This year’s EntreCon promises to offer something for all business professionals, no matter what stage they find themselves in their companies’ growth.
“There’s certainly a place for a person who wants to start a business or is brand new to business,” said Quint Studer, founder of Studer Community Institute, which will host the conference Nov. 14-16 at Pensacola Little Theatre. “But it’s also geared towards a person who wants to grow their business. So to me, it’s really a mecca for small business people.”
The three-day entrepreneurship conference will feature several keynote guests with a glut of experience in business. The opening day includes three of the speakers.
The first, Bert Thornton, ascended to the role of president and chief operations officer of Waffle House in 2004 after more than three decades of working for the restaurant chain. Thornton joined the company as a manager trainee in 1971. Now retired, Thornton’s session at EntreCon will focus on tactics and strategies for managing responsibilities from work and life.
The next speaker, Kevin Sheridan, is The New York Times best-selling author of “Building a Magnetic Culture: How to Attract and Retain Top Talent to Create an Engaged, Productive Workforce.” Sheridan has nearly 30 years of experience consulting companies on topics such as employee engagement and generational differences in the workplace. His keynote will delve into how to attract and empower talented employees while maintaining a productive work environment.
Lisa Jazwiec, a registered nurse, speaker, strategist and author, wraps up the keynotes for the first day of EntreCon. Jazwiec has written the bestselling books “Eat THAT Cookie!: Make Workplace Positivity Pay Off … For Individuals, Teams, and Organizations” and “Hey Cupcake! We are ALL Leaders.” Her talk will identify tools for managing morale, eliminating victim thinking and boosting positivity in the workplace.
Then on the conference’s second day, author Dan Heath will provide EntreCon’s final keynote address. Heath co-wrote “Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die,” “Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard” and “Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work.” All appeared on The New York Times’ best-seller list. Heath’s session will look at four elements essential to creating memorable experiences for customers and employees.
“It also truly allows for relationship building.”
In addition to the keynotes, EntreCon will also include several breakout sessions spread out between the first two days at the theater, Pensacola Museum of Art and Voices of Pensacola Multicultural Center. Studer said the sessions will dive deeper into more specifics on how to grow in business.
“The keynotes are usually at the 30,000-foot level,” he said. “But the breakouts are going to bring you right to the ground with people in this community who are doing it. It also truly allows for relationship building.”
Regarding EntreCon’s networking opportunities, Harold Griffin, director of business development for local transportation company Innovative Transport & Logistics Solutions, said last year’s conference helped immensely. Griffin, whose company formed in 2010 and will assume paratransit services for Escambia County starting Oct. 1, echoed Studer on the event offering education for business professionals of all stages.
“I was able to connect with a lot of business leaders, some who have already found success and others who are on their way to success,” Griffin said. “It was just great to pull from others’ experiences to improve ourselves. Having that was invaluable.”
More: Studer: Passion and pragmatism are vital to success of startups
For the final day of the conference, Studer said he will spend time with attendees and offer insight on his experiences from his various enterprises. In addition to founding Studer Community Institute, which studies quality of life aspects in Pensacola, he also owns several local businesses including development company Studer Properties and the Pensacola Blue Wahoos, the Cincinnati Reds’ Double-A minor league baseball affiliate.
From now until the conference, prices for the full three days cost $349. For military veterans, the cost is $314.10. Prices for students are $125.
EntreCon, now in its third iteration, had about 400 participants last year. Studer said the goal for this year is to increase the total to about 450, the maximum capacity for the Pensacola Little Theatre.
“We’d certainly like to grow it to that,” he said.
Want to go?
WHAT: Entrecon 2017
WHEN: Nov. 14-16 at the Pensacola Little Theatre, 400 S. Jefferson St.
COST: $349 for all three days
MORE INFO: For more information, visit studeri.org or entreconpensacola.com.
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