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Looking for something to do this upcoming weekend? Head on out to the @lrsicerink to skate and support local student artists as they paint a mural! Stay tuned to meet our individual artists on the ice rink page! 🤩🎨
🍰Who wants cake for breakfast?! Nothing Bundt Cakes (Springfield) franchise owners Kristen & Theo Spilman brought their top 3 flavors of the famous bundt cakes to class yesterday for those students lucky enough to be scheduled in-person. 🙏🏻 Kristen & Theo shared their story of living and working abroad in Austria before moving back to Springfield and opening the franchise. They talked about the extensive research they did, explained what a franchise is and how much support they receive from the corporate office, and the importance of specificity and consistency to their products. Theo gave us a great pitch and said that they’re not really selling cake - they’re selling “Joy, Happiness & Moments of Personal Connection” - the cake is secondary. Their top tips for the students: · Always be on your game; you never know what opportunities will pop up. · If you have a passion, just do your passion. Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing. · Draw lines early - work will completely consume you if you let it. Establish strong boundaries and maintain them. Thanks for sharing your story with us, Kristin & Theo, and of course, for bringing cake!
@lrsicerink will be closed today, 1/14/21, due to weather. We hope to see you tomorrow!
This morning we spoke with Sharon Reichers, Senior Director of Global Sales Administration at Bunn, about her journey from accounting to operations management, and how her role at Bunn has changed over time. She talked about the value of understanding data and using it to inform your business, and explained how Bunn uses a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system to help them manage data and the customer experience in a central location. She also spoke about automation in the CRM that informs internal teams like sales, accounts receivable, forecasting & service, and can trigger supply chain events. Her advice to the students was to remember their connections from the Sangamon CEO program, always keep learning, do more than what you need to, be open to all opportunities, and don’t put yourself in a box. Thanks for joining us this morning, Sharon, and for sharing your story!
“We all have a chance to change our society.” We spoke with John Kelker, President of the United Way of Central Illinois, via Zoom yesterday morning, and learned about the history and mission of the United Way - to “improve lives by uniting our community to address the basic needs, education, financial stability and health of every person” in Sangamon and Menard Counties. John shared how the UW is highly driven by volunteers, 70% of their funding comes from small contributions in the workplace, and how corporate gifts that underwrite their expenses enable them to give 100% of donations directly to local services. He encouraged the students to get involved through the “Get Connected” volunteer platform, and challenged them to participate in the “21-Week Equity Challenge” by texting “21WEEK” to 4144. Thanks for sharing your story, John, and teaching us about the many ways we can help others in our community!
Nabih, our Executive Director, was interviewed by Greg Bishop for a “Business In The 217” episode of the WMAY Newsfeed podcast yesterday! Check it out at the link below to hear more about the @LRSicerink project and the Sangamon CEO program. https://omny.fm/shows/wmaynewsfeed/business-in-the-217-sangamon-ceo-01-06-2021
Patrick Moore, Concurrent Enrollment Director, and Kim Wilson, Recruitment Manager, joined us in class this morning to share information about dual-credit, summer courses, associate degrees, and career training paths at LLCC, as well as the benefits of starting higher education at a 2-year community college. Thanks for taking time out of your morning to speak with us, Patrick & Kim! 📸: @kenziekrider
We appreciate this fantastic SJ-R write-up on the @LRSIceRink! Check out the article for comments from students and our Director, Nabih Elhajj, on getting their startup off the ground, running the business, and bringing this much-loved (and much-needed) activity to the Springfield community during the pandemic. We are so proud of our students! 👏🏻 They raised over $70k in funds, sponsorships, and in-kind donations to purchase, build and run the rink, including skates, lighting, fencing, and other ancillaries, as well as ticketing, scheduling, marketing and management. In the first week of opening, they have grossed over $10k in service to over a thousand skaters. Congrats!! https://www.sj-r.com/story/news/2021/01/03/high-school-students-build-scheels-ice-rink-ground-up/4111296001/
#Repost @lrsicerink with @get_repost ・・・ We are happy and grateful to see the community excited about the ice rink. The demand has far exceeded our projections and to continue to provide great customer experience for our guests, we are taking the necessary measure of closing the rink for maintenance. We will be open again on Thursday, January 7. Meanwhile, we are cleaning and sharpening all of our skates for a better skating experience. If you have already purchased tickets for tonight or any night before Thursday, watch out for an email from us! You will be able to use your purchases another day once we are open to the public again! Thank you so much for understanding, and we hope to see you soon!
Wondering about our latest project? Make sure you’re following @lrsicerink for any information and updates! We are open today from 1:00 PM-8:00 PM! ❄️☃️⛸
We are so excited and thankful that we had the opportunity to partner with @lrswebsolutions and several other amazing sponsors to bring a safe, fun, and ongoing event coming soon! Follow our event page @lrsicerink for more updates and information as we get closer to opening for the public! ❄️💙
Cully Davis, Vice Chairman of Equity Capital Markets & Head of West Coast Technology Investment Banking, joined us this morning to regale the students with stories about famous entrepreneurs, but also to talk about what it’s like to work in the high stakes, fast paced environment of Silicon Valley. He spoke about the idea that failure is a badge of honor that is not only encouraged, but is critical to success. He also spoke about the important role of mentorship in the SV ecosystem, and the sometimes frustrating challenges of working with top entrepreneurs. He shared his humble beginning of growing up in an academic environment in Springfield, and how the Midwest “ethos” has served him well. He suggested that the students look at their Midwest upbringing as an advantage, and called those traits - strong work ethic, humility, lack of entitlement, and being as good as your word - his Secret Weapon that often leads to him being underestimated. Thanks for sharing your stories, knowledge & advice with us, Cully!
This morning the students learned about the stock market, what affects stock prices, the investment process, and how pension plans fit into that, from the Teachers' Retirement System (TRS) Director of Investment, Greg Turk. Greg also explained how TRS manages teacher contributions, and shared his background in finance. His advice to the students was to make a career out of whatever they are passionate about, and said that passion is the number 1 thing he looks for when being pitched to. Thanks for joining us this morning, Greg!
CEO Alum Allison Hudsbeth and her business partner Gabrielle Dinardo spoke with us this morning about their recently opened business, The Urban Hippie (@theurbanhippie217), a salon & boutique located here in Springfield. Allison shared how her experience in CEO gave her the confidence to follow her own path, introduced her to a network of support and mentorship, and showed her how capable young people can be. Gabrielle spoke about working at other boutiques & salons in the area, and how these experiences led them to realize that they wanted more control and success on their own terms. Their advice for the students was to dress for the job/clientele that you want, and find a business partner who will be brutally honest with you, whose decisions you can trust, and who will balance out your strengths. Thanks for sharing your story with us, Allison & Gabrielle, and best of luck on your new endeavor!
we cannot wait to share with you what we have been working so hard on!!!! Stay tuned for more details:)
This morning we spoke with Elena Mhdeize, CFO of Erickson International, about how the window film manufacturing company has adapted to the changing conditions of the global pandemic. Elena shared how they were affected by the pandemic earlier than most of the US as a result of disrupted supply chains in China, and how this resulted in transportation cost increases for raw materials, employee furloughs and general confusion as they scrambled to keep up with government guidelines (or lack thereof). Elena’s advice to the student’s was to scratch “I don’t know” from their vocabulary, and instead say “Give me a minute, a week, a month, and I will know” and then go figure it out. She also encouraged them to never stop learning, stay curious, learn to negotiate effectively, and to choose a career path that makes them excited to get up in the morning. Thank you for joining us this morning, Elena!
Larry Luster, co-founder of GR Consulting Illinois, joined us this morning to share his unique journey from the NFL to politics, and elaborate on his roles as a community organizer, staffer, campaign manager, lobbyist, and political consultant throughout Illinois. Larry also talked about the importance of building relationships, outworking the competition, and exceeding your own expectations, and shared some life advice with the students. “When you help people, good things come to you.” “Hard work beats talent any day. Be tenacious. Be competitive.” Thanks for sharing your story and being vulnerable with us, Larry!
Innovate Springfield’s Katie Davison (Director) & Sarah Beth Ayers (Program Coordinator) joined us this morning to introduce iSpy’s mission and talk about their programming, membership levels, and 9-week cohort program, Co-Starters. @Innovate_Springfield is a social innovation and business incubator that is currently home to 90 members who are either incubating start-ups, co-working businesses, or students. Three of those members also joined us via Zoom this morning to share their experiences and advice with the students: Kalpana Krishnamurthi of BitsIO, Inc, Patrick Russell of Reverie Apparel, and Rusty Jones of Hello Water. Kalpana introduced @BitsIOInc and encouraged the students to ask themselves 4 questions with regard to their business ideas - do I have the skill to do it, do I love doing it, does the world need it, will the world pay for it - and if the answer is Yes to all 4, to go after it like crazy. She also spoke about the Law of Attraction, and shared how the movie “Secret” on Netflix inspired her to dream bigger. Patrick spoke about how he came to own a brick-and-mortar t-shirt shop, Reverie Apparel (@followthereverie), and shared some of the struggles of entrepreneurship - sweat equity, and the emotional roller coaster of being an entrepreneur. He emphasized the importance of finding a place and people to support you, and encouraged the students not to go it alone. Rusty showed us the promo video that he uses to introduce potential investors to Hello Water (@drinkhellowater), the first fiber-infused water, and shared their mission to inspire health and provide positive, inspirational messaging from the grocery aisle. He spoke about the importance of finding and articulating your “Why”, and how you should use that to drive your business forward. Thank you all for joining us this morning and sharing your journeys and advice with our students!
Abby Stockton, 2019-2020 CEO graduate, joined us this morning to talk about her early experiences in college, and how she has continued to operate her business, @LovedtoShine, beyond CEO. She shared how she got started by surveying friends and family, and how she used social media to promote new products and gain insight on what products to make. She spoke about how her business has grown with her network, and shared future plans for a pop-up shop on campus at Illinois College. Her advice to the students was to cherish their time in CEO, and not to let being online discourage them from learning from this opportunity. Thanks for coming back to class, Abby, and sharing your experience!
Happy Thanksgiving everyone! We hope you’ve enjoyed a safe, relaxing break with family, and we are grateful for your continued support of our students and our program. Here are some pics from last week’s Toastmasters session, which was on the topic of “Adapting”. Congrats to the winners, and we’re looking forward to another TM this week!
Prashanth Sankaran spoke about his role as Director of Technology at BUNN, shared the Technology team’s mission, and answered questions from the students via Zoom this morning. He talked about the enormous amount of science & tech that goes into their coffee machines & dispensers - fluid dynamics, pressure & temperature fluctuations, waste management, moving parts like motors, pumps & grinders, computers, touch screens, wired & wireless tech, cellular communication - and how the customer experience is more important than any amount of tech. He shared how the pandemic disrupted the tech industry, and accelerated digital transformation at BUNN. Key Takeaways: - Customer experience must be built with the customer in mind: focus on UX first, then deliver it as UI - Innovation is not a milestone, but a journey Thanks for joining us this morning, Prashanth!
The students participated in a game of creativity and presentations today: split into groups, the "entrepreneurs" researched ideas, while the "investors" researched trends and concepts. Over the past three weeks the students have been working hard on their class business (stay tuned for our big announcement), so today we took the time to play and bond. We ❤️ our students and their brilliant minds and we are thankful to all of you who follow our program and support our work. 📸: @a.phalen
Mike Lansden, Financial Advisor at Stifel, joined us in class this morning to talk about his background, and answer the students’ questions about the stock market. He explained the difference between a bear and bull market, passive and active management, how commodities tie into the stock market, what indexes are, the importance of diversifying, and explored the stock market response to the pandemic. Takeaways ˃ The stock market is driven by emotion, which makes it volatile. ˃ Time IN is more important than timING - staying in the market long-term is important to overcome short term volatility. ˃ Take advantage of fluctuations & the herd mentality - “Be greedy when others are fearful; be fearful when others are greedy.” (Warren Buffett) ˃ The earlier you start investing, the better. Thanks for joining us this morning, Mike, and sharing your expertise with our students!
The students have been pitching like crazy, raising money and pursuing sponsors for their *still secret* event... Pictured: celebratory coffee after pitching to @grabajava owner Bill Legge ☕️ Stay tuned for the big reveal! #startupvibes #startupinspiration #youthempowerment #teenleadership #leadershiptraining #leadershipdevelopment #mentorshipmatters #youthentrepreneurship #studententrepreneur #studentstartup #studentbusiness #createopportunities #sangamonceo #supportlocalbusinesses #centralillinois #springfieldil #springfieldillinois #springfield217 #springfieldilrocks #visitSpringfield #illinois #illinoismade #madeinillinois #enjoyillinois #springfieldilmoms
Sarah Petty led the students through their first Toastmasters sessions last week, on the topic of Gratitude. It looks a little different this year - masks on & plastic dividers in place - but we're grateful (word of the day ☺️) that our students have the opportunity to practice their public speaking skills, regardless of Covid! Thanks to @Sarah.Petty again this year for leading & hosting Toastmasters for our program! #entrepreneur101 #entrepreneurship101 #entrepreneurprogram #entrepreneurclass #youthempowerment #teenleadership #leadershiptraining #leadershipdevelopment #mentorshipmatters #youthentrepreneurship #studententrepreneur #collegeprep #createopportunities #sangamonceo #toastmastersinternational #toastmastersclub #publicspeaking101
Founding Sangamon CEO Board Member, educator, consultant & coach Kathy Crum led the students in an exercise this morning to bring awareness to their personal limiting beliefs, and redirect them into SMART goals. Limiting thoughts are critical, negative voices that place self-imposed limits on what we believe we are capable of doing. Awareness of these thoughts is the first step to change. Identify a frequent limiting thought, and ask yourself, “Is this thought true?” (It’s usually not!) Create a “turnaround” statement that positively enforces the actual truth, and repeat it daily. Set SMART goals - Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, & Timely - that propel you forward and build confidence in your abilities. Takeaways: · We all have something to offer · Thoughts are not facts · You can retrain your brain “If you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.” - Henry Ford Thanks for joining us this morning, Kathy, and inspiring us to take action!
Tracy Dowell, co-owner of The Running Center, joined us via Zoom this morning to talk about how she became part-owner, give us a tour of the shop, and share how the store has adapted to the pandemic by refocusing on e-commerce. She explained how her silent partner works, what margin products are, how she works with suppliers to forecast inventory, and how The Running Center is more than a shoe store - they also sell equipment for a variety of other sports, orthotics for Doctor referrals, nutrition & replenishment consumables, and have a nutrition and personal training program run by Health & Wellness coach Emily McAfee. Tracy shared a favorite saying with the students, ”You’ll never be wealthy working for someone else” and encouraged them to find what they love to do, so it won’t feel like ‘work’. Thanks for sharing your journey with us and showing us around @springfieldrunningcenter, Tracy & Emily!
@CafeMoxo Founder & Owner Mark Forinash generously brought breakfast to the in-person students this morning, and sat down to share his journey with us. He shared how cooking in the kitchen with his Mom when he was a kid developed his lifelong love of food, how his initial foray into pharmacy school led to his real passion, his early struggles to secure funding, the research he did to decide on his Adams St. location versus 6th St. or the Square, how Cafe Moxo was almost named Cafe Lincoln, and why his business culture focuses on pride, consistency & community. He also spoke about the challenges of adapting to the Covid environment, including shutting down their 2nd location, downsizing to 4 employees and operating at 84% revenue, and pivoting to focus on online ordering, delivery and carryout. He shared his no-regrets, growth-minded attitude about these changes, and noted the positives: he fell back in love with the grind of working in the restaurant instead of at his computer; he has been able to support those in need in our community; and they have learned so much from this experience. Takeaways: · Embrace failure and learn from your mistakes, but let go of regret - every mistake led you to where you are now. · Keep going, and don’t accept ‘No’ as an answer. · Get creative when faced with problems, and look for opportunities to evolve. We’re grateful that Mark became a restaurant owner 13.5 years ago instead of a pharmacist - Thanks for sharing your story with us, Mark!
success is a series of small wins. here’s to the first. #postpitchvibes
Dr. Graham Peck, @uisedu distinguished professor, author, filmmaker and historian, joined us this morning via Zoom. Dr. Peck shared the challenges of filming a documentary on Stephen A. Douglas during quarantine and at the start of the Black Lives Matter movement, how these events helped to shape the final film, and led to his decision to showcase different perspectives and disparate opinions in the film. He spoke about why he got into filmmaking - to reach a broader audience than people who might read his books - and how platforms like Amazon Prime have already made that endeavor a success. He also spoke about disagreeing with the notion that history repeats itself, but did emphasize the importance of studying & learning from history anyway, saying that seeing the world through the lens of history is a skill to be developed that can give you the capacity to think about current issues differently. His advice to the students was twofold: ❶ Apply widely to colleges & scholarships. Focus less on the prestige of a particular university and more on getting an education without being hobbled by enormous debt when you enter the workforce. ❷ Build your brain, not your resume. Don’t go to college with the intent to simply check off boxes and meet degree requirements; focus on learning - you can take that eagerness and willingness to learn wherever you go, no on can take it from you, and it will open up many opportunities. Thanks for an insightful and stimulating conversation this morning, Dr. Peck! 📸: @a.phalen
Michael Thomas, Business Relationship Manager at Express Employment Professionals, joined us this morning for his first speaking engagement with Sangamon CEO. He did a great job explaining his role at Express, and what they do as a company - offer hope and offer jobs. He talked about the challenges of adapting to Covid and helping other businesses do the same, how building relationships in the community enables them to go beyond hiring and recruiting to supporting local businesses through forecasting, strategizing, and training, and competing with online hiring platforms like Indeed, LinkedIn and ZipRecruiter. His advice to the students was to find a mentor outside of your family who you can trust and rely on, who can give you direction when you need it, tell you the truth, and hold you accountable. Thanks for joining us, Michael, and we hope to see you in class again next year! 📸: Leeza Z.
“do what you say you’re gonna do and treat people right” The beautiful faces of your FAVORITE CEO class & our amazing speaker, Micheal Thomas!!!🤍 SUCH A FUN DAY:))
First pitch for their potential 2nd event! 👏🏻 Bruce Sommer was on site as a “potential sponsor” to give feedback and tips on how the students can improve their pitch and make this event a reality. 🤞🏻 Stay tuned for more details…
🍩🍩🍩 Amanda Crossland, owner of 4 Mel-O-Cream Donuts locations in Springfield, joined us this morning, and she brought goodies! 🍩🍩🍩 (Individually bagged, so Covid-safe!) She shared her background, a little about the history of the Mel-O-Cream brand, the challenges of adapting to quickly changing regulations due to the pandemic, competing with big chains, and giving back to the community. She also shared some career advice with the students: ① Learn skills to differentiate yourself from the competition. ② Work hard & prove that you’re a worthwhile investment. ③ Say ‘Yes’ to difficult projects - the ability to figure things out and find the resources you need is valuable. ④ Be positive & show up - a good attitude is 99% of the job. ⑤ Expect bumps & detours - no path is linear. Thanks for joining us this morning, sharing your journey, and bringing donuts!
Jessica Kocurek, owner of Willow & Birch Salon, took us on a virtual tour of her 19,000 sqft facility, and shared the story of how she opened her own salon, how her vision has evolved over the years, and how she communicates her vision and expectations to her team. Takeaways - There’s always a silver lining - Sometimes leadership is more effective than management - Be intentional; put yourself in the mind of the consumer - It’s important to know and communicate your “Why” - If you want to work in a certain environment, you have to create it - “Motivation is like bathing; you should do it daily.” - Zig Ziglar Thanks for joining us this morning, Jessica, and showing us around @WillowBirchSalon!
Recognize these? Grab-A-Java owner, Bill Legge, spoke to our students this morning about how he came to own and run @GrabAJava after purchasing the drive-through coffee shop from the original owners, Megan & Pete Lazare. Known for their iconic, tongue-in-cheek banners, Grab-A-Java focuses on maintaining the quality of their products and their company culture, instead of investing in a sit-down coffeeshop. Bill took advantage of the Covid shutdowns to completely gut & remodel the 6th St. location, during which time they consolidated staff to allow those who didn’t feel comfortable working to remain home while still getting paid. #respect Bill also shared some advice with the students: - Look for the opportunity in every problem - Travel when you can, and pay attention when you do - Technology is your strength, leverage it to your advantage - Network at every opportunity - relationships are key Thanks for joining us this morning, Bill, and sharing your experience!