There's Nothing Like Giving

CEO students generously pooled their money and came up with an ample amount to support a local family during the holidays Shopping for the two children was challenging...what did I like at age 6 and 11???? Each team budgeted their money, made a plan, and hit the shelves. 

CEO Guest Speakers

Shopping, Wrapping, Giving


Our trip to Walmart on Monday was not your typical CEO busines visits/tours. This time we were there to shop for two young children and had fun doing it. When finished, we were off to the WACC conference room to wrap every gift. The class has heard from businesses on more than one ocassion the importance of giving back. They generously pooled their money to make sure someone else's holidays are a little brighter.

Public Speaking

Jerry Binder

Jerry Binder wears many hats. He is the WACC Director, sits on several boards, and works closely with many local businesses having served as the Sauk Valley Area Chamber president in recent years. These and other roles have found him presenting ideas and information many times. On Wednesday Jerry visited with CEO students on that very topic, public speaking. The timing is perfect as book reviews are just around the corner. During finals week, December 18-21 Cafe CEO will be open for book reviews, with each class member presenting valued material from their readings. The informal discussions will take place at United Way in Sterling from 7:50-9:20. Below is a schedule of the presentation. Plan to join us! 

Friday, December 15: Kallie Timmons 

Monday: Kade Kovarik, Sam Hildebrand, Victoria Dingman, Hannah McCarty, Kortney Queckboerner

Tuesday: Jasmine Haggard, Maddy Weaver, Brendon Riesellman, Andrew Laub, Kurt Agravante, German De La Cruz

Wednesday: Cassidy Wilson, Nick Clemens, Hannah Wilson, Isaac Blaney, Gehrig Koerner

Thursday: Jose Castro, Mitch Clodfelter, Anastasia Matias, Rachel Scidmore, Jack Williamson 

Seeking Investors

Brendon Riesselman and Andrew Laub

As part of their Social Entrepreneurship class at Oregon High School, Brendon Riesselman and Andrew Laub (both, right in pictures below) presented business ideas with their partners at an investor event on Wednesday night. This class and CEO share similar threads, but also vary in their approach to studying entreprenuership. It was an enjoyable evening for facilitator Le Hartman and former CEO student/business owner Justin Wiggens to visit with CEO students Andrew and Brendon in their hometown setting. 

Business as Usual

Rock Falls Visitors

The CEO classroom is always open for visitors and Thursday was no exception! Eleven Rock Falls students sat in on class in order to get a perspective on what the program is truly like. The day was spent Skyping with Norm, recapping past events, touching base on class business progress, and critiquing Le's book review, in preparation for their own presentations later this month. Plan to pick a day to stop by and learn. Check the calendar details to see which CEO students present each day. Join us!

We welcome interested students to join class for a day; just check the calendar at The 2018-19 application can be found at the site as well. 

Thinking Styles

Jim Prombo

Jim Prombo, CEO Board member and Career Placement Coordinator at Morrison Intitute of Techology, spent time with CEO students on Friday. He helped them explore the five different thinking styles used by people in interpersonal and professional settings. Awareness of these styles allows one to better work with others individually and in teamwork situations. Each student learned their own critical thinking style and the importance of understanding the styles of other's. CEO students frequently find themselves in team projects, especially recently as they zero in on the details of their class business events. 

Student Journal Highlights for this week

As I was sitting in the deer stand this weekend I had a lot of time to think about CEO and what we have learned that is affecting our world around us. This week Hannah W. brought up the internet and it becoming a monopoly. As I sit and listen to the quiet sound of the trees swaying back and forth, I thought about other things that could become a monopoly. Phones, our cellular devices. These are one step away from one of the major cellular carriers from buying each other out. If one group found a technological breakthrough with our phones can control almost everything in our lives. Our phones already can control our Tvs our cars and our lights in our houses. This is going to become scary because now  I would not  have to have a key to my house anymore or when my car starts just because my phone is with me. This is going to explode I thought and I have not worked out details yet but have a gut feeling that this won’t be good.

Also, when I was alone hunting this weekend, I brought myself the conclusion that I like to get away sometimes. Although I might have papers to type and math problems to do. I think that we do not take enough time out of our day and just relax. How many people do we know that are just run, run, run and no down time. As a young adult it is non stop for me from start of school, till the end of practices. It is nice in life when I can take a step back and sit with my family or go out in nature for once. I think society takes the real aspects out of our lives when our grandparents built us up on that family is everything. Now, I can go weeks without seeing my grandparents and that really hurts me because it is not like they will be here forever and I hate that I am so busy all the time that I can not see them.

Finally I am also glad that CEO brings kids together from all over the Sauk Valley area and this makes me happy cause I meet kids that I would never talk to. This also gives us another chance to socialize with kids that brightest of our classes. We bring so many different traits to the table and this is what CEO is all about. Our class allows us to use our differences and create something unique for our community. I am so glad that I get to take a step back and be away from what society thinks the norms are.

Gehrig Koerner

Gehrig Koerner
Sunday, December 3, 2017Learn More About Gehrig

In one of my previous journals, I mentioned how it is essential to be able to critique others without criticizing them. This week I was able to apply this lesson to one of our class discussions. Kallie and I, the project managers for the Taste or Sauk, heard talk that Sam had worries that our business would not be successful. We decided to bring it up as a class and have a discussion about it. All of my peers were able to get what they wanted to say off of their chest and critique each other without deeply hurting anyone’s feelings. The conversation went relatively well because it ended in laughter! “Being positive in a negative situation is not naive, it’s leadership.” In my eyes, it’s extremely important to have discussions like these because without them we would be ignoring the potential setbacks we could face.

Another discussion later in the week brought up the point that having people like Sam is a key factor in having a successful business. It’s okay to have someone who thinks negatively about a plan and voice their opinion because you’re able to take what they said and problem solve it before it becomes a “real life” problem.

Our Taste of Sauk “team” is made of up individuals who want to see the business succeed. They all work to the best of their ability to problem solve and think outside of the box as new “roadblocks” arise; it may sound cliche, but it’s 110% true. As of right now, I can not guarantee that the Taste of Sauk will be a success, but I can guarantee that our strong, motivated team will give whatever effort it takes to make it be successful. As project manager I am learning that it’s not always about being in charge and talking, but rather listening to what EVERYONE has to say.

Share this news article

WACC CEO Calendar

Add this calendar to your iPhone
Print Calendar

Latest News

News Archive

Get Involved in CEO

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.

If you are interested in participating in any of the above programs, use our contact form to send us a message

WACC CEO Calendar