Workshops & Speakers

​Your NCACC staff is hard at work finalizing content for this year's conference. This page will be frequently updated with detailed summaries of each session and information on the presenters as the conference approaches. We're looking forward to seeing you in Durham in August!


Opening General Session: Friday, August 11, 8:30 - 9:45 a.m.

"Listening to Understand, Not to Respond"

We've been blessed with a very precious gift - the gift of language. As with every gift, overusing it may lead to unexpected results. Do you ever find that words get in the way of conveying what you intend to communicate? Speaking and listening in a balanced way is imperative to effective communication. The noise of useless words employed to get a grip on someone else's attention creates a thick fog that makes it difficult to understand each other. Ironically, the more we talk, the less we're able to communicate. 

Through an extraordinary story, Lt. Col. Ret. Phillip Woody demonstrates the difference between listening closely to understand and listening to respond. His incredible life experiences inform his entertaining message that is bound to help audiences gain a deeper understanding of today's communication challenge.
Sue Klebold

Second General Session: Saturday, August 12, 8:45 - 9:45 a.m.

"Reaching for Hope"

Sue Klebold is the mother of Dylan Klebold, one of the two shooters at Columbine High School, scene of a tragedy that saddened and galvanized the nation. She has spent the past 15 years excavating every detail of her family life, and trying to understand the crucial intersection between mental health problems and violence. Instead of becoming paralyzed by her grief and remorse, she has become a passionate and effective agent working tirelessly to advance mental health awareness and intervention.

In her address, she will share her profound realizations that will leave a lifelong impression on all who listen. 

LELA Seminar: Thursday, August 10, 9:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.

"Learn to Listen Rather Than Hear"

In today's high-stress, high-speed world, communication is more important than ever, yet we devote less time really listening to one another. "Active Listening" is one of the most important skills you can develop. How well you listen has a major impact on your effectiveness as a leader and the quality of your relationships. 

During this highly interactive workshop, Dan Clark presents strategies and skills to improve your ability to listen to co-workers, other elected officials, staff members and constituents. Practice listening strategies that will help build relationships, solve problems, ensure understanding, resolve conflicts, and improve your effectiveness as a leader.

Conference attendees may attend this session free of charge. Municipal officials are also invited to attend, and may register here for $95. 

​Workshop Block I - Thursday, August 10, 2:45 - 4 p.m.

Public Health Hot Topics: Medicaid Reform, Communicable Diseases, and Opioids

Pose your public health questions to a team of local health directors that will offer presentations on Medicaid reform and its potential impact on county governments, health department services, and budgets; emerging communicable diseases; and local public health efforts regarding opioids and North Carolina law.

Speakers: Lisa Macon Harrison, MPH, Health Director, Granville-Vance Health District; Dr. Sue Lynn Ledford, BSN, MPA, DrPH, Health Director, Wake County; and David Jenkins, MPA, Health Director/Deputy Director of Human Services, Carteret County
Facilitator: Jim Bruckner, MSHS, Health Director, Macon County

Social Security: The Choice of a Lifetime

How and when to take Social Security is one of the most important decisions you will make regarding your retirement. This presentation demonstrates how you can make a suitable decision for your needs by analyzing and comparing different Social Security filing options.

Speaker: Les Thompson, Senior Retirement Specialist, Nationwide Retirement Plans

Ethics Training, 3 – 5 p.m.

Legislation passed in 2009 requires all county commissioners to “receive a minimum of two clock hours of ethics education within 12 months after initial election or appointment to the office and again within 12 months after each subsequent election or appointment to the office.” The Association will offer county officials the opportunity to receive their required ethics training during this two-hour seminar.

Speakers: Norma Houston and Frayda S. Bluestein, UNC School of Government


Workshop Block III - Friday, August 11, 10:15 - 11:30 a.m.

'Oh, Say Can You See?': Publicity and Communications Skills for Public Campaigns

Beginning with the "shot heard 'round the world", the American Revolution was immediate international news. What a great model for any public campaign! Using concepts from our Founding Fathers, storyteller Tim Lowry will teach you how to create a social movement to effectively communicate your county's mission and encourage people to spread the word far and wide. In this fun, interactive workshop, Lowry will help you identify the ideas, the narrative, the symbols, and the leadership required to grow an idea or initiative into a cultural force that is the talk of the town, the pride of the nation, and international phenomenon!

Speaker: Tim Lowry, storyteller

How Will Your County Handle a Hack? Cyber Security Tips from a Pro

Cyber threats make the headlines with alarming frequency. What can a county do to protect itself? Find out more about these threats and learn the first, second and third things your county must do to improve its cyber security posture!

Speaker: Ryan Spelman, Senior Director of Business Development, Center for Internet Security
Sponsored by the NCACC Risk Management Pools 


​Workshop Block IV - Friday, August 11, 1:30 - 2:45 p.m.

Keep Calm, Don’t Carry On: Let Data Drive School Planning Decisions

Operating in the space between Boards of Education and County Commissioners, N.C. State’s Operations Research and Education Laboratory (OREd) provides a framework to help guide county and school officials through critical facility planning decisions such as new school siting, school closures, and student reassignment. OREd’s services, which include enrollment forecasting, community engagement, and data-driven attendance boundary scenarios, all serve to help calm the discourse and center the discussion around real world data.

Speakers: Thomas Dudley, Mathew Palmer and Elizabeth Daniel, Operations Research and Education Laboratory (OREd), N.C. State University