Building the business community: Wyoming Business Alliance focuses on all aspects of business community
“Agriculture is a business, and it’s a part of the business community in Wyoming,” says Wyoming Business Alliance (WBA) President Cindy DeLancey. “People in ag deal with the same issues that every other business does – employees, health insurance, taxes, etc. All employment and business issues are universal, no matter what industry we’re talking about.”
DeLancey explains that WBA is a nonprofit association that focuses on statewide business issues from all industries.
“We have an education piece, an advocacy piece and a networking and relationship piece,” she says. “We are really trying to establish a statewide voice on behalf of the business community on a variety of topics.”
DeLancey took the helm of WBA in June 2017 after long-time President Bill Schilling retired.
“Bill has done a fantastic job building WBA,” she says. “He has been a strong voice in developing the Hathaway Scholarship, been a tremendous partner on evaluating issues related to education in Wyoming and an advocate for meeting the needs of the business community so we have an able and ready workforce going into the future.”
Now, DeLancey plans to continue building on Schilling’s work to move the organization forward even further.
“My plans are to continue to build on the good work that Bill did over three decades,” DeLancey explains. “I’d like to see WBA focus on community outreach involving Wyoming citizens from all stations of life.”
As DeLancey looks at the business community across the state of Wyoming, she sees WBC working across a wide swath of businesses to tackle the common issues facing the business community.
Members of WBA receive a variety of benefits, including access to additional information and advocacy. Membership dues are based on a formula that takes into account business size.
“Smaller companies pay less dues than larger companies,” DeLancey explains. “We try to keep dues affordable because we get the most benefit when we bring members from big companies and small companies together to network and learn from each other.”
WBA meets four times a year, and members are welcome to participate as frequently as they would like.
The organization is governed by a board of 42 business people from around the state. From that set of 42, a management committee is defined, and the executive management committee, consisting of the chairman, vice chairman, treasurer and immediate past chairman, supervises DeLancey and the work of WBA.
Among the activities of WBA, DeLancey says the Wyoming Business Forum is an event that focuses on connectivity between business industry segments and networking.
“To have the opportunity to partner with Gov. Matt Mead and bring our leaders from the business community together in Cheyenne is very exciting,” DeLancey emphasizes. “We’re bringing in national speakers, as well as Wyoming experts, on a whole variety of topics that are relevant not just for today, but as we think about positioning Wyoming for the future.”
This year, the forum will be held Nov. 7-9, and includes speakers on quality of life, fiscal options, international trade and more. Registration for the event is currently open, and DeLancey encourages anyone with questions to visit their website or call WBA.
“We also hold several other events during the year, including a legislative reception,” DeLancey continues. “We’re also working to host more events. I’m hoping to develop a series of lunch-and-learn workshops or smaller conferences that are relevant to the business community.”
She also highlights the opportunity to embrace the technology available to deliver content across the state through webinars and similar events.
“Ideally, I believe in face-to-face contact and sitting down with people over the kitchen table, but we have to utilize the technology available to connect virtually, as well,” she explains. “I plan to do a mix of both.”
“Since June, I hit the ground running,” DeLancey says. “It has been fun learning about the different business community and priorities across Wyoming’s communities.”
WBA has also focused on several emerging areas, including broadband availability, air service and education.
“Our broadband working group includes industry expertise about this rapidly emerging industry,” DeLancey explains. “Broadband is evolving so quickly, and what all three of Wyoming’s industries have in common are technology and its use to promote efficiency.”
“As we look at business going forward, I think technology availability will continue to be important to us,” she continues. “We have a thriving tech community in Wyoming, and I think it’s fascinating.”
Additionally, as the legislature continues to explore air service in Wyoming, DeLancey and WBA have been watching progress closely.
“As we get more and more into a global marketplace, air service is really going to become essential as a gateway to the global community,” DeLancey says. “Plus, there are economic benefits to air service.”
Additionally, WBA has worked with the Wyoming Heritage Foundation in developing an initiative called Wyoming Excels, which strives to create partnerships between educators and business leaders to help work toward the future of Wyoming’s work force.
“As we work on educating our students, we want to keep in mind that we’re preparing the next generation of the workforce and giving them the skillset to be successful,” DeLancey says.
Connecting the dots
“All of these dots in technology connect in Wyoming businesses,” DeLancey says.
She notes that, as businesses recognize commonalities and work together to address their challenges, both big and small businesses in Wyoming benefit.
She emphasizes, “I love the word ‘alliance’ as part of our name. It’s such a powerful word in our language that emphasizes togetherness.”
DeLancey comments, “Even though we might see things differently at times, if we’re able to focus on the things that we share and harness our resources, we can speak with the loudest voice around policy.”
Saige Albert is managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.