EntreCon, The Culture of Leadership Conference

Do you want to learn how to create a culture of leadership where everyone thinks, feels and acts like an owner? If so, EntreCon is the conference for you.

November 3-4, 2016

Pensacola Little Theatre



The Studer Community Institute has lined up some of the nation’s top business minds to speak at EntreCon 2016, a two-day conference for entrepreneurs and business owners to share stories, get advice and find inspiration.

EntreCon is set for Nov. 3-4 at Pensacola Little Theatre.

The presenting sponsors for the 2016 event are Centennial Bank, Pensacola International Airport and Southwest Airlines. These business leaders and more will share encouragement, ideas and steps to increase the success of your career or organization.

At EntreCon, sessions will include how to maximize the strengths of a multigenerational workforce; find the right funding for your business; create a better business culture; build employee engagement; attract and retain talent, marketing on a shoestring budget and more.

Keynote speakers will include:


John Allison, founder and chairman of the board, Home Bancshares & Centennial Bank.  Allison earned a bachelor’s degree from Arkansas State University in Jonesboro, Ark., and spent more than 20 years as chairman of the board of First National Bank of Conway (now Regions Bank). He was named 2013 Community Banker of the Year by American Banker Magazine, and was given the 2014 Champion of Life Award for the GoDaddy Bowl.

Allison is the namesake of the Allison Entrepreneurial speaking series at the University of Central Arkansas, which encourages college students to reach for their dreams.


Julie Weber, vice president of people for Southwest Airlines. Weber has 20 years of experience in domestic and international human resources. She joined Southwest in 2006 as director of employment.

She was vice president of human resources for MetaSolv Software (now an Oracle company). She has a master’s degree in counseling psychology from Our Lady of the Lake University, in San Antonio, Texas.

Her EntreCon presentation, “Giving Employees the Freedom to Fly Helps Us Soar: Culture and Engagement Best Practices from Southwest Airlines,” will highlight how accountability and customer service are baked into the culture at Southwest.


Emily Ley, author and creator of the Simplified Planner. Ley, who earned her master’s degree in public administration from the University of West Florida, is the founder of Emily Ley Paper & Gifts and EL Playbook. She is the author of “Grace, Not Perfection: Embracing Simplicity, Celebrating Joy.” Her work has been featured in Forbes, Family Circle, Better Homes & Gardens and more.

Her presentation, “Building the Well-Loved Brand: Culture That Captivates, Earns Buy-In and Drives Sales,” will focus on how to build a captivating brand no matter your company’s size, and how to infuse brand culture into all facets of business.


“Centennial Bank is proud to be a sponsor of Entrecon and support the efforts of Studer Community Institute to foster the development and growth of new and existing businesses in our community,” says Blaise Adams, Centennial’s market president in Pensacola. “Our Chairman, John Allison, will share his experiences as a successful entrepreneur.”

EntreCon includes large sessions and smaller breakout sessions on topics that are near to entrepreneurs’ hearts. These include managing the demands of a growing business, how and when to seek outside capital, smart hiring, and how to adapt your business to an evolving market.

For 2016, EntreCon also will include the inaugural Entrepreneur Awards, meant to recognize the achievements and economic impact entrepreneurs and businesses have on a community.

The categories aim to honor businesses at every stage in their life cycle, from start-ups to family businesses that span multiple generations.

From those who have championed the cause of entrepreneurs to those who have turned adversity into success in another chapter of their lives, these awards will honor small, medium and large business owners.

To nominate someone, visit www.studeri.org/entrepreneur-awards

Rachael Gillette, the Institute’s director of professional development, said the feedback from the 250 attendees at last year’s EntreCon was used to build the speaker panels and topics for this year’s event.

“Last year we heard from so many people who said they didn’t know what to expect from EntreCon, but that having it in our community was hugely beneficial and well worth the financial investment they made to attend.

“Our attendees saw benefit not only from the content of the sessions, but also from the opportunity to meet and network with other business owners and like-minded leaders looking to build the entrepreneurial community in Pensacola.”

Gillette said the venue shifted to the Pensacola Little Theatre to accommodate the increase in the expected crowd for this year’s event.

Tickets for the two-day events are available at http://entreconpensacola.com/ Single-day tickets are $175; two-day tickets are $299. Student and military discounts are available as well.

EntreCon 2015, sponsored by the Institute and the University of West Florida’s Center for Entrepreneurship, featured 45 speakers and panelists who shared strategies for starting and growing a business.

Speakers at the 2015 event included Celeste Beatty, founder of the Harlem Brewing Co.; Emily Ley, founder of a self-named stationery business; Chanda Bell and Christa Pitts, the sisters who founded Elf on the Shelf; and James Ledbetter, editor of Inc Magazine.

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