Blue Ox Business Academy - 2023-2024 Leadership Experience

9/21/2023 - 9/22/2023


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. Upon completion of 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 $1,345 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


Thursday, September 21st & Friday, September 22nd, 2023
(one overnight) Opening Retreat:
Myers-Briggs Profile, Leadership Traits & Styles, Leadership Communication, Community Service Projects
*Attendance Mandatory

Thursday, October 5th
Tourism Experience

Thursday, November 2nd
Manufacturing and Business Experience

Thursday, December 14th
Non-Profits Experience

Thursday, January 11th
Health Care Experience

Thursday, February 8th
Education Experience

Thursday, March 7th
Public Service Experience

Thursday, March/April
TBD (based on state legislative schedule)
Community Experience: Legislative Day at the Capitol 

Thursday, May 2
Media Experience
Area History Experience

Thursday, May 16
End of the Year Retreat
Afternoon/Evening of the 16th with overnight stay optional

Commencement and Class Reunion will be held at the Celebration of Excellence in November 2024.

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 (8 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. 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 $1,345 per person (or 2 payments of $672.50 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 September 21 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 August 31, 2023.


Chris Doty-Cain
Cain Consulting

Chris’s career spans over 25 years of management consulting and business leadership positions. She has extensive experience working with executives and leadership teams on the development of business strategies and strategic roadmaps that result in increased clarity and leadership alignment to the most critical priorities for the organization.  She also consults with work teams around the operating practices and disciplines that will enable them to accelerate progress toward strategic objectives.  Chris has a wide range of industry experience including manufacturing, retail, banking, consumer products, medical device and non-profit.

She has a proven track record developing leadership talent at the individual and team level. Chris has deep knowledge of, and experience with, the StrengthsFinder and MBTI assessments.  Her portfolio includes well-established global organizations, niche players and emerging entities.

Chris holds a Masters Degree in Organizational Communication from the University of Minnesota and is a Certified Trainer.

Erik Therwanger 
Founder, Author, Speaker
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.  

Paula Chapulis
Director, Blue Ox Business Academy

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.


$1,345 includes meals, and course materials.

Limited to 35-40 participants.

Registration Deadline is August 31, 2023

Register online. If you need help or it doesn't work contact Paula Chapulis at

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


Event Contact
Paula Chapulis
(218) 822-7113
Send Email
9/21/2023 - 9/22/2023
One-two full days per month September 2023 through May 2024 (2 day retreat in September 2023)
Brainerd Lakes Chamber Event
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