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Summit is designed for military veterans who want to find and close government contracts, grow their businesses and leverage the resources available to them.

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Welcoming Remarks: From Enlisted to Entrepreneur

Veterans are more likely to become business owners, but they are less likely to receive the resources needed to start or grow their businesses, according to recent SBA and SCORE data. Join Brenda Dilts of Next Step, LLC and Project Opportunity in this half-day summit as we discuss how to land new business, build profitable relationships, navigate the process for government contracting certification, find and close state and federal contracts, and leverage funding and resources only available to veterans.

Speaker: Brenda Dilts, Senior Master Sergeant (ret.), U.S. Air Force, Business & Leadership Development, Next Step, LLC and Project Opportunity

1:00 – 1:15 pm

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Secrets of Selling to the Government

The U.S. Government may be the largest customer in the world, but that opportunity comes with many challenges. Don’t worry. Thomas Ellis will show just how to break into the market using many of his principles from his newest book, “B.U.D. Better, Unique, & Desirable: The Sales Process That Gets Results.”

Speaker: Thomas Ellis, Founder, EWC Consultants

1:15 – 2:00 pm

2:00 – 2:15 pm BREAK

Federal Contracting: Practical approaches from one veteran to another

Before and following her service in the U.S. Marine Corps, Laurie Sayles knew she wanted to start her own business and become an entrepreneur. Ultimately, she leveraged her experience in the military, private sector, and government contracting. After consistent marketing and small wins in government contracting over 4.5 years, it took the SBA 8(a) program to catapult Civility Management Solutions (CivilityMS) in managing multi-million-dollar contracts. Today, CivilityMS contracts with local, state, and federal agencies and has been honored to win several awards, to include being named 2019 Maryland Women Veteran Entrepreneur of the Year. In this eye-opening session, you will get practical strategies to build and grow

a successful business … lessons learned when pursuing and acquiring contracts … and proven methods to access valuable resources to help you grow.

Speaker: Laurie Sayles, U.S. Marine Corps, President & CEO, Civility Management Solutions, LLC

2:15 – 3:00 pm

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3:00 – 3:15 pm BREAK

Panel Discussion: Answers to your toughest challenges

Join us for a lively, interactive discussion with our panelists as they address the toughest challenges for veteran-owned businesses including how to: Build your network … Find state and federal contracts that are right for your business … Build value in your proposals without sacrificing profit … Create strategic partnerships … and much more.


Brenda Dilts, (moderator) Business & Leadership Development, Next Step, LLC and Project Opportunity

Toni Tomlin, Strategic Workforce Planner, Federal Aviation Administration & Founder/Owner, Faith2Felicity

Thomas Ellis, Founder, EWC Consultants

Laurie Sayles, President & CEO, Civility Management Solutions, LLC

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3:15 – 4:00 pm

Brenda Dilts (moderator)


Toni Tomlin