Chamber Expo set for Nov. 5

By Pat Maurer
Correspondent

The Clare Area Chamber of Commerce is hosting the second annual Building Business Connections Conference and Community Expo next Thursday, November 5th from 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Doherty Hotel in Clare.

The goals for this year’s event are: to provide education, solutions and resource tools for local business community and leaders; to promote/expose local businesses to the general public through the Community Expo; to introduce middle and high school students and their parents to a variety of potential careers; and to encourage leadership among employees, students and in the local community.

The Building Business Connections Conference scheduled from 11:30 a.m. to 2:45 p.m., features a buffet luncheon, keynote speaker and two “breakout sessions” with four workshops geared for area businesses. Keynote speaker for the Conference will be Dan Gaken, Leadership Development Coordinator from Central Michigan University’s Leadership Institute. There is a $75 fee to attend the conference and luncheon.

Workshop sessions during the Conference will include: Guided Practical Survival For Supervisors by James Mishler; Hiring: Components of a Good Interview by Eric Karbowski of Community Mental Health for Central Michigan; Identity Theft Prevention by Michelle Thren, Fraud Specialist with Chemical Bank; and Employee Retention by Duane Berger of the Employer Resource Network.

The daylong event continues as the Chamber is also hosting the 16th annual Community Expo that same afternoon from 4 to 8 p.m. with area business booths free and open to the public and for business to business networking.

There will also be a special Business After Hours from 5 to 7 p.m. The cost to attend is $5.
These opportunities for businesses in the area grew from the very first Business to Business Expo held in 1999 at the (former) Town and Country Restaurant in Clare. The event was developed by former Committee Chair Julie Leis of Clare, a sales person for the Clare County Review in the late 1980s and early 1990s and then for seven years a sales specialist with TV 9 & 10 (now 9 & 10 News).  She said, “We held the Business Expo always on the third Thursday in February as a business networking tool during a traditionally slow month of the year. I think that was one of the reasons it was such a success.”

The event quickly outgrew the space and moved a few blocks south to the Doherty Hotel, eventually offering sixty booths all manned by area businesses. “After a few years, we added a new “theme” each year,” she said. “One of our future goals was adding business workshops.”

Now sponsored by the Clare Chamber, Building Business Connections and the Community Expo has reached that goal and more. Sponsors for the Conference include Alro Steel, Chemical Bank, Cops & Doughnuts, Medilodge of Clare, Weinlander Fitzhugh and CPA’s & Consultants. Lunch sponsors include Behavioral Rehabilitation Services, CFX 95.3, Jay’s Sporting Goods, Michigan Works, Middle Michigan Development Corporation, and My 104.3. The Education sponsor is Mid Michigan Community College, and Special Entertainment is by Central Michigan Music LLC and Exit 95.

Another great addition to the day’s events is the Youth Career Workshops by Kathleen Collins of Guide2 Goals, available in two evening sessions for middle and high school students and their parents from seven area schools. The sessions will be held at 6 p.m. for information about healthcare, insurance accounting, Attorney and other professional career choices and at 7 p.m. for manufacturing, computer technology and other science career choices.

As part of the Community Expo, a Silent Auction will be ongoing from 4 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Funds raised through the auction will help support the Clare Area Chamber Scholarship Fund with the Clare Community Foundation.

More information about the Building Business Connections Conference and the Community Expo can be found under events on the Clare Chamber of Commerce website at claremichigan.com; calling them at (989) 386-2442 or by stopping in at 202 W 5th St, Clare, MI 48617.

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