Melanie Smith, right, is the Union County CEO program’s new facilitator. Kathy Bryan, left, has served as the program’s facilitator for the past three years. Photo provided.

Union County CEO program welcomes new facilitator

Transformation is a word that is routinely associated with CEO programs nationwide.  It is seen in every student, but also often in those adults who are involved in the program and experience it with the students.

Kathy Bryan, owner of Kiki’s Coffeeshop in Anna, has been the facilitator for three years and has offered new experiences and speakers to enrich the program. 

She has also transformed into an Anna City Councilwoman with new responsibilities and ways to have a positive effect on our communities.  

No doubt accompanying the students with their visits with community and business leaders and behind the scenes tours of the local economy in Union County has given her new insights so valuable to her elected position.

“This was my third and final year as the UCCEO facilitator,” Bryan shared.

“Over the past three years, I have enjoyed every minute of my CEO experience with the students and the Union County Community.  

“I really want to thank every investor, business, guest speaker, board member and friend of the UCCEO program for everything that you do to make this a successful program.  

“Without your willingness to support this program, these students would be missing out on such an invaluable life experience.  

“Many of you may never know how you have touched a student’s life or the lessons they learned while interacting with you or the sharing of your story.  

“Believe it or not, these are lessons they will carry with them as they maneuver their lives through their education, vocational pursuits and even family life. 

“Having an opportunity to learn not only from someone’s successes but also their failures has shown these students that ‘failures’ are not always negative.  They are opportunities to learn and grow and to not give up.  

“I am excited to join the CEO advisory board and continue to support UCCEO through the coming years.” 

As the advisory board welcomes Ms. Bryan and thanks her for her service to the program as facilitator, the board also welcomes Melanie Smith as she transforms into the facilitator of the UCCEO program for 2020-2021.  

Ms. Smith is well-known to many as a businesswoman in Anna, as well as an owner of several rental units in Carbondale, with  her husband Jimmy.  

She also brings with her knowledge from her studies in workforce education and development, as well as experience with high school students through her coaching at Cobden High School.  

In addition, two of their daughters, Samantha and Amanda, have successfully completed the UCCEO program.  

Having attended both virtual facilitator training and in person training at the Midland Institute in Effingham with other new facilitators, Ms. Smith shared: 

“I am very grateful for and so excited about this opportunity. Having watched my daughters go through the program and seeing how much it benefitted them, I could not be more thrilled to be involved.  I can’t wait to meet my students and get started.”  

Even with the uncertainties of the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic at this time, the CEO program will be a valuable experience to the 14 incoming students and will adapt with the support of so many in Union County and through the Midland Institute’s many resources to all 50 of its chapters. And, new transformations will continue.

The Gazette-Democrat

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

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