The Elevate Olympia Small Business Conference is two days of complimentary learning open to all Thurston County businesses. Three separate tracks will help you learn how to market your business, learn about specific resources to address downtown challenges, and increase your business acumen. See the details about the tracks below. Later in the evening participants are invited to the Downtown Mixer and Keynote presentation by former Tacoma Mayor and Seattle Chamber President, Marilyn Strickland.

Educational Tracks will be held at these locations:

  • Marketing: The Heritage Room, 604 Water St SW, Olympia, WA 98501
  • Clean & Safe: The Annex, 106 5th Avenue SE, Olympia, WA 98501
  • Business Acumen: Water Street Cafe, 610 Water Street, Olympia, WA 98501

The conference is brought to you in partnership with City of Olympia. 


Monday - ​Opening Session at the Heritage Room, 8 a.m
Meet your fellow business owners, get a conference overview, and join us for coffee and pastries as we open the conference.

Educational Tracks


  • Untapped Markets - 6/11 - 9am
    • Learn from Ken Swarner from the Military Press on how to lure ready-made customers from the State JBLM.
  • Merchandising/Window Displays - 6/11 - 10am
    • Join us on Friday, May 25th at the Downtown Academy for a presentation from retail consultants Frontdoor Back on merchandising and window displays. This conference session will be a follow up to the Academy, with State of the Arts Gallery Owner Jeff Barrett presenting lessons learned from his dedicated time with Frontdoor Back
  • Branding, Storytelling, & Culture - 6/11 - 11am
    • Come hear Marisa & Lars Wulff, Co-CEO's of Mud Bay, discuss how creating an inspiring culture and telling your authentic story can catapult your business to success.
  • Downtown Imagemaking Tools-6/12 - 8am
    • Get a better understanding of the marketing tools offered to downtown businesses through a partnership between the Downtown Alliance and the PBIA from Alliance Imagemaking Coordinator Stephanie McManus.
  • Social Media Basics - 6/12 - 9am
    • Join us to get an overview of the social media tools that can boost your business.
  • Advanced Social Media & Digital Marketing - 6/12 - 10am
    • Join social media savant David Faro from the Washington Hospitality Association (and his team) to take a deeper dive into digital marketing and how social media can benefit your business.


  • Mental Health & Addiction Primer - 6/11 - 9am
    • Mandie Gardner, Phillip Miller and Tana Russell from Providence Health & Services will discuss how to identify and approach individuals challenged with mental health and addiction issues. 
  • De-Escalation Tips & Techniques - 6/11 - 10am
    • Join Oriana Noel Lewis from the Dispute Resolution Center of Thurston County to learn tools to effectively de-escalate potentially volatile interpersonal interactions that impact your business
  • Community Care Center - 6/11 - 11am
    • Join Community Care Center Manager T.J. Larocque to learn about the resources the facility offers downtown.
  • City Resources - 6/12 - 8am
    • Learn about the resources that the City employs including the Downtown Ambassadors and Clean Team,  and the Homeless Response Coordinator.
  • Public Safety Levy Implementation - 6/12 - 9am
    • Lieutenant Sam Costello will share how the recently funded public safety levy will benefit the downtown community.
  • Downtown Alliance Clean, Safe, & Vibrant Programs- 6/12 - 10am
    • Downtown Alliance Executive Director Todd Cutts will discuss how Downtown stakeholders can engage in programs offered by the Alliance. Examples include an emergency alerts platform, sidewalk pressure washing, and the Downtown Safety Team.
  • Business Acumen

  • Business Systems - 6/11 - 9am
    • Small businesses owners are plagued with too much to do and not enough time!  Small Business Advisor Daryl Murrow will discuss how to put effective systems in place that make efficient use of your limited time.
  • Access to Capital - 6/11 - 10am
    • Join Ken Pekola from Olympia Federal Savings and Oliver Scott from the National Development Council to explore the ins and outs of different options for businesses looking to access capital. 
  • 5 Pillars of Successful Business Planning - 6/11 - 11am
    • Christine Buckley from the Washington Center for Women in Business will discuss the nuts and bolts of business and financially planning.
  • Employee Management - 6/12 - 8am
    • Learn how to effectively manage your most precious resource, your people! Tammie Hetrick, Chief Operating Officer of the Washington Retail Association, will share her knowledge and experiences.
  • Downtown Strategy Implementation - 6/11 - 9am
    • City of Olympia Downtown Programs Manager Amy Buckler will update attendees about steps taken to implement the City’s Downtown Strategy.
  • Site Selection - 6/12 - 10am
    • City of Olympia Economic Development Director Mike Reid will lead the group on a walking tour of available real estate in the Downtown core.

Evening Program 

Later in the day participants can stop by the local convention area to visit booths and learn about services that can help them with daily business. 

At 5:00 p.m. participants can attend the Downtown Mixer for appetizers, a no-host bar and networking with other downtown businesses. And, stay to hear former Tacoma Mayor and Seattle Chamber President and CEO, Marilyn Strickland, talk about her experiences in Tacoma and revitalization efforts in downtown Olympia.