Set Goals and Plan for 10 Years

Students attend CEO Board Meeting

CEO Board Members

The CEO class met Tuesday at their host business, Illinois Electric Works, and were joined by the CEO Board Members for a CEO board meeting. Chairman Marc Voegele and Vice-Chair Adam Saltsgaver could not attend so Mrs. Gagich ran the board meeting. The students sat and listened to the board approve the minutes from the previous meeting and discuss the financial report for the year and the status of investors.

Scott Schank, the CEO of the class, talked about our event and the lessons we learned from the process. Ashlynn Merz, the CFO, presented the profit and loss statement to the board members. The net profit from the event was $5,235. Each student was able to share what they learned from the Best of our Granite City Area event. The board members also shared their thoughts on our event. Each student also talked about their personal start up business.  

Scott Shank proposed to the board a $1,000 donation to be an investor in next year’s class. With the remaining funds, each student will receive an initial $150 to start their personal business, which can be increased upon the board’s discretion and approval after the student shows accountability for the initial capital and upcoming expenses. 

written by Brian Bauman

Communication Skills are Essential

First Bank, Jamie Hoge and Beth Dittman

Branch Manager Jamie Hoge and Beth Dittman welcomed CEO students into their conference room and gave the history of First Bank, while students enjoyed breakfast treats. First Bank is privately owned by the Dierberg family and is one of the largest 100 banks with branches in Illinois, Missouri and California. Both Jamie and Beth are very passionate about Granite City and led students on a tour of the banking operations. The First Bank tellers talked about the daily routine for setting up their teller drawers and the safe keeping of cash for their daily opening at 9:00 am. 

Jamie and Beth stressed the importance of communicating one's goals and letting the bank figure out the solutions. Keeping open communication between the customer and the bank is essential. They concluded with a communications game with pairs of students. One student had to cover their ears with a headset that was very noisey and then read the other student's lips to guess what they were stating. Students learned how hard it was to concentrate and communicate.

Thank you First Bank, Jamie and Beth for sharing your morning with CEO. 

Be Grateful for All the Opportunities in America

Uncle Linny's Restaurant with Owner Lindy Selimi

On Thursday the class met at Uncle Linny’s for breakfast and to speak with the owner Lindy Selimi. Lindy said “I came to America because it’s the land of opportunity, and all I had to do was wake up here and go chase my dreams.”

In 2003, Lindy purchased Uncle Linny’s Restaurant at the age of 23. He moved from his home in Macedonia, to have the opportunities in America. As an entrepreneur, he stressed to the class that nothing is ever easy and hard work produces results. He told the students how lucky they are to live in such a great country and then he shared with them some of the most important advice he could give. Lindy stated “Work hard, never give up, and the world is yours.” He preached to the students how important hard work is because that’s what made him successful in the business world as well as life. Set goals and plan for the next ten years. 

CEO was also having a fundraiser at Uncle Linny’s on Thursday. Lindy donated 15% of their revenue to CEO to help support the CEO program. A CEO flyer or image on a cell phone was needed to support CEO. The CEO students enjoyed the delicious breakfast and CEO appreciates the contribution to the CEO program. Thank you, Lindy. 

written by Adam Marmion and Brian Bauman

Believe in What You Want to DO; You are the CEO of YOU

Michael Halbrook, Adobe Consulting Chief of Staff

Michael Halbrook graduated from Granite City High School in 1996, and is now Chief of Staff for Adobe Consulting. Michael came to Illinois Electric Works to present to the class the 5 ways he succeeds and suggestions for the students:

Disciplined Learning - constant learning and growth

Tears of Duty - evolution and change

Believing - You must believe before you can do

Planning - The decisions you make today open up doors for tomorrow

Doing - Make doing the easy part

Michael explained why he found those to help him so much in his own life. Michael told the class his journey through life and how it hasn’t been a straight path; it’s been a curvy rollercoaster that has ultimately led to his job now at Adobe. “To live is to change and to be perfect is to have changed often.” This is a quote Michael shared with the class and is one he has lived by.

When making choices always remember that your product is you, whether your a part time worker or a CEO, always seek ways to improve upon yourself. As each student's business takes off they may have to hire additional employees. Do the people working for you have the same aspirations as you?

At the end of class Mr. Halbrook gave each student a book titled “Your Best Year Ever: A 5 step plan for achieving your most important goals” written by Michael Hyatt, which was compliments of Adobe.

Thank you, Michael for showing the students how to formulate their goals into a reality, and giving them something tangible to learn from. CEO apreciates you and Adobe. 

written by Brian Bauman and Adam Marmion

Student Journal Highlights for this week

On Tuesday we met at Illinois Electric to attend a CEO board meeting. A bunch of topics were discussed at the board meeting. Everything from financials to some of our personal business ideas. They discussed the financial projections and budgets and what they are expecting. The next thing we talked about were our takeaways from our CEO Best of Granite City event. We all agreed it went well and that we procrastinate heavily until about two weeks before the event. We talked about what we could do to help the class next year and talked about some of our personal business ideas.

On Wednesday we met at First Bank where we met Jamie Hoge, the Branch manager at the Granite City location. She talked about how she rose through the ranks of the bank and took the position of branch manager when the previous manager retired. She talked about the difficulties in transition to manager. She talked about how when she accepted the job of manager she didn’t know half of the business at the bank. She knew about the marketing and lending side of the business but didn’t really know about the personal side. As a manager it is important to know the business inside and out to run it as perfectly as possible. She learned the rest of the business from the individuals that worked them.

On Thursday we met at uncle Linny’s where we ate breakfast and listened to Lindy Selimi speak about how he came into the restaurant business. Lindy spent his life traveling back and forth from the US to Macedonia. When he turned 17-18 he came back to the US and finished high school In Illinois and eventually settled . His father opened the business where after about 4 months he took it over and turned it into what it is now. He stressed the importance of hard work. Work hard and it will all work out.

On Friday we met at Illinois Electric where we listened to Michael Halbrook give his presentation. He talked about how he jumped from job to job building personal capital along the way. Michael has been a very successful entrepreneur doing things that hadn’t been attempted before his time. He made a website for The Point radio station when at the time only 2-3 other radio stations had websites. He has become very successful working for Adobe as a senior manager. He talked about how all of his previous jobs had prepared him for the job he has now. He stressed being disciplined and being a disciple- someone always willing to learn. He also stressed the importance of believing yourself and planning for your task ahead.

Jacob Roderick

Jacob Roderick
Sunday, February 25, 2018Learn More About Jacob

This week was very eventful and I learned quite a bit. On Monday we didn’t have school so we didn’t meet for class. On Tuesday we had a board meeting at Illinois Electric Works and I really enjoyed that. Sitting with the board members showed me that there are a lot of people who want to see the CEO program succeed and are willing to spend their time and money on our class. I enjoyed hearing some of the board members feedback from the Best of Our Granite City Community event. On Wednesday we met at First Bank and learned about the history of the bank and how it was founded.

On Thursday we met at Uncle Linny’s restaurant to have breakfast and listen to the owner Lindy Selimi’s wise words. I learned that he was given nothing to start out with and that he simply got to where he is at today because of hard work. “Don’t give up, work very hard and you will receive what you want.” said Selimi this was an important quote because in today’s society and my generation people expect things to be given and not earned. “Nothing in life is deserved until it is earned” Lindy was born in Macedonia and said he came to America because it is “the land of opportunity” he said all he had to do was “wake up and go get it”. He said we don’t realize how lucky we are to live in such a great place with a lot of opportunity. This made me realize that all I have to do to make my business successful is work hard and never give up.

On Friday we met at Illinois Electric Works and Michael Halbrook came to speak to us. Michael taught us five things (1) Disciplined Learning (2) Tours of Duty (3) Believe (4) Plan (5) Do. All of these things will help guide you to success. The biggest lesson I learned from Michael and his journey through life is that there is no such thing as a straight path through life. Life is a rollercoaster and you just have to trust the path and work hard.

Adam  Marmion

Adam Marmion
Sunday, February 25, 2018Learn More About Adam

Tuesday we had a board meeting at Illinois Electric Works. This was such a fun experience for me and I would really love to be included in more of the board meetings. Not everyone showed up, but we could still continue with it. We talked a lot about our event and the good and the bad things. We all gave our opinions which didn’t really seem to help with anything, even after the CEO students were a little aggravated that most people in the class were dissing on an event that even though was last minute, we still pulled off and turned out well.

Wednesday we went to First Bank and talked with Beth Dittman and Jamie Hoge. They told us about the history of the bank and all the procedures they take on a day to day basis. It was cool to learn the history and what they do throughout a day. We then played a game that was super fun and Mrs. Greenwald did amazing at.

Thursday we went to Uncle Linnys. Mrs. Greenwald used CEO money to pay for our breakfast which was delicious! We then spoke with Lindy Selimi who told us how he was born in Macedonia but grew up basically in Granite City. He reminded us to always be grateful of the opportunities we have because he never had those as a kid. He told us how hard he worked and what he went through to be where he is today. He was amazing to meet and learn about.

Friday Michael Halbrook came and spoke to our class. As of now, I think he was my favorite speaker. He told us about his ups and downs and all the jobs he’s went through. He now works at Adobe and has for about 11 years. He gave us tips on our logos and what we could do to make them look great! He was very interesting and gave me hope that I will sooner or later find a job that I love. He also gave us books that I have already started and have loved so far!!

The CEO board meeting was more engaging than I expected. Being mixed up with the board members, students were allowed to communicate on more a peer level than if we were just listening as a class. After discussing the minutes we got to criticize The Best of the Granite City event and how the next class could improve.

Well one of the many concerns was the amount of feelings everyone has when being corrected or criticized. When being told you didn’t try hard enough, suddenly you find yourself making excuses as to why. I didn’t have time, I was sick, or I did enough are all excuses that most people use, including me. That mindset is obstructive to a functional business.Because of that, you must look past your judgement of that person and listen to the truth in their words.

For the next class, I suggest communicating the why before the how. If you elucidate why your making the decisions you are, people can better understand and relate. For example when I was the CEO, I made the mistake of not explaining to the class properly why I made decisions. I gave them the “how” before the “why,” and that led to a lot of miscommunication.

When we were eating at Uncle Linny’s I was surprised just how straight forward the owner was. Lindy is from Macedonia and understands more than any American the amount of hard work that must be invested in your life. He told the class, “ You guys have everything handed to you, you just have to go get it.” and that is so true. America is known as the land of the free, well use that freedom to better yourself.

At the age of 23 he was the owner of Uncle Linny’s. Most of us are just getting out of college, or still working a regular job by then, instead of planning for the future.

Mr. Halbrook really impressed on me the advantages of staying organized and having a plan to reach your goals. The first thing I did after class was create a table to keep track of daily tasks and weekly goals. The book he gave us is all about how to properly create a game plan to achieve your goals, and how to set measurable objectives.

Brian Bauman

Brian Bauman
Sunday, February 25, 2018Learn More About Brian

This was a fun week of CEO. I enjoyed having the board meeting, visits, and speakers every day. It didn’t feel like we wasted a lot of time like usual. Having Monday off was also nice.

On Tuesday, we had the board meeting. This was nice because I actually got to see what goes on behind the scenes and have a bit of input, which felt nice. Jeff Smith makes a pretty detailed balance sheet, so I got to understand our finances really well. Also we had an agenda so I knew what all we were going to talk about and really focus in on what was being talked about. I really liked being part of a board meeting and I think we should be a part of them more often.

On Wednesday, we went to First Bank and met with Jamie Hoge. It was nice to see Jamie again, because I met with her after seeing Rosemarie at the chamber and she agreed to come to the event so she showed me she actually cared about the class, and visiting her at First Bank reaffirmed that. She talked some more on SCORE and a little about banker day and how banks work so it was really informative and I learned a lot. Also we got a tour of the bank, and had a neat communication activity where we put on headphones that made it sound like we were in a loud, busy environment. It was fun and it stressed the importance of good communication.

On Thursday, we visited Uncle Linny’s in Pontoon Beach. It was nice because we got breakfast and we got to meet with the owner Lindy, who was from Macedonia and had a lot of inspiring things to say. The breakfast was fantastic, I got the Linny omelette and it was HUGE. I took it to school with me to finish it off for lunch and I was not disappointed. If I go there again I will for sure get the Linny omelette again. But besides the food, the owner was also pretty awesome. He told us his story of bouncing in and out of the country and told us some important life lessons about appreciation and not giving up. What he said really vibed with me and I’m trying to apply it. I loved his message about working hard and staying committed. My favorite thing he said was “ If you work your hardest and do your best, you have nothing to be disappointed in, even if you fail.” I like this because I don’t really let failures get me down in life and try to stay optimistic and learn from them. All in all I’ve gained an entirely new appreciation for Uncle Linny’s. There’s a lot of work that went into making it the way it is and I hope it continues to grow and get better.

On Friday we were at Illinois Electric Works and had a guest speaker, Michael Halbrook. He’s the Senior Manager at Adobe, so getting to speak with him was pretty awesome. I’ve always really liked Adobe because of Photoshop, so getting to meet with someone high up in Adobe was pretty amazing. He even gave us a book. He was really down to earth also, so having him speak was my favorite part of the week. I think everything he spoke about was really relatable and cool, and think he should be a mentor. He used a presentation to help show and explain what he was saying and he really had some great lessons. I liked how he split his message up into a step by step plan, related it to his life, and inspired us to do the same. He really emphasized planning and growing a lot, in a way that made me look at them differently. I liked how he talked about learning and growing as a person, instead of being stagnant. I’ve got a huge growth mentality also and I’m always trying to improve myself and people around me so meeting someone who thinks the same way was really cool. I really like how he described planning also, because I never really plan to much and kind of just do as things come up, but what he said made me think differently. All in all I’m honored that someone like him would come and speak to me, his humble attitude was fantastic and his message really inspired me, I look forward to getting some free time to read the book he gave me. I even followed him on twitter because some of the things he quoted were awesome, and I want to see more. I really hope that Mrs. Greenwald can make him a mentor because I know what he has to say is great, and I imagine he can really help and inspire someone next year.

Scott Schank

Scott Schank
Sunday, February 25, 2018Learn More About Scott

This week was a short week due to having a break Monday. I’m very happy we were able to have that day off so I could catch up on my school work while being able to work an extra shift as well that day.

Tuesday the class met at Illinois Electric Works and watched their very own CEO board meeting happen. The class sat around and discussed our Granite City event we hosted in January. We all came together to decide what was great about the event and what needed work. We would all like to come together to help the future CEO classes with their event as well. As we sat around the table, we all realized that all of us liked to push things off until the end, which is something we all need to work on.

On Wednesday the class had a fun visit at The First Bank on Nameoki Road. It was very interesting walking around and seeing how everything worked at the bank. I did not realize that banks were actually rigged with money if anything happened like a robbery. I really enjoyed learning about what they would do in an incidence like that. At the end of the visit the class played a game calling “Hearing things.” The point of the game was trying to build trust and to show that we can all work together as long as we try. The game consisted of really loud headphones and we would have to read lips to understand what they were saying.

The CEO class had a wonderful morning on Thursday due to the delicious breakfast we had at the restaurant called Uncle Linny’s in Pontoon Beach. Lindy, the owner, who is from Macedonia told us all about how he did what he did to become who he is today. Lindy had a crazy journey trying to become the owner of this restaurant and has really come a long way. Lindy is a very hard working man who is very passionate about running his restaurant. Lindy hopes to one day open up another Uncle Linny’s in the near future as his restaurant continues to grow and become more popular. I would also like to thank Lindy for doing a fundraiser for our CEO class this same day.

Michael Halbrook who works as the head manager at Adobe came in to our CEO class to talk to us about the many careers he had before he ever got to where he is now. Michael had tons of ups and downs in his career but never let that stop him from becoming who he is now. The challenges he faced taught him that anything is possible and to never give up on what you want to do in life.

Aulbrey Munro

Aulbrey Munro
Sunday, February 25, 2018Learn More About Aulbrey

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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.

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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