Join members of Kansas Professional Communicators at the organization’s upcoming state conference in Wichita, Kansas’ largest city. The conference is open to nonmembers, as well, and will help anyone in the communications field “work their magic” with sessions on Conjuring Creativity, Levitating Yourself and learning Tricks of the Trade.

The Saturday, March 21, conference takes place at the Wichita Art Museum, one of the city’s treasures — and if you have time after the conference check out the outstanding Native American exhibit, “Preston Singletary: Raven and the Box of Daylight,” which next travels to the Smithsonian. Admission to WAM is free on Saturdays.

Conference organizers have also planned a special half-day of pre-conference activities for Friday, March 20.


Saturday, March 21 schedule


8:30 a.m.: Registration

9-10:15 a.m.: Conjuring Creativity


Communication is an art, not a science. Few of us, however, consider ourselves regular Shakespeares, Picassos or Martin Scorseses. How do we stoke our own creative fires? Is it a gift — manna from heaven? Painter Chuck Close said, “Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just get to work.”


Two dynamic women from Koch Communications Marketing, art director Mayra Ocampo and copywriter Jennifer Liss, will share how they keep their creative juices flowing. Their everyday work includes creating brand identities, digital campaigns and event promotions in print and interactive platforms for Koch companies and the nonprofits they support.


10:30-11 a.m.: Tricks of the Trade


Pick a skill, any skill, that you could use some pointers on. Content experts on four topics will give you some brief insights, along with handouts of resources, about learning some new tricks for your portfolio. The 30-minute sessions will run concurrently. Extra handouts from each session will be available for those of you who haven’t mastered the trick of being two places at once.


  • Social media strategies with Vanessa Whiteside, social media strategist with Lifeboat Creative. Social media nowadays has moved beyond the number of likes. Social media metrics tell a story. What are they telling you about your audience? Learn how to uncover the story your page's metrics are telling you so you can maximize your posts' reach and increase reader engagement. This workshop's overview of social media analytics will teach you how to track, measure, and optimize your social media activity

  • DIY graphics with graphic designer Deb Simpson and digital communications coordinator Darcy Gray. For wordsmiths, creating graphics may feel a bit like underwater torture. But with ready-to-use templates and drag-and-drop formats, free online graphic design products are making it easier for anyone to create eye-catching visuals. During this session, you'll learn about two such programs — Canva and Adobe Spark — and hear from two experts about using them.


  • Freelancing resources with freelance travel and aviation writer MeLinda Schnyder and freelance editor Shannon Littlejohn. The concept of becoming a freelancer is a dream for some and reality for others. Having a freelance career is attainable, but it doesn’t come without some stress and, at times, anxiety. Frankly, it can be like spinning plates.  MeLinda and Shannon will share some strategies and resources to help you begin and grow your business.


  • Camera tips with your smartphone with photographer and Wichita State instructor Madeline McCullough.  Ready to ditch the SLR camera? Madeline ditched hers five years ago and has not looked back. This mini-session will review best practices for photography in general and then dive into how to make the most of your smartphone camera. Equipment needed for session: your smartphone.  


11:15-11:45 a.m. KPC membership meeting


Membership meeting business includes the election of a new slate of KPC officers. Candidates are Amy Geiszler-Jones for president, Madeline McCullough for vice president membership, Monica Springer for vice president bylaws, Wendy Skellenger for secretary and Becky Funke for treasurer.


Nonmembers may visit the museum’s galleries or store for free during the meeting.


Noon-1:30 p.m. Luncheon with speakers and KPC awards presentation


Our luncheon program will include words from Gwen Larson, a KPC member who is currently serving as president of our national organization, NFPW (National Federation of Press Women) and a talk by Beccy Tanner, a longtime Wichita Eagle reporter who has parlayed her niche of writing interesting Kansas stories into an after-newspapers career teaching and sharing history, will be the luncheon speaker.


Also, winners in the KPC communications contest and KPC’s Communicator of Achievement, the group’s highest achievement award, will be recognized. The COA and first-place winners in the contest are eligible to compete for national recognition at the NFPW conference in Little Rock June 18-20.


1:45-3 p.m.: Levitating Yourself

Whether you want to impress your employers or gain more clients, you need to stand out to be successful. That takes knowing your value, identifying your strengths and promoting your brand. Our panelists will provide inspiration, tools and strategies you can use to work your magic and levitate yourself. Jill Miller, owner of Creative Solutions and headmistress of the Finishing School for Modern Women, will moderate this panel consisting of Dawn Monroe, Andy McFayden and Carla Eckels who rival the skills of any magician’s assistant when it comes to levitating themselves.

Learn more about our conference speakers here.


Friday, March 20 pre-conference activities


1:30-4 p.m. afternoon tours to Justin McClure Creative and KMUW radio, both located at 121 N. Mead in Wichita’s Old Town.

Free and open to anyone who wants to hear more about how a video production house is attracting national clients and how the local NPR station is filling the gap of bringing more local news.

NOTE: Allow ample time for parking and walking to 121 N. Mead.  There is very limited parking in front of 121 N. Mead and nearby parking has 2-hour limits. For unlimited parking, consider parking at the Wichita State University lot just north of 1st Street on Mead; the Hotel at Old Town parking garage, 830 E. 1st St. N.; or the Warren Parking Garage north of 2nd Street on Mead.


4:30-6 p.m. KPC/WPC mixer at Cocoa Dolce, 235 N. St. Francis. $5 admission.


Wichita’s very own chocolate factory is set up in this former longtime Coleman Co. facility. Join us for a social and networking mixer at Cocoa Dolce’s lounge and enjoy complimentary chocolates, truffles and other sweets, along with nonalcoholic and alcoholic beverages that are included with admission.

After 6 p.m.  The options for good food are plenty in Wichita’s Old Town.


Choose from Larkspur, Sabor (a Harrison Ford favorite), Public at the Brickyard, River City Brewery.


Registration costs

March 20 mixer only: $5

March 21 conference with awards luncheon:

$65 for members of Kansas Professional Communicators and Wichita Professional Communicators;

$75 for nonmembers;

$35 for high school or college students

March 21 awards luncheon only: $25


Accommodation suggestions


Wichita offers more than 8,100 hotel rooms with something to fit every budget and to match your favorite rewards program. Here are a few suggestions.


Downtown – these hotels are going to be most convenient to conference activities on Friday and Saturday

Full-service hotel that is the state’s only AAA Four Star Diamond-Rating hotel, home to Siena Tuscan restaurant and Dockum speakeasy-style bar.

Full-service hotel and a renovated historic property overlooking the Arkansas River. Offers some extras, like hot breakfast and the 5:30 Kickback (happy hour). Attached restaurant is AVI Seabar & Chophouse.

Full-service, attached to Wichita’s convention center and situated along the Arkansas River, home to HARVEST Kitchen|Bar.

This hotel just opened on Douglas, the main thoroughfare in downtown Wichita, and its indoor pool is scheduled to open in March. It is designed to be the first cantilever pool in a hotel in America. There are two restaurants and a Starbucks is on site.

Old Town hotel in a historic building, surrounded by more than 40 restaurants, shops, museums and entertainment venues within walking distance.

Old Town’s 40+ restaurants, shops, museums and entertainment venues are right outside the door.

Right off Kellogg (U.S. Hwy 54), they offer a complimentary breakfast and have an outdoor courtyard with fire pit that is part of their Fireside Lounge.

Delano Bed and Breakfast is a 105-year-old bungalow within walking distance to the Historic Delano District, full of independent boutiques, restaurants and bars.



Right off Kellogg (U.S. Hwy 54) and renovated in June 2016. Complimentary full breakfast.

Those cookies! Full-service hotel featuring .



Full-service hotel right off I-35. Two on-site restaurant/bars: The Greatroom and Fireside Grille. Also less than 5 miles to dining and shopping.

Full-service hotel right off I-35. On-site restaurant is The Green Mill Restaurant & Bar.


Check out the hotel listings at Visit Wichita’s website for more options:

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