Class Business Beginnings, WSMI, and our first Networking Event!

Class Business Beginnings

Alumni, Abigail Ruppert, visited this year's team as they begin the plans for their class business. The young professionals are preparing three pitches for the shark tank this Friday. Three groups of 4-5 team members have been working on different business plans in order to avoid putting all their eggs in one basket. Each plan has the goal of being both profitable and possible while also proving to be an exercise in creating a detailed business plan. The array of businesses for consideration include a product based business, a marketing service, and an event for entertainment and networking. All of the business concepts include market research, a marketing strategy, operational and implementation details, and a cost analysis. Stay tuned as the team gears up for Friday's shark tank and unveils this year's class business!

Touring WSMI

with Mike Niehaus

Mike Niehaus gave a tour of WSMI and explained the business endeavors of Montgomery County's locally owned radio station. Mike explained the balance of on-air programming and advertisements. While listeners make up the audience, advertisement dollars make up the radio station's revenue. 

Alexis Stewart remarked, "Mike Niehouse discussed advertisement sales with us. He explained that radio is one of the most popular mediums between the public and businesses, which is why it offers valuable advertising opportunities for local companies. Mike also explained that a key to on-air radio and radio advertising is to make it personal, which is the goal of  every broadcaster."

Networking Breakfast: Meeting this year's team of young professionals

A special thanks to the CEO board for preparing the networking breakfast with our Investors and friends of CEO. Heather Hampton+Knodle opened with a welcome and introductions followed by team members introducing themselves and their plans to start their own business. After breakfast team members spread out around the room and led table discussions from a host of questions related to our guests' professional success. Thank you to all who attended and to all who support CEO and our young professionals!

Andrew DeLaCruz shared, "I thought the Networking Breakfast was very successful. It was great to see all the people who invest in the program and believe it is worthwhile to keep it growing. I met a lot of different people from all types of businesses. I could tell many of the people were extremely passionate about the program and it made me want to do my very best to live up to their expectations."

Brynee Tally adds, "This was a great way to meet sponsors, mentors, and professionals. Brenda Masters-Stout sat at my table and explained all the things she is involved in as we discussed our community needs. We also shared our class business ideas for which she gave us her feedback. I found myself initiating a lot of the conversation, which is surprising because I tend to be very shy.  I'm learning how to get to know people, even shy people such as myself, and feel that I am creating a network with professionals as a result."


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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 Montgomery 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 13 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 18 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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