SHERIDAN — On May 23, 120 local business owners and employees flocked to Sheridan College for the fifth annual Ignite Your Business, a professional development conference hosted by the Sheridan County Chamber of Commerce.
Throughout the day, a dozen regional experts led concurrent seminars covering the latest in technology, marketing, human resources and more. Attendees’ careers were no less diverse, ranging from construction business owners to bankers to retail managers.
“We really wanted a wide variety of trainers for our variety of local businesses,” said Teresa Detimore, the Chamber’s program development director, who coordinated the event. “Every year, we’ve made improvements based on talking to past trainers and attendee survey results. So, every year, we’ve grown and improved.”
In between each 75-minute seminar, attendees gathered around water coolers and refreshment tables to compare notes and make connections with fellow businesspeople.
“The conference drew a great crowd of local professionals, which made the networking breaks very worthwhile,” said Tiffani Swenson, the marketing and recruiting coordinator for Crowley Fleck. “Creating new relationships and checking in with and maintaining established relationships is always a great time.”
In addition to the four scheduled seminars, Ignite Your Business offered two “bonus sessions.” During lunch, Scott Lee presented leadership coaching; after the final seminar, Stacia Skretteberg guided attendees toward “actionable” goals.
“We’ve already heard from the people who came this year that they’ve been able to implement their new skills, their new tools,” Detimore said. “That’s what the conference is all about.”
“Local business owners have told us that they really appreciate the chance to go to a conference of this quality here in Sheridan and not have to travel,” added Jodi Hartley, the Chamber’s marketing and communications director. Swenson, who has attended similar seminars across the country, agreed.
“I felt the conference compared well with other large conferences I have attended,” she said. “The Ignite conference discussed relevant topics, provided knowledgeable speakers and created a comfortable networking environment, all in our own backyard.”
Ignite Your Business has already caught the attention of nearby counties: The Wyoming State Chamber of Commerce has presented Sheridan’s event as an example. While the majority of this year’s attendees hailed from Sheridan County, the Chamber team hopes to draw more and more regional and statewide businesspeople to the annual conference.