Nine women graduate from the 2018 Greenlee County DreamBuilder cohort facilitated by the Small Business Development Center at Eastern Arizona College.

May 22, 2018

A successful business is more than its owner and employees; it also includes the family who stands alongside. That was never more true than at the graduation ceremony for participants in the 2018 Greenlee County Dreambuilder program. Eight graduates and their families were present to celebrate the occasion and receive the certificates that mark their accomplishment.

“We’re excited to have you all here tonight,” program facilitator Charmaine Chidester told the families in attendance.

She also praised SBDC Director Kevin Peck and the Small Business Development Center for support of the Dreambuilder program that began in Greenlee County in 2016. Since its inception, the program has graduated a total of 41 students, some of whom have gone on to open businesses in Graham and Greenlee counties.

Charmaine Chidester, facilitator for the Dreambuilder program, announces the 2018 Greenlee County graduates during last week’s graduation ceremony at the Blue Door Sanctuary. The other major parties that helped bring the program to the community are the Thunderbird School of Management and Freeport-McMoRan.

Speaker Cherie Rankin, who works with social responsibility and community development for the Freeport Foundation, talked about the genesis of the Dreambuilder program, which targets women as candidates.

“We just had all these women with these skills and this passion,” she said. “We needed a training program.” Rankin also thanked Chidester and credited her passion as being the driving force behind the program’s success. To candidates, she offered her praise. “Congratulations to you all. You join 30,500 other women (across the world) who’ve completed this program.”

A custom cake formed the centerpiece for the evening’s dessert.

Freeport Senior Community Development Specialist Emily Muteb agreed, saying, “We rely on the community, and a stronger community means a stronger operation. This is a truly remarkable class because of Charmaine.”

Dinner and presentations of the certificates were followed by a dessert with a custom cake, courtesy of Graham County business Cakes with TLC.

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