Crunch Time and Decisions

CEO Business Visits

Manager, Holly Keller

JoAnn Fabrics and Crafts

Holly Keller, Manager of JoAnn Fabrics and Crafts, gave CEO students a tour and thoroughly discussed the business model of the store. Students learned details about plan-a-grams, end caps, drive aisles, and job titles, such as assistant manager of operations, of merchandising, key holders, education coordinator, freight coordinator, etc. She explained the protocol for stocking merchandise, from the moment it comes off the semi. Holly also shared her career journey to becoming such a young manager of a fairly new store.

Performance Review

After last week's session on employee performance reviews and evaluations, CEO students worked in teams to create such a tool...for themselves! Six different teams had similar points of view, which were used to create a final document that will measure CEO standards and expectations. The form will be used as a self-evaluation tool next week. 

Final Decisions

Dodgeball Tournament

At last, tomorrow, Saturday, February 24th is the big day! Although the Dodgeball Business did not generate as many teams as hoped for, we are full steam ahead and prepared for a fun day. There are t-shirts, trophies, and concessions! See you there!

Taste of Sauk Valley

"Taste" Planning and CEO Board Meeting

The CEO team has set deadlines for their ticket sales and is working hard to reach those goals. Contact a CEO member or purchase yours at WACC or the Sauk Valley Area Chamber of Commerce. The cost is $20 and gets you 10 tasting tickets. The event is open house style from 5-8:00 p.m. March 8. at the Holloway Center in Dixon. There will be entertainment throughout the night and a silent auction. 

It proved to be a chaotic Friday with students finalizing Dodgeball, organizing tickets and finances for Taste, and representatives attending the CEO board meeting. 

Student Journal Highlights for this week

The performance review with experienced professional adults was one of the most fruitful days in CEO for me so far. I learned that people skills are one of the most essential traits to employers that are looking for a new hire. I was happy to hear that because I would personally rate my people skills highly! Dr. Mark Hanson, the superintendent of Eastland, said that culture is a function of expectations. That statement really made me think about how in my life I have always had expectations that I had to live up to. For example, if I have a test tomorrow then my parents automatically expect me to do well on it. That changes my culture for the night into a studious environment in order to fulfill my expectations. The expectations also change other factors such as whether or not I will visit friends, or even if I have time for an adequate amount of sleep. That statement can be applied to almost any scenario, whether it is a business environment, social gathering, or school. From the Walmart Distribution Center, Lance Buser showed us how to efficiently get interviewed: a skill I am going to need soon! My brother is applying for colleges as a senior now, and he is having multiple interviews which only makes me think about next year when I will go to interviews. Dressing up, showing up ahead of time, and answering the questions without rambling are the most important skills I learned from Lance. I have never really thought about how to get interviewed so I’m grateful to learn from an interviewer himself! Deana Jones from Wahl Clipper reinforced the idea of how important people skills are but with a different aspect. She explained how the atmosphere at Wahl is very admirable - everybody respects everybody. Respect to others, themselves, and property is one of the most important skills that Wahl looks for in new hires; I would love to work in a company that values respect as much as Wahl does. At the end of the day, I was reflecting on what I had experienced and I realized how lucky I am for these opportunities CEO gives me. Not only was I able to meet with these busy people and learn from them, but I was also able to be treated like a professional. Lance, Mark, and Deana all had respect for each and individual student and did not treat us as the typical “adult to teenager” stereotype does. Being able to converse using their first names, and having a profuse conversation about their businesses was incredible. I can’t wait for the next time that we will be treated like this is - which will be the next class day!

Isaac  Blaney

Isaac Blaney
Sunday, February 18, 2018Learn More About Isaac

Mitch not Mitchell

I couldn’t tell you why I chose to write about this instead of a class business or a speaker or what not. But as I sit here on a Sunday it is what comes to mind. Lately ( the past year or so) I introduce myself as Mitch, instead of the full Mitchell. I haven’t put much thought into why until now. I always thought of it as something that was easier to roll of the tongue, you know, one syllable vs. two, but I’ve come to the conclusion that its more than that. I guess I’ll start by disclosing that I do not dislike my full name at all, that said, Mitch just sounds a whole lot better to me. Everyone always called me Mitchell when I was growing up, so it’s a way for me to transition from adolescence to adulthood ( or at least semi adulthood). It kind of reminds me of rebranding a business, same inside, same workings, same stuff, just a different look, and a different feel. I even thought of putting down Mitch for all my college information, that way it might be on my diploma. It’s kind of cool honestly, it feels like where I’m going I’ll be a different person than I was back home. All of the people I’ve met from UIUC know me as Mitch, and all my high school friends call me Mitchell. I know it doesn’t sound like that big of a difference but to me its symbolism for growth and renewal. There was once a Navy Seal who whenever he wanted to do something he didn’t know if he could do or not, he would think of himself as a different person, one that could do anything, and that would help him with his goal. In a nutshell that’s what I’m doing, retraining my brain to forget childish fears and apprehensions to move on to something better.

Alumni Spotlight Entries for this week

Tessa Vanderbleek

Editor's note: One of the things Norm and I love most is hearing from former CEO students. Tessa Vanderbleek is studying at Kirkwood Community College and sent the following email and picture. So that our readers to better understand, I should explain that Tessa was never afraid to ask a question, which we all respected and loved about her. Early in the year, students decided to sell raffle tickets for two 1/2 of a hog. And you guessed it, she had a question about how that worked!

Hey Le,

I did something today that reminded me of the ‘good ol days’ back in CEO.

We all remember that one time that I asked how “half of hogs” work in class. Well now that I’m in college I to want revisit this one event that changed my entire reputation in class.

How does this “half a hog” situation work?

The answer?

Hogs do come in halves and I, Tessa Vander Bleek, will be fabricating processing the meat.

Pictured below is Half A Hog!!!

Just a touch of irony for my favorite teacher.


Tessa Vander Bleek

Ceo alumni, class of 2017 (aka best class ever)

Tessa Vanderbleek
- Class of 2017

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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.

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

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