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4th Annual SOAR Conference

After two years of connecting with others almost exclusively online, the 4th Annual SOAR Conference is transitioning to a two-day hybrid model. After gaining inspiration from the virtual conference on Tuesday, October 11, connect with women who share your passion for building a successful small business by attending one of the two in-person events in Princeton or Duluth, MN.

SOAR is a conference for women in business. It is also a mindset, an action plan, and a community geared at supporting women business owners, entrepreneurs, and leaders in our region to make incredible things happen.

This year, it’s our hope that the virtual conference inspires, recharges your mind and gets the creative juices flowing, and that the in-person events allow you to connect with others who have similar aspirations and who want to see women-owned businesses succeed.

Join us to tap into a local community that exists to support you and your dreams.

Day 1: SOAR Online

Day 2: SOAR In-Person (choose one)

October 11

Virtual SOAR Event

8:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Join us for Day 1 from anywhere for a morning of entrepreneurial inspiration from local women who are thriving small business owners. Start off with some light movement and stretching with Runa Yoga, then listen to an inspiring keynote from Jasmine Brett Stringer, and finish the morning with tangible takeaways from our panel of regional small business owners.

Start the day with an optional 20-minute gentle yoga session at 8:30 a.m. The conference begins at 9 a.m. with our keynote speaker taking stage at 9:20 a.m., panelists at 10:30 a.m., and concludes with a Q&A session. The conference will end at noon.

October 12

Central Region SOAR Event

4:00 – 7:00 p.m.

If you live/work in Central Minnesota, join us for Day 2 of the SOAR Conference at the Northern Lights Ballroom & Banquet Center located near Princeton, MN. What to expect at this in-person event:

  • Continue the virtual conference discussion offline and connect with over 100 women entrepreneurs in the Central Minnesota area.
  • Learn how to effectively tell your story with local entrepreneur Dawn Zimmerman, who recently served as Chief Marketing Officer at Marco.
  • Access to resources from our sponsors
  • Food and drink from local businesses

Check-in at 4 p.m. Program begins at 4:30 p.m. The event will conclude at 7 p.m.

October 13

North Region SOAR Event

4:00 – 7:00 p.m.

If you live/work in Northern Minnesota or Northern Wisconsin, join us for Day 2 of the SOAR Conference event at The Garden in Duluth’s Canal Park. What to expect at this in-person event:

  • Continue the virtual conference discussion offline and connect with over 100 women entrepreneurs living and working in Northern Minnesota and Northern Wisconsin.
  • Learn from local entrepreneur, Lucie Amundsen, how to lean into creativity to grow your small business.
  • Access to resources from our sponsors
  • Food and drink from local businesses

Check-in at 4 p.m. Program begins at 4:30 p.m. The event will conclude at 7 p.m.

Day 1: VIRTUAL SOAR EVENT

Slow Flow Yoga

Join Jessie Erickson, co-owner of Runa Yoga and Wayfinder Yoga Retreats, for a slow flow virtual yoga session prior to the conference start. Starting at 8:30 a.m., Erickson, who has over 12 years of experience as a yoga practitioner, will guide 20 minutes of mindful movement that focuses on union between breath and the body’s movement.

KEYNOTE SPEAKER

Jasmine Brett Stringer

Stringer is an uplifting keynote speaker, award-winning author of Seize Your
Life: How to Carpe Diem Every Day
, on-air TV personality, host of the podcast and lifestyle blog Carpe Diem with Jasmine and founder of #SHARETHEMICMN. In these times of transformational change, Jasmine is on a mission to help people live empowered and authentic lives. Through her Seize Your Life keynotes, workshops and customized coaching sessions, Jasmine guides clients and audiences through a simple process to identify their goals and achieve their personal definition of success.

Jasmine is a graduate of American University in Washington, D.C. She was named one of “100 People to Know in 2021” by Twin Cities Business Magazine, a Twin Cities Fearless Woman in 2017 and a Woman of Promise by the Girl Scouts in 2012. She received the 2020 Team Women
Community Impact WaveMaker Award. Additionally, she was awarded Distinguished Alumna of American University and is an active member of the National Speakers Association. Ebony Magazine featured her as one of its “30 Future Leaders Under the Age of 30 in America.” Jasmine is based in Minneapolis, but can often be found two hours south of the city working with her husband at the family farm.

LOCAL ENTREPRENEUR Panelists

Briana Manning

Megan Kellin

Michelle Massman

Owner, Footprint Promotional Advertising, Duluth, MN

Owner, The Lake and Company, Grand Rapids, MN

CEO, Massman Companies Inc., Sauk Rapids, MN

Briana has over 20 years of experience in the marketing and advertising industry. She is the owner of Footprint Promotional Advertising and Pearson & von Elbe Advertising. Briana is skilled in Search Engine Optimization (SEO), coaching, media buying, media relations, and art direction. A self-described “serial entrepreneur,” her and her husband recently also purchased a longtime Northland convenience store and bait shop, the Fredenberg Minno-ette.

Megan is Grand Rapids native and founder/owner of be.Media House in Boulder, Colorado – a national strategic marketing firm specializing in helping businesses and project visionaries get the attention they deserve to achieve business milestones. On returning to Itasca County in 2015, she launched Lake + Co., a company comprised of two state-wide magazines (Lake Time Magazine and Lake Bride Magazine) and a home and gift retail store. She and her family also restored a historic hotel, Hotel Rapids. Megan is a current Entrepreneur Fund board member.

For over twenty years, Michelle Massman has guided, launched, directed and overhauled everything from small startup ventures to multimillion dollar private companies. Currently, Massman Companies provides consulting services in the areas of entrepreneurship, marketing, business strategy, brand partnerships, event production and music management. With a reputation as a problem solver, connector, advocate and a persuasive force with contagious enthusiasm, Michelle focuses on creating connections that are both meaningful and successful. 

Day 2: SOAR IN-PERSON events

October 12 – Central Region SOAR Event

Northern Lights Ballroom & Banquet Center in Princeton, MN

Featured Speaker

Dawn Zimmerman

Chief Branding Aficionado

A belief that everyone has a story worth telling led Dawn to initially pursue journalism as a career. An award-winning journalist and natural storyteller, Dawn started her own marketing and communications company at the age of 26 and became recognized for her ability to develop and implement strategies that drive organizations forward. She went on to serve as Chief Marketing Officer of a leading technology company that spans 12 states before returning to life as an entrepreneur. Today, she comes alongside organizations of all sizes to help them uncover meaningful ways to unleash their brands and create a lasting impact – inside and outside the organization – as waymakers. At the event in Princeton, Dawn will be speaking about how your brand impacts the people it touches. Gain inspiration and practical strategies to take your business to the next level – whether you’re just starting out or looking to go national.

What to expect at the Princeton event:

  • Meet Dawn, hear her success story and ask her questions about her business/career
  • Meet fellow women entrepreneurs in the Central MN region with whom you share business goals and challenges
  • Leave with new connections that you can call on for business support

October 13 – Northern Region SOAR Event

The Garden in Duluth, MN

Featured Speaker

Lucie Amundsen

Marketing Chick at Locally Laid Egg Company

Lucie is a marketer, writer and reluctant farmer with Locally Laid Egg Company. Through ‘trial by poultry,’ she honed her background in communications to serve as much-needed marketing and public relations to keep their family business afloat. Her book, “Locally Laid: How We Built a Plucky, Industry-changing Egg Farm – from Scratch” was published by Penguin in 2016. Recently, the farm has joined the popular agri-tourism business by adding two lodging accommodations that allows guests to partake in their pastured-raised poultry farm experiences. She now teaches marketing and public relations in workshops around the state and country. At the event in Duluth, Lucie will be speaking about how to see your business as a friend worth rooting for and one that others should root for, too – including your fans and the media.

What to expect at the Duluth event:

  • Meet Lucie, hear her success story and ask her questions about her business/career
  • Meet fellow women entrepreneurs in the Northern MN and WI region with whom you share business goals and challenges
  • Leave with new connections that you can call on for business support

Thank you to our sponsors:

These businesses are committed to supporting women entrepreneurs in our region and helping them succeed.

Minnesota Power, Minnesota Business Finance Corporation, Hill Capital Corporation, Falcon National Bank, Amplio, Edward Jones, JMR Financial Group, Princeton Wine & Spirits, and The Garden.

We look forward to having you join us for our 4th Annual SOAR Conference! We can’t wait to hear from our lineup of speakers who have some amazing lived experiences to share with fellow women entrepreneurs. Additionally, we are thrilled to add an in-person element to the conference this year and be able to meet and interact with all of you. See you this October!

– Sandi Larson and Sandy Voigt, Women’s Business Alliance Directors

Frequently Asked Questions

Who should attend the SOAR Conference?

Can people who don’t identify as women attend the conference?

Yes! The SOAR Conference is open to anyone who would like to attend. Keep in mind that the topics and discussions were chosen with women-owned businesses in mind.

Why should I attend this year’s conference?

  1. Connect with women from across the region who share similar goals and challenges
  2. Gain strategies for small business success from women who have been there and done it
  3. Feel empowered to start or grow your small business
  4. Learn about resources available to support you and your business goals
  5. It will be fun! We have a great program lined up that is sure to inspire you to take a step out of our comfort zone and take that next step.

How does the format of this year’s conference work?

This year’s SOAR Conference is taking on a two-day hybrid format, which means half of the conference is online while the other half is in person.

The first day of the conference, October 11, will be entirely virtual. You will log on in the morning, listen and engage with SOAR Conference keynote and panelists, and then log off at noon.

For Day 2 of the conference, you decide if you are going to attend the Central Region event near Princeton, MN, on Wednesday, October 12,

OR

the North Region event in Duluth, MN on Thursday, October 13. You only attend one in-person event, not both. We do recommend you choose the event that aligns with the region in which you live and/or do business.

How do I know which regional event to attend?

The Women’s Business Alliance program of the Entrepreneur Fund is divided into two regions, North and Central. You can attend either event, and by attending the in-person event in your WBA region, you will be able to connect and build relationships with other women business owners in your area.

Can I just attend virtually?

Yes, we are also offering a virtual-only ticket for Tuesday, October 11. If you choose to attend only the virtual portion of the conference, you will have access to the optional yoga session starting at 8:30 a.m. and the entire 3-hour conference starting at 9 a.m. and ending at noon.

How much does the SOAR Conference cost?

Early-bird tickets are now on sale through August 31. An early-bird registration costs $50 to attend the virtual and in-person events, it costs $35 to attend the virtual event only.

After August 31, registration costs will increase to $65 to attend the virtual and in-person events, and $40 to attend the virtual event only.

Who hosts the SOAR Conference?

The SOAR Conference is hosted by the Women’s Business Alliance, which is a program of the Entrepreneur Fund and a certified Women’s Business Center of the U.S. SBA, that provides specialized advising, training, networking, and access to capital for women entrepreneurs across 17 counties in Minnesota and Wisconsin. The WBA is dedicated to supporting women at every stage of their small business journey, as well as providing opportunities for professional growth.

If you have additional questions, please reach our team at 218-623-5747 or info@entrepreneurfund.org

SBA Logo
The Women’s Business Alliance Central and North are both certified Women’s Business Centers through the U.S. Small Business Administration. Women’s Business Centers (WBCs) represent a successful public-private partnership between the SBA and non-profit entrepreneurial development organizations across the country.

The SOAR Conference is funded in part through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration.

The Women’s Business Alliance is a program of the Entrepreneur Fund, funded in part through an agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. The Entrepreneur Fund does not discriminate in providing services to people based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, marital status, family status, physical or mental disabilities. Reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities and with limited English proficiency are available on request. Make a request at least 2 weeks in advance by contacting the Entrepreneur Fund at 218-623-5747 or info@entrepreneurfund.org. The Entrepreneur Fund is an equal opportunity employer, lender and service provider.

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