GCC's fifth annual Creativity Conference is Feb. 28: 'Creativity in the Entrepreneurial Zone'

Feb 9, 2018

Genesee Community College is excited to share the details of the fifth annual Creativity Conference: Creativity in the Entrepreneurial Zone taking place Wednesday, Feb. 28 at the Batavia Campus. Do you have a hobby or passion? Ever consider turning it into your own business? Then you won't want to miss this conference!

"So many people in the world dream of being their own boss. What they don't see is just how realistic that opportunity is!" Lina LaMattina, Ph.D., director of GCC's Business Programs. "This year, every piece of the creativity conference has been carefully aligned to inspire those creative business ideas and show participants just how far their entrepreneurial aspirations can take them."

The Creativity Conference will open for participants to check in at 8:15 a.m. in the Conable Technology Building lobby. The conference cost is $49 per person. For GCC students, faculty or staff, the conference cost is $25 per person. Registration includes a continental breakfast and delicious lunch.

Seating is limited, so register today at www.genesee.edu/best under "View our classes now!"

At 9 a.m. the conference will begin with keynote speaker, Erica Swiatek. She will address the link between creativity and entrepreneurship. Swiatek has made her living doing just that as one of the founders of Innovate Faster, a training, consulting and facilitation company based in Buffalo. Innovate Faster offers training courses on the creative process, enhancing teamwork, managing change, customer service and much more. Details on Innovate Faster are available at www.innovatefaster.com.

Swiatek's own creative thinking and ideas have come to fruition in her business, 3600 Escape, a company located in Buffalo that hosts groups in one of two specially dedicated Escape Rooms. Participants select either the "Conspiracy Theory" or the "Mineshaft" room and then are locked inside!

They have to work as a team to find and put together clues to escape the room -- and they only have 3,600 seconds to do it! Swiatek has now taken this concept on the road allowing her to perform the escape room experience for companies and corporate events on their premises through a package of creative characters, clever clues and utilizing the participant's own spaces.

The escape room experience can be done just for fun, or as a real-life learning tool. Swiatek's post-experience debrief session breaks down the steps and actions taken by individual participants during the exercise to help them understand the personality traits that they draw from while working to solve a problem.

Learning about one's strengths and tendencies is a powerful way to unite a team, helping them to understand each other better and to work together more efficiently. More information is available at www.3600escape.com.

Swiatek earned her master's degree in Creative Studies and is currently an adjunct professor at Buffalo State College. At both Innovate Faster and 3600 Escape, Swiatek blends her expertise in the fields of innovation, learning and development to design activities, courses, programs and experiences to facilitate innovation, professional development, change management and teambuilding.

Certified in Myers-Briggs, DiSC and FourSight assessments, Swiatek draws on these tools to help participants problem solve, communicate and understand each other better.

From 10 a.m. to 12:45 p.m., Swiatek's will host a special escape room experience right here at GCC! Participants will work in small groups to look for clues, propose hypothesis and race against other teams to solve the problem first.

At the end of the session, Swiatek will breakdown the skills and tools used by each personality type to help participants better understand their individual problem solving strengths. Anyone registered for the conference can sign up for this special breakout session which costs an additional $15 per person and is limited to 30 participants, so sign up quick! 

For those not attending Swiatek's escape room experience, there will be nine unique and inspiring breakout sessions featuring entrepreneurial leaders from our region to share stories of their own startups, answer audience questions, and inspire the next generation of great new ideas.

Conference participants will be able to select three of these sessions to attend. Each session will be offered at 10 a.m., 11 a.m. and noon.

Among the breakout sessions will be:

  • Rashaad Santiago, special effect/ makeup artist, Face Off-Season 6 Winner (2014)
  • Sue Fuller, owner of Della's Chocolates in Medina
  • Trace George, owner of VSP Graphic Group in Buffalo, (the official graphic company for the Buffalo Bills) and GCC Alum
  • Shawn Ramsey, owner of Canalside Tattoos in Medina
  • Maureen Spindler, owner of The Village Photographer in Hilton and GCC's own visual communications specialist/photographer

Additional sessions will be available and session schedules are subject to change.

At 12:45 p.m., everyone will come together for a sit-down lunch, provided by American Creative Dining, served in the centrally located William H. Stuart Forum.

After lunch, the team from Startup Genesee will conduct a powerful wrap-up session for all conference attendees with giveaways and a very exciting announcement sure to help take entrepreneurial ideas to the next level!

The Creativity in the Entrepreneurial Zone conference, presented by GCC, is made possible through partnership with the Startup Genesee Committee and the Ain Center at the University of Rochester's ongoing support for the "Year of Entrepreneurship" series.

Behind every great business is a great idea! Let GCC be a resource for your idea and your path to success! GCC offers both an associate degree and a Certificate program on Entrepreneurship. Check out the options at https://www.genesee.edu/academics/programs/business/entrepreneurship/.

By Billie Owens, The Batavian

Category: Education