherwise I felt borderline useless. Because of this, I got involved in a multitude of programs in order to give myself some experience and develop myself. I joined Youth Entrepreneurs, a high school class program developed by Koch Industries to better connect students in high school with the knowledge and opportunities to think outside of the box and learn the basic of business operations. Eventually, I became a YE ambassador for my school. Another organization I joined was DECA. DECA is an internationally known program that prepares emerging leaders of the world to be college and career ready. I became the president of my high school’s chapter, and the state reporter for our Kansas DECA chapter.
Through both of these wonderful organizations, I have had the opportunity to speak at luncheons, executive meetings, and more. With everyone that I have met from that, whether it’s architect entrepreneurs, to Liz Koch of Koch Industries, the reoccurring theme of “Staying in Wichita” always entered the conversation.
I think the biggest problem with people my age is that they just want to get out, because “Wichita is boring” and there is “nothing to do here”. However, a lot of them do not see what Wichita IS doing. How Wichita is trying to expand, and grow. This city is on the fast track to what I believe will be one of the most innovative and entrepreneurial–minded cities in the country. We have weekly events on many different levels trying to spread this topic of innovation. From organizations like the Blueprint for Regional Economic Growth, Entrepreneurship Task Force, and One Million Cups, all these groups want to grow Wichita in their own ways. And they’re succeeding, however you can’t change this city overnight. It takes time and funds to do so.
Some of the jobs that are being created here are not offered anywhere else. I think that is our competitive advantage as a city. We need to show all the young minds that were born and raised in Kansas that we have something to offer them as they look for a career and life.
I encourage all students who want to get away, to give Wichita a second chance. You never know what it may have in store for you.