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2014 SD CEO Women’s Business Conference focuses on team building

Developing a team environment and inspiring women leaders are the goals of the 2014 South Dakota Center for Enterprise Opportunity (SD CEO) Women’s Business Conference in Deadwood. The SD CEO is housed at Black Hills State University.

The 2014 SD CEO Women’s Business Conference is Friday, Oct. 24 at The Lodge at Deadwood.

This year’s conference focuses on team building featuring keynote speakers Carol Grannis and Cindy Maher of Leading Edge Coaching and Development. The duo, which offers a more interactive teaching approach, agreed to return again this year after presenting an exceptional message at last year’s conference.

“In order for any company to succeed you really need the right team of people together,” said Helen Merriman, director of the SD CEO. “That doesn’t mean everyone has to have the right set of skills, but we have to be able to bring together people’s diverse personalities and abilities. The leader of the company really sets that tone.”

Merriman added that key aspects to team building include knowing how to handle situations, how to move projects forward and how to adjust to ever-changing work environments.

“People who understand and use team building skills can move mountains,” Merriman said.

Grannis and Maher will share concepts of team development and clarify the roles and goals a team should encompass.

“Over the years we have landed on this idea: A strong, successful team has clear goals and they work really well together,” Grannis said. “We help teams understand those critical aspects of a strong team.”

Grannis and Maher will use skits and laughter to instruct and inspire their audience. 

“Laughter is a way to connect with others, bring down your defenses, and be open to learning,” she said. “We want the crowd to have fun and learn something they can use right away in their lives or at work.”

In addition to Grannis and Maher, there will be a panel of entrepreneurs interviewed by Dr. Priscilla Romkema, BHSU Dean of the College of Business and Natural Sciences, and exhibitors displaying products or services. The women who participated in the SD CEO Women in Leadership series throughout the year also will be honored at the event.

Merriman anticipates more than 250 to attend, offering key networking opportunities to strengthen women in the business industry. Last year women from 28 communities statewide attended the conference.

“Networking and support is a joyous thing. We realize that there are other women who understand what we are going through and it always makes you breathe a little easier when you know that someone understands you,” Grannis said.

“Our whole purpose is to elevate women in the business community, enhance the opportunity for their professional development and do a lot of linkage and networking with the University and businesses,” Merriman said.

Early registration ends Oct. 13. Registration fees are $115 before Oct. 13. The cost to attend is $130 after Oct. 13. To attend the 2014 SD CEO Women’s Business Conference, register online at or call 605-642-6435. Discounted room rates will be offered at the lodge.

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