Oh… How the Annual Meetings Have Changed!

Oh… How the Annual Meetings Have Changed!

I remember the Annual Chamber Meeting I helped with in 2007 when first starting at the Chamber. It was a formal, black-tie evening event, complete with a pianist and well-known keynote speaker. That was the “norm” for many, many years. It has been quite interesting to look back on the headliners. Check out the great line-up of speakers (below) from 1992-2008.

In 2009, the Annual Chamber Meeting was still an evening event, but the format included a Business EXPO for members to showcase their company. Hors d’oeuvres were served, and the event took on a much less formal atmosphere. In 2012, Jennifer Burch infused her creativity and presented the Annual Chamber Meeting with a themed flare. The Chamber hosted the “Last Beach Party of the Year!” where attendees were encouraged to “Shake the sand from your flip flops and freshen up that Hawaiian shirt and moo moo for the Chamber Luau Business Expo, Business After Hours and Annual Meeting.”

In 2013 the invitation said “Join in the McPherson Chamber Team Spirit! Wear your favorite football team jersey or fan wear- it’s a tailgate party!”

Although 2014 was still themed, we transitioned away from the Expo portion of the event. In 2014, the Annual Meeting was held at the McPherson Museum and attendees were encouraged to dress as a character from “A Night at the Museum” movie, or a historical character. We even had guest appearances by Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Rosevelt and Sacajawea.

Change is the constant in the Chamber world, so in 2015 we decided to accommodate everyone’s increasingly busy evening schedules and began hosting the Annual Chamber Meeting during lunchtime. All went smoothly until 2020 when we were not able to meet in person. That year we presented the Annual Meeting by video, thanks to the gracious sponsorship of Peoples Bank and Trust and the talents of Dallas Pruitt.

Good times through the years and many milestones celebrated. Join us this year for our Chamber Annual Meeting on Thursday, October 7th at noon at the McPherson Community Building as we celebrate 100 years of serving the McPherson community and our commitment to many, many more.

Chamber Annual Meeting Speakers from 1992-2008
1992- Roy Williams- KU Basketball Coach
1993- Sir William, judge of the High Court of England and Wales, and hereditary Chief of the Clan Macpherson.
1994- Bowen F. White, MD will discuss what it really takes to succeed in business….and in life.
1995- Governor Bill Graves
1996- Mitch Holthus- the voice of the Kansas City Chiefs!!!!
1997- Dr. Edward Hammond-Fort Hays State University President and futurist.
1998 Cindy Klose, new anchor at KWCH-12 addressing modern media and their responsibilities.
1999 Nancy Kassebaum-Baker – Elected to the Senate in 1978. She was the only woman senator when she took office.
2000-Larry Hatteberg-Award winning photojournalist
2001- Judge Tom Webb- Judge Webb’s life story “You Can Make a Difference” focuses on making a positive difference in a negative world.
2002 –Dr. John Wefald, president of KSU, addressed the “can do” attitude of McPherson residents.
2003 –Rex Buchanan. Topic will be area water issues.
2004- Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey L. Long- US Airforce. Lt. Long will share his experience as a B-2 pilot, stories about flying combat missions and being at the Pentagon on September 11, 2001.
2005- Erin Gruwell-How a teacher and 150 teens used writing to change themselves and the world around them- chronicled in the published text of The Freedom Writers Diary.
2006- Jonathan Coachman-No explanation needed!
2007-Lt. Governor Mark Parkinson
2008- Ed O’Malley-President & CEO of the Kansas Leadership Center