Your Chamber at Work - September 18, 2023




“International trade is crucial to the growth and prosperity of Kansas City, adding dollars and jobs back into the local economy.” Those wise words from Melissa Miller, Director of the Chamber’s World Trade Center (WTC).  
Our WTC can help you with your international trade efforts, whether you’re just dipping your toe into global waters or seeking to expand an already robust international trade effort.

On September 21, the WTC is partnering with the Dole Institute of Politics for an informative evening with former U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer about his new book, “No Trade is Free:  Changing Course, Taking on China, and Helping America’s Workers.”

Lighthizer has negotiated dozens of international agreements and practiced trade law for more than forty years. He served as the U.S. Trade Representative from 2017 to 2021 and, among other positions, was Chief of Staff of the Senate Committee on Finance under Chairman Bob Dole from 1978 to 1983. He is one of the country’s most respected experts on international trade.

The conversation with Ambassador Lighthizer will take place from 7 to 8:15 p.m. this Thursday at the Dole Institute of Politics, 2350 Petefish Drive in Lawrence. The moderator will be Jack Zhang, Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Kansas and Director of K.U.’s Trade War Lab.

The event is free, and cosponsored by the Dole Institute, the WTC, K.U.’s Department of Political Science, and the International Relations Council of Kansas City. It should be a fascinating discussion and we hope to see you there!


The Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce is pleased to present the ATHENA Leadership Awards in Kansas City. The award is named after the Greek goddess Athena, symbol of intelligence, wisdom, arts, and sciences, and recognizes not only exemplary leadership and service, but also honors an individual who has actively assisted in opening doors for others. Award recipients are selected by the KC Chamber’s Executive Women’s Leadership Council and a selection committee comprised of program sponsors. 

Our 2023 honorees are Marian McClellan, program consultant for Kansas City STEM Alliance, who will receive the ATHENA Leadership Award; and Lauren Conaway, founder and CEO of InnovateHER KC, who will receive the ATHENA Young Professional Leadership Award. 

The ATHENA Awards Reception will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. on September 20 at the Loews Hotel Neptune Ballroom, 1515 Wyandotte. The event is presented by UMB and KPMG. Leadership sponsors are McAnany, Van Cleave and Phillips and McCownGordon Construction. Cost to attend is $40 for Chamber members and $55 for non-members. Register here.


Community Blood Center must collect almost 600 units of blood daily to meet the needs of area hospital patients. As there is no substitute for blood, they rely on volunteer donors like all of us to supply the life-saving blood and blood components to hospitals in Kansas and Missouri. Kansas City is currently facing a blood emergency. Please click here for the instructions on how to make an appointment to donate. Walk-ins are also welcome. The blood drive will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesday, September 26 in the KC Chamber Board Room at Union Station, 30 W Pershing Road, next door to Pierponts.


The mission of the Centurions program is to prepare a cross-section of the region’s emerging leaders for their role in shaping the future of Greater Kansas City. Learn about the application process, the selection process, and just what it’s like to be a part of this premier leadership program, which is approaching its 50th anniversary. Meet actives and alumni and the program director to get all of your questions answered in a comfortable, informal setting. Join us from 3-5 p.m. on October 3 at Chicken N Pickle South, 5901 W. 135th St., Overland Park, KS. No cost to attend, but please register here.


Join us at Annual Dinner on Tuesday, November 21, to learn how the KC business community is preparing for a surge of power, progress, technology, and people that will lead our region to generational change. The Dinner will be held at the Kay Barnes Ballroom at the Kansas City Convention Center, with a networking reception at 4 p.m. and dinner and program beginning at 5:30 p.m. We're excited to announce our musical entertainment this year is Kansas native Kate Cosentino. Well-versed in the art of puns and guitar-shredding, Kate’s music is something of jazzy sleekness atop the lyrical precision of witty slam poetry. Whether you saw her rock the stage as a part of Niall Horan's team for Season 23 of The Voice or saw one of her many goofy social media posts, Cosentino's fun-loving personality, unique sense of style, and witty songwriting shine through in everything she does. Get more information about Annual Dinner here. The 2023 Annual Dinner presenting sponsor is Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City. Premier sponsors are Hallmark, JE Dunn, and UMB. Executive Sponsor is CommunityAmerica Credit Union.