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Dickinson area Chamber reveals Develop Dickinson program

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Develop Dickinson, the new program created by Kari Dunn and Terri Stevenson, is designed to bring some influence to everyone that attends the sessions with the help of speakers. (Courtesy of Dickinson area Chamber of Commerce Facebook)

The Dickinson area Chamber has recently announced the startup of a brand new program entitled Develop Dickinson. The program was created to help bring more professional development programs to Dickinson. Although the program has just recently began, it is already beginning to receive praise for its speakers and the potential it brings.

Kari Dunn and Terri Stevenson began brainstorming the program a year ago with the intentions of creating something that would really bring an interest for a lot of individuals both business and employees alike. The duo came up with the name Develop Dickinson and began making plans on how to bring speakers into the facility and bring attraction to those on all levels of the business field, from early entrepreneurs to successful business owners.

"We just kind of wanted to bring professional development, like speakers and different workshops to Dickinson so maybe some smaller businesses would be able to partake in some of the different activities and there wouldn’t be such a cost for them," Dunn said. "Whereas if they were to have speakers like the first speaker that we had ... if they were like a smaller business. It would probably cost them anywhere between $2-3,000 and up."

While both Dunn and Stevenson are happy with the beginning of their new program, the Dickinson Chamber has also stated they too are looking forward the potential the young program has to offer to the community.

“We hope Develop Dickinson will offer our business community practical, affordable opportunities to advance career & skill sets to help professionally power our community forward,” Chamber Marketing & Communications Director Megan Klassen wrote in a statement to The Press.

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Dunn said the goal of each program will be to capture both speakers from outside of Dickinson while also highlighting some of the local speakers as well.

The program was originally scheduled to begin in April with Grow with Google being one of the first events. However, the COVID pandemic heavily stalled the program and forced Dunn and Stevenson backed to the drawing board for how to proceed with the pandemic.

"It’s been a little bit of a challenge with COVID, i’m not going to lie," Dunn said. "We’ve actually revamped our schedule because initially, we were going to have Google come to town in April ... we decided that we wanted to have as many different workshops and speakers as much as we could so we ended up postponing the launch of our programs to August 20th ... then we’ve had to reschedule our upcoming programs as well."

Although the launch was delayed to late August with the first speaker being known for working with very small businesses and also larger individuals such as Microsoft. Overall, the event was a strong success followed by a launch party being celebrated at Fluffy Fields Winery.

Dunn said the goal remains the same as it was prior to COVID. Helping as many people as they can in whatever they may need.

"Really what we’re trying to accomplish is have a diverse set of topics whether it’s marketing, Information Technology, like Google. More mental and physical health, like what we have coming up, just a broad range. Just so it can fit a little bit for everyone that comes to these different events."

Both parties were inspired to start the program because of the need for such speakers within the community.

"We’ve talked to so many people in the community and there is such a need for it," Dunn said. "People aren’t really able to travel as much … we’re really trying to bring that to Dickinson so we can bring that to the people. But then also to just be able to keep that momentum going, people always just need to keep engaged and keep learning, the talent optimization, we thought that it was very important to what’s going on with COVID right now ... We thought it was perfect timing to bring that to Dickinson and kind of show a lot of business owners the different tools they can used to keep their employees engaged."

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With the second event scheduled to be happening in October, Dunn said the program will feature some safety procedures that were held in the first meeting.

"At our first event we had people spread out and we had a max number of people and we encouraged people to wear a mask and if we are doing this event in person or depending upon what happens in our October event," Dunn said. "We’ll most likely be able to have an option of doing something virtually as well. We just have to really be able to pivot with whatever is going on with COVID and numbers and our audiences and what they feel more comfortable in."

Develop Dickinson may just be starting out, but the potential the program has could bring some strong influence to the city of Dickinson. Dunn said as the program grows both Stevenson and Dunn hope to bring in big time names that could attract larger crowds in the future.

"Once we really get the program running and get some dollars coming into the program, that’s kind of what our hopes are for Develop Dickinson and be abe to get some of those speakers that would bring out a larger crowd."

Currently events are being held at the Stevenson in Dickinson. Dunn added ticket prices with vary due to the speaker. The prior event, tickets were $49 for members of the chambers and $99 for non-members. The prices will continue to vary in the future, but Stevenson and Dunn will continue to attempt to keep them lower so all can attend.

For more information, check out the Dickinson Area Chamber Facebook page or log onto dickinsonchamber.org.

Related Topics: DICKINSON
Matthew Curry is a sports reporter and photographer for the West Central Tribune.
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