WILLISTON — Veteran entrepreneur Norman Brodsky is used to speaking to large audiences, but seeing the smaller gathering before him, he stepped off the stage to speak in a more accessible fashion.

Jovial and humble, Brodsky spoke with a conviction and wisdom behind his words that secured the audience’s attention. As the keynote speaker of this year’s Level Up business conference, he filled every moment with an array of topics that left those in attendance hoping he could answer just a few more questions before the next scheduled segment.

A business writer for Inc. Magazine, Brodsky also penned an all-purpose toolkit for entrepreneurs called ‘Street Smarts.’ His experiences and perspectives building multimillion dollar companies has made him a sought after voice from young entrepreneurs, which he does pro bono.

When he was contacted by the Williston Area Chamber of Commerce, Brodsky was happy to oblige and spent the morning with area business leaders and entrepreneurs.

“How many people have lived here for longer than a month?,” Brodsky questioned as he waited to gauge the room. “How many people know every person in the room?”

He stressed the importance of pushing outside comfort zones and networking for the benefit of personal and business growth. Within the time he had been there that morning, he had made it a point to meet everyone in the room which was an eye-opening perspective for many in the audience.

“Every day I set for myself reasonably unattainable goals,” Brodsky said. “That way I’m always reaching. I may not get the star except for once every 10 or 15 years but I’m reaching.”

He touched on what ‘success’ means, building a business culture

Level Up drew many repeat faces from previous years, but for some, it was their first introduction to the conference.

This is the first year for local business owner David Van Assche, who recently expanded his company, My Business Center, to three locations in Williston, Watford City, and New Town. Looking to build upon his successes, Van Assche was impressed by the speaker’s and their business-relevant discussion.

“(Brodsky) commands the audience so well,” said Van Assche. “He puts you on guard, but not negatively. He points things in a different direction and that’s really engaging.”

Dynamic presentations included Sales Growth Specialist founder Danita Bye, Heidi Ripplinger of the Greater ND Chamber, Trainer at Williston Parks & Rec Jenn Shanahan, and KLJ, the head sponsor of the event. Scott Meske, President of Williston Area Chamber of Commerce moderated panelists, Bob Horab of McCody Concrete, David Van Assche of My Business Center, Cherie Harms of Leonardite Products, and Curtis Shuck, VP of Business Development for Red River Oilfield Services. The final panel was led by Jeff Zarling of DAWA Solutions, with panelists D.C. Lucas, Sr. Business Development Manager of Eide Bailly and Steve Kemp, Owner of ProIT.

“Danita really got you thinking about yourself,” said Janna Lutz of the Builders Association. “I really enjoyed hearing her speak.”

The presenters were well-received and the tidbits of relatable content helped gear attendees to how they might utilize those skills in their profession.

“It’s great to be able to bring high-level business topics and presenters to the Williston community,” Meske said.


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