HICKORY, NC | SEPT 9th, 2022





Strong communities need strong leaders. Our community needs YOU to be a strong leader. This is why The Catawba Valley Leadership Foundation (aka "The Foundation") has partnered with local businesses and organizations to host the Annual Leadership Conference — a half-day experience designed to inform, inspire, and raise your leadership.

The goal of The Foundation is to make life better for every person in the Catawba Valley by improving leadership. Why? Because every life in the Catawba Valley is touched by multiple businesses, organizations, institutions and movements -- all of which are made better or worse by their leaders. We want the best leaders because we want the very best quality of life.

The conference is designed to touch on the challenges and opportunities for leaders in every arena, including business, civic and community, healthcare, education, and non-profit. 

Join other leaders from the area as we gain wisdom and encouragement for the important task of leading.  

This Year's Theme: Virtues of a Strong Leader

vir·tue /ˈvərCHo͞o/ a quality considered morally good or desirable in a person.

Leaders need to be marked by virtue if they are to not only live well, but also lead well. That's why this year's conference will highlight the key virtues that every leader needs to demonstrate (and grow!) in order to bring their very best to the leadership journey.

This Year's Speakers

Our speakers represent the quality of leadership in the Catawba Valley and each one has a passion for bringing out the leadership potential of others. 

Shad Stringfellow


ClearWater Inc.

Cassia Dowdy

Director of HR

Design Foundry

Brock Long

Executive Chairman

Hagerty Consulting

Vicki Murray

Safe Harbor

Executive Director


The Annual Conference is a fast-paced, half-day packed with stories, motivation, and information -- in that order. We find that people are most moved by stories and examples, not by points, keys, principles and power point slides. You'll get some insights on how to lead more effectively, but you'll also gain the motivation to put those insights into practice immediately and in ways that make a real difference.

8:30 AM: Registration, coffee, donuts, and time to network

8:45 AM: Shad Stringfellow will discuss the virtue of courage and how it's important for strong leaders to take risks.

9:30 AM: Cassia Dowdy will discuss the virtue of temperance and how strong leaders need to have balance in their life.

10:00 AM: Break

10:15 AM: Leadership Impact Award will be presented!

10:20 AM: Mission and Vision of The Catawba Valley Leadership Foundation

10:30 AM: Interview with Brock Long discussing the virtue of justice and how it's important for strong leaders to do the right thing.

11:00 AM: Vicki Murray will talk on the virtue of humility and how overcoming your ego is key in being a strong leader that makes the most impact.

11:30 AM: A quick word from one of The Catawba Valley Leadership Foundations board of directors.

11:45 AM: Final remarks and announcement about our upcoming Legacy Leader Dinner on November 3rd.

12:00 PM: Conclusion


IChurch Hickory Campus

1740 Tate Boulevard Southeast
Hickory, NC 28601


Many thanks to the businesses and individuals helping to promote a stronger, flourishing Catawba Valley: 

Platinum Sponsors

E-Z Way Auto Sales

Interstate Foam & Supply, Inc

Gold-Level Sponsors

Broome Associated Insurance

Osborne Real Estate Group

Silver-Level Sponsors

Bumgarner Oil Company

K&M Collision

Granite Insurance Company

Hanes Industries

ClearWater Electric , Inc

Bronze-Level Sponsors

Pepsi Bottling Company

Peoples Bank

UNC Health Blue Ridge

NextEra Energy Resources

Taproot Coffee Roasters

Young, Morphis, Bach & Taylor, LLP

Lee Industries, Inc

Southeast Retirement Planners Inc.



The Annual Conference sponsorships offer a valuable opportunity to support strong leadership in the Catawba Valley. Sponsorships range from $500 to $10K and every sponsorship includes a block of tickets to the conference.