General Sessions & Special Events


Besides the wealth of 60 undergraduate and professional workshop offerings throughout the event, the Lead365 Conference also hosts conference-wide talks, receptions, and networking opportunities for the introvert and extrovert.


Scroll down to see what makes us different!


General Session & Special Event Highlights

October 31 - November 2, 2019


Opening Session: “The Expectations of Leadership: & Round One - Lead365Talks

Hosted by Nancy Hunter Denney, Rev. Dr. Jamie Washington & James Robilotta

What does it mean to “explore, engage and evolve?”  What are the leadership competencies and how do they impact this conference? You will get these answers and feel the unique energy of Lead365 while being introduced to a national treasure house of practitioners, researchers and professional speakers called “The Faculty.” Oh and there’s more… much more.

Following a dynamic welcome, the very talented Dr. Jamie Washington kicks off this year’s conference with his thoughts on “The Expectations of Leadership.” Just in case that didn’t make you go “Wow” a series of 20 minute “Lead365Talks” by professional speakers highlights the connection between a particular competency and their own life.

These condensed speeches are also intended to offer a “snap shot” of who they are as a speaker while sharing a significant leadership message. 

Lead365Talks Round One - “Life Lessons on Leadership Competencies”

  • Sara Lowery on Personal Values

  • Dr. Jermaine Davis on Other’s Contributions

  • Melissa Ruiz on Self-Development

To keep things moving, the humorous and witty James Robilotta will engage the audience with strategies for a successful conference.   

Grab a Bag Dinner and Sunshine - Day 1

As you arrive and get settled we want to make sure you are fed! Dinner bags with sandwiches, fruit, beverage and a cookie will be provided upon your arrival. You can bring them back to your room, eat poolside, find a new friend and eat in the sunshine near the registration area or wherever you’d like! We know this is a fancy hotel and consequently, buying your own meals can be expensive - that’s why we provide 5 meals for you!!!

Banquet Lunch - Day 2

On the second day of the conference, you are treated to a sit down banquet lunch to refuel. Over lunch learn quick tips on business etiquette while meeting new friends and networking. Given this year’s schedule, lunch will be served inside.

“The Lead365Talks are genius!”
— First Time Professional Staff Member - Nov 2017

Round Two: Lead365Talks

In a creative presentation format broken into two sessions, The 2019 Lead365Talks represent content-rich condensed speeches focused on a particular leadership lesson and competency. While also an opportunity to offer a “snap shot” of professional speakers spending the ENTIRE three days as part of “The Faculty,” these high energy informative talks replace the traditional “rah-rah” with real content.

Professional Speakers include:

  • Michael Miller on Verbal Communication

  • Chelsea Williams on Resilience

  • Curtis Hill on Responsibility for Personal Behavior

Hosted by Dr. Jermaine M. Davis

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Leadership After Dark by the Awesome Melissa Ruiz

Leadership After Dark:  As the sun goes down, the dynamic Melissa Ruiz facilitates an opportunity to engage in a variety of personal networking and team building activities to push you beyond the limits you believe you currently possess. Be ready. Be Prepared. It's Leadership After Dark!

If these kinds of facilitated group experiences aren’t your thing, why not participate in another option…

Calming Conversations Poolside

Big ice-breaking activities aren’t for everyone. Whether an introvert or just not “feeling it” an option to the big group networking session is an opportunity to gather poolside in less structured environment.

Lead365 Career Labs

What’s the connection between learning leadership and your ability to get the job you want?  How can mastering specific leadership competencies facilitate your productivity in the workplace?  National experts offer 9 programs specifically geared towards enhancing your success in the workplace and new professional. Found in the same time slots with the more typical style workshop, these sessions are more experiential.


Student Workshop Showcase 

Buena Vista University’s Student Senate

Competencies: Appropriate Interaction and Creating Change

Please join BVU Student Senate representatives as we share insights into making change happen.  Whether it is through little acts of kindness or grand events and programs, we recognize the intentionality of delivery impacts the outcomes and overall satisfaction of the participants. This showcase is designed for participants to learn from our experience while creating an environment for open discussion and idea exchange. 

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Relationship Building Bag Lunch - Day 3

Not a big fan of keynote speakers over lunch while you are trying to relax? Neither are we!  The conference on Day 3 offers a one hour breaks for casual conversations, movement, sunshine (or not) and the opportunity to meet people or take a “mental break.”  Some seating around the conference area is provided, however, you are welcome to find a comfortable place to converse or just “chill.”

Engaging Conversations

What a shame it would be to not maximize on the talents and interests of likeminded individuals.  “Engaging Conversations” are facilitated conversations by The Faculty based upon your desirable interest of exploration.  Select whichever topic appeals to you and go to that designated room listed on your schedule.  Small group discussions can be as intimate or general as you desire. 

Topical areas are listed below. Which topic intrigues you?

Becoming an Entrepreneur - Facilitated by Peter Bielagus

Creating Non-Profits & Foundations - Kelvin Harris

Better Self-Care and Work Life Balance - Melissa Ruiz

Introverted Leadership - Dr. Ken Brill

Tweaking Current Programs - Professionals Only with Dr. Corey Seemiller and Dr. Kathy Guthrie

Social Justice - Rev. Dr. Jamie Washington

Universal Studio's City Walk 

You're in Orlando... time to have some fun!  As a courtesy, transportation is provided to University Studio's City Walk right down the road - 4 miles away - or you can "Uber" it.  The shuttle runs continuously starting at 7:00 PM from the transportation dock at the hotel to a designated drop off/pick up location.  The last bus departs City Walk at 11:00 PM.  Conference attendees are responsible for your own transportation and the shuttle bus is provided only as a courtesy.

Problem-Solving Applied to Real Life Leadership

The final workshop block of Lead365 [Block 9] focuses on the application of a simple problem-solving model presented by two facilitators in 15 minutes. Each group (or individual if not wanting to work in small groups) then identifies a real life situation (i.e. problem) and begins applying the problem-solving model. Once solutions and paths moving forward have been identified, others will “critique” or “compliment” the ideas. There will also be opportunities for offering additional suggestions and recommendations to assist others in solving their problem. Five general “problem categories” are identified below.

  • Living and Leading in a Just World - Facilitated by Rev. Dr. Jamie Washington and Dr. Ken Brill

  • Figuring Out Your Future - Facilitated by Chelsea Williams and Peter Bielagus

  • Living With or Leading Those You Dislike - Facilitated by Michael Miller and Jennifer Yawson

  • When Procrastination Overrides Purpose - Facilitated by Dr. Lucy Croft and Melissa Ruiz

  • Implementing Leadership Initiatives - FOR PROFESSIONALS ONLY - Facilitated by Dr. Corey Seemiller, Dr. David Rosch, Dr. Kathy Guthrie and Ms. Sadhana Hall

Closing Session & Keynote Speaker


Special Guest: Yannik Mckie

Wow! What a way to bring home our conference theme of “explore, engage and evolve” with special guest Yannik Mckie. This is a gentlemen who understands how the context of your life can shape the character of your leadership.

Yannik’s amazing life story has been featured on numerous media outlets including ESPN, The Huffington Post, The New York Daily News, The 700 Club and many more.

For his efforts in business & the community, Yannik was awarded the Change Maker of the year award from the National Leadership Council and was inducted into his alma mater, Georgia Southern University’s, top 40 under 40 alumni class. Yannik’s diverse life experiences make him a highly sought-after speaker for universities, businesses and nonprofit organizations.



KEYNOTE: The Evolution of Purpose

As a leader, what makes you special? What makes the leadership skills you bring to the table unique? What we experience in life makes us all different and it is our leadership responsibility to use that "difference" to positively impact our community. One of the true measures of a leader is the ability to overcome challenges & use the difficult lessons learned in the trenches of life to mentor & make others their best! Yannik will weave powerful leadership principles into his captivating story, demonstrating how the challenges you face can be transformed (or evolve) into purpose & growth for others.

There’s more! A Think Back video highlights the previous three days of transformation and good times.  The Lead365 National Award (with a $500 cash prize) is presented to an outstanding professional or undergraduate.  Sponsors are thanked (of course) and a Good Bye video from The Faculty closes out the program.  Distribution of Certificates of Completion (suitable for framing) and an appropriate send off concludes what promises to have been an amazing growth and learning experience for undergraduates, graduate students, leadership educators and new professionals.