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Months of Planning and Preparation Culminate in 2018 CEO Experience

Laughs aplenty from Dr. Rich Bailey and reminiscences from Cordia Harrington helped illustrate how two people with roots in the Effingham community have achieved great success. Their inference was that the path to success is still open to others who might want to take it, and that was the theme of the 2018 Effingham County CEO Experience.

The Experience is a great way to promote CEO, but it is also a key fundraiser for the program. Several hundred people attended the Experience, which featured a series of breakout sessions as well as the keynote speeches from Bailey and Harrington. While CEO Board Chairman Steve Witges spoke briefly and while HSHS St. Anthony's Memorial Hospital President and CEO Theresa Rutherford welcomed everyone as the hospital was the chief sponsor of the event, it was the CEO students' day. They planned the event, they chose the presenters, they decided on the venue and the flow of the event, they introduced the presenters...in other words, it was their baby.

Bailey had the crowd laughing out loud during his presentation, sharing about the creation of "Billy Bob Teeth", rather a novel idea for a dentist. He said a word of advice from a vendor at the Illinois State Fair to get rid of his button down approach to selling the teeth was a key to his success. Many of those in attendance got a set of the teeth.

Harrington's concluding presentation focused on her modest upbringing and her early adult life as a divorced mother of three boys before buying a McDonald's franchise in Effingham, which eventually led to her starting a bun company to supply her and other McDonald's. Her Bun Company now supplies products to any number of nationally-known chains, and has now expanded into other nations.

Witges' opening remarks included a salute to original CEO class instructor Craig Lindvahl. Witges drew a parallel between Lindvahl and Walt Disney in that both supplied the magic that has led to so many special experiences for so many people. By the way, Lindvahl will soon be starting his 32nd round of chemo pills as he continues his battle with cancer.

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