CEO program celebration held in Cobden
A special event was held Thursday evening, June 1, in Cobden to celebrate the 2016-2017 Union County CEO program.
The celebration, attended by about 100 people, was held at The Old Feed Store in downtown Cobden.
CEO stands for Creating Entrepreneurial Opportunities.
The 2016-2017 annual report for the program explains that CEO “is a year-long course designed to utilize partnerships that provide an overview of business development and processes.
“The Union County business community partners work with area schools to create project-based experiences for students by providing funding, expertise, meeting space, business tours, and one-on-one mentoring.
“Students visit area businesses, learn from guest speakers, participate in a class business, write business plans, and start and operate their own businesses.
“Business concepts learned through the experiential CEO class are critical; the 21st century skills of problem-solving, teamwork, self-motivation, responsibility, higher-order thinking, communication, and inquiry are at the heart of a student’s development throughout the course.
The mission of the Union County CEO is “to provide a comprehensive educational experience, equipping our students to become enterprising individuals and entrepreneurial thinkers who will contribute to the economic development and sustainability of our community.”
Students who were members of the 2016-2017 Union County CEO program team included Jessa Bond, Erin Dillow, Jessica Glasco, Aaron Lence, Julian Smith and Shad Turner.
The team members were on hand for last week’s celebration, as were students who will be participating in the 2017-2018 program.
The celebration gave those in attendance an opportunity to voice their appreciation to CEO program facilitator Evelyn Bailey and to welcome new facilitator Kathy Bryan.
Local business person Bill Ecker served as emcee for the evening’s program. Ecker is a member of the program’s advisory board.
Ecker recognized the CEO program students, their parents, board members, investors, mentors, presenters, alumni and members of next year’s class.
Evelyn Bailey is stepping down as facilitator for the program.
Bailey saluted the nearly 100 people who served as presenters for the CEO program.
Presenters are local business people. The presenters shared with the students about their life and business experiences during the course of the 2016-2017 program.
“They gave us the gift of their time,” Bailey said.
Bailey thanked the many people who contributed to the success of the program with their support. That support, she said, has made an important difference in the lives of the students.
“We thank you so much for what you have done,” she said.
The new facilitator for the program is Kathy Bryan, the owner of Kiki’s CoffeeHouse in downtown Anna.
Bryan said she is eager to begin her work as facilitator. Training is planned this summer.
“I’m very honored and excited,” Bryan told those at the celebration about beginning her new duties.
Each of the students in this year’s program also spoke at the celebration. The word “amazing” was spoken several times as the students reflected on their participation.
“It’s an amazing opportunity,” team member Jessa Bond said
(Note: For more information about the Union County CEO program's activities, see pages 2 and 3 in Section B of this week’s paper.)