News

Class Business Discussions Starting


Mystery Greeter Day

Mystery Greeter Day is just as it states. It is when guests are invited to class to test out the student’s soft skills. This presents an opportunity for the students to meet people they do not know for the first time. It also allows the facilitator insight to see if more additional work is needed in this area, so their students feel confident and eager to master this important skill in the early months of being in CEO. We must admit that both classes start out with hesitation, but once they knew that our guest were there to meet them, they rose to the occasion and did very well. I think even a few of our guests were caught off guard by the students being so surprised about how many guests attended class that day.

A special thank you to all the participants who helped CEO with developing our student’s soft skills of meeting others. It was a lively discussion after everyone met. Our guests then took time to share their best practices when they are meeting people as well. They all agreed that no matter how many times you walk into a room of people you do not know, that there is a little fear in all of us, if we were being totally truthful about this in life. It was great to hear this from our guests and to share that we are always evolving in developing ourselves in the art of interacting with others.


CEO Visits Their Fiscal Agent

Joedy Hightower, Connie Lilly

In year’s past, CEO had the Southeastern Illinois Foundation visit class, but this year CEO went to the Foundation. This decision truly set a clear understanding of how CEO and the Foundation are connected. Joedy Hightower used the walls of their conference room to show the class how CEO is funded and how the class business is managed through their office. This allowed the students to see first-hand that the foundation is just not an obscure piece in our CEO program. An this onsite visit provided an opprortunity for them to meet the people who manage the class funds. Connie Lilly also shared the various forms the class will need to process for turning in sponsorships and expenses. Mrs. Lilly also urged the students to develop a budget for their class business and gave sound advice to help them see the importance of objective evidence in accounting. CEO appreciates all that Mrs. Hightower and Mrs. Lilly do for our CEO Program.


Al's Tire Mart and Electronics

Joe Knabe

CEO was truly energized by their tour at Al’s Tire Mart and Electronics. They enjoyed the teamwork displayed between Joe Knabe, Blake Weber and Seth Wilson as they shared their passion and plans of their company. As you can imagine, the technology this tour bought to the attention of the students was so exciting. A credit card slim size TV, Alexa, and all the connected devices that this generation views as common as air motivated CEO to know and learn more. Even the liquid glass that you can put over your phone screen is now a must for them all when they purchase their next phone. It is no doubt that Al's Tire Mart Team saw their future customers staring back at them. The weekly journals mentioned that items seen on this tour were going to be on their Christmas list this year. 


CEO Works at Mid-America Corvette FunFest

CEO volunteered to help Mid-America Corvette with their FunFest by having a work day folding shirts, setting up tables, chairs and connecting lanyards for their attendees. They had heard earlier from Tom Wright on the Wright's Furniture tour on how important it is to give back to your community and one way that is possible is through being a volunteer. 

On the day of FunFest the students helped with all kinds of needed tasks such as folding bought merchandise at checkout points, serving pepsi, working at Corvette Headquarters and ticket takers at the concert. 


Student Journal Highlights for this week

"Wednesday was the biggest learning experience of the week. At first, I thought that we were in someone’s meeting room. I then realized what was happening and I felt like I should get up and start talking to some of the people that came into the classroom, but at the same time, I felt that it would be very awkward. Next time something like that happens, I will be more prepared and I will know what to do." Mystery Guest Visit Day

Patrick Sherrod

Patrick Sherrod
Friday, September 15, 2017Learn More About Patrick

"Al’s Tire Mart has been one of my favorite business tours so far. I loved the dynamic of the guys working there and how they have taken ordinary things and brought them together in a new and exciting way. This was one of the first tours that really made me question whether I wanted to move away from Effingham County because of all the exciting things that could be brought here."

Megan Hodge

Megan Hodge
Friday, September 15, 2017Learn More About Megan

"Before CEO, I never really considered majoring in business as an option.  I do not really know why I have never thought of actually doing business, but I am starting to realize that business really interests me.  I also realized this week that shaking someone’s hand has become natural to me.  I actually want to shake people’s hands because it is instinctive now." 

Stephen Berg

Stephen Berg
Wednesday, September 20, 2017Learn More About Stephen


Share this news article

Effingham County CEO Calendar


Add this calendar to your iPhone
Print Calendar

Latest News


News Archive


Get Involved in CEO

The manner in which the CEO program is funded is critical to its success and sustainability. All funds raised are used exclusively for the Effingham County 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.

Click here to download the Effingham CEO Pledge Card

When we are not touring local businesses, we need a place to host the class. During that time, the 40 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 45 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.


If you are interested in participating in any of the above programs, use our contact form to send us a message


Wittni Cotton - Effingham County CEO

Wittni Cotton

About Me

Wittni Cotton is a student at Teutopolis High School. She is a member of the Teutopolis Pomerettes, Band, Jazz Band, Volunteens and Intouch. Outside of high school, she is a competitive dancer for Jansen’s Dance Center in Effingham. Wittni also coaches gymnastics at Effingham Academy of Gymnastics. In the Spring of 2017, she became a Yipes Brand Representative and a 2018 Rockstar Representative for Loker Photography. Wittni plans on attending Southern Illinois University Edwardsville where she will earn a Bachelor of Science Degree in Theater and Dance, specializing in dance.

“I’m thankful to have this opportunity and look forward to growing as an individual through the CEO program. Preparing for life after high school isn’t an easy task, but I believe CEO will give me and my fellow students the confidence to pursue our future goals and objectives.”


Learn More about Wittni

Effingham County CEO Business Investors

Effingham County CEO Calendar