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Entrepreneur YOU Conference | Grand Rapids

Featured Speakers

Marianne O’Brien Markowitz, Regional Administrato
r - U.S. Small Business Administration
Dawn Marchand, CEO - Helenistic


Presenters & Topics

Accounting 101: Best of the Basics

Sarah Gemmen, CPA - Accounting Outsourcing Services Manager, Beene Garter
As a business owner it is important to know the importance of financial statements and what they mean to growing and managing a business. In this session Sarah will discuss financial statements along with other important accounting information every business owner should know – from best practices for record keeping to what software programs are available. The session will also explore the pros and cons of outsourcing accounting needs.

Achieving Success: Go Further, Faster
Beverly Wall - CEO, Languages International Inc.
The secret to success is more than perpetual hard work. It takes a plan, interwoven and leveraged with the right systems, to achieve the business success one desires. In this session, Beverly Wall outlines seven steps to systemize and monetize a business so it can (eventually) work on autopilot.

Building an Effective Marketing Campaign
Kendra Higgins - Owner, Kae Atelie
Promote and profit from creative ideas and products by delivering the right message to the right audience. Learn how to build brand awareness, develop a marketing formula for future campaigns and achieve results with increased online traffic that generates sales and revenue. At the end of the workshop participants walk away with a new strategy for successful marketing campaigns and a new found appreciation for marketing with personalized ideas for their business.

Built to Last
Veverly Austin - Founder & President, Confident Living
Entrepreneurs require a solid foundation to be successful. In this session examine entrepreneurship as a manageable process, one that can be understood and successfully applied. Explore multiple topics of entrepreneurship, including various ethical issues, and develop a framework within which to apply business strategies and align personal purpose.

Certification – Take your Business to the Next Level
Pamela T. Smith - Owner, PTS Compliance
The number of women-owned businesses is estimated to have surpassed 9.4 million enterprises – nearly 30% of all businesses in the country, but still female entrepreneurship lags behind their male counterparts. Corporations recognize that their customers are comprised of minority businesses and they should use them to supply products and services. Learn how certification helps women entrepreneurs grow their business and engage with corporations that have supplier diversity initiatives.

Essential Protection for Today’s Entrepreneur
Maria Erazo - CEO, Erazo Farmers Insurance
Having the proper personal and business insurance protection is critical to prevent a financial catastrophe. In this session, hear a broad overview of the necessary factors small business owners should consider as they build and grow their business.

Fighting Fraud – Better Safe than Sorry
Leandra Williams - Owner, Stingray Advisory Group
It is more important than ever to safeguard a business and its assets. This workshop will provide useful, relevant information about risk management and fraud prevention. Come prepared to ask questions, learn and leave empowered with valuable tips.

Facts about Franchising
Brigitte Betser - Franchise Placement Specialist, FranNet

Bust some common franchise myths! Participants will be enlightened on the wide-range of franchise categories and investment levels available, including the various entry strategies offered in the world of franchising. Participants willlearn whether franchising could be a path for achieving their goals, and if so, how to go about finding the right fit.

Growing in Government Markets
Pamela Poort, Director, Shelia Polacco, Senior Procurement Counselor
Sheila Kreason, Procurement Counselor - Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC)
Federal, state, and local governments are the largest consumers in the country, spending billions. However, regulations are complex. PTAC offers local businesses free help to navigate and grow government sales. Every business should consider whether government contracting could be part of their business model. This session will introduce PTAC and its resources, demonstrating how their experts can provide a business with a competitive edge.

Hiring that Makes “Cents”
Rhoda Kreuzer - President, Partners In Action, Inc.
One of the hardest decisions new business owners face is when to hire and what to hire for. Session attendees will learn a model that answers questions of when and how to hire, and what position they should hire for first. In addition, they will leave with a template that answers these questions and a dashboard to monitor hiring indicators.

Lead by Design
Rhoda Kreuzer - President, Partners in Action, Inc.
Business owners often become so immersed in what they do that they lose sight of why they do it. In this session business leaders will revisit their passion and explore the tremendous impact a clear, well planned purpose statement can have. Participants will be given an opportunity to develop their “why” message, practice it, and get feedback from the group to maximize their leadership impact.

Life Reimagined
Jennifer Muñoz - Associate State Director, AARP
The world is full of possibilities! Sometimes individuals know exactly what they want and how to get it; sometimes the answer isn't as clear or feels out of reach. Life Reimagined offers a fresh, personalized and thought provoking approach to help navigate the next phase of life and the potential of being an entrepreneur.

Protecting Intellectual Property
Catherine Collins, Partner, Janet Knaus, Partner and
Amber Underhill, Associate - Warner Norcross & Judd LLP

The legal system provides certain rights and protections for owners of property, including what results from the fruits of mental labor, or intellectual property (IP). IP rights and protections can be complicated, but critical. In this session explore the what, why, and how of intellectual property protection and the implications for a business.

Show Me the Money... Funding Small Business
Moderator - Carolyn Cassin, General Partner - BELLE Capital
Panelists - Brian Picarazzi, Senior Area Manager - Small Business Administration
Dante Villarreal, Regional Director - Small Business Development Center
Jamal Ewing, Microloan Manager - Grand Rapids Opportunities for Women
Renee Williams, VP Community Development – Huntington Bank
Tonjola Cole, Director Entrepreneurial Initiatives - Michigan Women’s Foundation

Explore the various funding sources for start-ups and small business ventures - from crowdfunding and angel investing to traditional bank loans and micro-lending, learn what funding entrepreneurs have available for their business.

Small but Mighty: HR for Small Business
Beth Kelly - Founder and Managing Partner, HR Collaborative
Large or small, all organizations grapple with the same question: How to attract and keep the best talent if they don’t have a big company Human Resources department? This session will answer that question with tips, ideas and stories to help turn employees into secret weapons for business success.

Brand Building: A Strategic Plan for your Business
Dr. Jermone Glenn
Explore a practical process of creating a strategic plan to move a brand from idea and inspiration to innovation and implementation. Learn how to focus an effective communication to the desired audience by identifying values and mission, and implementing tools for developing continuity across messaging and marketing, methods and media to gain and sustain brand momentum.

“Top 10” Things to Know BEFORE Starting your Business
Corrine Sprague - Partner, Warner Norcross & Judd LLP
Starting a business can be overwhelming. In this session the essential issues are laid out in a “top ten” list every new entrepreneur should keep in mind - from drafting a business plan to choosing an entity structure to start-up funding.



  • We’re women thinking about starting a business
  • We’re women who own a business
  • We’re women who want to grow a business


  • A full day of education and resources
  • Inspirational speakers and successful role models
  • Peers and new friends


Friday, March 4, 2016 – Grand Rapids

Davenport University
Sneden Center
6191 Kraft Ave. SE
Grand Rapids, Michigan 49512

*Tickets: $70 *
Register today


Call Kris Ridings at 616-930-4196
Or send her an e-mail to