Week 24 including CEO Experience in Effingham


Applications DUE 2/15/17 for Class of 2018

We have had prospective CEO students visit from A-J, Shawnee Christian Academy, and this day we welcomed a visitor from Shawnee High School and what an interesting day it was! Union County juniors and sophomores need to contact their guidance counselors for visitor permission forms and applications. Remember, applications are due on Wednesday. Please allow time to get your letters of recommendation. 


Thank you, Union County Hospital for your Hospitality

We have truly enjoyed our time with Union County Hospital as our home base for the last 6 weeks. Everyone has been so gracious--from the registration clerks and calendar scheduler to the CFO and the CEO and everyone we met along the way. Thank your for welcoming our group!


Terry Paligo, Chief Financial Officer Union County Hospital


Fun in Effingham Pre-CEO Experience

John Boos and Company

What do Effingham, Illinois, and the Food Network have in common? Cutting boards! Most of the cutting boards you will see while watching Bobby Flay or Giada or even Emeril come from John Boos and Company.  Bill Ecker knew it was right down the road from our lunch at a favorite local eatery, so why not stop in?  Check out this small town success story at icl.coop/john-boos-company.


Niemergs' Steak House

Central Illinois' cheesy horseshoes, salads, and pie for everyone! Peanut butter, chocolate, coconut, pecan, cherry and custard! It was so nice that Midland's Cheryl Mitchell could stop in to say "Hello" to our group!


CEO Experience, a student run business conference for 700 attendees


A Taste of Effingham to close the conference


Student Journal Highlights for this week

This week has been a very eventful week! To begin, Mr. Terry Paligo came to speak with us at the Union County Hospital, and I’ll have to say that I did not expect such an exciting presentation! Mr. Paligo’s story is one of many turns, and it was very interesting. Yet among the many stories told, Mr. Paligo also gave us lots of advice. He told us that “The key to any news, good or bad, is communication. You have GOT to communicate.” I have heard this many times, and at the beginning of the year I would have just nodded along in agreement, but I now know that this is one of the most important aspects of not just business, but life in general. He also advised us to broaden our horizons, and then explained that “You gotta keep your mind active. If you don’t, you die.” This reminded me of one of my absolute favorite quotes I’ve heard while in CEO, from Mr. Bill Ecker, “If you’re not growing, you’re dying.”

Erin Dillow

Erin Dillow
Sunday, February 5, 2017Learn More About Erin

The start of this week we had an awesome speaker Terry Paligo who is the CFO of Union County Hospital. Mr. Paligo is in his second career and is also a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces. He did speak with us about our business plans, but the part I found the most memorable about that day were the stories that he told us about his past. My favorite quote from him was “You can always make more money, but did you make someone else's life better?”

Jessa Bond

Jessa Bond
Sunday, February 5, 2017Learn More About Jessa

In class this week we met two truly interesting characters that gave my favorite speaker Mr. Bill Ecker a run for his money. The first was Mr. Terry Paligo, the CFO of the Union County Hospital. Now at first, I didn't think I was going to be as interested as I was, mostly because he’s a numbers person and I’m not at all. Then he started talking about how he got where he was. He told some old war stories and some stories about his family. I don't know what he said that did it, but I felt like I just understood him.

Shad Turner

Shad Turner
Sunday, February 5, 2017Learn More About Shad

The best thing this week for me had to have been the CEO Experience. It was a day of fun and laughter, but we still learned a lot. We heard from many talented motivational speakers, and I got to meet many new faces. Our lunch was amazing; we all got something great. Bill, Aaron, and I got horseshoes and Shad got the Firehouse burger and all the girls got salads. I also enjoyed meeting Tom from State Farm in Effingham. I know we did not speak to one another, but yet we learned a lot about each other, and I know if I ever am in Effingham again, I can go visit Tom and he will remember me as I will him. I enjoyed speaking in front of the crowd and speaking on my own personal experiences and dreams. We experienced the Taste of Effingham, and I have to say it was amazing.

Julian Smith

Julian Smith
Monday, February 6, 2017Learn More About Julian

Wednesday was the best day in CEO so far! On our way up I was excited but nervous about meeting other kids my age in CEO. Once I got there I mingled with probably 50 students and 25 adults. It was such a great experience to talk to other kids about their business plans, and I learned a lot of great advice. One piece of advice I got was from Katy from the Effingham County CEO and she said, “Don't stress over the little things, there are so many people in your community that will help you!” That was amazing to me! I had a sudden realization that there are DOZENS of business owners in my community who would be willing to help me. I feel like now because of CEO I can go into any place we've been to and get the help I need. I really enjoyed when Mr. Howes was the speaker because he was so interactive with the crowd and when I got to take the mic and talk I was overwhelmed with joy. Mr. Bill Ecker made the night even better when he threw snowballs at Jessa or when Mrs. Bailey put snow on Erin and blamed the boys for it. It was truly the best experience so far. I love CEO!

Jessica Glasco

Jessica Glasco
Tuesday, February 7, 2017Learn More About Jessica

The main speaker that day was Lewis Howes. Mr. Howes is a former football star and when he injured himself, he had to rethink his whole life. He had to overcome all the thoughts he had as he was growing up that he wasn’t smart enough. He completely turned his life around and now owns a multi-million dollar online media company. In his speech, he had the crowd do two different activities. For the second activity, everyone in the audience had to find someone they didn’t know and stand facing each other and just look at one another. No talking was allowed. It was very uncomfortable at first but over the ten minutes or so that we stood there, you began to connect with your partner. It was very interesting to see the way I responded when put into a situation that made me uncomfortable.

Jessa Bond

Jessa Bond
Thursday, February 9, 2017Learn More About Jessa

Listening to Chris Koch and Lewis Howes was something that changed my perspective on life. Chris Koch, who was born without arms and legs, made me realize anything you want to achieve is possible, and I cannot believe the things he has done. When I come to a challenge I feel that he will be in the back of my head pushing me to do better because of the things he has achieved. Lewis Howes is a man full of positive energy, and I think it is great that whatever situation he is in he is positive about it and he gives everyone else around him a good energy. You wouldn't think someone at the bottom of their class could achieve such greatness and success. When I see that, it gives me motivation and makes me feel like I can achieve so much in life. I also wouldn't have believed when I got there that I would find someone that used to work in our county that I could associate myself with. I'm glad everyone had a good time and that Bill Ecker could join us on this experience.

Aaron Lence

Aaron Lence
Friday, February 10, 2017Learn More About Aaron

This week we had the chance to go to Effingham to be a part in the Effingham’s CEO programs ‘CEO Experience’ day. It was very fun, but I also learned a lot. In one exercise that Mr. Lewis Howes, a guest speaker for the event, had us do, we had to stare into the eyes of a complete stranger and without talking, you had to overcome the awkwardness of it and break through the uncomfortableness of the exercise.  I ended up with a nice lady named Maggie. In the end of the exercise, Mr. Howes explained how just in five to seven minutes of eye contact with a person, you connect with them. He was right, and it was like Maggie was someone I had been friends with for years, and I felt absolutely no uncomfortableness when Mr. Howes ended the exercise with ‘go and hug your partner’. This made me think about the importance of connecting with other people, and how so many of the problems people face, could simply be solved by connecting with a person without even having to speak. Imagine how much less anger or indifference there would be in the world if people took the time to connect with those outside of their ‘comfort bubble’.

Erin Dillow

Erin Dillow
Saturday, February 11, 2017Learn More About Erin


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The manner in which the CEO program is funded is critical to its success and sustainability. All funds raised are used exclusively for the Union County 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.

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