Attendees at the Newton Chamber of Commerce's annual banquet this Thursday at the Meridian Center are guaranteed to get three things from featured speaker and Hesston College men's basketball coach Dustin Galyon — energy, intensity and passion.

Galyon connects with audiences on a variety of topics, including motivation, team building, customer service, relationships, evangelism and communication. He is an interactive storyteller who allows his audience to take ownership in every presentation and inspires others to build better relationships. He combines personal stories, photographs and foundational steps to create positive change.

According to Pam Stevens, executive director of the Chamber of Commerce, that's exactly the type of message the Newton business community could use right now.

Stevens heard from several people about Galyon's passion and abilities as a speaker and decided to bring him in for this year's chamber banquet.

"I think he'll bring a positive attitude. I think we need that after the loss of the school bond; we need to, more than ever, bond together and try to move forward as a community," Stevens said. "I think he'll speak to that and hopefully will be able to give businesses some tidbits to take back to their business as well."

Galyon presents high-energy keynotes and seminars to thousands as a speaker, with hundreds of engagements across the country each year, often in an educational setting, though the topic of Thursday's speech is one he has found to be galvanizing for both school and business communities. After some discussions with Stevens, it became clear the topic of approaching difficult conversations would be poignant for the Newton community.

"We're going to be inspiring people to embrace difficult conversations and I think there's an application for how we do that. I think, right now, in any community, in any place ... I think embracing difficult conversations, agreeing to disagree and the platforms in which we can communicate with one another is wildly important for all of us, but especially leaders," Galyon said.

As a coach, Galyon has led Hesston College Men’s Basketball to record seasons. Hired as one of the youngest NJCAA coaches in the country, he has recorded more 20-win seasons in his first eight years than any coach in school history, multiple national rankings, over 100 career victories and, in the 2015-2016 season, won the Region 6 Championship for the second time in school history, marking its first trip to the National Tournament since 1990. In basketball, as in business, Galyon believes building relationships is key — and he is hoping to foster some of that when it comes to approaching difficult conversations.

With his sports background, there are many similar themes (i.e. teamwork, unity, etc.) Stevens said could be important for the Newton community to hear at this year's banquet.

"I think they should come out just to get re-energized. I think more than ever we need to come together as a community to move forward and I think this is a great start in that process of moving our community forward," Stevens said.

"My hope is that everyone will walk away with a couple of things or a couple of applications that they can use, very soon, the next time that some of those (difficult) conversations arise," Galyon said. "Hopefully people will feel a little bit inspired when they walk out as well."

The chamber banquet will start at 6 p.m. Sept. 12 at the Meridian Center, with a social hour followed by dinner at 7 p.m. For more information, contact the chamber at 316-283-2560 or visit