Permission to Screw Up

First Semester Ends at our Host Business

Nicol Financial Services
CEO students will finish their first semester with final exams on Monday. CEO students are deeply grateful and appreciate our CEO host businesses. We thank CEO Board Member Kevin Nicol, Nicol Financial Services and The Nicol Foundation for investing in CEO and opening your door and office space to host CEO for our second quarter. Students enjoyed the atmosphere, the executive chairs, tables, coffee and especially the red licorice. We give a shout out to Kathy Parks, Compliance Officer, for being there every day to open the doors early for CEO.  CEO appreciates the staff of Nicol Financial Services and The Nicol Foundation. Thank you. 

Sometimes You Just Don't Know and That's OK

Kristen Hadeed Book Launch at Barry-Wehmiller

Kristen Hadeed learned how to communicate and admit her mistakes at a very young age. On Tuesday Granite City CEO was privileged to attend the Barry-Wehmiller Leadership Institute's launch for Kristen Hadeed's book titled "Permission to Screw Up." She talked about starting her cleaning business in college, the obstacles she faced and her story of what she learned and how she changed. She admitted to her employees she didn't know what to do. She had never been a leader. 

Kristen talked about making people feel valued and creating a culture of caring for individuals. She encouraged the audience to talk about the stories, the failures and learn lessons from them. Bring out the best in people. Small little moments mean so much. People have to care about themselves and care about improving, growing and wanting to grow. Make time really count with people. Kristen's message was to invest in yourself and become a better person. 

Thank you, Jennifer Brooks and Andrew Barenz at BW Leadership Institute, for providing this opportunity for Granite City CEO students. We sincerely appreciate you and your staff at BW Leadership Institute. A special shout out to Austin Brooks and Rebecca Meylor at the Midland Institute for Entrepreneurship for this invite, too. What a very special morning for all of us!

Investing and Sharing Her Expertise

Beth Buenger, O'Brien Tire and Service Center

Beth Buegner, Owner of O'Brien Tire and Service Center, a CEO investor, shared her morning with CEO students to learn more about our upcoming event. She attended the first CEO class business event in 2015 and wanted to help students with the event planning. O'Brien Tire and Service Center has been in business for 85 years and Beth has corporate business experience along with small business experience. She planned events in the corporate world and shared four documents for planning and organizing projects, broken into smaller chunks for goals, meetings and activities checklist. These documents included start and end dates with solutions and follow up.

Beth shared with students ideas for pitching our event and asking for 30 seconds at a business to pitch our event. She encouraged students to take define priorities, take notes, and take action. A timeline for our January 30 event was detailed and started. 

Thank you, Beth and O'Brien Tire and Service Center, for investing your time with CEO.  We appreciate you and look forward to seeing you on January 4, 2018. 

Fine Tuning the Details

The Best of Our Granite City Area

Students discussed more details for our class business event on Thursday. CEO Scott Schank led the revision of our mission statement. Students met after class and after school to create the event flyers, printed letters for each student, created an event on, plus more. Search Granite City CEO on eventBrite for tickets. 

Join us on Tuesday, January 30, 2018, for The Best of Our Granite City Area from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Saint Gregory Armenian Community Center. Last week student Brian Bauman met with Carl Yount of Port Harbor Railroad Corp. and we are excited to announce, Port Harbor Railroad Corp. is our event sponsor. This year's event will include a business to business (B2B) networking time from 4:00 to 4:30 before doors open to the public. 

Students also enjoyed donuts, juice and milk for collecting funds for our Student Council Christmas baskets at Granite City High School. CEO Student Gabbby Byrd is a member of Student Council. Christmas baskets were delivered to families in Granite City last week.  

Be Your Own Health Advocate

Ashley Swip, 3 Little Birds 4 Life

Our last day of CEO was spent listening to Granite City High School phycial education teacher, Mrs. Ashley Swip. She told her story of her brother's passing  at age 28 after a diagnosis of stage 4 melanoma. Through this process she learned there were few resources for cancer patients aged 18 - 40 years old. She organized and planned a day at Busch Stadium for her brother and was so happy to give him a special day without thinking about his cancer, which brought him back to his normal self, before his diagnosis. This inspired her to want this moment for all adult cancer patients with their families so she created 3 Little Birds 4 Life, a 5013c, non-profit organization. 

Her brother, Tyler, was a big Bob Marley Fan and so the 3 Little Birds 4 Life logo was based on the National Bird of Jamaica, called the doctor bird, which gives people life again. Ashley read books and studied how to write the 5013c papers for the IRS. She granted her first wish in July, 2012 and has raised over $800,000 in the last six years. No wish is exactly the same.

Ashley's goals for the organization are to hire an executive director, create a community center for young adult cancer patients, increase volunteerism and grow in marketing and social media. She encouraged students to be aware of changes in their body and skin and for them to be their own health advocate.  

Last year's CEO class was inspired by Ashley's presentation in August and they started a chapter of 3 Little Birds 4 Life at Granite City High School called the Warrior Flock. All members of the Warrior Flock will be visiting the Siteman Cancer Center on December 22 and delivering 200 bags of goodies to bring joy to the adult patients for our Christmas holiday. The current class of CEO students contirubuted items for the bags. 

Thank you, Ashley, for inspiring CEO, giving back, and bringing joy to so many.  

Student Journal Highlights for this week

This week started off with a very productive class discussion in which we figured out the locations and businesses to start pitching our event. We learned how to pitch our event and how to sound persuasive.

Tuesday, the CEO class took a small trip to Clayton, Missouri, to meet with Kristen Hadeed. She taught me tons of valuable lessons on how to be a good leader for your employees. I learned that you should not just sit back while everyone does the work. Most importantly, I learned that I need to give myself “Permission to Screw Up”. Kristen signed copies of her book for us and we were so grateful to have been given the opportunity to listen to her speak.

Wednesday, I started making the flyers for our event after we had more class discussion. I stayed after school and I applied Kristen Hadeed’s saying, “give yourself permission to screw up” as I re-made the flyer twelve times to get it just right. Sometimes it is okay to spend your personal time trying to better yourself or better what you are doing for the sake of others.

Thursday, Ashlynn and I visited Mrs. Fanning’s junior English classes to recruit some students to apply for the next year CEO class. Afterward, we joined the rest of the class and Beth Buenger from O’Brien Tire & Service Center, taught us about how important it is to work as a group and communicate even when there are hard times involved.

Friday we had a very inspiring story from Ashley Swip, representing 3 LIttle Birds 4 Life. Her sentimental story really changed my view on things and how you should always look to help others even when you don’t feel up to it.

I appreciate everyone this week and for our speakers for these amazing CEO learning opportunites.

Morgan Tucker

Morgan Tucker
Sunday, December 17, 2017Learn More About Morgan

I cannot believe we are finished with the semester. I need to be more careful and not wish it away because time flies, I do not even realize it.

Monday we discussed the basics and practiced our elevator pitches for the class business. We are now in the process of inviting businesses and marketing the event. We will also be doing this during break!

Tuesday was such a great day, even with having to be at the school at 6:45 am. Mrs. Greenwald took us to see Kristen Hadeed speak; she’s the author of a book “Permission to Screw Up.” We also received a copy and Kristen signed it! I loved hearing her speak. She is such a real person and she loves to admit that. I also felt pretty special that she posted a picture of us on her instagram.

We created our mission statement ready for our big event also. It actually came pretty easy and the class worked well together trying to come up with the statement.

Friday Ashley Swip (known as Mrs. Swip) gym teacher at our high school came to our class to talk about her non-profit business, 3 Little Birds 4 Life. I knew what her business was about but I truly never knew how deep and emotional it is. Mrs. Swip grants people with cancer from ages 18-40 wishes, they can chose almost anything and she seems to find a way to get it for them. She has granted 100’s of wishes. Out of all of the speakers she has probably been my favorite; she was so nice and I would love to help out her organization more.

Autumn Reynolds

Autumn Reynolds
Sunday, December 17, 2017Learn More About Autumn

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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 Granite City 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 14 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 19 people.

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