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5th Annual CEO Trade Show

What a week! This week CEO students zeroed in on something they had been thinking about and working on for weeks, a trade show highlighting their individual business ventures. They greatly appreciate all the family, friends, faculty, classmates, business professionals, mentors, and others who took time to visit with them and support their business ideas.

This newsletter features many pictures of a successful trade show, generously supported by amazing communities. Start scrolling and enjoy!


Here We Go!

Setting Up for Success

Parents, mentors, and friends helped make it happen! 


20 Student Businesses


Northland Mall, WSDR, and Facebook Live

Northland Mall offers a great space for our trade show booths and great parking for customers. We appeciate Manager Jeff Wilson and staff for their patience and help setting up and tearing down. The night was liven up with a remote broadcast with JR Kitchen from WSDR and station manager, James Jones reporting on Facebook. Sauk Valley Media was on site, and Midland Institute for Entrepreneurship sent visitors from the Effingham area who conducted interviews with students, parents, board members, and alumni. It was an exciting night to witness the work of current students, catch up with many former students, and talk with some of the new members of the upcoming class of 2019! Even Sterling's community dog, Brinkley, stopped by.


Siblings, Alumni, and Thanks

A message from Le and Norm

As this week's newsletter wraps up, I have a couple of thoughts. You won't often see pictures of me (glad I get to control that!) but I admit I went a little overboard with alumni selfies and couldn't resist sharing just one. Rachel Humphreys is on the left and was a member of the first CEO class and next to her is her sister, Lauren, a member of CEO 2019, along with parents Carol and Mark, CEO investors. Norm and I are proud to be a part of a program that boasts several sets of siblings: Chris and Jackson Bauer, Sarah and Abby Gunderson, Thomas and Anna Wei, Alan and Natalie Osterhaus, Christian Hicks and James Bass, Jazzarae and Darius McGlown, Nolan and Lauren Moeller, Kevin and Kyle Sigel, Eli and Isaac Blaney, and finally, Maddie, Cassidy, and Andrew Wilson. 

We were so happy to see many returning alumni and parents of alumni, as well. There were members from each of the classes at the trade show. 

If you are reading this, we probably owe you a thank-you! We won't even to try naming all the parties that make our job easy. But we will give a special "shout out" to CEO parents and extended family members who provide so much throughout the year. We know the list is long, but includes many things...help with gas costs, encouragement, booth construction, new business casual clothing,...and that's just a start of a very long list! You are a vital piece to this program.

Look for a newsletter early next week announcing the class of 2019 and an article covering Sunday night's Recognition and Awards Night. 

Norm and Le


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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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