Mennonite-Entrepreneurs-ConferenceA unique weekend of challenge and reflection

January 28 –  31, 2016
The Resort at Longboat Key Club, Sarasota, Florida

As a Christian business owner, you have many opportunities and challenges:
•    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, information and fun.

The Value of Personal and Organizational Vulnerability

Vulnerability is simply defined as uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure. Business, by definition, is uncertain and requires a tolerance for risk and vulnerability if we are going to develop innovative and adaptive cultures. As a result, vulnerability can be a gift to our leadership roles, and is in fact necessary for people to lead authentically.

To do so requires that we have compassion for ourselves and a willingness to let go of who we think we should be and relax into who we are. But being vulnerable requires the courage to seek out and understand reality and to acknowledge our imperfections, things that threaten both individuals and organizations.

Jim Smucker will use group exercises, tools, and mutual sharing of best practices to help each of us learn to lead more authentically and ultimately develop higher performing organizations in this weekend of challenge and reflection.

Keynote Speaker

2016 Jim Smucker resizedJim Smucker is vice president and dean of the Graduate and Professional School at Eastern Mennonite University, Harrisonburg, VA. Prior to this appointment in 2013, Jim served for 25 years as president and a partner in the Bird-in-Hand Corporation, a hospitality management company that employs 400 people in the Lancaster, PA area. He holds a Ph.D. in Management (specializing in leadership and organizational change). His research interests include self-direction and empowerment in the workplace, hiring and developing authentic leaders, and the contribution of the Believer’s Church to governance and leadership models. 

He is past chair of the Lancaster Chamber of Commerce, a member of a number of for-profit and non-profit boards, and coached high school basketball and baseball for over 14 years. In his spare time he enjoys reading and training for and running ultra-marathons. He lives in Harrisonburg, VA with his wife, Anna, and has three adult children – Jordon, Rachel and Kate. He attends Community Mennonite Church.





Business Leader Presenters

2016 Jay and Rhoda Oberholtzer resizedJay and Rhoda Oberholtzer will share their faith and business journey on Saturday evening. Jay grew up on a farm in Manheim, PA with seven siblings. Rhoda was raised in a business family of 12 children where they learned the joys of working together. After Jay and Rhoda were married in a double ceremony with Rhoda’s twin sister and her husband, Jay joined the Stauffer family business. When Rhoda’s father died, Jay formed a partnership with the oldest son of the Stauffer family in a lease/purchase of the Stauffers of Kissel Hill business, which later included three additional Stauffer brothers. As the business expanded, the positions Jay held included HR director, office manager, HR supervisor, treasurer and president. Rhoda was involved in the business as buyer in the trims department. She developed the arts and floral division and managed the floral manufacturing division.

Jay served on the boards of Commonwealth, Mellon and Fulton Banks, Philhaven Hospital, Camp Hebron and Lancaster Mennonite Conference. He is a member of American Management Association. Rhoda served on the boards of Sovereign Bank, MEDA, Eastern Mennonite Missions, and on Lancaster Conference committees. She also played in summer theatre and the Hazel’s People movie and presented “Scripture in Floral Design” programs in churches in the United States, Canada and a few foreign countries.

Jay and Rhoda attend Lititz Mennonite Church, where Jay was ordained as deacon and has served as spiritual director, and Rhoda as Sunday superintendent and teacher, and created floral designs for the church.

They have been married for 62 years and appreciate their family of three married sons, four grandchildren and three great grandchildren. They both enjoy traveling, skiing, motorcycle riding and golfing.

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 1,000 internet retailers in America.

Jim was associate pastor at Bahia Vista Mennonite Church in Sarasota, FL from 1993-98. Recently, he 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.






The Resort at Longboat Key Club

The 2016 Mennonite Entrepreneurs Conference will be held at The Resort at Longboat Key Club. Secluded on a barrier island in the Gulf of Mexico, The Resort at Longboat Key Club is a AAA Four-Diamond Sarasota resort that encompasses 410 acres of lush lawns and pristine beachfront with authentic Old Florida boardwalks. The environmentally-friendly resort is an official Florida "Green Lodging" and just a short drive from the upscale shopping, museums and theaters in downtown Sarasota.

The 2016 Conference rates are:

  • Junior Suite Lagoon or Golf Course View, $294.00
  • Junior Suite Beach View, $344.00

All reservations must be made by January 7, 2016. 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 800-237-8821. 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 7, 2016

Click here to register online.

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