The event was well attended by a lively and engaged audience of over 200 local business owners, business managers and nonprofit executive directors. Bill Watkins, Executive Director of the Center for Economic Research & Forecasting at Cal Lutheran University gave a keynote address covering the national and local economic forecast for the rest of 2011 and next year – a sneak peak of his official release in Los Angeles the following morning. Watkins began his address with a few remarks about the European debt crisis saying, “The Eurozone will come apart, and it will be ugly.” He then directed his comments to the national economy explaining that unsustainably high levels of Bank-charge offs and home ownership rates combined with slow job growth and persistent high unemployment are likely to result in a doggedly slow recovery. He touched on uncertainty in the Middle East as well as the lackluster housing recovery and commercial real estate. After examining the problems facing California, Watkins left the audience with this advice, “Now would be a good time to put on the seat belt.”
The keynote address was followed by a panel discussion with Dr. Watkins; Francois DeJohn, Partner, Hayes Commercial Group; Kathleen Campbell, CPA, Partner, C&D llp; and Janet Garufis, president and CEO of Montecito Bank & Trust. After each of the panelists made a few prepared remarks, Bill peppered them with questions covering the challenges that coming regulations present their clients, best practices and common mistakes of businesses owners, and growth opportunities on the horizon.
When asked about the event, Garufis said, “We are so pleased that so many business owners were able to join us and gratified to know that the B2B series can be a catalyst for conversation. Our local business community is obviously eager to find innovative solutions to the stubbornly slow growth of the economy. We thank Bill Watkins for providing us some certainty in the direction of our economy. Now that business owners have the ‘brutal facts’ they are positioned to plan for the future. Kathleen and Francois did a magnificent job of translating the impact of Bill’s forecast on the local commercial real estate market and tax environment, providing our audience plenty of alternatives. Given the success of tonight’s event, I’m certain that The B2B Series will achieve its goal of providing a forum for conversations about jumpstarting business activity in our local economy.”
The second event to be held on October 27, 2011, Putting Together the Right Team for Your Growing Business, will showcase keynote speaker, John Rodriguez, a Principal Consultant and Co-Founder of the Table Group. Rodriguez will explain how to become a smart and healthy organization and provide strategies to overcoming the five dysfunctions of a team. John will be joined by a panel of three CEO’s who have had their own local experience managing successful teams: Dr. Philip J. Wyatt of Wyatt Technology Corporation, Gordon Hardey of Jeannine’s Bakery and Cielito Restaurant, and Jeff Slay of Neovia Insurance Services.
The final event scheduled for November 16, 2011 will feature keynote speaker and nationally recognized social media guru, Peter Shankman, who is known for his radically new ways of thinking about Social Media, PR, Marketing, Advertising and Customer Service. Local social media experts, Lynda Weinman of Lynda.com, Shawn Mulchay, founder of SocialMash Media and COO of Brendan’s Irish Pub & Restaurant Group, and Nicki Gauthier, a professor of web analytics at UCSB and consultant at Web Marketing Therapy, will join the panel discussion.
Each event will be held at Fess Parker’s Doubletree Resort from 5:00 P.M. to 7:30 P.M. In addition to the keynote speeches and panel discussions, guests will have plenty of time to network with each other over cocktails and hors d’oeuvres and visit related business service providers. To register and learn more about all of the events in the series visit montecito.com/events.