Program & Event History

2020 | 2019| 2018 | 2017| 2016 | 2015

2020 followed a year of change and interflection. But the birth of this new decade began with creative ideas, new attendees, and an energy which ignited the group. Numbers grew, and the ‘Monthly Moderator’ concept was introduced. Volunteers stepped up to the plate to take charge of Coffee & Conversations every Friday morning. Some conversations and presentations will be held virtually via ‘Zoom‘ due to the pandemic. But we continue to meet and help each other grow. Interested in participating? Follow us on Facebook or visit this site and our calendar page for up-to-date information.

2020 HIGHLIGHTS…

OCTOBER 2020 – Heather Nelson told her story of Wanderlunch to the socially distanced crowd at Penn Central Mall. Her husband, Brent, helped serve the delicious Wanderlunch meal.

AUGUST 2020 – Welgaard CPAs & Advisors (formerly Schuring & Uitermarkt) spoke on what actions small businesses should take due to Covid-19. They also answered general business questions presented by those in attendance. In case you missed it, click here to view the presentation and conversation recorded by Moderator Rob Taylor. NOTE: This recording will expire on October 31, 2020.

AUGUST 2020 – Storytelling at The Muse Music Store – Owner Ashley Schultz shared her story about what prompted the opening of “The Muse,” how the business has grown in the ten months since opening, the number of students and instructors gained, and a few growing pains currently being experienced. She said she isn’t afraid to reach out to her mentors and her desire to help people reach their full potential is realized through her business.

JULY 2020 – Mark DeJong, Vice President – Bank Iowa, Oskaloosa, answered questions and provided information related to Covid World as well as general banking questions. He made it quite clear he enjoys talking with and helping entrepreneurs and owners of small businesses.

JUNE 2020 – Billy Blake of Ratcliff & Blake, was the guest presenter in. He answered insurance questions as they pertained to COVID-19 as well as other questions from the group. Click here to view a recording from the Zoom session which was held at this event.

APRIL 2020 – The Virtual Coffee & Conversation was born thanks to Scott Biddle of Listen 2 Engage.

MARCH 2020Monthly Moderator Debbie Doty of Doty’s. Debbie, utilizing her 25 years in business, provided excellent comments and handouts on great topics such as “How and When to Fire A Customer” and ”Dealing with Angry Customers” before the Covid-19 crisis restricted coffee house operations to where we could no longer meet publicly.

FEBRUARY 2020Monthly Moderator Eddie Pierson owner of Home Plate Sports Cards. Eddie engaged attendees with thoughtful roundtable discussions on topic matters directed by their weekly challenges and wins.

JANUARY 2020 – Monthly Moderator Ashley Schultz owner of Muse Music Store: Ashley fostered some great conversation during the month with her focus on Customer Service. Excellent ideas were introduced and implemented throughout the groups’ individuals businesses.

2019 HIGHLIGHTS…

SEPTEMBER: Mark Ellingson told his story which included a working career that started as a high school math teacher and basketball coach – turned college administrator and college basketball coach – turned entrepreneur in 1994 to start an investment business with no clients and no income! He is Senior Vice President of Leighton Investment Services and shared insights into what he has learned the past 40 working years. 

FEBRUARY: Debbie & John Doty of Doty’s shared their story about starting their business and the successes and failures they experienced in their 20-plus years of being in business. If you missed this event, you missed a great story and great food from Wood Iron Grille, specially prepared for Debbie. 

2018 HIGHLIGHTS…

OCTOBER: At the Exchange’s storytelling event in October, attendees heard the fascinating story of Jennifer Thomas-Maxwell, an artist who takes other people’s discards and turns them into beautiful pieces of art and home decor. As her slogan says, “From shabby to chic and always unique.” Read her story by clicking here.

SEPTEMBER: Thank you Jake Barnes, for sharing your story and introducing us to your business, Whet Your Pallet,” a surplus liquidator. (Brickhouse provided great food as always.) Visit Whet Your Pallet in person at 1115 South 11th Street in Oskaloosa, visit their Facebook page.

SEPTEMBER: The Exchanged welcomed AJ Gevock, director of the Regional Entrepreneurship Center (REC) at Indian Hills. He shared resources and services which are available to the ten-county area it serves. Click here to learn more about REC.

MAY: Amy Kuhlers from the Iowa Economic Development Authority provided some very helpful links, tips, and information regarding how to create an effective business plan. Some members were sad they had to miss this presentation so if there’s enough interest, we’ll have an encore presentation. Click here to view her presentation.

APRIL: Amanda Laverman gave a stunning presentation on “Social Media Strategy.” Though the Exchange’s equipment fell a bit short, Amanda’s presentation was stellar. Members commented on the amount of new information Amanda presented even though they thought they were very learned in Social Media. Thank you Amanda! Click here for her presentation.

APRIL: Deb Linder owner of Stella’s Salon, shared her story about how her dream of owning her own salon and boutique became a reality. She is, and her story was, inspiring! Find her on Facebook or stop by her shop at  1211 A Avenue East in Oskaloosa.

FEBRUARY: The Exchange was honored to hear “Creating vs. Finding Employment: An Entrepreneurial Story” — ​Entrepreneurs, someday entrepreneurs, business owners, and members of the community were invited to come and learn how Kory & Staci Wright (owners of The Brickhouse) created their own success stories. The event was held at the Brickhouse Cafe, 212 1st Ave., and the food Kory provided (for a free-will donation) was exceptional!​

2017 HIGHLIGHTS…

NOVEMBER: Richard Tolbert (resident of Ankeny, father of 5, husband of 17 years, musician, traveler, and Frianklin Covey’s representative for Iowa), presented “The Time Matrix” which generated some amazing conversation about productivity and how we spend our time.

SEPTEMBER: Bob Wersen provided a fascinating story about his business start-ups, moving his company from Santa Rosa to Oskalooosa IA, and ended the evening with some very helpful advice to entrepreneurs.

JULY: Debbie Doty, a local entrepreneur and co-owner of “Doty’s”, presented ‘Staying Ahead of Hackers and Phishermen.” She explained how our computer use behaviors can put us at risk more than we realize. She gave all attendees an excellent handout which included great advice. Get your copy by clicking here.

MAY: Michelle Bartusek, Director, Education and Resources of the Iowa Center for Economic Success spoke to the Oskaloosa Exchange for Entrepreneurs on May 5, 2017. The Iowa Center for Economic Success’ mission is to empower Iowans with the potential to succeed as they pursue opportunities for financial success. Services offered are free tax return preparation and tax planning, Women’s Business Center, business microloans, classes on business planning, networking, strategy, marketing, insurance, employee management and more.

APRIL: A special thank you to Steve DeBruin of WG Provisions / De Bruin Rabbit, for being the special speaker at the Exchange’s Storytelling Event at On The Green. Thank you to OskyNews for their coverage of this event! Learn more about Steve’s business by clicking on the links above.

MARCH: Thank you to Josh Buckingham for presenting “Numbers, Numbers, Numbers!” He answered many questions regarding a variety of money issues — from bookkeeping, sales tax, to Social Security for the self-employed. Good stuff! His presentation notes are available here.

FEBRUARY: Thank you Exchange Member Jennifer Wilson for providing insightful and helpful information about various image types as well as when and how to use them. With your “Vectors, Pixels, DPIs, OH MY!” presentation, we all could see a little more clearly. Click here to view a copy of her PowerPoint presentation.

JANUARY: Jane Nicholson of Mahaska Drug and Nanette Cunningham of 804 Decor shared their entrepreneurial stories to attendees at this special evening event held at On The Green. Q&A was lively and their stories were fascinating. Click here to read about the night’s event.p Benefits Ltd/Midwest One Insurance, a specialist in small business, group and the Affordable Healthcare Act, shared insurance options and ideas to Exchange attendees.

2016 HIGHLIGHTS…

OCTOBER: Andy Campbell and Kelan Ern of Odyssey Group presented a great customer service program. Attendees learned the five main concepts on which customers evaluate your service, the tools and structure necessary for extraordinary customer service, and great Q&A followed.

SEPTEMBER: Bryan Ziegler Bryan Ziegler of Indian Hills Small Business Development Center, provided valuable information on how he can help in the process of finding money for business startup and expansion. Read more in the article posted on OskyNews…

JULY: Rob Taylor shared his story while providing information, resources, and insight during his Taking the Leap presentation. Weren’t able to attend? Click for a copy of his presentation notes which includes some excellent reading suggestions.

JUNE: Todd Swope provided insightful, simple to understand basics of websites and how to make sure information is attractive to your business audience. 

MAY: Mark DeJong from Bank Iowa,presented some great tips with regard to small businesses in his “Think Like A Banker” presentation. He stressed not being afraid to call and make an appointment to talk with your banker;they will ask the tough questions and help in any way they can. They want you to succeed just as much as you do!

APRIL: Facebook Marketing: Exchange member Renee McLaughlin helped attendees understand the confusing world of Facebook Marketing. To view her PowerPoint presentation, click here. Want Renee’s help in marketing efforts for your business? Call her, 641.670.0056.

MARCH: Why 124 North Market Is Important to You – Attendees learned about the four groups in the OACDG building, what benefits they offer local entrepreneurs and the value of being connected locally. Click here to learn more or visit the OACDG web site.

MARCH: The Exchange – A New Introduction: Held March 8 at On The Green in Oskaloosa, members of the Exchange Steering Committee introduced the direction and focus of the community and invited members to fill out a survey to make sure needs and wants were being met. There was a great turn out and lots of new faces exploring the community’s entrepreneurial potential and value.

2015 HIGHLIGHTS…

SEPTEMBER: Chris Haviland, Group Benefits Ltd/MidwestOne Insurance, a specialist in small business, group and the Affordable Healthcare Act, shared insurance options and ideas to Exchange attendees.

SEPTEMBER: Josh Buckingham from TD&T CPAs & Advisors presented the program: Business Financial Basics.”  Click here for a PDF version of his presentation.

OCTOBER: ​Andy Campbell and Kelan Ern of Odyssey Group presented a great customer service program. Attendees learned the five main concepts on which customers evaluate your service, the tools and structure necessary for extraordinary customer service, and great Q&A followed.