Those in attendance at a Union County CEO program Meet the Mentors breakfast in Anna included, in the first row, from left, students Bryce Osman, Megan Rhine, Alejandra Lopez, Cheyenne Thorn, Grace Schroeder, Alex Rogers, Grace Pitts, Connor Allen, Zoe Fuhrhop and John Russell. In the second row are mentors Darren Bailey, Robin Hawk, Glenda Boone, Casey Stout, Melanie Lasley, Larry Carter and Greg George. Those who could not be present for the picture included Stephanie Cox, Kelli Wood and John Nimmo. Photo

CEO program hosts Meet the Mentors event

The Union County CEO program recently hosted its annual Meet the Mentors breakfast.  

This year’s breakfast took place at St. Anne’s Episcopal Church in Anna and was the first meeting of the program’s 2017-2018 class with their mentors from the business community.

An important element of the CEO program is learning to communicate well with individuals around them.  

Over the course of the school year, Union County CEO students have an opportunity to practice this communication not only through interactions with the owners of 50 to 70 small business owners within Union County but also through the mentoring program that the CEO program encourages.

“I feel fortunate to be able to be a part of the CEO program.  This program not only teaches the students but also reminds the adults of what a great community we live in,” mentor Melanie Lasley of A-J National Bank said in a news release from the CEO program.

As a part of CEO, each participating student is paired with a mentor from their local community to foster a relationship in which they communicate, receive advice and more with the generations before them.  

One of the long-term goals of the program is to lead the students to roles as leaders not only in their individual businesses but in their community.

“The CEO program does a wonderful job of cultivating leadership in our youth,” said mentor Robin Hawk of Union County Abstract Office.  “It is a bright spot for our community and I am fortunate to have the opportunity to be a mentor again this year.”

This year’s mentors include Union County Treasurer Darren Bailey, Robin Hawk of Union County Abstract Office, Glenda Boone of US Bank, Casey Stout of US Bank, Melanie Lasley of A-J National Bank, retired pharmaceutical sales leader Larry Carter, Greg George of Anna State Bank, Stephanie Cox of A-J National Bank, Kelli Wood of Edward Jones and John Nimmo of Leadership Lived.

CEO, short for Creating Entrepreneurial Opportunities, is an experiential learning-based entrepreneurship course that seeks to build a comprehensive educational experience for high school students across the United States. 

The program seeks to foster the growth of young people who are able to demonstrate out-of-the box thinking, who are equipped to communicate well and to be problem-solving, teamwork oriented and self-motivated.

“The demanding yet exciting structure of the CEO program creates growth in our community’s youth that is undeniable,” added Kelli Wood of Edward Jones.  

“To see young people with a passion for learning and business walk in a room and confidently shake hands with our community’s leaders is impressive and shows great promise for our county.”

For more information on the Union County CEO program or to make an investment and to follow the ongoing story of the 2017-2018 class, visit


The Gazette-Democrat

112 Lafayette St.
Anna, Illinois 62906
Office Number: (618) 833-2158

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