Old Buildings, Dirty Basements and A Vision

Please note a couple of important corrections to last week's newsletter. A very important service through United Way is 211NOT 411 as inaccurately mentioned. Also, the correct spelling of the United Way Executive Director is Diana Verhulst. As the CEO Newsletter editor I apologize for any inconveniences this may have caused. Le Hartman

CEO Guest Speakers

Scott Hibbard

Renovation Site, Royer Home, and Farm House

Just how many flights of stairs did CEO students manuever while visiting Scott Hibbard's properties? Monday was a great mix of viewing beautiful finished apartments and offices (The Farm House and Royer Home), contemplating life lessons, and experiencing the "before" of a new real estate venture. Scott spoke of city requirements, ADA compliance, negotiating with sellers, income streams, and historical details. He also offered food for thought as students move through their class and individual businesses and life: understand the problem before the solution, be a student of your competitors, don't be afraid of failure, don't quit until you have to quit, and ask for everything that you want. From basements and dusty staircases to urban micro apartments and antique pocket doors, CEO students left class with a new appreciation for "having a vision."

Recruitment Photos

Midland States Bank

We greatly appreciate the YWCA (last week) and Midland States Bank for allowing CEO students to take photos to be used on flyers by the CEO board's recruitment committee. Hard to believe, but very soon sophomore and juniors in the 17 WACC schools will be thinking about their schedules for the 2018/19 school year. Yes, it's true!

In other class time news, students decided to participate in the upcoming United Way Chili Cook-Off, with Gehrig Koerner stepping up as the project manager. He used his leadership skills on Friday to conduct a meeting to sort out all the details for the October 7 event. Students also prepare to write their first business plan in October for thier class business. As a team they brainstormed possible ideas, but will each write a business plan and pitch it to their peers in an effort to convince everyone it is the best plan to execute. 


Jason Roe

Jason Roe, owner of Dixon, Rock Falls, and Princeton Culvers, presented his business journey to CEO students on Thursday. It was a lesson made even sweeter with yogurt treats and motivational quotes. He challenged students to come up with a "bucket list" and then asked them to list the obstacles/fears that go with that list. He encouraged students to be intentional; sometimes you have to put your blinders on and GO! Having purpose and intent = fulfilling life, becoming well-rounded through knowledge, choosing to love what you are doing, and giving back were all parts of his message. Jason explained the Culver's mission: customer service and investing in people/community. He closed with two key take-aways: attitude is the difference maker, which makes standing out so easy, and do not get buried in debt.  

Post House Ballroom

Lee County Council on Aging
Our week in CEO continued to be inspirational on Thursday as we heard from the Executive Director, Geoff Vanderlin while visiting The Post House and The Post House Community Center, which houses the work of the Lee County Council on Aging. Students quickly became well-infomed on non-profits, 501C3 status, government assistance programs, taxes, and the mission of lCCOA, "to keep people independant as long as we can." Jennifer Lang, Acivities Director, informed students of many services available at the center such as meals, warming/cooling during harsh weather, education about medicare/medicaid, LINK, LIHEA and more. Also available are activities for all ages promoting socialization such as cards, a library, crafts, computers, dancing, etc. In addition, students learned about local history and enjoyed the beautiful chandelier, marble, and woodwork of the old post office.

Student Journal Highlights for this week

Something I did want to mention is what we did in my Social Entrepreneurship class this week. On Monday our teacher told us that we were going to hold this event on Friday that would be about happiness and success. He wanted us to get a place to hold the event, contact people to come speak for us, and a schedule for how the event would go. We thought this was going to be a train wreck because we had less than a week to somehow put this together. We got to work immediately, and were able to get a place for the event (for free), we made a time block for the event, and then we ended up getting refreshments for the speakers. On Thursday we had a total of four speakers that confirmed they were coming, and then that day we somehow got five more to confirm they were coming.

This event was so inspiring to me because it was amazing to see the diversity of people we had and see all their points of view on success and happiness. We actually had Niki Hunt come to speak for us and she said that in life, we are always trying to fill a hole, whether it is through a hobby or religion. Essentially, we want to fill this whole to make us feel better about ourselves or just for our well-being. For her, she fills this hole by seeking god. I haven’t really thought about what I try to fill this whole with, but I think that if we are able to fill it we will be happier throughout our life.

Andrew Laub

Andrew Laub
Sunday, September 17, 2017Learn More About Andrew

Wanted to also talk about how Beth Wilson is doing what she loves and wasn't that succesful at the start but she loved to do it. That brings up how we learned in social entrepreneurship how once you have money and you have that security you are happy. Once you have that the more money you have doesn't make you happier it's the other things such as friends, family, health, free time, etc. Looking back at Beth she really showed how she was happy because she had that security and did what she loved which gave her happiness.

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The manner in which the CEO program is funded is critical to its success and sustainability. All funds raised are used exclusively for the WACC CEO program. To participate, a 3-year $1000 per year commitment is required. Business Partner Investors commitments of time and energy are also critical to the program's success. Contributions may be tax deductible, as our organization is a 501(c)(3) not for profit organization.

When we are not touring local businesses, we need a place to host the class. During that time, the 22 CEO students and their Facilitator would meet at your site where they would also have guest speakers and guests from the community attend. Hosting requires a facility with internet access and adequately accommodates up to 27 people.

We are looking for people to share real-life stories about the concepts of running a business, from strategic thinking, product development to marketing, and cash flow management. Also, sharing your personal successes and failures are what recent classes have enjoyed the most.

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