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Working on Details

Details, details, details, CEO students are busy figuring out everything that goes into the SVACC Annual Dinner, The Taste of the Sauk Valley, and the CEO Dodgeball Tournament.

CEO Business Visits

CEO Guest Speakers


Are You Ready?

Dr. Tad Everett

Dr. Tad Everett, Superintendent of Sterling Schools, spent time with CEO students on Tuesday challenging them with the question, "Are You Ready?" He offered seven traits to consider if wanting to become successful, among them, READ, handle your mistakes, and fully commit. Multiple points about the importance of communicating successfully were made, including such messages as "your nonverbals scream" and "listening is the number one strategy to good communication." There were many thought-provoking lessons mixed with quotes and book recommendations. Dr. Everett encouraged CEO students to not rush the journey and to embrace the highs and lows. 


Ploeger-Oxbo

Doug Gamm

One of the amazing benefits of CEO is becoming knowledgeable on a variety of topics one never dreamed to learn of. Doug Gamm, Ploeger-Oxbo Sales Executive, informed students about the very specific machinery his company engineers, which is used to harvest a wide variety of agricultural products all over the world. Doug helped the class understand that shaving seconds off harvest time with better machinery means a better bottom line for customers. He explained the business model and history of Oxbo,from its beginnings in a small New York town by two young men in high school. In the second half of class, the students asked about sales techniques and appreciated Doug's insight as they prepare to "sell" their class business ideas. 


Rock River Marketing

It was our second early morning for the month of December with a 7:00 a.m. breakfast and presentation with the Rock River Marketing group. After the organization calls their weekly meeting to order, each member gives an update from their industry. Students learned favorite quotes, business advice, and information about businesses and owners they had not previously met. However, we were proud to already know Justin, former CEO student and a newer member of the group, who represents the IT industry and Wiggins Computing. CEO students had their turn at introducing themselves and mentioning their own favorite quote or CEO lesson. Project managers gave an update on the class business events. The meeting concluded with RR Marketing individuals discusssing the month's referrals and the treasurer giving the current financial benefit of those referrals. 


The Reviews Begin

Kallie Timmons

Next week is the beginning of students coming and going, as they follow their particular school's semester exam schedule before Christmas. Kallie Timmons, a Sauk Academy student has been finished with her classes for a week, but we were happy she was dedicated to CEO every day. With a family vacation next week, we planned her book review for Friday. She read "Maestro" by Roger Nierenberg and found it enjoyable. The book connected orchestra music and the conductor to leadership and team work. Each instrument must be looked at as a perfected solo, but must all work together for a wonderful end result. The conductor creates the environment and must really listen. So interesting! 

Plan to stop in next week when students summarize their favorite parts from their latest reads. Five students will present each day. See who is scheduled when at wacc-ceo.com under calender and then the "details" tab. 


Socializing and Networking

Each day CEO students grind out details for projects they must get done. They feverishly take notes while learning from guest speakers and ask questions on business tours. At 9:20 everyone leaves and heads back to their schools. There never seems to be enough time to share ideas and just plain get to know each other better. Friday was the CEO Holiday Party and a chance to enjoy one another's company. A game with thought-provoking questions, one book review, a crazy random gift exchange which featured something you loved, an opportunity to Skype with Norm, and of course breakfast were all parts of a relaxing Friday.


Student Journal Highlights for this week

Thinking back through high school, I think turning 16 was my toughest transition. This time was a big transition for me; I had just gotten my licence, I’m trying to figure out my career path, but most importantly - I have to find a job. For weeks my mother had been on me saying that I needed to find a job to pay for insurance and gas money, so I finally sent applications to any store I could think of that would hire at 16. After about two weeks of waiting, I got a call from McDonald’s for an interview. (Yes! But wait, I’ve never been in an interview before) That thought crossed my mind, but I had so much confidence from one place calling me back that I didn’t even consider the interview to be a challenge. And man, was I wrong. I completely bombed the first interview. With my hands shaking from how nervous I got just before walking in, I somehow managed to get a second interview. From the time I left to the time I walked in a few days later for round 2, I was researched vigorously on how to ace an interview. During this time, I learned a lot of what Jerry Binder had to say on Wednesday. One thing he mentioned about interviews was just being honest when you don’t know a question, and I had to use that when the typical “Where do you see yourself in ten years?” question came up. Another thing he brought up was researching facts about the company. It may not seem so, but just knowing some facts about the company and applying it in your answers can make you stand out from the crowd in an interview. That time I walked out of the interview, I had confidence and I knew that I had just landed the job. And that was thanks to some google searches that gave me the same principles that Jerry taught us last week.

Jack Williamson

Jack Williamson
Sunday, December 10, 2017Learn More About Jack

On Friday when Jim Prombo spoke to us he really made me think about the endless opportunities we have in life and how many different things we can accomplish and how many different paths we are able to take throughout our lives. He started to tell us that he was an entrepreneur, so immediatley I wondered what kind of business he was a part of or owned. Then he proceeded to tell us that he was a "life entrepreneur" which I had absolutley no idea what he meant by that. Jim told us that he always wanted to go into the mairne corps, which he ended up accomplishing. He also accomplished getting his masters degree in psychology as well as becoming a teacher, and even a principal. Jim told us so many stories that it made me think about grandpa who lives in Florida. Everytime I see my grandpa he manages to tell me a different story of his life everytime. He's told me everything from how he drag raced cars back in the 50s or 60s when he was only 13, all the way to stories about how he was in the service and was a champion ping pong player at whatever base he was at. After he got out of active duty he owned a bar with my great grandpa and then went on to the restaurant business and owned about 3 restaurants throughout his life. Jim really made me think about how my grandpa is actually a life entrepreneur and even a "regular entrepreneur" making the most out of every opportunity he was given throughout his whole life. If there's anything one thing that I took from Friday's presentation it was that there are endless opportunities that we are able to capitalize throughout our life no matter how old or how young we are.

Andrew Laub

Andrew Laub
Sunday, December 10, 2017Learn More About Andrew


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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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