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CEO of JSMM & VBM Valerie Jennings Participates as KCK Chamber Panelist on Engaging Diverse Markets

Recently, Valerie Jennings, CEO of JSMM and VBM, was asked to join a panel for the KCK Chamber at their First Friday Focus event held at Great Wolf Lodge in Kansas City, Kan. The group of panelists discussed engaging diverse markets and Jennings contributed her knowledge of millennials and their behaviors, including how to engage and retain them through an innovative digital marketing strategy.

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As Kansas City and Wyandotte County grow and become more diverse, the KCK Chamber acknowledges the need to bring business together to share knowledge and expertise with one another. Joining Jennings as panelists were:

  • Michael Gonzales, Leader of Corporate Diversity and Inclusion of Hallmark Cards Dr. Timothy Murrell
  • Valerie Jennings, CEO, Jennings Social Media Marketing
  • Ed.D. District Coordinator, Career and Technical Education Programs, Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools
  • Marvin Szneler, Executive Director, Jewish Administrator, U.S. Small Business Administration Region 7 (Serving Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, and Kansas)

Panelists discussed how businesses engage and grow through exploring differences in races, ethnicities, life experiences, religions, generational distinctions, tenure, organizational function, education and background. In doing so, KCK Chamber’s hope is to foster more acceptance and appreciation, where differences are not only acknowledged, but celebrated. Diverse groups and organizations are more likely to generate multiple perspectives, fresh ideas and innovative thinking.The audience consisted of small businesses, non-profits and corporations that were allowed to ask the panelists questions as well as the moderator, Pat Brown-Dixon. Questions included:

  • What is the business case, consumer case, workforce case, generation case for diversity and inclusion? How do you convince people that it’s the right thing to do?
  • How do you leverage diversity in your organization?
  • How important are demographics in marketing?
  • How do we engage and integrate all generations, especially those with larger numbers of millennials?
  • What is the value for engaging and employing millennials? How do we recruit and retain them?
  • How can businesses help millennials prepare for the careers that are available?
  • How important is self-awareness, in terms of understanding your own culture, identity, biases, prejudices and stereotypes? How important is it for your employees?
  • How do companies achieve a culture of respect regardless of their age, race, culture, physical ability, appearance, education or religious background and without setting them up for failure or ridicule?
  • How important is it to include diversity and inclusion in the values statement or mission of the company?

The KCK Chamber is a membership based organization led by a volunteer board with up to 41 members. Currently, the Chamber works in four basic areas: legislations, information, networking and community development. The topic of discussion for the event was “Engaging Diverse Markets”.

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