2020 GEM Schedule

Nov. 15 – 21

Offering an Affordable Retirement Marketplace Plan for Employees and Business Owners

Presenters: Tracy Gunter, Program Manager, Washington Retirement Marketplace
Amjad Quadri, Regional Manager, Islamic Investment Group, Saturna Capital

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About the Course: Are you saving for retirement? Do you offer a retirement plan for your employees? Are you worried about whether you will be able to retire and when? In this workshop, you will not only learn about the current economy and the state of retirement, but how to find a low cost retirement plan. The Retirement Marketplace makes it easy to compare affordable plans. It’s a one-stop, easy-to-use website that helps small business owners and individuals learn about and comparison shop for retirement savings plans.

Visit www.retirementmarketplace.com to explore options for your business or yourself and help spread the word about this valuable resource in your community.

About the Presenters: Tracy is the Program Manager for the Washington Retirement Marketplace, an online portal that empowers businesses and individuals to comparison-shop for low-cost, easy-to-use private retirement plans. She engages stakeholders, leads outreach and marketing efforts, works closely with plan providers, and manages and oversees the website.

Amjad M. Quadri, Regional Manager, joined the Chicago office of Saturna Capital in June 2015. He brings experience in Islamic banking, including business and product development. Previous employers include Guidance Financial (Chicago) and University Bank (Ann Arbor MI). He has a BS in Information Decision Sciences from the University of Illinois.

Create a Website That Engages

Presenters:  Annmarie Gustafson, an Olympia-based Web Designer, and Mia Johnstone and Julia Lara, Washington Small Business Development Center Advisors
Sponsor: Washington Small Business Development Center

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About the Course: Most every business needs a website. But having a website that engages with visitors is key to helping you build your prospect base.  In this webinar, you will learn what is needed for easy navigation, techniques that will get your website to perform better, how to integrate video and testimonials to showcase your brand and how to create calls to action so you build your prospect base.

Brand Marketing to Promote a Region

Presenter: Blake Vanfield, Genuine Skagit Valley Director
Sponsor: Northwest Agriculture Business Center (NABC)

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About the Course: Fully explore a successful cooperative local branding program from the Genuine Skagit Valley campaign. This session will inform and inspire others who may be considering implementing something similar in their own communities. Learn the hard work behind the scenes, how to create partnerships and options for funding. See how a well-executed branding effort elevates the visibility and showcases regional producers, and increases the value of their products, as well as ties in with destination marketing and connects the community. Challenges and critical considerations will also be examined.

About the Presenter: Blake Vanfield is the Marketing & Membership Manager for Genuine Skagit Valley, a program to heighten consumer connection to the agriculture of the Skagit Valley. Her 12 years in the farm and food industry include running a cooking school and farm tour company, starting a farmers market, and consulting for food+farm establishments. Traversing each venture is Blake’s desire to elevate awareness of food systems by fostering community networks and generating strategic content.

Blake resides in Edison, WA, living dangerously close to the Breadfarm. When not eating macarons, she can be found gardening, chasing her toddler, or dreaming of that ever-elusive siesta.


Virtual Square One

Sponsor: Business Impact NW


About the Course: Your gateway to accessing capital or business coaching through Business Impact NW (BIN).  Whether you’re new to BIN, just starting out, in need of coaching or ready to apply for a loan, this course will introduce you to the programs and services we offer, give you the opportunity to schedule meetings with a business coach, and offer specific information regarding our lending process as it applies to you individually.

Topics covered include:

  • The steps in starting a business.
  • Types of business organizations.
  • Information on writing a business plan.
  • How (and why) to do market research.
  • What lenders look for when applying for a business loan.
  • The importance of developing a cash flow projection, and how to do it.
Google Analytics 101 - Improve Your Online Business by Understanding Essential Data

Presenter: Mo Hossain, Data Up
Sponsor: SCORE


About the Course: Google Analytics is a fantastic tool. Best part is, it’s free to use for everyone! No matter if you have a 2-page website or a massive e-commerce website, you can use Google Analytics to understand how your customers are using your website and where you can improve their experience.  During this webinar, expert in business data analytics Mo Hossain will walk you through the steps of how to set up Google Analytics so you can start getting data from your own website.

In this workshop you’ll learn:

  • The basics of Google Analytics
  • Why Google Analytics is important
  • How you can use it for your benefit

About the Presenter: Mo Hossain is a volunteer Workshop Presenter for SCORE and an expert in Technology Strategy & Digital Business Analysis. Mo previously worked in NYC and London with international companies for several years, where he helped major retailers, media and technology companies make sure their customers were having a great user experience.


After working as a Sales Engineer, Solutions Consultant, Software Developer and DevOps Engineer, he decided to open up his own business, Data Up, to help small and medium-size businesses understand their data and create a better online experience so their customers keep coming back.

The Art of Attracting Press to Your Business

Presenter: Dana Haynes, Owner, Dandles Candles

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About the Course: Have you always wanted to have the local media cover your small business? In the fast-paced 24-hour news cycle, getting the attention of the media can be difficult. Learn some quick tips about how to pitch to the media from a 20-year news veteran turned entrepreneur. You’ll walk away with tangible ideas to get your business seen and heard in your local community.

About the Presenter: Media is in Dana’s blood. After 20 years in the local television industry, Dana Haynes made the leap into the public relations world, working for Visit Spokane as their Communications Director. Dana still helps generate media for a few select clients in Spokane, but most of her time is spent growing her own business. Dana started Dandles Candles as a hobby 20 years ago. Now, the business is thriving with thousands of her candles sold throughout the northwest every year. Previously, Dana worked as an Emmy-nominated anchor and reporter at KHQ-TV in Spokane. Some highlights from her television career include covering two Rose Bowls, several NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournaments, and seven seasons of live coverage from Los Angeles for the American Idol finale.

So You Want to Start a Farm?

Presenters: Luke Woodward, Project Manager, NABC and Co-Owner, Hearth Farm
Alex Smith, Food & Farming Outreach Coordinator, Sustainable Connections
Judy Feldman, Executive Director, Organic Farm School
Jennifer Dwyer, Co-Owner, Hollyhock Farm
Rob Smith, Director of Programs & Operations, Viva Farms
Sponsor: Northwest Agriculture Business Center (NABC)

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About the Course: You want to be a farmer, but are you really ready? Our panel discussion will address various paths one can take to get started in farming and discuss the necessary skills one needs to obtain to embark upon a successful future in the career. We’ll explore the wide variety of opportunities available for starting a farm and a farm business ranging from farm incubators programs, to formal education. We will also hear from successful vegetable growers and livestock producers who are relatively new to the career and learn how they got started and the steps they have taken to maintain successful operations. Through a series of presentations, participants will see the exciting choices available. The program culminates in a moderated panel discussion of experts representing farm schools, incubator programs, as well as established farmers.

About the Presenters:

Luke Woodward has been employed with NABC since January 2015. He is an experienced farmer who has been highly involved in the evolution of King County agriculture over the past 21 years. Luke has an intimate and working knowledge of the local food economy. He and his wife Sarah Cassidy were the founding farmers and land stewards of Oxbow Farm in Carnation WA. They worked together and oversaw the transition of Oxbow to a nonprofit farm and education center in 2009, providing educational opportunities for King County school children while continuing to grow the commercial, row crop organic vegetable business. He is one of the founders of Sno-Valley Tilth and served two separate terms as their board president. Additionally, Luke served as an Agricultural Extension Agent in the United States Peace Corps from 1991-1993 in Senegal, West Africa where he lived and worked in a rural farming village. Luke has been on-point for NABC’s work in King and Snohomish County, providing technical assistance to Cascadia Cooperative Farms, the Snoqualmie Valley Farmers Co-op, The Puget Sound Food Hub, and Falling River Meats. Luke, Sarah, and their daughter Pearl live in Duvall, where they own and operate Hearth Farm and The Grange farm to table restaurant.

Alex Smith is the Food & Farming Outreach Coordinator for Sustainable Connections. In addition to building relationships between producers and buyers and educating the public about the importance of local food, he is the coordinator of the Food to Bank On program. Food to Bank On is a farmer business training program that provides workshops, mentorship, business planning, and market support to farmers. Alex has owned and operated a farm and has worked back-of-house and management in multiple restaurants and is excited to be in a position to make food businesses more viable and vibrant.

Judy Feldman is the Executive Director for the non-profit Organic Farm School. Judy is a graduate of UW and Antioch University Seattle. She herself grows farmers, not food, and is devoted to preparing a new generation of farmers for long term economic, cultural, and environmental success. To do this, she has a great teaching team, thinks critically, gathers a lot of information, talks to a wide range of farmers and eaters, looks for connections, builds networks, regularly revisits old opinions, recognizes the box and then moves her mind outside of it.

Jennifer Dwyer is the owner and operator of Hollyhock Farm, a twenty acre farm in the Snoqualmie Valley area focused on lamb and goat for meat, poultry, and market gardening. Her experience includes organizing backyard garden/coop tours, running farmer’s market tables, and managing and working on a diverse farm while raising a family. Her knowledge in sustainable and organic farming is built from attending various courses and conferences, visiting farms, and more importantly, rolling up her sleeves and diving in!

Rob Smith is Director of Programs & Operations and has led all incubator activities at Viva Farms, including curriculum development, practicum and workshop planning and delivery, and one-on-one technical assistance for over six years. He serves as Adjunct Faculty, Environmental Sustainable Agriculture Department at Skagit Valley College.  Previously at Happy Boy Farms in Freedom, CA, he was responsible for all areas of management of a 400+ acre organic produce farm where he coordinated activities and was responsible for training on production, packing/washing, storage and delivery with a crew of 150+ employees, performed primarily in Spanish. He was also a Public Education Intern at ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project in San Francisco, CA. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Skagit Valley Food Coop.  He holds a B.A. from UC Santa Cruz, in Politics/Latin American Studies and is fluent in Spanish.

Small Business Requirements and Resources - COVID Impact Webinar

Presenters: Washington Small Business Liaison Team members
Sponsor: Small Business Liaison Team – Departments of Employment Security, Labor & Industries, Revenue, Health, Enterprise Services and Governor’s Office of Regulatory Innovation and Assistance


About the Course: The COVID-19 pandemic has brought us into unprecedented times, and State and federal leaders have had to react for the health of our people and economy. This webinar provides a quick overview of some of the state responses, resources, and other impacts affecting small businesses.  Dedicated time for Q & A.

SizeUp Washington - New Small Business Assistance and Intelligence Tool

Presenter: Mario Ubalde, Director of Customer Success, SizeUp


About this course: Businesses across Washington are looking for a boost to get going again. The Office of Economic Development & Competitiveness in the Department of Commerce is committed to helping small businesses move forward with the tools and information needed to be smarter and more efficient as they reposition themselves due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As part of this effort, the State of Washington has launched an updated business intelligence tool called “SizeUp Washington” to better support small and medium-sized businesses within the State of Washington. SizeUp Washington can help small business and entrepreneurs assess and adapt to the new challenges and new opportunities in this changing environment for business.

The Office of Economic Development & Competitiveness, in partnership with SizeUp, is presenting this webinar which will review the current status of small business revitalization and reentry efforts. Mario Ubalde of SizeUp, will review how to use SizeUp to better position businesses in their respective markets. During the demonstration, you will be able to see how well a business ranks amid similar competition, identify unique market characteristics and how to optimize marketing efforts.

Topics include:

  • Status Updates
  • How to Benchmark Your Business
  • How to Identify Competitors, Customers, and Suppliers
  • How to Identify More Optimal Marketing Areas

About the Presenter:  Mario has deep experience helping customers identifying and articulating their business needs; he translates these business needs into both a cohesive technological solution and implementation strategy. Previous to joining SizeUp he worked as a Senior Customer Success Manager with Replicon, a leading global time management software company. As a Senior member of the Customer Success team at Replicon, he managed top global accounts such as Xerox and lead the implementation teams for Pike Energy, the nation’s largest specialty construction and engineering firms serving the electric power industry, and SAS Software, the largest privately held software firm in the world. In his more recent past he worked as a Technical Project Manager and Principal Consultant at CloudSquads which was acquired by Persistent Systems, a global software development company. While at CloudSquads/Persistent Systems, he led the implementations of several social enterprise platforms such as Jive, Lithium, and salesforce.com Community Cloud for customers like Canon USA, NXP, and Seagate. He also served as the Product Manager for salesforce.com connectors for Zendesk, Jive, and Lithium. He has also spent time in sales and account management while pursuing his hobby of stand-up comedy where he has performed at the Punchline, Haha Cafe, the Ice House, Cobbs, and Sony’s Metreon Theater. He is an alumnus of Harvard University and the University of California at Berkeley.

Intellectual Property Basics: The Most Important Asset Class in Today’s Economy

Presenters: Presenter: Dan Wadkins, Partner, Chair of Corporate and IP Transactions Group, Lee & Hayes, PC (Spokane)

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About the Course: Intellectual Property is now the most valuable asset class in today’s economy, but it is often misunderstood. In this session, you will learn about the four main “buckets” of intellectual property and how they may apply to your business. You will also learn when to use an attorney and how to maximize the value of your company through protection of your IP.

About the Presenter: Dan advises a wide variety of businesses, from startups to well-established companies, in the areas of corporate, securities and financing, intellectual property protection and commercialization, wine and alcohol beverage law, and commercial transactions. Dan has a passion for helping startups and emerging companies navigate the complex business and legal landscape and is able to assist clients in every stage of the business lifecycle, from formation and financing to a successful exit. Dan acts as outside general counsel to companies in a wide variety of industries, from software to agriculture to education. Dan and his team regularly assist startup clients in successfully closing many types of financings, from traditional angel and venture capital investments to debt financings and large-scale crowdfunding campaigns. Dan is a regular guest speaker at universities on the topics of intellectual property and startup law and has published a chapter on trademarks for a university-level IP business textbook.

Online, On-Demand Learning and Skill Development for Businesses and Entrepreneurs

Presenter: Mark Pond, MLIS, Business Research Librarian, Spokane Public Library

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About the Course: Through LinkedIn Learning (previously known as Lynda.com), explore over 16,000 expert-led courses. The subjects range from marketing to app development, from lean management techniques to getting the most out of your video editing software. With such broad subject coverage, LinkedIn Learning has content that will be of value to any business, large or small. Thanks to the work of the Washington State Library, LinkedIn Learning is available to all Washington residents – for free! – through their local public library. Come learn how to start learning.

About the Presenter: Since 2006, Mark Pond has been the Business Research Librarian with the Spokane Public Library. From 1998 – 2006, Mark worked in similar capacities for the Seattle Public Library as well as the University of Washington Libraries.  During Mark’s tenure with the Spokane Public Library, he has led the effort to develop Spokane Public Library into a nationally recognized leader in the field of business research. While it is tough to quantify an exact metric, Spokane Public Library’s business resources are currently rivaled only by the New York Public Library.  If we truly live in the Information Age, we need to start acting like it.

Virtual Q&A with International Trade Expert, Jim Foley

Presenter: Jim Foley
Sponsor: Export Finance Assistance Center of Washington


Are you thinking about ways to expand your business opportunities? Thinking about exporting or looking into new markets?

Join this lively discussion and get your questions answered in this virtual Q&A with Jim Foley, nationally recognized speaker on issues of international trade and author of The Global Entrepreneur.

About the Presenter: Mr. Foley manages a program of counseling and training in international business, marketing, logistics and finance. He is a frequent speaker on issues of international trade and is the author of the book The Global Entrepreneur – discussing techniques to expand exports. He is also the co-author of International Marketing by Vern Tersptra. Jim’s awards include the ASBDC State Star, the NASBITE Lifetime Achievement Award, and the IATTO Lifetime Achievement Award. Jim serves as the national chair of the ASBDC International Trade Interest Section. He received his MBA from the London Business School at the University of London.

Webpages to Social Media: Write Effective Copy Your Customers Will Listen Too

Presenters: Mia Johnstone, Washington Small Business Development Center Advisor
Julia Lara, Washington Small Business Development Center Advisor – Spokane
Sponsor: Washington Small Business Development Center

About the Course: What is copy? Copy focuses primarily on content written for advertising. This can include printed materials, blog posts, emails, and social media posts. Copy is immensely important for business because it is EVERYWHERE in marketing.

In this webinar you will learn:

  • Tips on how to write copy effectively and succinctly for business.
  • How to use your copy across different marketing outlets.
  • How to save time with your marketing by being more efficient with your copywriting
Building Inclusion and Diversity Strategies into Your Small Business

Presenter: Stephanie Felix, Manager of Career and Team Growth, Indeed.com
Sponsor: SCORE

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About the Course: This year has been one of unprecedented change, civil unrest and social upheaval. Organizations, even small businesses, have a responsibility to address the issues of this time.

Join this interactive live session, presented by cultural intelligence and intercultural communications expert Stephanie Felix, as she will share best practices for small business owners to:

  • Effectively create inclusivity in your business and products
  • Leverage the power of diversity to better meet the needs of your employees and customers
  • Learn strategies for incorporating inclusion and diversity into your entrepreneurial endeavors

About the Presenter: Stephanie Felix was born and raised on St. Croix, US Virgin Islands, in a multicultural family. She spent her youth on the small island before moving to Coral Gables, Florida in 2009 to attend the University of Miami where she majored in Psychology and Journalism. In 2010 she moved to New York City to pursue a Master of Arts degree in Organizational Psychology from Columbia University Teachers College.

Stephanie has worked in fashion, luxury and beauty brands, including Hermès, Estée Lauder and Vogue and in corporate finance, working at JPMorgan Chase and BlackRock. Most recently, she joined Indeed.com as the Manager of Career and Team Growth, managing the team responsible for global manager development, career development and inclusion and diversity training.

She has 12 years experience working in learning and development and inclusion and diversity and is passionate about driving a growth mindset and a learning culture in organizations. She has deep expertise in cultural intelligence, intercultural communications and creating a sense of belonging at work. She is also passionate about social justice issues, the arts, learning about new diverse cultures, literature, writing, traveling and exploring, spending time in the sun and changing the world.

Website Localization and International Online Marketing: Growing your Sales, Brand, and Business Globally

Presenters: Susanna Hardy, Chief Content Officer, IBT Online and Samantha Soffici, Online Business Development Manager, IBT Online
Sponsor: IBT Online


About the Course: Online business development tools have never been so important for businesses to meet the new challenges posed by COVID-19. This session is ideal for B2B and B2C businesses looking to learn how to be found, be understood, and be easier to do business within your target export markets. Whether your business exports via distributors, partners, sales reps, or direct-to-consumer, you will learn from digital experts how website localization and international online marketing can be used to grow your exports, sales, brand, and business.

Virtual Square One

Sponsor: Business Impact NW (BIN)

About the Course: Whether you’re new to BIN, just starting out, in need of coaching or ready to apply for a loan, this course will introduce you to the programs and services we offer, give you the opportunity to schedule meetings with a business coach, and offer specific information regarding our lending process as it applies to you individually.  Topics covered include:

  • The steps in starting a business.
  • Types of business organizations.
  • Information on writing a business plan.
  • How (and why) to do market research.
  • What lenders look for when applying for a business loan.
  • The importance of developing a cash flow projection, and how to do it.
Market Validation for Start Ups and Small Businesses - Will My Idea Fly?

Presenter: Michael Allen, MBA, Start Up Academy and Launch Lab, Spokane Community College
Sponsor: Spokane Community College Start Up Academy

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About the Course: Who is your target market, how do you reach them and do they even want to buy what you are selling.   Market Validation is the process of answering these questions before you even launch your business.  This workshop explores the concepts and tools to validate your business concept.

About the Presenter: Michael Allen is an Entrepreneurship and Marketing instructor at Spokane Community College.  Michael also directs the SCC Start Up Academy and Launch Lab.  He is a serial entrepreneur and has also served on the Spokane City Council.

Techstars Startup Weekend Online Seattle EDU

Sponsor: Startup Weekend

About the Event: A 54-hour online events designed to provide superior experiential education for technical and non-technical entrepreneurs.

Beginning with Friday night pitches and continuing through brainstorming, business plan development, and basic prototype creation, Techstars Startup Weekends culminate in Sunday demos and presentations.

Participants create working startups during the event and have the opportunity to collaborate with like-minded individuals outside of their daily networks. All teams hear talks by industry leaders and receive valuable feedback from local entrepreneurs. The weekend is centered around action, innovation, and education.

Whether you are looking for feedback on an idea, a co-founder, specific skill sets, or a team to help you execute, Techstars Startup Weekends is the perfect environment in which to test your idea online and take the first steps towards launching your own startup.