Mennonite Entrepreneurs Conference 2017

Mennonite-Entrepreneurs-ConferenceA unique weekend of challenge and reflection

February 9-12, 2017
The Hyatt Regency Sarasota, Sarasota, Florida

Sponsored by  Everence logo

As a Christian business owner, you have unique concerns:
•    You want to integrate your faith with your business decisions.
•    You want to excel in your industry.
•    You want to maintain work-life balance.
•    You’re eager to connect with others in a similar situation.

The Mennonite Entrepreneurs Conference is designed especially for you. Join us for a long weekend of inspiration, networking, and refreshment.

Leadership Development for Effective Transitions

Keynote Speaker

Brian Black, Partner & Senior Consultant
North Group Consultants

2017 Brian BlackAs a Partner and Senior Consultant with North Group Consultants, Brian brings deep experience with family businesses through his most recent law practice at Gibbel Kraybill & Hess, LLP, where he served as a Partner for seven years. While he doesn’t practice law with North Group, his history of estate planning and family business succession planning, including values-based planning in the context of families and family-owned businesses, enriches his consulting.

At Franklin and Marshall College he earned a B.A. in both Chemistry and English, and received his J.D. at Villanova University School of Law. He first practiced law at Hartman Underhill & Brubaker, LLP, then as a Partner in the law firm James Clark & Black.  Brian also served more than four years as Vice President of Resident Support and Resource Development at Brethren Village, a continuing care retirement community, where he focused on operational and strategic initiatives, management team development and fundraising. Currently, he serves on the Board of Directors of Lititz Mutual Insurance Company and related companies, and has extensive experience on nonprofit and church-related boards.

Brian's late wife, Laurie, passed away in 2015 after a courageous battle with cancer.  They have four children - Aaron, Daniel, Amanda and Adam.  Brian is now entering a new season of life with his marriage to Edvige Sardi on November 26, 2016.

Brian is an avid reader, bicyclist, swimmer and runner.

Business Leader Presenter

2017 Galen LehmanGalen Lehman (pictured on the right with Jay Lehman, his father), from Kidron Ohio, is the 2nd generation owner and CEO at Lehman's. This multi-channel retailer serves customers who yearn "For A Simpler Life" of satisfaction, fulfillment and preparedness ( 

Under his leadership, Lehman's added its one-millionth customer and annual sales grew by nearly three times. Their retail store, built from reconstructed barns and log cabins dating to the early 1800's, stretches across a quarter mile. Lehman's website supplies more than 6,000 products to folks in every state and nearly 200 countries, including a butter churn, cider press, grain mill and oil lamps Galen designed.

Galen specializes in business strategy, leadership development and generational succession, and has served on both non-profit and for profit boards. He and his wife, Sherri, have been married 35 years and enjoy gardening and biking. Their daughter, Lindsay, is an intervention specialist at Cloverleaf Schools and son, Matthew, is Director of Development at Mennonite Mission Network.

Sunday Morning Speaker

2016 Jim Miller resizedJim Miller is president and CEO of JMX Brands, an e-commerce company that he co-founded in 2003. JMX owns several brands, including DutchCrafters, the leading internet retailer of Amish furniture. JMX is an Inc 5000 company and recognized by Internet Retailer as one of the top 1000 internet retailers in America.

Jim was associate pastor at Bahia Vista Mennonite Church in Sarasota, FL from 1993-98.  Recently, Miller served as pastor at Covenant Mennonite Fellowship, a small congregation in Sarasota, FL, from 2012-14.

Jim has degrees from Goshen College and the University of South Florida and has studied at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary, Eastern Mennonite University, and Bethel Theological Seminary. He serves on the MEDA Board of Directors.

Conference Schedule

A Pre-Conference Workshop on Family Philanthropy will be held on Wednesday, February 8 from 8:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Click here for more information and to register!


Thursday, February 9, 2017  
3:30 - 4:00 p.m. Registration - The Keys
4:00 - 4:30 p.m. Opening Session with Introductions
4:30 – 5:30 p.m. Session with Brian Black
6:30 – 8:00 p.m. Dinner - Tropics
Friday, February 10, 2017  
  Breakfast – on your own
8:30 - 10:00 a.m. Morning Session with Brian Black - The Keys
10:00 – 10:30 a.m. Coffee Break
10:30 – 11:30 a.m. Session with Brian Black, continued
11:30 – 12:00 p.m. MEDA Update
12:00 - 1:30 p.m. Lunch - Palm Terrace
  Afternoon Free time
6:45 p.m. til ?

Leave for Dinner at Local Restaurants (meet in Hotel Lobby)
   Reservations for 7:00 p.m.
Saturday, February 11, 2017  
  Breakfast – on your own
8:30 - 10:00 a.m. Morning Session with Brian Black - The Keys
10:00 – 10:30 a.m. Coffee Break
10:30 – 11:30 a.m. Morning Session with Brian Black, continued
11:30 – 12:00 p.m. Closing Announcements
  Lunch – on your own
  Afternoon Free time/Golf arranged for those interested (sign up on the registration form)
7:00 – 9:00 p.m.

Dinner and Program - Tropics
Business Leader Presentation with Galen Lehman
Sunday, February 12, 2017  
  Breakfast – on your own
9:00 a.m. Worship Service with Jim Miller - The Keys
10:30 a.m. Conclusion of conference


The Hyatt Regency Sarasota

The 2017 Mennonite Entrepreneurs Conference will be held at The Hyatt Regency Sarasota, 1000 Boulevard of the Arts, Sarasota, Florida. Experience this resort-style hotel in Sarasota, FL just minutes from the spectacular white-sand beaches of the Gulf of Mexico. With a dramatic bayside setting and modern amenities, this eco-friendly hotel introduces you to the very best that Florida has to offer, from natural wonders to unique culinary surprises and cultural discoveries. You’ll find the perfect blend of a beautiful waterfront setting, welcoming service and the comforts of home at Hyatt Regency Sarasota.

The 2017 Conference rates are:

  • single/double accommodations, $239.00

All reservations must be made by January 16, 2017. Group rates are available 3 days pre- and post-conference dates based on availability.

The booking link below will take you directly to the hotel's online reservation system, allowing you to book rooms for the dates of our event at the discounted group rate. Always available as a second option is their reservations desk, reachable at 941-953-1234. When calling, please be sure to mention the Mennonite Entrepreneurs Conference.

Reserve your room online here.

Conference Registration

The conference cost includes the cost of sessions, materials, handouts, Thursday dinner, Friday lunch, and Saturday night’s banquet. Greens fees are an additional cost.

$449 USD - Early Bird/First-timer rate
$499 USD - Regular rate after January 16, 2017

Click here to register online.

The Mennonite Entrepreneurs Conference is organized under the umbrella of Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA).