Opportunities are what you make them, right? Help us make this one a win-win for all of us!

IB Publisher Jody Glynn Patrick blends work and life in this very clear departure from both her column for In Business magazine, and the other bloggers. Awarded national recognition for her previous work as a newspaper columnist, she brings us all back "Closer to Home" with her insights and remembrances. A nice place to be "After Hours." Check back often! Read Full Bio

For our first expo, In Business staffers wanted to make a significant splash with a breakfast keynoter, and our hat is tipped to Nathan Brinkman, who linked us up with Amilya Antonetti, Fox News’ “voice of small business.” She’s all over network television reality business programming and syndicated radio lately, and so we were thrilled to capture one of TV’s hottest rising stars for our gig on Wednesday, October 19, at the Alliant Energy Center. So what could be the problem with that?

It isn’t a “problem” so much as a great opportunity. We have her for THREE DAYS, according to the contract (she doesn’t do cheap, one-day fly-ins, so we bought the executive speaking package). And we want to get our money’s worth. So the question we’re facing is how to best invest her hours while she’s here. And that has us pushing the envelope with you for the best ideas.

Who the heck is Amilya Antonetti?

Actually, you’ve probably seen her on television or heard her on the radio. She’s a frequent guest on The Dr. Steve Show, MSNBC, and CNBC, and to refresh your memory, you can see her in action now in this short collection of clips taken from Fox News.

After building Soapworks, honored as one of the fastest-growing privately held companies in the U.S., Antonetti has told her story on Oprah and has shared a stage with Zig Zigler, Katie Couric, Hillary Clinton, and Tony Robbins. In August 2011, this winner of the 2010 “Smart Woman of the Year” Award will headline at appearances alongside Ellen DeGeneres and Donald Trump.

Antonetti’s newest company, AMA Productions, specializes in evaluating and securing IP for inventors, universities, and business owners hoping to roll out products for mass markets. In September 2011, she will open a new pathway on QVC for inventors to get to market quicker, and also this fall, her own national business television program is scheduled to air. She’s appeared in Time, People, Inc., Entrepreneur, and Forbes, and she will share her “Recipe for Success” (the title of one of her books) during her keynote remarks for us.

So what’s the plan, Stan, for those extra booking slots?

We are planning events around her stay with us, including a pre-expo networking event for booth sponsors … likely an evening cocktail hour (another reason to get a booth quick, before all the slots are gone!). Beyond that, we’re noodling options.

She’s offered to do whatever we ask – from a paid consultation with selected business executives and/or key staff to a private dinner party in a local CEO’s home. She’s offered to do product endorsements (if she really likes the products) to be used by companies for marketing (for a fee), etc. “You bought my time, and you can spend it however you choose,” she told us. “Let’s rock the business community every way we can think of, so I can meet as many folks as possible while I’m there!”

And to be perfectly transparent, yes, IB collects any sponsorship fees associated with extra events to help offset the cost of her contract with us. When we figured out our sponsorship fees for the breakfast keynote, we charged way too low an entry point, thinking we’d likely pay to bring in a local CEO rather than a national celebrity. But then the opportunity, through Nathan, presented itself to book her, and we did the smart thing and signed the contract. And, well, I don’t know when you booked your last nationally acclaimed speaker, but let’s just say we budgeted for a Kia and bought a Cadillac when serendipity smiled on us.

If you’d like to be part of our plans and link your company or employees to an opportunity to host or meet Antonetti at a private function, get in touch with Jon Konarske (SOON!) at jon@ibmadison.com. Her schedule will reflect plans we make with area companies, as well as sponsorship packages we come up with beyond the conference. (She’s available to us Tuesday night and all day Thursday, beyond the conference on Wednesday.)

Meanwhile, if you haven’t yet registered for this day of learning and fun (the “fun” includes an IB Introductions networking event, an awards program, and a battle of executive-led bands!) do so now at MadisonBusinessExpo.com, because we sure want to see you there!

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