Western Mass. Business Expo Features a Full Slate of Programs
When she registered to run in the 1967 Boston marathon, she signed her name ‘K.V. Switzer,’ as she always did. Thus, it wasn’t until the race began that fellow runners, spectators, the press, and race officials realized that the individual wearing bib number 261 was, in fact, a woman.
And when they did so, some of those race officials tried to stop her and rip that number off of her, because no woman had ever run in the Boston Marathon, and none were invited to run in this one.
Kathrine Switzer refused to step off the course, and by persevering and finishing the race, she ran her way into history.
Switzer, known as the ‘Marathon Woman,’ will tell her story — and also convey her inspiring message about creating success in a difficult environment, turning negatives into opportunities, and implementing social and cultural change — during a luncheon hosted by the Professional Women’s Chamber at the Western Mass. Business Expo, slated for Nov. 6 at the MassMutual Center.
And this won’t be the only long-running success story to be highlighted that day. Indeed, Jim Koch, founder of Boston Beer Co. — maker of Samuel Adams — will be the keynote speaker at the Expo breakfast, hosted by the Affiliated Chambers of Commerce of Greater Springfield.
When Koch (pronounced ‘cook’) started his venture, he had a dream, a generations-old family recipe, and a large supply of determination — which he would need, because he didn’t have any bank financing or distributors to carry his product.
He overcame those obstacles to create one of most intriguing success stories in American business history. Today, while continuing to add to the portfolio of flavors his brewery produces, Koch is a motivational speaker and ardent supporter of small-business owners.
The breakfast and lunch programs are just part of an impressive slate of programs now coming togther for the Expo, which will again be produced by BusinessWest, managed by Rider Productions, and presented by Comcast Business.
Also on the schedule is a pitch contest and ‘demo day,’ being presented by Valley Venture Mentors (VVM) and BusinessWest.
Formed more than two years ago, VVM, as the name suggests, matches entrepreneurs with mentors to help businesses get off the ground or to that proverbial next level. VVM leaders will field applications for the pitch contest, selecting as many as 10 to make their cases in front of a panel of experts.
There will be cash prizes for the top three finishers, and also the ‘audience’s choice’ among the contestants.
“One of the keys to the future vitality of this region is its ability to cultivate new businesses, and Valley Venture Mentors is doing inspiring work in this regard,” said Kate Campiti, associate publisher of BusinessWest. “The pitch contest to take place at the Expo will feature some of the promising new ventures taking shape in our region in what will be spirited competition for both the approval of the judges — and prize money.”
After the competition, those businesses that made pitches will have their ideas on display at the event-capping Expo Social, which is one the region’s premier networking events, said Campiti.
In addition to these programs, the Expo will also feature a number of educational seminars, she noted, adding that subjects will range from the future of sales and marketing to the best and worst uses of social media.
The full slate of seminars has been assembled, and detailed information is available for viewing at www.wmbexpo.com. Here’s what’s on tap:
Sales and Marketing
• “The Art and Science of Cold Calling,” presented by Jim Mumm, CEO of Sandler Training;
• “The Future of Sales: How to Achieve Extraordinary Sales Results in Today’s Crowded Markets,” presented by Duane Cashin, president of Cashin & Co.;
• “Make an Impact with Multi-channel Marketing,” presented by Tina Stevens, principal and creative director of Stevens 470; and
• “Building Smart Websites,” presented by Peter Ellis, president of DIF Design.
• “How TV and Social Media Have Affected Media Consumption,” presented by Jay Frogameni, senior director of sales for New England Local, Comcast Spotlight;
• “YouTube SEO,” presented by Alphonso Santaniello, president and CEO of the Creative Strategy Agency;
• “Am I Wasting Money and Time Doing Social Media?” presented by Paul Stallman, the ‘web guru’ at Alias Solutions; and
• “The Emdees: The Best and Worst in Social Media,” presented by Carie Schelfhaudt, director of digital marketing at McDougall & Duval Advertising.
• “Leading Change,” presented by Ravi Kulkarni and Lynn Whitney Turner, business growth strategists and executive leadership coaches with Clear Vision Alliance, LLC;
• “The Emerging Workforce,” presented by Sandy Mazur, division president for Spherion Staffing Services;
• “Understanding Immigration Law: Immigration and International Employment Issues,” presented by Joseph Curran, Esq., Curran & Berger LLP; and
• “The New Business of a Nonprofit,” presented by Kirk Smith, president and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Springfield.
And That’s Not All
Other programming for the Expo is being finalized, said Campiti, who urged those interested to visit the website regularly and check for updates.
To register for the seminars, visit www.wmbexpo.com. To register for the breakfast, call the ACCGS at (413) 787-1310 or visit www.myonlinechamber.com. To register for the luncheon, call (413) 787-1310 or visit www.professionalwomenschamber.com.
In addition to Comcast Business, the Expo is also being sponsored by ABC 40/Fox 6 (gold sponsor), and silver sponsors DIF Design, Health New England, Johnson & Hill Staffing Services, and MGM Springfield.
Expo Fast Facts
What: The Western Mass. Business Expo
When: Nov. 6
Breakfast: 7:30 a.m.
Show Floor: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Luncheon: 11:30 a.m.
Expo Social: 4 to 6:30 p.m.
Where: The MassMutual Center, Springfield
Highlights: Breakfast and luncheon programs; pitch contest; educational seminars; Show Floor Theater presentations; free educational seminars; Expo Social; more than 150 exhibitors
For More Information: Visit www.wmbexpo.com or call (413) 781-8600