Banker Day, Shark Tank and Trade Show Preparation


Granite City CEO Trade Show


LJW Tax Service, Inc.

Laura Dumonceaux, Owner, LJW Tax Service, Inc.
LJW Tax Service, Inc. owner Laura Dumonceaux spoke to students about budgeting and the importance of the cash flow statement. She detailed the steps in preparing the cash flow and answered questions from students about their financial statements and their business plans. LJW Tax Service employs six people and prepares 2,000 tax returns. In Laura's opinion, the biggest mistakes small businesses make is hiring employees too soon and not keeping good records. Julia Brown, an employee of LJW Tax Service, spoke to the students about their personal balance sheet and helped the students determine their assets and liabilities. She encouraged students to learn something new every day and reminded them they will always have someone to answer to, such as the IRS and the Illinois Department of Revenue.

CEO Banker Day

1st MidAmerica Credit Union, First Bank, and Regions

Students presented their business plans to local bankers in Granite City. The following professionals met with the students one on one for our CEO Banker Day:

  • Jeff Whitaker, 1st MidAmerica Credit Union
  • Andrew Stratton, Regions
  • Jamie Hoge, First Bank

The bankers were impressed with the students, their passions, confidence and their business plans. They gave feedback to the students and were excited to hear their plans for our community. Students were nervous at first but welcomed the feedback and the time with each banker.

Thank you, First Bank, Regions and 1st MidAmerica Credit Union for spending your morning with CEO students for our Banker Day. 


Editing Annual Report Student Bios

CEO Board Members Kate Kite, Tina Besserman, Alicia Lignoul

Students welcomed our CEO Board Members Kate Kite, Tina Besserman and Alicia Lignoul to class for two days. Students' draft of their bio for our CEO annual report was projected one by one. Our board members worked together and as a class, revised, edited and read each student's bio. Students learned how hard it is to write about themsleves but enjoyed the experience of the editing process. Each student read their bio after revisions and were very happy to have professionals, our board members, help them. 

We appreciate and thank you for your time Kate, Tina and Alicia for spending your two mornings with CEO. 


Building Trade Show Displays

Mentors and John Manoogian, Fine Arts Department Chair

Mentors and mentees were privileged to listen to Granite City High School's Fine Arts Department Chair Mr. John Manoogian at our Six MIle Library in the Training and Events Room. The focus was our CEO Trade Show on April 25 and building an appealing display. John spoke to students and mentors about selling themselves first before they can sell anything else. They have to be confident, speak loudly and make a good first impression.

John demonstrated how to set up a table top display with different levels or heights. He showed how to make a table skirt and how to use material for different effects. He stressed to use color and make their display unique and outstanding. The mentors followed up with their mentees and talked about the students' trade show displays. 

CEO appreciates our mentors, the Six Mile Library District for hosting CEO and John Manoogian for sharing his expertise on building displays.  


Practice Round for Shark Tank

Tina Besserman, Beth Buegner, Beth Dittman and Jamie Hoge

Feedback was essential for CEO students to improve from our practice round of Shark Tank. Tina Besserman, Beth Buegner, Jamie Hoge and Beth Dittman listened to students pitch their business in the Shark Tank format. Suggestions were given to students and they were asked to bring in more visuals, speak loudly and dress the part.

Thank you, ladies, for spending your morning with CEO and giving feedback to students. 


Pitching Competition during Class

Our Shark Tank Event

Our Shark Tank competition was April 12. Students came prepared and presented their business to the following sharks:

  • Dawn Mushill, Chamber of Commerce, Troy, Marine, St. Jacob and Maryville
  • Galen Gondolfi, Justine Petersen
  • Jo Ann DiMaggio May, Metro East Small Business Development Center
  • Beth Dittman, First Bank

Our event was sponsored by the Metro East Small Business Development Center. And the winners are:

  • Bruso's Detailing, CEO Morgan Ambruso, $200
  • MJ Teas, CEO Morgan Tucker, $150
  • Medieval Metals, Brian Bauman, $50

Thank you to our Dawn, Galen, Jo Ann and Beth for listening to students pitch and sharing your morning with CEO.  A special thank you to Jo Ann DiMaggio May and the Metro East Small Business Development Center for sponsoring our event.


Laura's Wedding and Party Rental

Laura Boyles, Owner, Laura's Wedding and Party Rental

Laura Boyles, Owner of Laura's Wedding and Party Rental, shared her expertise with CEO students. She showed them how to make a professional display with sheets, table cloths and curtains. She built a display based on a graduation party theme. She gave students a flyer with her prices for renting linens, backdrops, etc. trying to prepare them for our CEO Trade Show.

Thank you, Laura Boyles, for speaking to CEO students and displaying a theme table.


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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 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 13 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 18 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

Granite City CEO Calendar