The Battle Creek Enquirer
(Originally published by the Battle Creek Enquirer on November 9, and used with permission. The opinions expressed by the Battle Creek Enquirer do not necessarily represent those of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.)
Patricia Pomerleau, the self-proclaimed “grandmother of the Internet” and founder of CEOExpress, believes that all citizens should learn to harness the power of technology and put it to work for them.
She delivered that message to about 300 members of the local business community Tuesday morning at the Battle Creek Chamber of Commerce’s Eye Opener breakfast and left behind a reminder of her visit.
“When I was asked to speak in Battle Creek, I wanted to leave something — a tool to implement the strategies I planned to discuss,” Pomerleau said. “The fishing pole as opposed to the fish.”
Pomerleau, on Battle Creek Unlimited’s behalf, unveiled a new Web site focusing on local community resources and providing a myriad of electronic links. The site, www.BCUKnowledgeNow.com, includes links to several local and national news sources and can be customized for individual use.
“Our goal was to focus on keeping the business community informed regarding trends and opportunities,” she said. “The best part is that it is fully customizable by you.”
The site will be maintained, free of charge, for one year by Pomerleau’s company. At that time, BCU will decide whether to continue the site and assess costs for potential subscribers, said Jim Hettinger, BCU’s president and chief executive officer.
“My intent is to give this thing a year and see how it goes,” he said. “There has been a lot of program activity in Battle Creek. We thought it would be helpful to aggregate all that information, offer it in one location, and provide people access to it.”
Hettinger has been a CEOExpress Web site subscriber for three years. It was his personal experience with Pomerleau and her company that spurred him to facilitate her visit.
Part of the foundation’s 75th anniversary speaker series, the reason for Pomerleau’s visit was to highlight the Internet as a useful tool in growing business and enhancing everyday life.
During her presentation she pointed out that technology represents change and change must be embraced.
“People in the Midwest have always been pioneers for change,” Pomerleau said. “As scary as all of this seems right now, you have to just pull up your socks and say, ‘We’ve done this once, we’ve done this twice, we can do this one more time.'”
Local entrepreneur Valerie Sen, owner of Organize 2 Change LLC, was on hand for Pomerleau’s address as well as a luncheon for women in business held later in the day.
“I thought her presentation was very useful,” she said. “She gave concrete, useable information, naming specific sites, places we can go for information on the Internet. Technology as an entrepreneurial tool is so up and coming in this community; it’s so important.”