99.9999% of the time I agree wholeheartedly with the maxim ‘You get what you pay for.’ Cheap shoes don’t last. Fast food will feed, but never delight. And an education you don’t pay for usually comes with a hard sell pitch for some kind of highly caveated proprietary system that ‘will pay for itself ALMOST immediately.’
But occasionally the maxim is proven 100% wrong; and Madison is home to a great example of the exception that proves the rule. American Family’s DreamBank.
DreamBank, at the corner of Pinckney and East Washington, across the street from the capitol.
If you’re like me, you’ve probably walked past the pale-stone building at the corner of Pinckney and East Washington and asked yourself ‘I wonder what that’s all about?’ then kept on walking (don’t want to mess with the circular flow of the Farmer’s Market, after all).
But then, on the recommendation of a friend, I checked out one of their FREE presentations—and was promptly hooked. ‘Free’ can either mean ‘no cost = no quality’ or ‘something openly shared with no expectation of return.’ DreamBank enthusiastically embraces the latter definition, and wants to help anyone with any kind of dream to achieve it. And there’s only one way to prove it.
Step one: Attend a DreamBank event.
After meeting with Chris Rudolph, DreamBank’s Business Accelerator Program Director, for a primer on all things DreamBank, I attended a presentation entitled SMALL BIZ: Start Attracting Business, Stop Chasing It with Neil Mathweg. Now if you’ve ever met or heard Neil, you know he’s a whirlwind of ideas and energy. And the man brought all that passion and shared it to an audience of I’m guessing around 30 people. I left there with my head spinning—and with a list of immediately actionable ideas. And the cost for that master class on marketing: $0.
DreamBank is part venue, launchpad, MBA program, and ‘you can do it’ soccer Mom.
I work in marketing, and have for nearly 25 years. I know why American Family is doing this. Corporate good will and all that—and I could not approve more. A natural cynic at heart, I check that cynicism at the door every time I attend a DreamBank event. Chris and his team carefully curate their programs for quality and relevance. No monetary transactions of any kind are allowed between the speakers and their audiences (you can’t even buy their books after the talk!). But something far more valuable is transacted at each and every DreamBank event: real connection; to new people, new ideas, new energy and inspiration, and much more. By attending events there, I feel like I’m getting a free education, and earning a real-world MBiA (Masters of Business in Actuality) degree.
Eclectic offerings? I’ll say.
Just look at any week on their packed program schedule. From Feng Shui to Facebook Lead Generation, there is literally something for everyone. Pro Tip: Chris tells me the lunchtime Yoga fills up super fast, so get there early.
Who’s DreamBank for? Anyone with a dream.
Who can get something out of a trip to DreamBank? The better question is ‘who can’t.’ I’ve met retirees, solo-entrepreneurs, small (and not-s0-small) business owners, students of all ages, at-home Moms and Dads with strollers and a blog—you name it. Each comes to DreamBank for their own reasons, but we all leave with the same thing: a personal battery recharged with inspiration, energy, and a heaping helping of “Yes, I can.”
Full disclosure: I love this place.
And I’ll be speaking there in July, because the DreamBank idea is infectious. Open up, share what you know best, and make connections based on positive energy. Try it once, and you’ll be hooked. I know I am.
– D.P. Knudten > Chief Collaborator > COLLABORATOR creative
©2017 D.P. Knudten / COLLABORATOR creative – all rights reserved
D.P. Knudten, the Chief Collaborator at COLLABORATOR creative, is a ~25-year veteran in advertising and marketing. Providing everything from freelance copywriting; content marketing strategy, creation, execution; and his NonFiction Branding™ system, D.P. collaborates creatively to identify, craft, and tell the true brand stories of complicated products, services, and companies throughout the United States.