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SBA St. Louis to Graduate Largest Emerging Leaders Class to Date

Release Date: 
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
Release Number: 
Local Release 14-5
Advisory Date: 
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
Contact: 
Nicki Massie, nicholson.massie@sba.gov, 314-539-6606

Small Business Owners Learn New Skills to Grow Their Businesses

ST. LOUIS - The SBA St. Louis District Office is proud to announce the largest Emerging Leaders (formerly e200) class to date will graduate on Tuesday, November 12, from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. The graduation will be held at Chameleon Integrated Services, 3207 Washington Avenue, St. Louis, MO, 63103. The event is open to the press.

The Emerging Leaders Initiative is a federal training initiative that specifically focuses on executives of businesses poised for growth in urban communities. Participants are given the opportunity to work with experienced mentors, attend specialized workshops and develop connections with their peers, city leaders, and the financial community.

The sixteen small business owners are Michelle Sherod of Accounting Legal & Logistics Solutions, Inc.; Charles Moore of Alliance Certified Restoration, LLC; Mark Briguglio of CCI Environmental, Inc.; Cory Elliott of CMT Roofing, LLC; Edith James of Comfort Shoe Specialists; Peter Barg of Cynosure Communications, Inc. d/b/a Z Animation; Abram Whitehead of Fenton Family Dentistry; Amy Streff of Great Strides Behavioral Consulting, Inc.; John Antone of Hawk iSolutions Group, Inc.; Venkat Pulumati of NVision IT; Carolyn Green of Professional Environmental Engineers, Inc.; Brian Schraut of R.F. Schraut Heating & Cooling LLC; Floyd Simms of Simms Building Group; Amy Narishkin of St. Louis Sail and Paddle; Gretchen Curry of StaffLink; and David Mixon of Trustworthy Services, LLC d/b/a Trusty Maid Service.

This 26 week course of intense study demanded a lot from the participants, but they felt the benefits were worth the effort. Peter Barg shared, "As a business owner, I felt isolated and lacked an outlet for sharing ideas and concerns. Emerging Leaders created a comfortable group setting, with other independent business owners, it allowed me the opportunity to share my experiences, my thinking, and my mistakes, without feeling judged. It helped me build confidence." Carolyn Green stated, “Although I had extensive experience managing small and large groups of people in the public and private sectors… those experiences only partially prepared me to own and grow a small business.” She continued, “… I am much more comfortable asking the tough performance questions and can tell when I am not getting a straight answer.” Michelle Sherod commented, “Identifying strengths of the business and ways to build on them; and weaknesses and a plan to address them, with input from other CEOs and the instructor, are invaluable. I would recommend the program to all businesses… looking for ways to sustain and grow their businesses using sound financial and management techniques.”

SBA St. Louis District Director Dennis Melton adds, “I watch every Emerging Leaders class gel into a cohesive CEO peer group—as they gain confidence in their facilitator and each other, they begin to change and recognize their business growth potential. Often, these entrepreneurs haven’t formed a mentor group of their own, and it’s empowering for them to share thoughts, approaches, and plans with a kindred group. It’s somewhat like watching diamonds being cut—from strong, unpolished stones they emerge as sparkling gems. Participants sign confidentiality agreements which give them a chance to form a safe haven where they can share and bounce ideas. The shared knowledge and experience makes them better entrepreneurs than they were before they participated.”

St. Louis has been selected as an Emerging Leaders site again for 2014. Small business owners who are interested in participating in the next session can visit http://www.sba.gov/about-sba/sba_initiatives/sba_emerging_leaders_initia... or may contact Angie Wells at angela.wells@sba.gov or 314-539-6613.

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