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Seminars one of EXPO’s ‘extras’


The Mississippi Business & Technology EXPO may be the state’s largest business-to-business networking event, but it is much more than just a tradeshow. Over the years, the Mississippi Business Journal and its partners have added some extras, enhancing attendees’ EXPO experience.

The longest-running extras are training seminars. Provided every year at the EXPO since the event’s inception, these sessions are offered free of charge, and are led by professional trainers. They explore new concepts and strategies, allow for the sharing of experiences and are focused on making participants and their organizations more successful.

This year, trainers from the Eagle Ridge Conference Center of Hinds Community College in Raymond will lead all of the training seminars. Gay Saxon, director of training at Eagle Ridge and a veteran EXPO session presenter, said she and her team are looking forward to this year’s event.

“My philosophy is to make work fun,” Saxon said. “We take the seminars seriously, just as we do with all of our training sessions. But, we try to provide an enjoyable environment. We have a great time presenting, and we want attendees to have as much fun as we do.”

Some popular seminars, such as “Teambuilding 101” and “I’m Not Difficult… I’m Just Not You” will return this year. Other sessions will run the gamut, from dining etiquette and motivating others to developing trust and writing a winning business plan.

A business card is all attendees need for admission. The seminars will be held on the hour Jan. 13-14 in Room 1, located just off the exhibition floor of the Mississippi Trade Mart. Announcements will be made routinely from the tradeshow floor, giving attendees a heads-up on the upcoming training sessions.

The sessions are planned around EXPO’s other events. Visitors may attend all of EXPO’s awards programs and the Business After Hours event without missing a single training seminar.

“Every year, we look at what we offer at EXPO to ensure that attendees get the fullest experience possible,” said Ashley Varnes, account executive at the Mississippi Business Journal. “But, we have not touched our free training seminars. The response we get from participants is overwhelmingly positive. The presenters from Eagle Ridge do a great job of providing quality training and a relaxed, fun atmosphere.

“Honestly, I do not know how we could improve the seminars. They are that well done.”

In addition to Saxon, presenters will include Bill Lancaster, Jim Harper and James Bennett.

Saxon said the training seminars have also been beneficial for her and her team as well as Eagle Ridge itself. The diversity of participants gives the trainers a broad view of the issues of importance to Mississippi’s business community. The sessions have also landed Eagle Ridge new clients — Saxon said Eagle Ridge, on average, picks up two new sessions every year, referrals from individuals who attended EXPO’s training seminars.

Saxon added, “We will offer a very small sampling of what we provide here at Hinds Community College’s Eagle Ridge Conference Center.”


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