CEO chapter travels to nationals

It was business as usual for UW-Whitewater’s CEO chapter, which went to its national convention in Chicago from Nov. 1-3.

It left with several awards, and one of its members, freshman Haley Cymbalak, received an honorable mention from the judges in the elevator pitch contest.

Out of the 1,400 students at nationals, UW-Whitewater had six participate in the contest, and Cymbalak broke into the top five with her business, The Boyfriend Store.

The business is an online store with gift suggestions and date ideas for boyfriends in need of advice.

“As a freshman, this was such an exciting experience, and pitching an idea to hundreds of people was invigorating,” Cymbalak said. “The best moment was when the crowd erupted in cheers because they liked our idea so much.”

CEO President Dan Fink said he was surprised no one from UW-Whitewater placed, because professors from other schools said their chapter was fantastic.

“Our pitches were some of the best, and I felt bad for the judges because there were so many great ideas,” Fink said. “The process is terrifying, because you’re talking so fast, and you really have to know your pitch, as well as your industry.”

In Cymbalak’s case, Fink said because her business was only about six months old, she did not have the demographic data other businesses did. He felt that more time would have made it a stronger pitch.

Fink said CEO works all semester with professors and business professionals to help students prepare for their pitches. He said it also falls to participants to be confident by being prepared.

Cymbalak said she was proud to represent her university.

“Even though we are not a big college, we still have the ability to make a big impact,” Cymbalak said. “It was actually pretty stressful, but I learned a lot, and this really helped me move past my fear of public speaking.”