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2017 Fall Education
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2017 RCI Fall Regional Conference



Leadership: New Mexico Style
Presenter: Keri Stewart, Results 4 Business

Business owners are currently faced with the fastest paced, most demanding work environments in history. Answers to five key questions will translate into successful daily action and team cohesiveness of the bigger business picture. Additionally, attendees will have the opportunity to self-evaluate their own businesses and discuss actionable ideas to take back to their businesses.

Keri Stewart is the owner of Results 4 Business. A successful business coach since 2004, Keri operates with three buzz words: focus, accountability and results. Her passion is connecting owners’ visions to employees’ performance through planning, assessing, training and coaching.

Learn the Language of Chocolate
Presenter: Jenna Derhammer, Blommer Chocolate Co.

Learn how to speak the language of chocolate in a way that influences buying behavior. Understand hot topics in chocolate like cocoa mass, sustainability, viscosity and more, so you know what levers can be pulled to create a unique product. Discover how to apply these key terms to your own product line and how to communicate your brand’s unique chocolate flavor profile to attract customers.

Jenna Derhammer leads Blommer’s applications and innovation department and has been with the company for eight years. She has a bachelor’s degree in communications, a master’s degree in nutrition and a diploma from the French Culinary Institute.

Local Flavor: Truffle Demo 
Presenter: Deirdre Lane, Hotel Albuquerque

Pastry Chef Deirdre Lane will be bringing the heat in this gourmet truffle cooking demonstration, featuring flavors of the Southwest. Things are sure to heat up with tips on chocolate tempering, followed by a recipe demonstrating the perfect marriage of local spices, chiles and sumptuous chocolate taken from a culture that has been mixing chocolate and spice for centuries.

A 2000 graduate of Johnson and Wales University with a degree in Pastry Arts, Deirdre’s professional experience was spent working as a Pastry Chef in New York City for 12 years while the farm to table movement was exploding and transforming our ideas of how and what we eat. Now she is the Pastry Chef at Hotel Albuquerque.

Optimizing Sales by Targeting Mobile
Presenter: Blake Ellis, CommerceV3, Inc.

Increasing web traffic may be all the hype, but how do you turn visitors into buyers? Get expert advice on how to establish a strong operational foundation critical to attract buyers and drive revenue by leveraging mobile devices. Take away an understanding of what metrics to analyze to ensure optimal engagement, tips on how to enhance the shopping experience on your mobile site and more.

Blake Ellis is a founding partner and CEO of CommerceV3, Inc. He is an entrepreneur and start-up addict. Over the last decade he has been involved with a number of SaaS-based software ventures, primarily in the eCommerce space. Blake has won numerous technology awards, including the CBETA Innovation Award.

A Fresh Look at Growing a Business
Presenter: Jon Patten, Dion’s

Looking to grow your business? Co-founder of Dion’s, a thriving chain of eateries spanning three states, Jon Patten shares high-level, practical advice for continuous business growth even in a tough marketplace. He’ll pull from his experience to deliver tips on how to uncover new opportunities by looking at the market differently as well as how to manage a growing business and build a strong culture.

Jon Patten, co-founder of Dion’s, loves to share about his business experience and how he’s learned from failures early in life - like failing first grade. He came to Albuquerque from Michigan in 1978 with dreams of opening a restaurant fit for the gods, and the rest is history.

Candy Clinic & Kettle Talk
RCI Member Only Sessions 

Candy Clinic is an idea-sharing session during which retail candy makers show some of their best ideas. This year entries will be focused around two categories:

  • Best New Piece
    • New Mexico is known for its unique use of flavors. Bring your most flavorful or unique best new piece.
  • Best Marketing/Merchandising Idea
    • Albuquerque is home to the International Balloon Fiesta, bringing up to 80,000 spectators daily. What marketing and merchandising do you do at your store during events and festivals to help draw the crowds to you?
Kettle Talk provides members an open discussion group to ask questions about chocolate techniques, production, labeling and more.