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As we look to a new year, the Gothenburg Chamber of Commerce and Sun Theatre are preparing to launch a new partnership program. The noon hour Power Lunches will be designed to inspire and motivate and provide opportunities to network together as a business community.

The idea for Power Lunches is one that Chamber Executive Director Deb Egenberger has been toying with for a few months. “This is a total collaboration between the Chamber and the Theatre,” she said.

“It will be a TED Talks style program but we want it to be a very relaxed atmosphere,” Egenberger explained. “If you’re not there at noon you’re not going to miss anything - it’s a relaxed entry. By about 12:15 or 12:20 when we feel like everyone has gathered we will have the speaker, and the speaker will be 20-25 minutes so it won’t be a whole lunchtime thing.”

Egenberger said the big screen and sound system at the theatre will be utilized during the program creating that TED Talk feel. The presentations will cover a wide variety of topics, and there will be interaction time at the end. “It’s also a relaxed exit, so it’s not just over at 1:00 and then you have to rush back to work,” she said. “We might be done at 12:40 or 12:50, you don’t have to rush to get there or rush to get back. We want it to be a very relaxed atmosphere where you can come and learn and be motivated.”

The Chamber did at one time offer Lunch & Learn programs, but Egenberger said they had gotten away from that due to low attendance the year before she came on board. “We feel like we have gotten to a point where people are seeking knowledge again, and seeking motivation and uplifting. This is a whole different thing than Lunch & Learn - but you are going to lunch and you are going to learn,” she laughed.

The programs, which kick off Jan. 13, will be offered both in-person and virtually. “If you are coming to the in-person at the theatre and you want lunch, we ask that you would let us know ahead of time by calling 537-3505 no later than the Friday before,” said Egenberger. Both the lunch and the program are being covered by local sponsors. The lunches are being provided by Hogz Brew.

There is no cost to attend the Power Lunch programs. “We’re trying to take away the barriers, the things that keep people from coming,” Egenberger explained. “You don’t have to RSVP unless you want lunch provided. And those who wish to attend virtually will need to contact us for a Zoom link.” The link can be requested by calling 537-3505 or emailing

The program is designed for business people, but is open to everyone and the variety of speakers and topics will appeal to a wide array of individuals. The programs for the 2021 year have all been lined up, and sponsors are in place for the year.

Power Lunches will be held the second Wednesday of every month at the Sun Theatre. “All but one of our speakers is absolutely local. Sean Sabin is our kick-off, and I cannot wait to hear him talk. He is nervous as all get out, but he’s going to knock it out of the park. But we wanted to start this with a really fabulous story and a really great presentation,” Egenberger said.

The one program that does not feature a local speaker will be coming in March and will be totally virtual with a speaker who has written several books, has podcasts and does quite a bit of public speaking. Other features include a social media panel, and a couple of different ag speakers at different times of the year. The goal is to reach a wide variety of people.

“The sponsors were very excited about this. We didn’t have to try very hard to get sponsors, and none of the speakers that we asked said no. So we figure it must have been a decent idea,” Egenberger laughed.

Egenberger explained that she understands that not everyone is comfortable with the idea of coming together quite yet, even with all of the room to spread out and distance from one another that the theatre offers. “That is why it morphed into a hybrid thing, that’s the way our future is going,” she said.

The speakers and topics for each month throughout 2021 are as follows:

January 13 - “Bankrupt to Breakthrough” by Sean Sabin — A story of personal and professional growth. If he can do it, you can too.

Sponsors: Gothenburg Leader & Sabin Motor Company

February 10 - “Owning Your Value” by Mark Watje — Get a grip on why you do what you do and learn how to increase your value.

Sponsor: City of Gothenburg

March 10 - “What Are You Made Of?” by Mike ‘C-Roc” Ciorrocco — Explore your path to success with this nationally known virtual speaker.

Sponsors: Flatwater Bank and Sabin Motor Company

April 14 - “Healthy Lunch Habits” by Mary Lou Block — Simple choices you make today can become life-changing habits tomorrow.

Sponsor: Gothenburg Health

May 12 - “Increase Social Power” by multiple panelists — Learn to become more effective and build your customer base online.

Sponsor: Gothenburg Realty

June 9 - “Great Expectations” by Andy Jobman — Agriculture is an industry filled with optimists.

Sponsor: Flatwater Bank

July 14 - “Relax & Revive” by Jennifer Cross-Barrett — Find natural ways to deal with the stresses of everyday life.

Sponsor: 1st State Bank

August 11 - “Keep Juggling” by Elissa Martin — It’s not easy to keep all of life’s balls in the air. Time management tricks can help.

Sponsor: Pinpoint

September 8 - “A Season of Growth” by Jake Fairley — It’s almost time to reap what you’ve sown. Get the outlook for harvest 2021.

Sponsors: Country Partners Cooperative and Flatwater Bank

October 13 - “Take a Shot at Success” by Todd Roe — Father and son follow a dream and build a profitable whiskey business.

Sponsor: Gothenburg McDonalds

November 10 - “Holistic Healing” by Dr. Austin Fletcher — There are lots of natural ways to keep your body and your mind healthy.

Sponsor: 1st State Bank

December 8 - “Life Can Be Puzzling” by Jill Boyd — The pieces will all fit together eventually.

Sponsors: Gothenburg Leader & Dee’s Floral & Gifts.

Contact Ellen Mortensen at or call 308.537.9498