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What Do You Bring To CEO?

CEO Guest Speakers


The Bee Hive Beauty & Spa

The Bee Hive Beauty & Spa

The Beehive Beauty Boutique Hair and Nail Salon in Dieterich provided an excellent business tour. It is a full-service salon offering hair services, manicures, pedicures, makeup, spray tanning and facials. In addition to the salon services, they retail name brand hair products, jewelry, purses and other small boutique items.

Megan (Hartke) Looman and Donna Hartke owners gave great advice about don't give up when someone says it will not work.  Also, word of mouth travels fast, so striving for great customer service is key in building your business. They also emphasized thinking strategically with promotions through Facebook and being community minded has been key with their business growth. 

They also shared a few ideas that the students should consider as they start up their own businesses. 

  • Location and Target Market
  • Family and Community Support
  • An understanding expectations of clients

Bella Renaissance Yoga for Life Work Balance

It was not your typical day in CEO, but it is important to keep that work, life, balance in check and what better way to make that happen then pushing the limits to take a yoga class. Ginny Liss of Belle Renaissance opened up her yoga studio for CEO to experience yoga. She spoke about the importance for our health to learn how to relax and breath. 

It was truly a much needed relaxation day from our stressful and energy packed week prior with the CEO Experience. Many of the students commented how much they enjoyed the morning session and that they wish to go back for classes in the future. It was mentioned that yoga would be an excellent destresser as they head off to college. Maybe before college finals a restorative yoga class would provide their mind rest for a powerful exam the next day.  


Accuracy Firearms

The first Accuracy Firearm store was in a green shed in the middle of a forest. But the business thrived there and their need for expansion brought them to their new location in the middle of Effingham. This also gave them the opportunity to build an indoor gun range and add classrooms. The CEO class got the opportunity to visit the business and hear how they serve the area with classes and firearm education.

The business has had its share of highs and lows, but they have come through by giving their customers exactly what they want and by always showing their quality. They also pride themselves on the safety that they add to their field. The store is kept under constant surveillance and all the store owners are former police officers. Additionally, the gun range is kept very safe with lead filters, bullet collectors, and bulletproof glass. The class left very informed and excited about their success.

Writtlen by Tyler Higgs


Old Mac's Drive Thru

Old Mac's Drive Thru

Josh Koester the manager/chef at Old Mac's Drive Thru gave a wonderful tour and shared the story of success of this innovatie business concept. What a treat for you to stay in your car and their friendly staff brings it all to you. It takes the busienss plan of a convenience store to a whole new level.

Old Mac's carries soft drinks, chips, staple grocery items, and orders "togo" from our cafe. The decor is fresh, clean and fun. And if you wish to dine in they have cafe as well.  They have delicious sandwiches with the Roadrunner hamburger as a crowd pleaser along with wonderful daily specials. Their claim to fame as the only reallyconvenient convenience store.


Sean Sandifer

Sean Sandifer

As a CEO alumni, Sean Sandifer has been running his bowtie business “The Middle Knot”, since his junior year of high school. Sean spoke to the CEO class about his journey through the CEO program. He also spoke about what it takes to run your own business and how to properly manage your time. This presentation was perfect timing for the students because they are all currently putting together their own personal businesses and can use what Sean said. The class hopes to keep in contact with Mr. Sandifer so that they can see how his business progresses every year and so that the students can see the amazing effects that CEO class has.

By: Meg Deters


Craig Nielson - Asking the Hard Question

Craig Nielson

CEO always looks forward to having Craig Nielson share his experience and thought provoking questions with the class. This time he arrived asking the question "What do you bring to CEO or better yet to your personal business?" 

"Craig Nielson would be a great person to assist us in determining our target market. I enjoy hearing from him and his analytical views on the successes of businesses. This week, he spoke to use about how to differentiate our businesses. In order to step above the competition, our business has to be more valuable. He also shared the Navy Seals quote “You don’t rise to the occasion, You fall to the level of your preparation.” -Journal exerpt from Madison Magee


Panera Bread Company

It was a tasty day at Panera Bread! CEO is very grateful to them for donating cookies for their recent CEO Experience. Eric Morales, catering manager shared about the company history, and the success of the Effingham location since opening in October 2017.  Morales shared about their awesome team of employees at Panera who work together when they have large catering demands.

We appreciate Panera hosting CEO for the morning and Mr. Morales example of how working hard and giving more than expected can lead you to great opportunities.  



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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 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 0 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 5 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


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