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Kentucky Ag News Headlines
Small Business Center to Host Big Sandy Women's Business Symposium
Kentucky Ag Connection - 07/22/2021

The 22nd Annual Big Sandy Women's Business Symposium is Aug. 24 at the Ramada Hotel and Conference Center in Paintsville. It is presented by the Kentucky Small Business Development Center locations of Eastern Kentucky and Morehead State University. This year's theme is "Do Something Extraordinary."

Registration begins at 9 a.m. The cost is $35, which includes all keynotes, workshops, lunch, and entertainment. While the event is targeted to women entrepreneurs, all are invited to attend.

Opening remarks begin at 9:45 a.m. from Emcee Trish Adams, agency ambassador, board and industry liaison for the Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program.

Attendees may choose between two concurrent breakout sessions. Sessions will include "The Customer Journey," presented by Amanda Kelly, small-business training director for Southeast Kentucky Economic Development Corporation, and "Generational Differences in the Workplace," presented by Mercedes Maness, senior extension associate with the Community and Economic Development Initiative of Kentucky and Melody Nall, extension specialist and the engagement director at CEDIK.

Morning keynote speaker will be Jessi Robinson, founder, brand strategist and creative director of Print and Pixel in Mt. Sterling. The afternoon keynote will feature Jessica Lawrence, director of Cairn Guidance in Morehead, with lunch entertainment provided by the Kentucky School of Bluegrass and Technical Music.

Robinson, an Eastern Kentucky native, is passionate about branding and design. She learned to value a well-planned, strategic approach for design from her grandmother.

What began as a freelance side-hustle has grown into an award-winning, full-service agency. Robinson serves as creative director, leading a team dedicated to empowering meaningful brands to tell their story and own their digital footprint with intention.

Robinson also works to amplify the voices of women carving their own paths, sharing their stories and struggles as the host of her podcast, "Pursuing Fearless."

Jess Lawrence is a New Englander living in Eastern Kentucky after 20 years in Portland, Ore.

In 2006, Lawrence started her own business as a national school and community health consultant. Cairn Guidance has been in business for 15 years, and her team works with state departments of education, including Kentucky Department of Education, as well as Departments of Public Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, philanthropy organizations such as Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, large urban school districts and nonprofits working to create healthier schools and communities. She is proud to own and run a national woman-owned business.

Lawrence will share the experiences of her 4,197-mile solo bicycle journey across the United States in 2013 at the age of 38. She believes that when people dedicate the time, create the challenge and commit to doing something extraordinary, individuals can collectively create a better world.

The Mountain Heritage Band consists of collaborative talent from the Kentucky School of Bluegrass and Traditional Music. Director Dean Osborne joins current and former students, Kris Preston, Natalie Tomlinson, Joe Goggins and Stephanie Rose of the Hazard Community and Technical College based school located in Hyden.

Event sponsors include AAA Real Estate, Appalachian Wireless, American Electric Power, Appalachian Regional Healthcare, Bluegrass Care Navigators, Community Trust Bank, Daffodils Boutique, Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program, Floyd County Tourism, Foothills Communication, Mountain Apothecary, Mountain Association, Len Tan's Boutique, Paul B. Hall Regional Medical Center, Peoples Bank, Q95FM, Southeast Kentucky Economic Development Corporation, Shaping Our Appalachian Region, Toyota, Women's Business Center of Kentucky and WSIP.

Registration is available at

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