Keynote Speaker
Dawnese Openshaw of Business Speakers Bureau

Friday, February 7th
Market to the One

Attendees will learn how to consistently capture the attention of each customer in marketing collateral; website, social media, ads, flyers, etc.  We will explore examples of this type of marketing and walk through an exercise to help businesses identify how to make the customer the hero of their story.  Attendees will leave with something they can put into practice right away.

You are the Heart of Your Business
Attendees will explore why they started or purchased their business and become reacquainted with that purpose/vision and learn how to help their team share that same purpose/vision as they serve customers as an extension of the owner.  Empowering your team is a direct reflection of you and of your business.  Knowing your story and knowing how to communicate it to your employees is essential for sustaining and growing a business.

Dawnese Bio
Dawnese’s strength is helping facilitate change with the least amount of pain as possible.  She has found success in helping small businesses create and execute plans for growth.  What she has found through years of leadership experience is that growing organizations is parallel with personal growth for leaders and empowerment of those they lead.

Over the past 20+ years, she has started and built numerous businesses.  One of which was an ice cream and candy shop, Sweet Temptations in a historic downtown on the Mississippi River.  In addition to speaking and coaching, she is currently the Marketing Director and lead of Business Operations for the Grand Rapids, MI based Business Speakers Bureau.

Keynote Speaker
Thomas Weinandy, Professor at Western Michigan University

Saturday, February 8th
Is the Recession Coming? The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Economic Trends
There has been a lot of recent chatter by journalists, academics and businesses as to whether the next recession is imminent.  But what does the data say?  This session will analyze current trends that show both positive and negative signals on the strength and direction of the U.S. economy.  It will also discuss the risks that could trigger a downturn.  You will leave with a better understanding of how to interpret the economic trends reported in business news.

Thomas Bio
Thomas is a business economist conducting research in the fields of consumer behavior and data science.  He is a graduate from John Carroll University in 2011 with a degree in Social Entrepreneurship and Wheeling Jesuit University in 2014 with his M.B.A. During that time he worked for six years with nonprofits around issues of education and disaster response. Thomas is in his last year as a Ph.D. candidate in Applied Economics at Western Michigan University.

Thomas’s dissertation is on “Applied Microeconomics and Business Intelligence in the Digital Age”.  His research measures how taxi and Uber drivers in New York City respond differently to fuel prices and currently studying whether changes in brand sentiment on Twitter impacts foot traffic to retail stores.