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Young Professionals of Wichita Blog - Wichita Rising by Sam Foreman

February 10, 2016

Help Make Wichita the Opportunity Capital

By Sam Foreman, Klenda Austerman | 2016 YPW Chair

Sam Foreman - YPW 2016 Board of Trustees Chair

I dare you.

Imagine a perfect Wichita community. One filled with limitless opportunities for your family, friends and business. What if I told you that image is within our reach? Skeptical? I believe itis within our reach. This transformation can only be achieved if we create a strong enough positive perception about what is possible here to unlock the potential of our community. Only you can make that happen.

As a transitioning Midwestern manufacturing community, we face very real and significant challenges. But it is time to dare to dream. A century ago, the legends of Wichita built Cessna and Stearman from dreams, rocketing Wichita from cow town to world leader in advanced manufacturing. And each major innovation and success along the way has been built by Wichita dreamers creating opportunities for others. We are Wichitans, and we build dreams into opportunities. It’s time to embrace that legacy of opportunity creation, and become the Opportunity Capital.

We all know you can do anything in Wichita. But opportunity is about more than can. It’s about attainability – shortening the distance from Dream to Done. There are many factors that move us from Dream to Done, but the most important for us right now is perception.

Why perception? Because it limits or enhances every opportunity. It destroys or inspires dreams. And it contributes to the creation of community loathing or community pride. An opportunity’s full potential can only be reached if people start with a belief that a positive outcome is not only possible, but probable. Negative perception destroys a community’s greatest asset: its dreams. And these dreams are essential to creating progress through innovation and creativity.

If positive perception is strong enough, it creates community pride, which changes everything. It creates a shared, positive community identity; takes dreams to the next level; and increases buy in. Community pride creates a momentum that grows dramatically faster the more widely it is shared until it reaches the point where it is certain the community will become the image created by that pride. Negative perception creates the opposite effect.

That’s why perception is so important. That’s why you are so important.

Perception, positive or negative, is created through daily interactions. You are the only one who can reach your circle of influence, and you have something incredible to give to them. You can provide them with the information and opportunities that will give them an amazing Wichita experience. In the process you’ll create the positive perception – the community pride – that will take us to the next level.

Here are some specific things I’m doing to tackle the perception challenge:

▪ Helping those with an already positive perception to transform their circles of influence,

▪ Connecting people with less-than-positive perceptions to information and opportunities, and

▪ Using the platforms I have access to, such as Young Professionals of Wichita, to engage others and change perceptions.

Our community faces major challenges, and we have significant progress to make. But the solution to the perception challenge is right in front of us. Is the Opportunity Capital more than just a dream? Make that dream reality. I dare you.

Sam Foreman is a lawyer at Klenda Austerman and chairman of the Young Professionals of Wichita board of trustees. He can be reached at 316-267-0331 or

Read the previous post in this series “Wichita Rising: The Opportunity Capital” here.


YPW is an initiative of the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce that offers ways for young professionals – ages 21 to 39 – to socialize and expand their professional horizons.

Here are a few upcoming events:

▪ March 10, New Member Dine Around, 5:30-7 p.m., The Artichoke Sandwich Bar

▪ March 24, March Mingle Madness, 5:30-8 p.m., Joe’s Old Town Bar and Grill

▪ Friday, April 1, W(h)ine About Wichita/Toast the Town, 7-9:30 p.m., Union Station

▪ Friday, April 22, 2016 Kansas YP Summit, 8 a.m.-5 p.m., the Hyatt

For more events, go to

Read the article at the Wichita Eagle here:

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