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Blue Ox Business Academy: 2024-2025 Leadership Experience

October 3, 2024 - October 4, 2024


The Blue Ox Business Academy's Leadership Experience is an immersive experience in personal leadership growth through the exploration of community sectors, challenges, and opportunities.

Join a growing group of more than 500 individuals who have graduated from our Leadership Experience program. This 9 month, 10 session program is designed for emerging leaders and high-potential employees to develop essential skills and insights into their leadership character. Seats fill up fast, so don't wait to register.

Through Leadership Experience training, participants will build relationships and gain an inside view of the region's public, private, and nonprofit sectors. Throughout the program, all are challenged to take the next step in their organization and community.

This program is only offered to Chamber Members. Cost is $1,395 per person and limited to 40 individuals. Through the support of Anderson Brothers Construction, scholarships (25% discount) are available to small businesses (up to 5 employees) and non-profit organizations with financial limitations. Just ask.


  • Business owners, leaders & managers.
  • Emerging leaders & high-potential employees.
  • Those who are new to the Brainerd Lakes Area.


SESSION 1: Thursday, October 3 & Friday, October 4, 2024
Opening Retreat: Myers-Briggs Profile, Leadership Traits & Styles, Leadership Communication, Community Service Projects (One overnight stay on October 3rd. Session attendance is mandatory.)

SESSION 2: Thursday, October 24, 2024
Tourism Experience

SESSION 3: Thursday, November 14, 2024
Manufacturing and Business Experience

SESSION 4: Thursday, December 5, 2024
Non-Profits Experience

SESSION 5: Thursday, January 16, 2025
Health Care Experience

SESSION 6: Thursday, February 6, 2025
Education Experience

SESSION 7: Thursday, March 20, 2025
Public Service Experience

SESSION 8: Thursday, March or April, 2025 
(Date is TBD based on state legislative schedule.)
Community Experience: Legislative Day at the Capitol 

SESSION 9: Thursday, May 1, 2025
Media Experience & Area History Experience

SESSION 10: Thursday, May 15, 2025
End of the Year Retreat
Afternoon/Evening of the 15th with overnight stay optional

Commencement and Class Reunion will be held at the Celebration of Excellence in November 2025.

Session 1 will be held at Grand Casino Mille Lacs. Overnight lodging is strongly recommended. Participants may reserve rooms at Grand Casino Mille Lacs for an additional fee.  

Session 10 will be held at a local conference center/resort. Overnight lodging optional. Participants may reserve rooms for an additional fee. More info to follow during program year.

Individuals are required to attend 10 full (8AM - 5PM approximately) sessions. Only 1 absence will be accepted. Applicants need to review their schedules to make sure that they can attend all of the sessions prior to applying.


  • An investment of $1,395 per person (or 2 payments of $697.50 will be accepted) includes meals, and course materials.
  • Pay with a credit card or receive an invoice.
  • Staying overnight at Grand Casino Mille Lacs for the beginning retreat on October 3 is strongly recommended. Information will be supplied after registration.  
  • The Leadership Experience program is only offered to Chamber Members and limited to 35-40 participants.


  • "I enjoyed getting to know the area better and the industries within. The increased knowledge makes me a more well rounded person which in turn, increases my confidence and leadership."
  • "...Why wouldn't you want your employees to increase their business network?"
  • "Building leaders to improve the businesses in our community."

Scholarships (25% discount) are available to small businesses (up to 5 employees) and Non Profit organizations with financial limitations. Just ask.

Register online. Please be sure to add your title to registration. If you need help contact Paula Chapulis at This program will fill quickly, so don't delay!
Registration Deadline is September 6, 2024.

Program Trainers & Facilitators

Impact Minnesota is dedicated to providing the highest quality consulting services in order to help nonprofits, for profits, and public organizations make a meaningful impact on the people and communities around us.
Linda Holliday, principal consultant, has over 20 years of experience in nonprofit management, philanthropy, funder research, proposal development, strategic planning, program development and evaluation. She is privileged to have served as vice president for organizational development at the Initiative Foundation for 15 years, was selected as a 2010 Bush Foundation Leadership Fellow and holds a Master of Public Affairs degree from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs.

Nichole is a dedicated professional with a passion for empowering businesses to thrive. For the past three years, she has served as the Director of the Pequot Lakes Chamber, where she focuses on connecting businesses to each other and to the chamber.

Before assuming her pivotal role at the Pequot Lakes Chamber, Nichole garnered invaluable experience in the financial industry and management in the Twin Cities for the past 10 years. During her tenure there, she distinguished herself through her expertise in training new employees and facilitating Lean Six Sigma sessions, embodying a commitment to excellence and efficiency.

Nichole's recent certification in MBTI marks another milestone in her journey of professional development. Armed with her newfound expertise, she has embarked on facilitating sessions, leveraging her background in creating training materials and conducting engaging sessions. Her innate ability to connect with individuals, coupled with her infectious enthusiasm for teaching, enables her to excel in both one-on-one interactions and large classroom settings.

Erik is the founder of Think GREAT and draws from his experiences as a U.S. Marine, executive business leader, sales professional, and entrepreneur to help organizations achieve new levels of success. He uniquely combines leadership development, team building, sales training, and goal-setting into strategies and techniques that empower team members and leaders to exceed expectations.  

Erik has inspired audiences at companies such as US Bank, Sam’s Club, Shutterfly, RE/MAX, Hubbard Broadcasting, Thomson Reuters, U.S. Foods, armed services commands ranging from the Air National Guard to the U.S. Marine Corps, charities like The American Cancer Society, law enforcement and government agencies, and organizations in the health care and education industries.

Think GREAT is a Certified Veteran-Owned Business and Erik is also author of The Think GREAT Collection. Erik shares the successful, proven concepts in his six books to give individuals and organizations the competitive edge needed for achieving new levels of success.  

With 30 years experience working with profit and non-profit organizations, as well as owning three businesses, Paula is an accomplished leader and entrepreneur.  As a Professional Certified Coach and owner of Aiyana Coaching she specializes in coaching executive and emergent leaders. Paula helps leaders hone their leadership goals and develop strategies for enriched personal, team, and organizational performance.

Paula’s approach is warm, purposeful, and action oriented. She uses high level coaching strategies along with her deep professional experience coaching leaders to gain momentum toward their goals. Her passion for excellence is brought to every session, along with her humor, calming personality, and sense of curiosity.  Paula has developed training programs, loves to teach adults, and has facilitated boot camp business programs.

Panel Discussions will be conducted by area business owners, representatives and nonprofit organizations.

With support from Anderson Brothers Construction, the Blue Ox Business Academy delivers local, affordable, and high-quality training that strengthens our community by helping businesses succeed.

By investing in yourself or your employees, you achieve the highest possible returns in enhanced skills, confidence and job satisfaction. Blue Ox trainers are professional presenters with engaging personalities and real world experiences. Participants make great peer connections and leave with tools and idea to immediately put into action.


One-two full days per month, October 2024 through May 2025 (2 day kick off retreat October 3-4, 2024).


Grand Casino Mille Lacs

Our Leadership Experience kicks off with a retreat at Grand Casino Mille Lacs. Subsequent sessions will be held at various locations throughout the Lakes Area. Participants are expected to provide their own transportation to and from these locations. However, transportation will be provided for the trip to St. Paul in April.


Cost to attend includes meals and course materials.

Limited to 35-40 participants.

Registration Deadline: September 6, 2024

Register online. Contact Paula Chapulis if you need assistance registering:

Scholarships (25% discount) are available to small businesses (up to 5 employees) and non-profit organizations with financial limitations. Just ask. 


Contact Information

Name: Paula Chapulis
Phone: (218) 822-7113
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