Seminar Schedule, Presenters & Descriptions



Time Topic Presenter
10:00 AM The Business of Doing Business with Social Media Jennifer Baker
11:00 AM Understand/Develop Your Blue Ocean Strategy Cheri S. Hill
12:00 PM Break  
1:00 PM Writing a Winning Content Strategy for 2016 Christine Whitmarsh
2:00 PM How to Get an SBA Loan David Castaneda
300 PM Choose Success in Franchise Ownership Cindy Osborn
4:00 PM Do You Have What It Takes To Be an Entrepreneur? SCORE Can Help Carl Gerhardt
5:00 PM Critical Risks - Cutting Them Down to Size Norman Smith

Seminar Presenters

Cindy Osborn

Cindy Osborn

Cindy has spent over 30 years as an entrepreneur and business leader focusing on small business ownership, management and development in start-up and turnaround environments. During her career she built and successfully sold a $7 million company to a division of H&R Block. She started four other smaller companies and provided leadership in a number of turn-around situations with various companies in specialties such as Executive Search, Technology, Medical, Environmental, Construction and Building, as well as Generalist staffing. These companies include ERA, Inc., Claria Corporation, and Fusion, LLC. Cindy currently owns a local branch of The Entrepreneur’s Source, part of an international network of business coaches who work with individuals interested in helping clients examine self-employment and business ownership. The Entrepreneur’s Source services center on coaching, education, and consulting on self-employment, franchise, and other business options. She joined The Entrepreneur’s Source because of her desire to reinvest her knowledge and experience to help people achieve their own career goals and dreams.

In non-business time, Cindy has served on several advisory boards for small businesses in the Bay Area. She was a  board director for The Association for Corporate Growth and Big Brothers/Big Sisters in the San Francisco Bay Area. She has worked as a volunteer with the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship, and yearly does the 60 mile/3day walk with the Susan G Komen Foundation for the cure of breast cancer.

Cindy Osborn
The Entrepreneur’s Source
866 321-0938 Toll Free
650 331- 0591 Local

Cheri S. Hill


Cheri HillCheri has been a successful entrepreneur/business owner/premier business strategist for the past 22 years as President & CEO of Sage International, Inc. With over 30,000 national/global clients Cheri has mastered the art of teaching entrepreneurs how to effectively start, grow and expand a successful business. Her areas of expertise are multiple because of her strong sense of business.  Her understanding of every facet of what it takes to create and maintain a successful company are current as she keeps up with business changes and trends that matter.  This status combined with exceptional presentation skills has allowed Cheri to become one of the most sought-after creative mentors to business owners.


● Best-selling author of Incorporate & Get Rich!

● Host of “The Cheri Hill Show” a weekly radio show airing on 99.1FMTalk radio

● Top rated Certified NxLeveL Instructor for the popular 13-week course, NxLeveLÒ for Entrepreneurs, provided through the Nevada Small Business Development Center, University Nevada Reno-College of Business (

● Founding Member/Advisory Board Reno-Tahoe Chapter of eWomenNetwork

● Board of Director for Entrepreneurship Nevada established to promote economic growth through cooperation and coordinated efforts among the organizations serving the entrepreneurial community.

● Board of Director & Corporate Sponsor for the Alliance for Nevada Nonprofits

● Vice Chair of Nevadaworks which provides funding to organizations in northern Nevada to prepare a skilled, productive workforce that supports the economic needs of local communities.

● Board of Director for the Entrepreneurs Assembly a Nevada not-for-profit corporation dedicated to Educating and Facilitating entrepreneurs in creating and growing their businesses.

● WCSD Volunteer Services Community Advisory Board: Providing safe, productive community volunteers, volunteer programs, no-cost worker resources, and other resources for the academic support of all of Washoe County School District in a cooperative, efficient and friendly manner.

Norman Smith

Norman SmithNorman has 30 years executive management experience specializing in startups and cutting edge innovations in retail, technology, manufacturing, and international business development. He founded 9 successful startups and raised over $250 million in startup funding taking their annual revenue from startup to over $100 million. His ability to assist young startups comes from his personal experience that includes: building world class management delivering world class services and products. He took a failing U.S. manufacturing firm from $1/2 million in sales to $120 million while winning state awards for handling of hazardous materials and waste water treatment. He started and managed international joint ventures in Hong Kong, Thailand and China, with an average annual growth of 1500%.

He took manufacturing technology services and consumer product retailing from 43 locations to 216 locations with no change in cash flow tripled revenues and increased profits by 11%. He is nationally recognized for innovative programs and job growth while serving on the board of the Contra Costa Software Business Incubator Board, and  as a University Regent. Currently serving on several boards and is president of the cube at midtown an incubator and start up accelerator

Christine Whitmarsh

CEO & Founder
Christine, Ink. – Writing with Impact

Christine WhitmarshChristine Whitmarsh is a brand message professional, content marketing strategist, #1 bestselling Amazon author and bestselling book ghostwriter. She is the founder of Christine, Ink. a creative agency of writing specialists serving clients worldwide with integrated writing solutions since 2003. With a Bachelor of Science from the University of Rhode Island, Christine has combined her passion for science, systems, and process with her writing and creative skills. She and her team execute from the understanding that writing is an art AND a science.

Christine has worked with major publishing houses including Simon & Schuster, Sourcebooks, and Penguin USA. Her own book on content marketing strategy, co-authored with marketing expert Alina Vincent, “Personal Paparazzi: Your Brand Story Told Your Way” achieved #1 bestselling status in multiple genres. Christine’s work has appeared in a plethora of local, regional, and national digital and print media sources.

Carl Gerhardt

Carl Gerhardt

Carl Gerhardt’s first 18 year career experience was in the agri-business industry. After graduating from the University of Missouri he first worked for Ralston Purina in sales, marketing and product management. He then joined Alfa Laval, Inc. to lead the marketing and sales for the DeLaval equipment division and rose to Senior V.P. and General Manager of the U.S. company which manufactured and sold dairy farm equipment and supplies.

The second stage of his career began in 1985 when he purchased a printing franchise to start his own business.  This career now spans nearly 30 years in the trenches of the graphic arts industry, as an owner of an Alliance Franchise Brands Allegra Marketing/Print franchise and nearly 10 years as a corporate franchise executive, he has seen it all. He built his center in Colorado Springs from a start up to $2.5 mil. and sold it his manager/partner in 2003. In 2004, he brought those valuable insights and practical knowledge to the parent company as President and Chief Operating Officer.

Over the years, he has consulted with hundreds of small business owners, appreciating the unique challenges they face and offering innovative and realistic solutions to help them achieve their goals. Gerhardt led the company and its franchise members into an aggressive acquisition program resulting in growth in a consolidating market. He was named CEO in 2007 and transitioned to Chairman in 2011. He is currently working with the next generation of leadership to position Alliance Franchise Brands to succeed as the industry goes through a major restructuring.

Gerhardt has received many industry awards including trade association NAPL/NAQP’s Honorary Lifetime Member in 2003, Industry Award of Distinction in 2012 and was inducted into NAPL’s prestigious Soderstrom Society in recognition of his contribution to the industry. In 2012 he was inducted into the Printing Industry Hall of Fame sponsored by Rochester Institute of Technology and Printing Impressions magazine. He serves on the board of EDSF a scholarship foundation for students entering the graphic arts industry.

Carl and his wife Judy recently relocated to Reno, Nevada to be closer to their grandchildren. Carl has retired from his role as Chairman of Alliance Franchise Brands ( He is now a volunteer with SCORE providing free consulting to small business and recently joined FranNet as a franchise consultant.

Jennifer Baker

Jennifer BakerI love being a motivational business speaker and Master Certified Expert for the best online marketing tools such as Constant Contact. I teach Social Business on top of my every day Business consulting and love what I do. After every speaking engagement or meeting I hear about the difference I make in the lives of our small business owners to Executives who impact the lives of their employees and create a lasting positive ripple affect!

As a High Performance Advisor I specialize in process analysis, system planning, succession planning /strategy, and growth through process and accountability. I am a Certified Professional Business Coach who works with Business owners, Executives, and
Companies who are ready to turn their company directives around or move their companies and careers to the next level. Everyone in your organization is a sales and PR for your company; leverage what works and eliminate who and what doesn’t.

I am a Constant Contact Master Certified Expert trainer and professional speaker I am also certified in Social Marketing, Digital and Broadcast Marketing, Emotional Intelligence, DiSC, and Advanced Negotiations and Mediation. Tools to help performance, behavior and agreement within an organization which are key components of success for businesses today.

* Instructor for Professional Sales certificate program at the University of Nevada Reno’s Extended Studies

Seminar Descriptions

Communicating with Clients-How to Say What They Need to Hear

The course will explore some elements of defining your ideal audience, then using tools to ask them where they communicate best, then explains how to reach them with the info they need to hear from you. Participants will walk away with concrete message development steps and ideas on how to find the ideal client, with key tips on what kind of messages will work regardless of platforms: social media, websites, emails, direct mails, even your voice mail.

Choose Success in Franchise Ownership

Franchising is a business option that has literally saved thousands of people from losing out on their dream of business ownership.  But – not every franchisee is successful and not everyone should own a franchise.  We will take an in-depth look at ownership in the Franchise environment.  We will look at the pros and cons of the franchise model. We will also discuss how to look at yourself, your lifestyle, your goals, and your skills, to evaluate how they should affect your choice.

Find out:

·        What to know about yourself before you begin looking at any business

·        How do Franchises compare with other businesses?

·        How do they operate and are they all similar?

·        What makes them successful? Why do they fail?

·        Common misunderstandings about Franchises

·        How do Franchisors select their Franchisees?

·        How much do they cost and how are franchises being funded?

Understand/Develop Your Blue Ocean Strategy

The single biggest reason that businesses fail is that they’re unable to find a niche. They open a dry cleaner, landscape business or hair salon that is not positioned any differently than their competitors.  The concept behind positioning is simple: Find a hole and fill it (Blue Ocean).  The more clearly you telegraph what makes you a better choice (offering more benefits, advantages, and bottom line payoff), the more often they’ll choose you over your competition. You need to create maximum real and perceived advantages in your prospects and client’s eyes and minds at all times. This engaging, interactive and mind-blowing presentation will help you understand why what you think it means to be “different” and “unique” is not what your Customer thinks it means. And that’s why…Until you know what being “different” really means, you can’t see what it will take to be different.

How to Get an SBA Loan

David Castaneda, moderator  will start off with a brief summary of SBA programs.

David will give some stats on our loan programs then we will start with panelist:

Kristen York, Sierra Business Council SBDC , Randy Wagner, SEDCorp, Al Thiel, CDC Small Business Finance and  Zach Fretz, U.S. Bank.

  1. How long does the loan process normally take from the time the lender receives application?
  2. At what point is a business plan needed when applying for a loan? And why does a borrower need one? Where can they go to get help with it?
  3.  How important is credit score? and what is the minimum credit score your organization will accept?
  4.  How does your organization define a startup? and do you do startup loans?
  5. Collateral: Why is it needed? What max size loan can you get without it? What can be used as collateral?
  6. How can a borrower determine what size loan they may be eligible for? For a Start-up for an Existing Business?

The Business of Doing Business with Social Social Media

The Business of Social Business starts with a relationship and is amplified by hundreds in a second.  Jennifer will share details of where Digital Marketing is going as an industry, most up to date statistics, and most important tools to use (and why).  This power packed session is sponsored by Constant Contact and entitles all interested attendees to a FREE 30 minute follow up consultation or Marketing Analysis.

Writing a Winning Content Strategy for 2016

Did you know that 89% of companies using content marketing say that it works? Yet 52% of business owners have no plans to invest in this powerful new form of connecting with their audience! This is likely because, for most business owners, the challenge is – where to begin? The solution (and secret sauce!) is in writing a winning content strategy that is consistent across all your writing – from blogging to social media to articles, videos, and anywhere else where words exist.


Christine will share:

-Her 3-step editorial calendaring strategy that you can use to plan ahead to make your words profitable!

-Why “assault marketing” is driving customers away and why content marketing is the attractive alternative.

-The secrets to creative consistent, and compelling writing.

Do You Have What It Takes To Be an Entrepreneur? SCORE Can Help

Presented by Carl Gerhardt SCORE Mentor, FranNet Consultant and Former Chairman Alliance Franchise Brands.

SCORE,, is an organization that provides free consulting/mentoring to people wanting to start their own business and also to existing business owners. The SCORE Northern Nevada chapter has over 30 former business owners and executives that are available to assist you. You can learn more about SCORE and find out if you are right for owning your own business by attending this seminar. Here is a brief overview of what you will learn:

Pros and cons of entrepreneurship – Being a small business owner is exciting, but understanding the lifestyle will clarify if it is right for you. . Also, many people have great ideas but lack the important traits of a strong business leader. We will discuss what those traits are and how to determine if you have them.

Different business structures and skills – Starting from scratch is not the only way to own a business. Each option has its advantages and disadvantages: Start a new business, Buy an existing business, Buy a franchise, Establish a non-profit, Home-based business, Online business. What are the pros and cons of each and which is best for you?.

Legal and regulatory considerations – Gathering a strong support team will help when handling legal and government concerns. Find an accountant, attorney, banker, insurance agent and of course a SCORE mentor you trust. You and your team will first decide the company legal structure. We will discuss those options.

Critical Risks – Cutting them down to size

Being in business for yourself is fraught with challenges Some are just irritating some are annoying and some are critical. We will spend time on assessing the nature of risk which ones are critical  ie those that can put you out of business or forever compromise your vision of what your business should be. These risk factors including Money- (Too Much or Too little) , Governmental agencies, Sales, and margins are all critical. We will spend our time discussing how to mitigate these challenges and how to manage them effectively