Home Stretch to Spring Break

At least eleven professionals joined CEO class this week to help students make sure their business ideas were solid and ready to promote.

Expert Thoughts

Many CEO students have been thinking about a possible business since the beginning of the year, while others were struggling with an idea that inspired them. But on Monday, the plans had to be ready for review. Business Plan Day allows a small group of students to meet with a business professional to ask and answer questions; a final opportunity to improve their plans. Next, they made some changes and sent them on to the "CEO Bankers" who would be hearing pitches later in the week. Students appreciated the expertise of Emily Zimmerman, Garg Sandrock, Russ Spitzer, Doug Gamm, Brett Nicklaus, Jim Keenan, and Jon Byar.  

Social Media Marketing

Aaron Flick, Wahl Clipper

CEO students listened intently to Aaron Flick, Wahl Clipper Social Media Marketing, knowing it is time for them to think about their choice of social media for promoting the trade show and individual businesses. He started with a general overview of Wahl Clipper before going into detail about his position.  Aaron talked about choosing the right media for the type of business, getting creative, staying professional, and much more. Hannah Wilson, Nick Clemen, and Isaac Blaney took the challenge and "sold" the red clipper in 30 seconds. Aaron had each student develop a hashtag for their business on the spot and assigned them to design and send him their social media platform. He also discussed his experiences setting up and running a trade show booth. All extremely valuable for this time of the year!

The Perfect Pitch

The class room atmosphere on Thursday and Friday held a mixture of anxiety, relief, chaos, and enjoyment. Students gathered in Midland States Bank's lower level community room and one by one headed upstairs to the conference room prepared to give their business pitches. While anxiously waiting their turn, there were many tasks to accomplish; thank-you notes, annual report, marketing projects, and even a little down time after an intense week. Cory Brown, CEO 2014, stopped for a visit, listened to pitches, talked with students, and caught up with Le and Norm. We greatly appreciate the use of Midland States Bank as our meeting space for the months of February and March. 

Friday, Day Two

Student Journal Highlights for this week

When we were first told we didn't. have to turn in a journal this week, I am not going to lie, I was a little relieved. But as the week progressed I found that I had so much I wanted to say to you guys that I figured I had to send one in! Plus, don't you just love hearing from us?

I was stressing hard about this business plan all week. I came up with the idea of a sock subscription box and fell in love. I love socks a lot, and for me to be able to create them, I was ecstatic. But the more I looked into it, socks are sooo expensive. I checked local businesses, asked my mom for help through Halo, and searched all over the internet. I even ended up on the sixth pages of Google searches. Who EVER goes past the first page? But I found I would have never been able to make a profit, or even continue the business. I would have been bankrupt in a month- which is not something I wanted. So I thought about the idea I had that I wanted to continue and realized if the socks are the only problem, there has to be something else. I decided to go with the same exact idea, but make it hats. Outside of class I am almost always wearing some type of hat, and I know many other people are too! I have a lot more faith in this business, as my room for profit is much greater, and my costs have a great chance of decreasing. Now I feel bad because I made a public post on many types of social media regarding the sock box, as I was trying to enlist the help of local artists. I know many aspiring artists are looking to get their name out there so I figured this could benefit both of us. But now I am trying to retract my sock idea from everyone's minds, haha. If all works, I still want to have them help me with the design, and then promote them through my box.

This leads me to the next thing I wanted to mention; I had so much support once I posted my inquiry on social media. I had so many people tagging others, sharing the post, retweeting it, messaging me and telling me they would buy it. I was so thankful to have so many people interested in my idea. People that I didn't even think would care were offering help and ideas. It amazed me and really gave me the motivation to make this business a success.

Keeley was the highlight of my week, easily. I was so mesmerized by everything she had to say. I want to do something like she did. I want to help the people that were born into a less fortunate life. GPA taught me how much I love helping kids, and giving back to the people that haven't been as lucky as I have. It isn't fair that I have to be thankful for a warm home and food and an education because that is something that everyone should just get to have. There is no reason it can't be that way. I love helping people, and I am going to make sure that I take every opportunity I can to do so.

Lastly, this week was the nation Walkout for schools. Being a Sterling student, I was lucky enough to participate without any repercussions. Now, I don't want to talk about any agenda that was pushed or considered or anything. I just want to say how euphoric the experience was. For everyone to come together to encourage peace and positivity was something I am so proud to be a part of. I cannot wait to tell people about it when I am older. It was emotional, empowering, and everything I thought it would be. It just further solidified the feeling I had all week of how truly lucky I am all together.

Alumni Spotlight Entries for this week

Cory Brown

Cory Brown was a senior in the first CEO class and graduated from Morrison High School. His last minute visit to class on Friday allowed him to sit in on some of the pitches and give his thoughts. Upon his college graduation from SIUE with a degree in Political Science and minor in Economics, he will leave June 11 for The Basic School, which is a basic infantry skills course for Marine Corps Officers. In December he will graduate and head to Flight School, followed by 6-1/2 years of active duty. His next step will be to apply for FLEP with the hope of acceptance, so law school and active duty will be paid. The next options will be to complete contractual obligations and then practice law privately or retire and run for office. Currently Cory is a Field Office Manager for Governor Rauner's campaign in Metro-East. 

Cory Brown
- Class of 2014

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