Land of Lincoln CEO program kicks off 2021-22 year with meet and greet for new facilitator Lisa Kuhlman

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[July 22, 2021]   On Wednesday evening the Land of Lincoln Creating Entrepreneurial Opportunities (LLCEO) Board hosted a meet and greet at the Guest House Coffee and Pastries in Lincoln. The purpose of the event was to introduce the new facilitator for the coming year, Lisa Kuhlman, and to give the community a chance to meet and talk with her and members of the CEO Board.

There were also students on hand who will be a part of the coming school year’s CEO program.

The first CEO Board members to greet guests were Kristi Powell (right) and Ashley Zinser. Powell is a long standing member of the CEO Board of Directors. Zinser, Hartsburg-Emden Class of 2017, was a student of the CEO program in 2016-17.


In the next room, guests were then greeted by the Board Chairman Bridget Schneider (right) and Vice Chairman Rachel Judd.

Schneider introduced Kuhlman. Some people may remember Kuhlman from the Lincoln Public Library where she was on staff in the Youth Services Department. Kuhlman also owns Grayhaven Design Studio in Lincoln.

Kuhlman is excited about being a part of the CEO program and helping to cultivate future business owners, who will hopefully come to own and manage successful new businesses in Logan County.

She said there are nine students who have enrolled for the coming school year, with the potential for possibly one more. The nine who are currently enrolled are students of Lincoln Community High School and Hartsburg-Emden High School. The enrollment is open to students from six local high schools in Logan and surrounding counties.

All six eligible schools are part to the Lincolnland Technical Education Center that is headquartered at LCHS. Wednesday evening LTEC Director Matt Puckett was also getting acquainted with some of the students of LLCEO in the coming school year.

Kuhlman said the students will hit the ground running as soon as school starts, and will be very busy throughout the school year.

The students will have class instruction with weekly visitors. Those visitors will be current business owners/managers in the community who will share with the students the aspects of their business, their successes and their struggles. Also, each week the students will take a field trip of sorts to a business location within the area. At these businesses, they will get to see first-hand the daily operations of a successful business and speak with owners and managers about their challenges and successes.

There will also be fundraising activities throughout the year. Kuhlman said that early in the school year the students will conduct their “Main Badge” business, which will ultimately be preparing and presenting requests for sponsorships from local entities. The sponsorships will help fuel upcoming projects by providing start up cash for the class business and the students’ individual businesses.

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The class business will be another fundraiser for the students’ individual businesses. Kuhlman said that students will start planning that class business probably in December with intentions of hosting one large collective event in probably February.

The third big event for the students will be the annual tradeshow at the end of the school year. Typically held in the first part of May, each student will develop a new small business complete with business plans, marketing, securing inventory if applicable, and developing a sales pitch to be utilized at the tradeshow.

Kuhlman said that each of the students will work with a mentor who is a successful business owner in the community. Mentors will assist and guide students through the process of creating a business and developing all the strategies needed to make the business successful.

Three of the nine students for the coming year were present in the early part of the evening. Kuhlman made the rounds talking with the students and the parent or parents who were accompanying them.

Shivang Patel was with his dad Raj and mom Kinnari Patel. Shivang will be a junior this year at LCHS. His long range plans are to attend college and study business. He said that he wanted to be a part of this program so as to get a head start on what he knows he will study in college. He also feels that the program will give him a feel for the opportunities that do exist for young entrepreneurs within his community.

Elizabeth Stewart was with her mom Angie Brooks. Elizabeth is also a junior at LCHS. She said that she was excited about the coming year. She’s looking forward to doing something “out of the box” getting out of the simple classroom structure of high school, working more independently and doing something on her own.

Tori Schilling is a senior at LCHS and was with her mom Tami. Tori also plans to study business in college. She said that for her, she wanted to gain the hands on experience of creating and running a business. She is also looking forward to getting out of the classroom and into the community meeting business owners and building new relationships.

Throughout the evening, there were several of the LLCEO Board members visiting with guests as they came and went, and also getting acquainted with the students.

After the meet and greet Powell said that the board was not disappointed with the evening. They had been scheduled to wrap up around 6:30 p.m., but ended up staying right up to Guest House’s closing time at 7 p.m.

The Land of Lincoln CEO has a website where visitors can stay up to date with CEO developments and projects. Visit the site at Land of Lincoln CEO - Entrepreneurial Education

[Nila Smith]


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