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Small Business Success Summit

If you're a small business owner, join us for a summit created just for you. Attend presentations by keynote speakers from industry leaders that will inform and inspire, participate in workshops with fellow business owners in Greater Des Moines (DSM) and engage in in-depth conversations at breakout sessions ranging from talent attraction and work culture to data privacy and financial management.

2020 Small Business Success Summit

Details for the 2020 Summit are coming soon. Please check back!

2019 Small Business Success Summit Event Details

Date & Time

Friday, Nov. 8, 2019 from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.


FFA Enrichment Center at DMACC
1055 SW Prairie Trail Parkway
Ankeny, Iowa 50023

For more information about the Small Business Success Summit, contact Christina Moffatt, Director of Small Business Development at the Greater Des Moines Partnership.

Session Details  |  Sponsors 


Register today to secure your spot for this year's Small Business Success Summit in November!

Breakout Sessions

OPENING SESSION KEYNOTE  |  9 – 10:15 a.m.   

Small Business Resources with Google

An Introduction to Machine Learning for Businesses  |  Whitney Cox – Google  |  Main Ballroom

63% of organizations indicate they are making investments in automation and machine learning. But what does that mean for your business? As our everyday reliance on the internet becomes more apparent, so do the opportunities for businesses to utilize machine learning to better understand customers and get more done.

In this workshop Whitney Cox, Marketing Manager at Google, will focus on explaining the "what" and the "why," leaving you to craft the "how" machine learning can meet the needs of your business.

BREAKOUT SESSIONS 1  |  10:30 – 11:15 p.m.

Jo Ellen Whitney

What Business Owners Need to Know When an Employee Dies or Gets Hurt  |  Davis Brown Law Firm – Jo Ellen Whitney  |  Room A

A death in the workplace can feel like a death in the family. Whether sudden or expected, the death of an employee can be traumatic. This presentation will provide tips that may help you navigate the needs of your company and your staff during a difficult time as well as address what to do when an employee is hurt on the job.

Stephanie Cox

Attracting and Retaining Talent  |  Oasis, a Paychex® Company – Stephanie Cox  |  Room B

In this session we will discuss how in an increasingly competitive labor market, top talent is a hot commodity. Small and mid-sized businesses can take note of trends being set by larger organizations, but while matching a large employer’s full depth and breadth of employee benefits may not be feasible, smaller employers can become more articulate and intentional about their own competitive advantages in the labor market. Attendees will learn five tactics for differentiating their organization from competitors.

Jay Casmirri

Dave Matkin

Rebekah Norgaard

Marketing on a Shoestring Budget  |  Nexus 6 – Jay Casmirri, Dave Makin and Rebekah Norgaard  |  Room C

In our presentation we'll cover the fundamentals of what marketing looks like today and how to do it on the cheap, all while looking good doing it. Our presentation will include:

- Social media planning, design and scheduling with free tools
- Minor upgrades to take your videos from amateur to semi-professional
- Getting people in store with events and experience building
- Networking 101

Tom Hudson 

Donations, Sponsorships, Ads=Overwhelmed  |  CrossRoads Shooting Sports – Tom Hudson  |  Room D

From navigating the pancake breakfast sponsorships to dominating the local airwaves, there is no shortage of advertising salespersons calling on the small local business owner. How to implement strategies and tactics to develop a budget and execute an effective media and promotional plan as part of an overall marketing and communications plan will be presented.

 Daryld Karloff

Reimagine Your Space for Productivity and Profits  |  Downing Construction – Amanda Schneller and Baker Group – Daryld Karloff  |  Room E

Join Downing Construction and Baker Group as they discuss creating the best work environment to improve productivity, employee retention, long-term growth and profitability. Furniture configurations, flexible seating options and other simple fixes are reasonably cost effective options to reconfigure an existing space to help get you to the next step in your company’s growth.

Courtney De Ronde

Prevent Fraud and Theft in Your Business  |  TDT CPAs and Advisors, P.C. – Courtney De Ronde  |  Room F

Have you heard a recent report of fraud, embezzlement or theft and wondered why no one caught them sooner? Small businesses don’t always have the people and resources to put the proper checks and balances in place. This session will cover the most frequent small business frauds and three things you must understand to reduce the risk of fraud and loss in your business.

LUNCH KEYNOTE  |  11:45 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Paul Long

The Sincerity in Service  |  Paul Long – Creator of "Fundamism," Motivational Speaker  |  Main Ballroom

What is a world-class customer experience? Are you certain that your definition will differentiate you from your competitors? Through Paul’s concept of Fundamism, you will learn principles that aid in listening and connecting with others while stressing the importance of sincerity in every interaction. Learn how to enhance customer interactions while revealing additional opportunity to make a difference in all walks of life. Audiences of this experience will be left with a stronger understanding of the difference one person can make by showing a genuine interest in others and learn specific techniques on how to do so.

BREAKOUT SESSIONS 2  |  12:45 – 1:30 p.m.

Elizabeth Coonan

Ann Kendall

Is This Noncompete Really Enforceable?  |  BrownWinick Law Firm – Elizabeth Coonan and Ann Kendall  |  Room A

Noncompete agreements are important to ensure you are protecting your confidential information and protecting yourself from employees becoming your competitors. In this presentation, learn about the details of noncompetes — the how, when and why. This will be an interactive session, so bring your questions!

Michele Matt

Serve Up: 7 Qualities of a Collaborative Culture  |  Inspiring Solutions – Michele Matt, CSP  |  Room B

Given the interdependency and complexity of today’s workplace, it’s no longer enough to just focus on engaging your employees to improve your customers’ experience to grow your business. Building a collaborative, diverse culture is the only way to become and sustain a cohesive environment. Learn how this organization-wide process makes a significant impact on customer satisfaction, employee engagement, leadership effectiveness and accountability.

Sally Cooper Smith 

Write Once, Use Twice (or More!)  |  Cooper Smith and Company – Sally Cooper Smith  |  Room C

On a content creation treadmill, constantly thinking of ideas for the next blog or social media post? This session teaches attendees how to repurpose the content they have to deepen their connection to their market audience.

Norm Boaz 

How to Use Your Speaking Voice for Optimum Impact and Influence  |  Vocal Arts Unlimited – Norm Boaz  |  Room D

Your speaking voice has the potential to captivate, inspire and influence the listener. When meeting someone or presenting to a group, within the first few seconds of hearing your voice and taking in your facial expressions and body language, people are determining how interested they are in what you have to say. You may have good content, but WHAT you say is typically not as powerful or effective as HOW you say it. Your voice can be an Asset or a Liability.

Erin Rollenhagen

Building Trust in Your Small Business  |  Entrepreneurial Technologies, Inc. – Erin Rollenhagen  |  Room E

During this session, we’ll explore why trust is so crucial, how it breaks down, and when and how to make changes to strengthen it with four crucial questions:

- Can you build trust with your team?
- Can you build trust with your clients?
- Do you trust yourself?
- Do you trust the universe?

Mike Slater

Jason Walters

Principles of Effective Small Business Financial Management  |  VITAL Financial Services – Mike Slater and Lincoln Savings Bank – Jason Walters  |  Room F

Small business owners are entrepreneurial spirits with a particular talent or trade. While passionate about their craft, the financial aspects of running a business often present new challenges they are unprepared for. Even experienced business owners encounter new aspects of financial management as their businesses grow and expand. In this presentation, principles of effective financial management every small business should know will be discussed.

BREAKOUT SESSIONS 3  |  1:45 – 2:30 p.m.

Hugh Cain

Brent Hinders

 Eric Updegraff

Essentials for Hiring in Your Small Business and What to Include in a Handbook  |  Hopkins & Huebner, P.C. – Hugh Cain, Brent Hinders and Eric Updegraff  |  Room A

This session will walk you through essential Iowa and Federal Statutes that govern small- and medium-size employers and employees. This presentation includes what documents you need to have when hiring an employee, what you need in an employee handbook, how to defend yourself against employee claims for discrimination and any unfair business practices.

Ann Wright 

Productive Conflict Resolution in the Workplace  |  Wright Solutions – Ann Wright  |  Room B

Studies show that 68% of people (employees and customers) quit or leave a company because of one employee causing conflict. Conflict in the workplace can deteriorate morale, lower productivity and increase costs. Learn how to address conflict and prevent it.

Whitney Warne 

Hyper-Local Hype: The Rise of the Nano Influencer  |  Brand Launch – Whitney Warne  |  Room C

Marketing is shifting quickly and word of mouth is now the number one way for brands to build creditability with your ideal client. Whitney Warne, Founder of Brand Launch, will dive into the topic of hyperlocal influencer marketing, it's ripple effect impact it had on her business and how to implement these tactics at the local level.

You've Been Hacked!  |  Dickinson Law Firm in Partnership with Eide Bailly – John Lande and Bob Hickok  |  Room D

The data privacy and cyber security seminar will provide participants with a real-life scenario of a data breach. A team made up of a Dickson Law Firm attorney, an Eide Bailly CPA experienced with these scenarios will provide the following:

  • How to prepare from a technical and cyber standpoint
  • What to legally include in both a prevention and response plan
  • An overview of what to include in a cybersecurity plan
  • How to handle the PR side of the breach
Carlos Rojas

The Art of Failing Forward  |   Blue Bean Studio – Carlos Rojas  |  Room E

An experiential workshop that allows you to test drive an innovation practice that walks you through how to build, test and learn your way into solving business challenges. Carlos will walk you through several case studies showing this practices as well.


Jill Lippincott

Shifting into Growth with the Right Resources  |  Goldman Sachs – 10K Small Business Graduates – Melissa Carlson and Katie Wold and Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) – Jill Lippincott  |  Room F

If you've been in business for more than a few years, chances are you've hit a plateau at some point. Learn from two Goldman Sachs 10KSB graduates and IEDA on what programs are available for FREE to help you get growing.

CLOSING KEYNOTE  |  2:45 – 3:45 p.m. 

Holly Hoffman 

Never Give Up — The Survivor Way  |  Holly Hoffman – Author and Motivational Speaker  |  Main Ballroom

As we survive life’s challenges, we come face to face with fear and uncertainty. Challenges may allow us to step out of our comfort zone and push ourselves above and beyond our own self-limitations. What makes us is how we choose to overcome challenges. As Holly shares her experience of being on a reality show, she encourages others to think about six simple words to take on any challenge with which they are faced.

For more information about the Small Business Success Summit, contact Christina Moffatt, Director of Small Business Development at the Greater Des Moines Partnership.

Thank You To Our 2019 Sponsors:

Premier Sponsor


Media Sponsor

Business Record

Gold Sponsor

Silver Sponsors


Bronze Sponsors

Bankers Trust logo Brown Winick
Business Warriors
Ciras Community Choice
  Davis Brown  Iowa Economic Development
MidAmerican Energy Company Oasis Principle
TDT US Bank Two Rivers


Hospitality Sponsors

Drake Whitfield and Eddy Law


Community CPA  |  Cumulus Media Des Moines  |  FuseDSM  |  Hardin & Associates  |  Holmes Murphy  |  Iowa Center for Economic Success  |  KHI Solutions  |  Lincoln Savings Bank  |  Mediacom Business  |  National Association of Women Business Owners  |  Sandler Training  |  U.S. Small Business Administration