Get Down to Business Oakley Conference

Past Event Tags: Chamber of Commerce, Conference, Get Down to Business, and Sallie Goetsch.

Get Down to Business Oakley October 3, 2013

The Oakley Chamber of Commerce and the City of Oakley hosted the first “Get Down to Business Oakley” conference on October 3rd, 2013 in the City Council Chambers and the banquet room of the Black Bear Diner. Attendance was modest, but all the presenters did a great job, and everyone there learned a lot and made new connections.

If you attended and have suggestions for next year’s conference, please contact the Oakley Chamber.

Special thanks to our generous sponsors, Les SchwabOakley Disposal and Travis Credit Union, and to Charleen Earley of Delta Living Magazine for the use of her projector and screen.

Conference Session Topics

Conference sessions ran concurrently, one presenter in the City Council Chambers and one in the Black Bear Diner banquet room.

Session 1

Panel: What I Wish I’d Known before Starting My Business

Local business owners Laura Cunha of Stonecrest Lending, Melissa Mitchell of Mey’s Marvels, and attorney Silky Sahnan pass on the things they wish someone had told them about starting and running a business.

Building Equity in Your Business (Ken Graunstadt)

The secret to profitability and sustainability (not to mention an exit strategy that leaves you ahead) is building equity in your business. One of Oakley’s most successful business owners shows you how.

Session 2

Licenses, Permits, and Zoning, Oh My (Joshua McMurray)

Find out what documents new business owners need to file with the city, the county, the state, and the federal government—and what you can and can’t do with a business in Oakley.

Business Insurance (Mark Murray)

State Farm agent Mark Murray explains the kinds of coverage different business owners need, from General Liability to Errors and Omissions to Worker’s Compensation.

Session 3

Choosing a Business Entity (Susan Morgan)

Sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, or LLC—which form should your business take? Susan Morgan explains the trade-offs between protecting your assets and minimizing complexity.

Financing Your Business (Titi Ikhile)

Titi Ikhile of the Contra Costa SBDC explains sources of funding and financing available to small businesses, from traditional bank loans to crowdfunding efforts like Kickstarter.

Session 4

Small Business Tax Strategies (Margorie Baker)

Establishing a business means new tax liabilities—and deductions, too. Margorie Baker of Tax Specialty Services walks you through the maze of EINs, self-employment tax, payroll tax, and corporate taxes.

Panel: Face-to-face Networking in the Digital Age

Representatives of BNIDelta Networking PartnersDelta Divas, and the Oakley Chamber of Commerce explain how joining in-person networking and referral groups can benefit your business and bring in clients.

Session 5

Roundtable: Advertising and Marketing for the 21st Century

Greg Robinson and Michele Chatburn from the Oakley Press and Robbie Simmonds from the East County Times facilitate a group discussion about available advertising and marketing options and what’s working for local business owners.

Get Smart about Social Media, SEO, and Snake Oil Salesmen (Sallie Goetsch)

Confused by all those phone calls you get promising to put your business on the front page of Google? Baffled by the profusion of social networks? Find out how to avoid the scams and make the best use of your online time.

About the Presenters

Margorie Baker

Margorie L. Baker is a local tax preparer at Tax Specialty Service in Oakley. She is the only lifetime member of the Oakley Chamber of Commerce.

Michele Chatburn

Michele Chatburn is social media manager for the Brentwood Press and Publishing Corporation. She has created an effective approach to building an online presence that incorporates SEO, social media and branding strategies for many small business owners who had no idea how to move from traditional marketing to online marketing.

Laura Cunha

Laura Cunha is a longtime local resident.  She opened Stonecrest Lending in 2008 after numerous years of processing and compliance in the mortgage industry. Laura prides herself and staff on honesty and integrity every step of the way to  make home buying a comfortable and wise decision.

Melissa Donald

Melissa Donald has been involved in BNI as a member for 8 years, a Director Consultant  for 6 years and an Area Director Consultant for 2 years.  Thanks to BNI, Melissa has been able to grow her business, LDI Growth Partners, into a successful company that does business only by personal referral.

Deb Dutcher

Deb Dutcher, the co-founder of Delta Divas Networking, is the owner and principal consultant for Energy Unlimited, a nutrition consulting practice based in Brentwood.  Deb has spent the past twelve years helping people “Be Lean and Strong at Any Age”.  At 61, she embodies energy and vitality and shows us it is possible to have optimal health no matter our age.

Cecelia Fritzler

As the Economic Development Coordinator for the City of Oakley, Cecelia combines her passion for public service and business.  In addition to serving as the City Liaison for the Oakley Chamber of Commerce, Cecelia is a member of the East Bay Economic Development Alliance, California Association for Local Economic Development, Workforce Development Board, and is a board member for the Municipal Management Association of Northern California.

Sallie Goetsch

Sallie Goetsch (rhymes with ‘sketch’) has been online since 1985 and is an early adopter of social media. Her company, WP Fangirl, builds WordPress websites for small businesses and non-profit organizations. Sallie is organizer of the East Bay WordPress Meetup and the 2013 president of the Oakley Chamber of Commerce.

Ken Graunstadt

Ken Graunstadt is owner of Graunstadt Enterprises, which includes G.E. Sales & Rental and Delta Scrap & Salvage.  He has been in business for 44 years and helped start numerous businesses. Ken has been involved with teaching “Starting & Growing with Business” and has supported the Oakley Community for many years.

Titi Ikhile

Titi Ikhile has been working in the small business lending and coaching field for almost 10 years.   In addition to her role as a SBDC (Small Business Development Center) advisor, she is also the Principal at 4Sight Consulting. Her education background includes Finance & Entrepreneurship degree from USC and a Masters Certificate in Business Analysis from Villanova University.

Joshua McMurray

Josh became a member of the City of Oakley in September of 2008. He has worked on the Downtown Redevelopment Project, the City Gateway and Directional Signage Program, the Residential and Commercial/Industrial Citywide Rezone Project, the City Sign Ordinance, and 2007-2014 General Plan Housing Element update.  Josh is also the City’s Housing expert, and the City’s AB 939 Program Manager, dealing with solid waste and recycling programs.

Melissa Mitchell

Melissa Mitchell owns Mey’s Marvels, which is a homemade custom decorated cookie business. She started baking a few years ago for family and friends, and decided to turn her hobby into a business. Check out her work at

Susan Morgan

Susan Morgan is both an entrepreneur and a business attorney.  She successfully founded and ran a software company, then worked as a corporate and securities attorney at a large Silicon Valley law firm, and currently runs her own solo-practice law firm, Morgan Legal Services, focusing on business services for entrepreneurs and early-stage private companies.

Mark Murray

State Farm agent Mark Murray is a long-time East County resident who has served Oakley for more than 10 years. His practice focuses on retirement planning and small businesses. Mark is current president of the Delta Dawgs baseball club and a past president of the Dolphin Swim Club in Brentwood. His company’s mission is  to help people manage the risks of everyday life, recover from the unexpected and realize their dreams.

Greg Robinson

Greg Robinson has 21+ years of professional sales, marketing and management experience at the executive level. He has been in the newspaper business for the past 14 years where he manages the weekly sales, production and distribution of The Brentwood, Antioch, Oakley and Discovery Bay Press newspapers as well as numerous other publications.

Silky Sahnan

Silky Sahnan is a Family Law attorney assisting clients with divorce, child custody, child support, spousal support, and domestic violence matters. Ms. Sahnan is a courtroom litigator and a mediator. The Law Offices of Silky Sahnan are located in Brentwood and can be reached at 925-276-0789.

Robbie Simmonds

Robbie Simmonds has spent more than 35 years in the newspaper business. As the East County Times Multi Media Representative in the East County Market, she works with local businesses to align their advertising message with print, digital and social media.

Ken Strelo

Ken Strelo became a member of the City of Oakley in August of 2006. He started his career in planning in 1998. For Oakley, Ken has been involved in the River Oaks Crossing Specific Plan, Downtown Specific Plan, East Cypress Corridor Specific Plan, Diamond Hills Sports Club, and implementation of AB 32 and SB 375 in relation to Greenhouse Gas inventories. One of Ken’s current advanced planning projects is Oakley’s Agricultural Conservation and Viticulture Program.

Daniel Torres

Dan Torres is an agent with New York Life Insurance Company, a registered representative with NYLIFE Securities LLC, and helps his clients plan life insurance, investments, and retirement. Now in his fifth year in practice, Dan was recently appointed to the 2013 New York Life Executive Council. He is representing Delta Networking Partners.


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