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Business and Economic Forum zeroes in on economic climate

By Karissa Neely daily Herald - | May 19, 2017
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Afternoon keynote speaker Merrilee Boyack speaks during Utah Valley University's Business and Economic Forum on Thursday, May 18, 2017, at the university's Sorensen Student Center in Orem. ISAAC HALE, Daily Herald

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Paige Tueller, left, of UVU's College of Science & Health, helps Marianne Ludlow, center, of Sundance Law Group, control a virtual-reality simulation involving Google Earth during Utah Valley University's Business and Economic Forum on Thursday, May 18, 2017, at the university's Sorensen Student Center in Orem. ISAAC HALE, Daily Herald

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Afternoon keynote speaker Merrilee Boyack, center, hugs Brandon Martin, of Mountain America Credit Union, as Haylie Bowen, of Key Bank, laughs and looks on as Boyack gives a demonstration showing the differences between greeting introverts and extroverts during Utah Valley University's Business and Economic Forum on Thursday, May 18, 2017, at the university's Sorensen Student Center in Orem. ISAAC HALE, Daily Herald

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Diana Mathis, of Central Bank, smiles as afternoon keynote speaker Merrilee Boyack speaks during Utah Valley University's Business and Economic Forum on Thursday, May 18, 2017, at the university's Sorensen Student Center in Orem. ISAAC HALE, Daily Herald

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Amy Rees, center left, of REES Captial, listens as she has a conversation with Mikki O'Connor, center right, Assistant Dean of UVU's School of Business, during Utah Valley University's Business and Economic Forum on Thursday, May 18, 2017, at the university's Sorensen Student Center in Orem. ISAAC HALE, Daily Herald

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Rona Rahlf, second from right, president and CEO of the Utah Valley Chamber of Commerce, pauses and thinks as she speaks to an attendee during Utah Valley University's Business and Economic Forum on Thursday, May 18, 2017, at the university's Sorensen Student Center in Orem. ISAAC HALE, Daily Herald

Each year the Utah Valley University Business and Economic Forum draws more and more crowds, and this year was no different.

UVU’s Grand Ballroom was filled Thursday with financial accounting and legal professionals, as well as business and economic leaders — all there to hear about the local and national business and economic climate. The daylong event was a good mix of both motivational presentations and economic information.

Hyrum W. Smith kicked off the morning with a keynote presentation based on his book, “The 3 Gaps.” He then spent the rest of the day in breakout sessions focusing on the details of the business gaps in time, values and beliefs. His presentations throughout the day were all well-attended.

“His classes were so good. I learned so much,” said one woman during the lunch break.

The afternoon keynote featured Merrilee Boyack, an estate-planning attorney and regular motivational speaker. Dealt what she called “the daunting task of keeping people awake after a nice full lunch,” she made sure her presentation was peppered with humor and interaction.

She said too many times we interact with others — customers, employees and colleagues — through the Golden Rule, or the way we want people to treat us. She felt there is a better way. Citing the Platinum Rule, she encouraged listeners to interact with others the way those other individuals prefer.

“Ask yourself what would they want most under these circumstances,” she said. “When dealing with customers or employees we need to adjust our own communication style to their style.”

While the day’s keynote speakers focused on personal and professional development, the breakout sessions looked at tax reform, estate planning, the changing local and global economic market and business funding options.

In one session, Jess Larsen of Myelin Advisors walked attendees through tools that help businesses create plans for revenue growth. In another session, Geoff Germane of Kirton McConkie walked participants through tax reform and its effect on local business.

Sophie Gilbert of Russell Investments detailed the current state of the world’s economic markets. She explained that, in light of the current political climate of the United States, uncertainty can lead to market volatility, but carrying a diverse investment portfolio is the surest response.

“Make sure you are investing for the long term, and long term is longer than eight years,” she said.

UVU honored three local business leaders at the event for their dedication to developing programs and leadership opportunities for business students at the university. The awardees were Amy Rees Anderson of Rees Capital, Orem Mayor Richard Brunst, and Jeff Sermon, CEO of Utah Community Credit Union.

UVU President Matthew Holland is normally the lunch keynote at the Business and Economic Forum, but because he is in England for the summer, UVU Dean Norman Wright took his place. Of course, Holland shared a few comments in a video made specifically for the event.

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