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The Buffalo Niagara Partnership is launching a new event to give business owners a chance to network with prospective customers and pick up some advice from national consultants.

The non-profit organization's Buffalo Niagara Business Expo is scheduled for Thursday at the Adam's Mark Buffalo. Speakers include James Taylor, former head of marketing for Gateway Computer, Jean Chatzky, editor-at-large for Money magazine, Stedman Graham, an author and corporate development consultant, and former U.S. Rep. Bill Paxon.

The Partnership believes the event will be one of the region's largest business expos this year, with exhibits on display from about 130 companies. The event will run from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. and include a buffet lunch. Speakers are scheduled at various times during the day. Admission is $25, which includes lunch.

Graham is chief executive officer of Stedman Graham and Partners, a New York City-based integrated marketing firm. His clients include Merrill Lynch, Johnson and Johnson, J.C. Penney and Pizza Hut.

He is also the author of the book "You Can Make it Happen: A Nine-Step Plan for Success," which was a New York Times best-seller.

"The focus will be on business. I'm going to talk about personal branding and building your own life brand," Graham said.

Many of the same marketing principles used by large corporations can also have value for small business owners, he said. The nine-step plan, which is the focus of Graham's work, is also designed to help small business owners develop a successful balance between their personal and professional lives.

Graham's own balance between personal and professional demands include his engagement to media baron Oprah Winfrey.

Chatzky writes a personal finance column for Money and is also a frequent guest on NBC's Today Show. She published a money management book in January called "Talking Money."

Taylor helped Gateway build its global brand recognition when he was senior vice president and chief marketing officer for the personal computer company. He now works as a marketing consultant with clients including AskJeeves, iVillage and other technology companies.

Paxon is well known to many Western New Yorkers. The Canisius College graduate represented the region in the House of Representatives from 1988 until 1998. He now serves as a lobbyist for the Washington, D.C., law firm Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld.

Paxon can deliver an insider's perspective on this year's extraordinary national events. He has been a close adviser to President Bush over the years, having chaired the Bush-Cheney Transition Advisory Team.

Further information about the event is available at the Internet site

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