ANNA—The Union County CEO Program kicked off its inaugural year with a dinner on Wednesday, August 5. The program—designed to promote entrepreneurship among high school juniors and seniors—is beginning a modified version of the program for its first year, starting with this opportunity for students to meet with Craig Lindvahl, facilitator and teacher of the original CEO program in Effingham.
Lindvahl spent most of the evening engaging students, expressing the importance of posture, eye contact, an effective handshake and other subtleties essential to entrepreneurs projecting confidence while seeking out investors for their ideas. “You’re my kids,” stated Lindvahl several times as he expressed how impressed he’s been with so many Union County students contacting him directly to share their enthusiasm and desire for the program to expand into the area.
“He’s such an engaging speaker,” commented Union County Treasurer and CEO Advisory Board member Darren Bailey. “I wish we had him speaking to the people I work with every day. He’s so inspiring and I wish everyone around here could experience that.”
This first year will involve monthly interactions with Lindvahl and other staff from the Midland Institute. It will also begin the work to connect students with mentors from the local business community while continuing to raise funds and find a facilitator/teacher for the 2015-2016 school year.
The event was hosted at Mac and Jenny’s by owner and CEO Advisory Board co-chairman Anthony Edwards. Union County Technology Solutions owner and CEO Advisory Board member Rollie Hawk sponsored the event.
“The event itself was a great example of exactly what CEO is about,” explained Hawk. “A guest speaker sharing from his wealth of knowledge and experience, a site provided by one local business and paid for by another local business. This is exactly the kind collaboration we want to model for these students.”
The program’s financial committee is currently planning an event for September where some of the top local entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to meet with Lindvahl and learn more about how the program works and the vital role they will play, whether as investors, mentors, guest speakers or some combination of those roles.