“Entrepreneurship at the Next Level” on April 7th – 8th, 2011

Map of Arkansas highlighting Greene County
Image via Wikipedia

Press Release

Paragould, AR: Entrepreneurs, economic development leaders, and entrepreneurship educators from across  the state of Arkansas will have the opportunity to hear from experts at a two day conference on April 7th and 8th, 2011.

“Entrepreneurship at the Next Level,” hosted by the Arkansas Association of Two-Year College’s Entrepreneurship Training Consortium and Black River Technical College, Paragould Campus in partnership with Winrock International and Innovate Arkansas, will be held at the Greene County Industrial Training Center located on Black River Technical College’s campus in Paragould.

This two-day entrepreneurship conference features Sherese Duncan, President and CEO of Effició Inc., an accomplished entrepreneur who received a bachelor’s degree from Kansas State University and her MBA from Keller Graduate School of Management. She is involved in a variety of industry-related organizations including becoming a SCORE Counselor in 2006, implementing Training Programs for Community Colleges and Universities, and is active in various associations, groups, and trade organizations.  Duncan’s signature company programs include SWIFT™, GROWTH™, and the proven system Getting to the CORE of Business®, which provides the tools small businesses need to create perpetual profitable businesses. Duncan will present a sampling of Effició Inc.’s modular Non-Credit or For-Credit curriculum in an effort to allow colleges, chambers of commerce,  and area economic development leaders to consider offering the program(s) to local small businesses ready to take their business to the next level.

Other guest speakers include Matt Hampton of MH Marketing in Little Rock, a successful serial entrepreneur since his youth, who will speak on youth entrepreneurship and innovation programs, Dr. Tim Cornelius of NorthWest Arkansas Community College, who will share his Denmark Entrepreneurship benchmarking tour, Michael Marshall who will present a Delta Regional Authority Grant opportunity, Steve Sparks and Pat Nunn Brown of the AEDC Small and Minority Business Development Division, Dr. Ed Franklin, Executive Director of the Arkansas Association of Two-Year Colleges, Charles Fullen of alt.Consulting and Vicki Malpass of Innovate Arkansas and Winrock International.

The  Speaker of the House, the Honorable Robert Moore, has also been invited to speak on Thursday April 7th, 2011, about his support for rural and statewide entrepreneurial development.

The AATYC Entrepreneurship Training Consortium combines the efforts of two-year colleges to foster economic development through entrepreneurship education.  Ten of the AATYC Entrepreneurship Consortium colleges have collaborated to deliver the same seven courses with common curriculum, textbooks and faculty over the past 2.5 years. Each course counts towards a Technical Certificate in Business and/or a two-year Business AA Degree.  The 10 partnered two-year colleges are Arkansas State University-Beebe, East Arkansas Community College, North Arkansas College, NorthWest Arkansas Community College, Ouachita Technical College, Pulaski Technical College, Southern Arkansas University Tech, South Arkansas Community College, Southeast Arkansas College, and the University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville. At least 4-6 other colleges including BRTC offer Non-Credit training, Cossatot CC of the UA has embedded entrepreneurship skills into all of the technical skills Career Pathways programs, and others at this event will all report-out on their current status and needs to progress. We predict that members of the AATYC/Arkansas Chamber of Commerce/AIA statewide Entrepreneurship Advisory Committee will also be in attendance to participate.

The registration fee for this two day event is $60.00 and includes donuts, fruit and coffee for breakfast, beverages, with hot buffet lunches both days and many networking opportunities. Registration for this event is required by March 25th , 2011 . Please email annie.aatyc@cox-internet.com for a registration form. For more information please call (479) 424-0071.

Annie Sells Welcomes You to the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta!

Annie Sells welcomes you to the 2010 Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.

This is the sunrise that greeted me one year ago today. If you have not been out to the Fiesta, witnessed this sunrise and watched the hot air balloons soar and then rain out of the sky, then seriously consider it.  I have only been there one year – 2009.  However, God-willing I intend to make as many of them in the future as possible.

My girlfriends and I shop at the White Feather and drink Margaritas in Old Town.  You can bet your bottom dollar we pick up fresh produce and ristras from some roadside market or stand.  Odds are we catch a yard sale or two, as we drive around Albuquerque.  Some of my favorite pictures from last year are of the hot air balloons peppering the sky over some random residential home, or over a local supply store.  Who knows?  They are everywhere!

Some people might say, “Oh yeah, I’ve seen a hot air balloon. Why would I want to drive all the way out to New Mexico to see them?”  Yes.  I’ve heard this. Check out these websites and you will see why.

Happy Flying,

Annie SellsContinue reading “Annie Sells Welcomes You to the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta!”

Hollywood Stars Pizza

Hollywood Stars Pizza, if you haven’t been there yet, you simply must go check it out!

October 7, 2010 Annie Sells went to Hollywood Stars Pizza for lunch to discuss TeamRVBN and it’s next monthly meeting and to visit the handsome and kind owner James Hood.

Now if you follow my work, then you know one of the articles that I wrote for Examiner.com was about an unfortunate incident at Hollywood Stars Pizza, where James locked his keys to everything away and was unable to get into his restaurant or car.  He gave me the full scope and agreed to offer a discount to anyone that came in and called him an idiot!

James has people coming in calling him an idiot.  See writing is an honorable way to help your friends.  Never-the-less he treated me to a one hour viewing of Iron Man 2 and free all I could eat pizza and salad bar.  Now that is service!

Check out his website.  I really like the Chicken Alfredo pizza and one-of-a-kind chocolate pizza for desert.

Thanks James!

Qwiki or Quickie?


Cover of "Wall-E (Single-Disc Edition)"
Cover of Wall-E (Single-Disc Edition)


According to @TechCrunch, Qwiki isn’t a piece of hardware. Instead, it’s a piece of software meant to run on the web and as an app on mobile devices. What it does is present to you data about millions of topics in an extremely interesting and visual way. Imagine if someone created a movie highlight reel of Wikipedia pages — that’s sort of what Qwiki is like. You search for something — a topic, a person, etc — and Qwiki talks to you, telling you all you need to know about what you searched for, while also showing you key things about the subject or person.

Annie Sells asks, Have you seen Wall-E?

Qwiki is the world’s Auto. Instead of searching the tube with a remote control or scrolling through movies on your computer to save to your Nextfix, all you have to do is pick a topic and sit back.

Beam me up Scottie.

Quickie is not longer going to be a slang term for busy parents, people are going to hear it and think instant info.

What’s next?

100 Blog Topics Chris Brogan Hopes We Write

I’ve worked up to something. From the title of this post, it should now become clear.

My Check List:

  1. Thought about my goals and dreams, strummed up some motivation, practiced and now I’m writing!
  2. Wrote a little. 🙂
  3. Thought about my product (information via the written and published word).
  4. Edited a lot. 🙂
  5. Thought some more about my product.
  6. Published a little.
  7. Thought more about my product.
  8. Marketed my product using my social media tools Facebook, Twitter, Threadsy, WordPress, etc.
  9. Still thinking about steps 1-8.
  10. Responded in much appreciation and gratitude to those who have responded to my product.
  11. Cannot stop thinking now, cause I’m on a roll.
  12. Writing again, but this time putting all my cards on the table.

While reading, which we all know is a pre-requisite for writing I came across Chris Brogan‘s blog post entitled “100 Blog Topics I Hope You Write.” While on one of many flights he came up with a list of only 100 topics that he wishes bloggers / writers / journalists would blog about.

Why would a successful CEO, social media guru, public speaker and blogger want you to write about his topics? According to Chris, “If we’re going to show people how to use social media to drive meaningful conversations instead of being yet another marketing tool, we have to run out and educate at a break-neck pace, so we can bring more and more thought leaders into alignment with these big and not-so-big organizations who could use our help.”

I believe in writing, communication, connecting and what better way to do that than to contribute to the education of thought leaders?

Chris thank you so much for your suggestion and rest assured that your hope will see fruition, at least to a small degree in Fort Smith, AR.


How @sells_annie Uses Facebook – Count the Ways
1) Share my blog with friends and followers.

12 Steps to ABC Thinking, I Mean Writing

Social Media Landscape
Image by fredcavazza via Flickr

More times than I can count, I’ve been asked what the formula for writing, marketing and/or social media is/are. I laugh to myself, because that is like asking for a description or manual for life. It’s not an ABC kind of thing.

You start with 26 symbols (the alphabet), add 72 more (numbers & punctuation), then allow for spliced words, jargon and just try to being to fathom the almost innumerable outcomes, add the ability to erase, cut, paste, etc. and there really is NO limit!

But I can give you the first few steps and then you can take it from there:

  1. Think
  2. Write
  3. ThinkAnnie Sells on Social Media
  4. Edit
  5. Think
  6. Publish
  7. Think
  8. Market
  9. Think
  10. Respond
  11. Think
  12. Write

And so on …

Funny you may notice that it all has a lot more to do with thinking that writing. I’ve heard it said don’t think just do, but I find that going back and forth between the two is highly effective.

Practice Makes Perfect – So Write, Connect & Share!

St. Augustine writing, revising, and re-writin...
Image via Wikipedia

Writing is an exercise. You need to develop muscle memory. Practice makes perfect. Continuous content assists branding. If nothing else every by line and tag line equals more access to readers.

Connecting is an exercise. You have to reach out to connect. Practice still makes perfect. Connecting over and over again forms strong bonds. If nothing else every attempt equals more access to future connections.

Sharing is an exercise. You must open-heartedly give of yourself and give of what you have. Practice will always make perfect (or something a lot closer to it). Giving of yourself and your resources will build you up as a person and strengthen you and your connections. If nothing else everything that you give just makes more room inside, for refills with something someone else is sharing.

So Write, Connect & Share. What do you have to say?

The Unthinkable Connects Us: @chrisbrogan & September 11th

Arizona Daily Star
Image via Wikipedia

Chris Brogan posted a blog about his reflections on September 11th and how it affected him. His readers had a lot of comments on his personal opinion. Some folks did not smile upon his personal opinion and made it out like he was being selfish for sharing his personal experience.

September 11, 2001 changed my life forever. I was not “there.” I did not loose any close family members as a result of the day. However, I lost faith in many things and changed my life perspective entirely!

I was in Berea, Kentucky where I was then attending college on a $75,000 scholarship. I was in a Social Economics course (I was a sociology major) and we were focusing on consumerism. The television was playing in the next room and we HEARD the airplane hit the world trade center. Everyone in my class got up and ran to the television in shock. Our instructor had the nerve to say that there was nothing we could do about it, so we should return to our studies. We tried, but it was ineffective at best.

After classes were out for the day, I had to go to work in Richmond, Kentucky at the local Applebee’s as the fry cook. I remember walking into work and Bin Laden‘s picture was on every television screen, even though they were on different channels.

The following day on Berea College campus I remember sitting under a century-old-tree and writing in my journal about how everyone at school was going through the motions, but no one was present.

I was 715 miles away from home, without money or transportation and only wanted to be at home with those I loved. Uncertainly and lack of any security resonated through every fiber of my being and my life and I was not the only one, but we were all alone. Everyone to some degree felt as I did, but no one panicked. We were awakened nightly in our residential halls to fellow student’s having nightmares. The news was always on and everyone seemed to be waiting for salvation, yet it didn’t come.

My mother begged me to drop out of school and return home. But the sense of urgency that I felt and feeling that the life and place I was in, was a once in a lifetime opportunity and the need to stay and honor my commitments ruled.

Systematically I began to fall apart. It only took from September 11th until February 1st for everything I lived, believed and thought to completely fall apart and fall away. During that time I took a stress test and the results were over 700! Needless to say by the end of winter term, I withdrew and returned to Arkansas to lick my wounds and put myself back together. When I tried to return to school, they would not consider me for re-admittance.

I moved back home and stayed with my mother for about 6 weeks and then moved to Fort Smith, AR, rented my own place and proceeded to start over from scratch. It took me three years to pay off Berea College to get my transcripts released so that I could go back to school. By then I was married, a wife and a mother.

It took 8 years, but I did what it took to finish both an associates and bachelors degree. Do I sometimes still wish that I had been able to stay at Berea College and graduated in 4 years with a bachelors degree? Yes.

But 9/11 showed me in a very real way that my wish was not what was important. Being the creme-de-la-creme of Berea College in Berea, KY was nothing compared to living an authentic life and surrounding myself with my friends, family and the people I love.

There is always more than one way to shoot for the stars and to achieve success. My life-long I have believed that success is the fulfillment of God-given potential. 9/11 taught me that only God knew how I would be successful.


Annie Sells

** Please note that this article in no way reflects my personal opinions on the cause of September 11th, only that such an incident forever changed life in my country forever.

Get Motivated and Paint

Colouring pencils
Image via Wikipedia

While checking up on my favorite blogs, I ran across an opinion that stuck with me, but the author’s name escapes me. What didn’t fade in the one million +1 details of my day is this: our perspective is what shapes our attitude and ultimately our lives.

Our circumstances change, this we all know. However, our perception of our circumstance changes even more readily . My Facebook friend Jennifer Clement sent out a link for everyone to test their perception of color. I took the quiz and scored a 36 and was disappointed, but just as small changes in color can be indiscernible to the eye, so goes our slight and constant change in perception. That being said those slight changes are what color our attitude and therefore our lives.

Have you ever noticed that when you get motivated things get done, whether they be for the better or the worse?

This week I, Annie Sells, became motivate to make some changes in my life and as a result I took it upon myself to change the color of my home office. Previously it was the same color as my dinning room – terracotta. Today it is a blank slate thanks to two coats of primer (purchased at my local Yeager’s Ace Hardware store.) Before weeks-end my office will be a very pale shade of lavender. Of course that change: terracotta-to-white-to-lavender is far from indiscernible.

Yet remember this: when you get bogged down or tied up by your circumstances, remember that you have the power to change your attitude. If that means motivating yourself to white out your perception and start again, then do it. Look around you. Do you like what you see? If not then get motivated and paint!

4X4 Madness in May

an old-style steel toy dump truck by Tonka
Image via Wikipedia

Driving big trucks, 4 wheeling and 4X4s are all things Annie Sells viewed as extreme, frivolous and radical. However, my husband now drives a big truck with 35 inch tires, he loves to go 4 wheeling and is prone to disappearing into the Arkansas River bottoms on a whim and I doubt he will ever own anything again that isn’t a 4X4.  So these extreme and radical things have become a part of my daily life.  Don’t get me wrong I love to drive and I love to get muddy.   I just haven’t ever been able to get past the expense of it all!  I have had several vehicles that cost lest to purchase than a set of 5 tires for my husband’s truck!!

It is true the Sells Family went to Cass, AR for Madness in May.  It was quite funny, when we pulled up they didn’t believe that my husband had brought his big truck, which we affectionately call a Tonka Truck “just to watch.”  Chris Sells was willing to just watch, but when I saw how excited he was to be there and how silly it seems not to take advantage of the opportunity for him to play where others were fully capable and prepared to pull us out, I agreed we could pay the entry fee for him to play.

So in we went, with one of the biggest of the dozens and dozens of trucks and proceeded to play!  We also watched as others competed to see who was the best and fastest.   When we drove up to the various events, I was glad we had one of the biggest trucks, because I sat on the roof racks for a better view.  I guess needing a ladder to get in has its advantages. 🙂  Besides the big boys and girls driving in the mud, everywhere you looked there were little children rolling in the mud, people of all ages laughing as they breathed in truck exhaust and got splashed in the face with mud and Lord knows what else.  The best part was that there were people from all walks of life, driving all types of vehicles, young and old, rich and poor hanging out together  setting aside the daily grind and having a good time together, in the beautiful May sunshine.

I guess we will have to make it an annual event.  I can think of worse ways to spend a beautiful May day.  Besides every time I bring up that one day my son smiles and laughs and my husband grins from ear-to-ear and says that he had a blast!  Hey, even I know the joys of playing with Tonka trucks in the mud.

Rock Star – Am I Complaining? No Way.

May 9 – 16, 2010 was a whirlwind. No sooner than I take an awesome day-time job, things in my personal career and life take off! Go figure. Take the leap of faith to do what is best for my family and my career takes off. Am I complaining? No way.

This week I have finished off a contract with one clients and launched another contract, which looks to be promising. I was interviewed by Aric Mitchell a freelancer who also writes for The City Wire about River Valley Business Networkers, fondly called Team RVBN, which I have been managing the social media extensions and public relations for.

Those alone made for a great week, but add in the fact that my Twitter account has gone nuts, Michelle Stockman recommended me calling me a Social Media Guru on LinkedIn and Susan Davis asked me to contribute to her newest mission and invited me on as a contributing writer to www.rivervalleyspotlight.com, only to turn around and call me a social media rock star that she knew she could count on!

What makes me happiest is knowing that I am helping a least a handful of small business owners in my community.

Commented on “Mashable – The Social Media Guide”

As long as these digital files are backed up or stored in a remote location. What concerns me is when I meet with clients who are all paperless or all digital with no back up or remote location storage!

Is there a gentle way to express how BAD either extreme is? Feedback appreciated.

Originally posted as a comment
by sells_annie
on Mashable – The Social Media Guide using DISQUS.

%d bloggers like this: