National Conference Breakout Sessions

Breakout Session Details

Details on the different breakout sessions available will be continually updated.


Pete Visintin Headshot

Student Recruitment in the Digital Age

Pete Visintin

Macoupin County IL CEO Facilitator

Room: Hawkeyes

Time: 1:10 - 2:00 PM

About Pete:
I have been an entrepreneur and business owner for 7+ years building a non-profit organization that has generated $100,000+ in financial donations via online apparel sales to help individuals in need pay for large medical expenses. My experience and journey as an entrepreneur has lead me to become the Facilitator for the Macoupin County (IL) CEO Program guiding area high school students through the process of starting their own businesses and preparing them for the professional world beyond high school.


Community Foundations & Fiscal Sponsors

Room: Wolverines

Time: 2:10 - 3:00 PM

Amanda Lessley

President/CEO - Southeastern Illinois Community Foundation

Amanda Lessley joined Southeastern Illinois Community Foundation as Development Officer in February 2016 and began her new role as President/CEO in January 2019. Lessley providesprofessional leadership and assistance to the Board of Directors of Southeastern Illinois Community Foundation and its fund advisors in making the Community Foundation an effective, viable organization. Lessley is responsible for the entire operation, growth and development of the Community Foundation and administers staff, programs and facilities of the organization.

In 2002, Lessley graduated from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville with a Bachelor of Science in Speech Communications/Public Relations. Since earning her degree, she has dedicated her career to the non-profit sector, explaining “I truly believe that private charity is one of the greatest traditions of American history and the most effective tools for meeting needs of our local communities.” Lessley has more than 12 years of experience in non-profit development and fundraising. She currently is coordinating 100 Women Who Care Jasper County, a giving circle designed to engage women in local philanthropy. Amanda resides in Newton, Illinois with her husband, Brett, and two daughters, Lydia and Nora.

Connie Lilly

Accounting/Donor Services Administrator - Southeastern Illinois Community Foundation

Connie Lilly is the Accounting/Donor Services Administrator for Southeastern Illinois Community Foundation since January 2017. Connie oversees office management, accounting, gift and grant processing and reporting as well as administrative support for giving circles and corporate philanthropy programs.

Prior to joining Southeastern Illinois Community Foundation, Connie worked approximately 22 years as administrative manager for Southeastern Container, a manufacturing cooperative under ownership of Coca Cola bottling companies. During that time, she handled office administration, human resource duties and payroll functions. Connie also worked as a billing auditor for World Color Press corporate offices until their departure from the Effingham area.

Connie graduated from Beecher City High School and Sparks Business College in Shelbyville. Connie and her husband, Gene, reside in the rural Beecher City/Loudon Township area.


Working with Generation Z

Le Hartman

CEO Facilitator for WACC CEO

Room: Hoosiers

Time: 2:10 - 3:00 PM

About Le:

This breakout session will take a look at Generation Z, which is made up of individuals born between 1995 and 2015. Le Hartman will share information that gives insight to the world they've experienced and how it influences the way we educate today's youth. A former high school educator, Le has just finished her 6th year as facilitator in Northern Illinois. LeAndra Hartman graduated from the University of Northern Iowa in 1979 with a degree in Family and Consumer Sciences and immediately entered the world of education, teaching high school students in the Eastland District (Lanark, IL) for 33 years. In her retirement, LeAndra’s true passion is with her current position facilitating the CEO program (Creating Entrepreneurial Opportunities) through the Whiteside Area Career Center. The challenge of bringing the business and education world together for high school juniors and seniors is extremely eye-opening and rewarding. LeAndra’s daughters, Lauren and Liberty, and granddaughter Kennedy are her greatest joys.


Austin Brooks

Investor Recruitment, Care, and Renewals

Austin Brooks

Community Engagement Leader of Midland Institute for Entrepreneurship

Room: Wolverines

Time: 1:10 - 2:00 PM

About Austin:

Austin Brooks as one of the Midland Institute for Entrepreneurship team members specializes in Investor Recruitment and Care. After successfully launching 11 new CEO Programs last year he is the torch bearer for best practices for new CEO Programs and CEO Renewals.


Transition from 1st to 2nd year Facilitator

Sheri Gray

CEO Facilitator for Richland County CEO

Room: Boilermakers

Time: 2:10 - 3:00 PM

About Sheri:

Sheri Gray is the proud Facilitator of Richland County CEO and an English teacher for Richland County High School in Olney, Illinois. She graduated from Olney Central College with an Associates in Science and a Cosmetology Degree. She has a Bachelor’s in History and a Minor in English from the University of Illinois and a Master’s Degree from Greenville College. Sheri claims to be a “hometown girl” which is one of the highlights that drew her to the CEO program. She loves to introduce the younger generations to the endless opportunities that exist in their own community, and she views CEO as a way to promote the hometown that made her the person she is today.


Coaching Students to Build, Organize, and Lead a Team

Room: Buckeyes

Time: 2:10 PM - 3:00 PM

Kent Probst

Community Developer

About Kent:

Kent Probst was the second facilitator of the Effingham County CEO Class – hand-picked by Craig himself – and it was a role so well suited for him that Kent held it for 6 years. 34 years of experience in education, 39 years of Directing a Special Education Summer Camp, and 15 combined years serving as Teutopolis Park District and Planning Committee Commissioner all speak to Kent’s devotion for seeing both people and communities thrive. As such, he was a natural fit for the position of Community Director at the Midland Institute, a role that allows him to live out this passion for people through the support of legacy CEO Facilitators and board members across the CEO network. Though retired from public education, this former “Educator of the Year” is kept going by his belief in the CEO Program and his daily pleasure in contributing to the CEO Network as it matures and grows.

Corey Phillips

CEO Facilitator of Jefferson County CEO

About Corey:

Mr. Phillips comes with impressive credentials. Phillips earned an AS Degree from Rend Lake College in 2003, graduated from SIU-Edwardsville with a BS in Business Administration in 2005 while earning National Dean's List Honors, and finally earned his MBA from McKendree University in 2009. Phillips brings a unique business perspective to his role as Facilitator of Jefferson County CEO . Throughout his collegiate career, Phillips worked his way up the ranks at the Rend Lake College Golf Outlet, holding positions as a student worker, Assistant Manager and Manager. Corey's current position with Rend Lake College is the Director of Rend Lake College Marketplace where he oversees educational programs, business operations, retail leases, budgets, advertising, and activities pertaining to the RLC Marketplace.

Julie Siebers

CEO Facilitator of Belleville CEO

About Julie:

Julie Siebers earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from Greenville College and attended Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville for her teaching certification. For 12 years, she worked at CPI Corp. and CPI Photo Finish/Fox Photo holding various positions from staff accountant to Vice President Controller. After Kodak sold CPI Photo Finish/Fox Photo to Wolf Camera, she started her second career at Belleville East High School where she has been teaching in the business department the last 18 years. She has also been the Belleville CEO Facilitator for the last four years.


Promoting and Marketing your CEO Program

Room: Hawkeyes

Time: 3:10 PM - 4:00 PM

Hannah Allison

CEO Facilitator of Edwardsville CEO

About Hannah:

Hannah Allison received her Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She also has a Career and Technical Educator Endorsement in Entrepreneurship/Entrepreneurial Studies. After teaching fifth grade for seven years, Hannah was selected as the facilitator for the new CEO program in Edwardsville in 2018. As facilitator of a new community, there are many tasks and responsibilities to accomplish in order to get the program up and running. With the help of a very supportive and passionate board of directors and an excited community, Hannah has been working hard to grow the Edwardsville CEO program. Next year, the program will be extended to three high schools and will enlist almost twice the number of students. She is excited to share helpful tips and useful strategies for other new facilitators.

Marla Pruemer

CEO Facilitator of Shelby County CEO

About Marla:

Marla is excited to be part of the Shelby County CEO team as the facilitator. She brings her enthusiasm and love of learning to the classroom every day. Additionally, Marla is employed as a Communication Specialist at Shelby Electric Cooperative. Shelby County has been her lifelong home, having grown up on a grain and beef farm south of Tower Hill, owned and operated a hobby farm while raising her children, and now resides in Shelbyville. She enjoys spending time with her family and friends, reading, walking, bicycling, traveling, and relaxing on her front porch.

Austin Brooks

Community Engagement Leader of Midland Institute for Entrepreneurship

About Austin:

Austin Brooks as one of the Midland Institute for Entrepreneurship team members specializes in Investor Recruitment and Care. After successfully launching 11 new CEO Programs last year he is the torch bearer for best practices for new CEO Programs and CEO Renewals.


Social and Emotional Learning

Le Hartman

CEO Facilitator for WACC CEO

Room: Spartans

Time: 11:00 AM - 11:50 AM

About Le:

A former high school educator, Le has just finished her 6th year as facilitator in Northern Illinois. LeAndra Hartman graduated from the University of Northern Iowa in 1979 with a degree in Family and Consumer Sciences and immediately entered the world of education, teaching high school students in the Eastland District (Lanark, IL) for 33 years. In her retirement, LeAndra’s true passion is with her current position facilitating the CEO program (Creating Entrepreneurial Opportunities) through the Whiteside Area Career Center. The challenge of bringing the business and education world together for high school juniors and seniors is extremely eye-opening and rewarding. LeAndra’s daughters, Lauren and Liberty, and granddaughter Kennedy are her greatest joys.


Board and Facilitator Relationships

Room: Hoosiers

Time: 3:10 PM - 4:00 PM

Dr. Clint Taylor

Founder of Taylor Eye Care

About Clint:

Clint T. Taylor, OD, earned his doctorate in optometry at the Indiana University School of Optometry in 2005. He graduated from McKendree College in Lebanon, Illinois, in 2001 with a Bachelor of Science in biology. In 2005, Dr. Taylor founded Taylor Eye Care in Carmi, Illinois. Fourteen years later, Taylor Eye Care continues to grow, fulfilling its mission of providing the people of Southeastern Illinois with elite eye care. Taylor Eye Care was awarded the Carmi Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business of the Year award in 2016. Dr. Taylor is a member and past president of both the Carmi Chamber of Commerce and Carmi Kiwanis Club. He is the current board chair of the White County CEO (Creating Entrepreneurial Opportunities) Program in the Carmi White County and Norris City Omaha Enfield school systems. He also currently serves as a trustee of the Illinois Optometric Association. Dr. Taylor is married to Kelly, a kindergarten teacher with the Carmi White County School system. They have two daughters, Audrey and Norah, and a son, Jack. He enjoys working on his family’s farm, fishing, reading, and spending time with his family.

Tracy Orr

CEO Facilitator of White County CEO

About Tracy:

Tracy Orr is the proud facilitator for White County CEO. Tracy, like her students, started a business in high school and still runs it today. She’s the owner and photographer at Picture Perfect Photography. Her experience running a business while in high school has allowed her to relate with her students for the past 3 years. She has fallen in love with CEO and enjoys sharing her passion for White County with these young, creative, minds. Tracy married her high school sweetheart 14 years ago and is a mommy to her daughters Eleanor (8) and Matilda (5). She is very active in her church, community, and the local theatre program.


Facilitator Round Table

Room: Hawkeyes

Time: 9:00 AM - 10:50 AM

Gina Kocher

CEO Facilitator of Jasper County CEO

About Gina:

Gina Kocher and Christine Murphy will be leading this years Facilitator Round Table breakout session. This breakout session will have focused topics at different tables, and will come together as one class to discuss those topics. These topics will pertain to details with the CEO Facilitator position.

Gina Kocher is the facilitator for Jasper County CEO program and graduated with her degree in Career and Technical Education from Eastern Illinois University. Gina has been a Family and Consumer Sciences educator at Newton Community High School for 14 years and previously spent four years teaching at Dieterich High School. She and her family currently reside in rural Jasper County and are active in running their own taxidermy business, Headhunter’s Taxidermy for 13 years.

Christine Murphy

CEO Facilitator of Hancock County CEO

About Kristine:

Christine Murphy has been the facilitator for Hancock County CEO for the past 4 years. She graduated from Western Illinois University with a degree in Physical Education / Athletic Training. Christine brings her love of learning and coaching to the Hancock County CEO Program. As a life-long resident of Hancock County, Christine enjoys showing CEO students opportunities in their own backyard. Christine coaches golf at Illini West High School and enjoys writing music and leading worship at her church. Christine is married to her high school sweetheart and they have 3 children.


Board Round Table

Donnie Wilson

President, Midland Institute for Entrepreneurship

Room: Badgers

Time: 9:00 AM - 10:50 AM

About Donnie:

President of the Midland Institute for Entrepreneurship, Donnie Wilson, began his career as a serial entrepreneur in 1977, at only 17 years old. In 1989, an oil spill Carmi, Illinois swamplands would serve as the catalyst for Donnie’s venture into the world of oil spill recovery and pollution control. It was here where Donnie found inspiration for a more efficient kind of oil skimmer – one that caught the attention of an entire industry. In 1990, Donnie founded the global manufacturing business, Elastec, Inc. a company that would go global just three years later. In recent years, Donnie began dedicating much of his time to advising and mentoring young entrepreneurs, like our CEO students. In fact, Donnie originally became part of the CEO family when he served on the board of the White County CEO program in the fall of 2015. From the beginning, it was clear that Donnie’s passion for entrepreneurship education was unparalleled. The following spring, Donnie was invited to join the Midland Institute Board of Directors and in December 2016, he accepted the position of President of Midland Institute for Entrepreneurship. Donnie is driven by a passion for entrepreneurship and an enthusiasm that stems from his own entrepreneurial experience. He has seen first-hand the changes that CEO brings to young people and the promise it holds for communities across the United States. It is his drive, his vision and his enthusiasm that guide the Midland Institute Team and the expansion of the CEO Program nationwide.


Class Business Decision Making

Room: Buckeyes

Time: 1:10 PM - 2:00 PM

Kristy Sayers

CEO Facilitator of Effingham County CEO

About Kristy:

Kristy Sayers is a graduate of Eastern Illinois University with a bachelors of science in business education and a master of science in educational administration. Mrs. Sayers was inspired to pursue a career in education because of the influence of her high school business teachers. Being an educator has combined her passions for business and education, by assisting students in the development of workforce skills while exposing them to the dynamic world of business. She brings eighteen years’ experience as a Business Teacher in Effingham County to the CEO Program. Student development is important to Mrs. Sayers and she is looking forward to facilitating the process for the CEO students. She considers it a privilege to be able to work with CEO students, business partners and investors to develop the economic potential of the Effingham area.

Molly Bushue

CEO Facilitator of Effingham County CEO

About Molly:

Molly Bushue graduated from Eastern Illinois University with a degree in biological science. Molly worked with a supplemental education company upon her arrival to Effingham in 2011. It was because of this experience that she pursued her master’s degree in school guidance counseling. Although she has enjoyed her involvement with students of all ages, Molly is especially excited to work with the motivated group of high school seniors that the CEO class attracts. Effingham County CEO has always been a program that Molly hoped to be involved with. She recognizes the importance of the opportunities that are available to the students in the class. Molly is very excited to be part of a community program that has the ability to change the lives of the next generation of Effingham County.


Overcoming CEO Challenges

Crystal Grove

CEO Facilitator for Bond County CEO

Room: Golden Gopher

Time: 11:00 AM - 11:50 AM

About Crystal:

Crystal Grove is the owner and managing broker of Bond County Realtors, LLC, an independently owned real estate brokerage in Greenville, IL. She has been a member of the Bond County CEO board almost since its inception, serving on the the Investor Care, Trade Show and Facilitator committees. Her interest in CEO comes from her own background in education as a high school Spanish teacher and her "accidental" foray into business ownership. She feels that the information presented in CEO would have been infinitely valuable in her own journey and she is thrilled to have the opportunity to help provide that wisdom and insight to young people in her community. Bond County CEO is currently in their third year.


Four Time Blocks to Your Most Productive Week

Teresa McCloy

Owner and CEO at the REALIFE Process®

Room: Hawkeyes

Time: 11:00 AM - 11:50 AM

About Teresa:

Teresa McCloy is the creator of the REALIFE Process®, Certified Leadership and Business Coach, Accredited Enneagram Professional, Podcaster, and Keynote Speaker. Through the REALIFE Process® and tools such as the Enneagram Typology Profile as well as training, coaching and consulting she serve her clients to move from living with their hair on fire to discovering clarity about the life they want to live each day and the business they want to lead and then develop the process to make it happen!