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CityVision 2015: Ignition! 

This year’s annual conference in Winston-Salem, on October 11-13, is an event you do not want to miss! The League staff is working hard to bring you a conference that will help you grow as elected officials and bring back ideas to your city or town.

Last year at CityVision 2014, we kicked off a strategic visioning process to reflect the vision of cities and towns and to develop scenarios for municipalities to 2030 and beyond. The changing political and demographic landscapes have led to a need to deliberately chart a path for cities and towns.

The League Board of Directors played a key role in the visioning efforts. The process has been outward-facing, inclusive, expansive and transparent. Conversations with municipal officials, legislators, county officials, business partners and other stakeholders, along with research by the UNC School of Government, were essential to developing potential
scenarios.

Proposed scenarios were presented to the Board of Directors in July and will be presented to the membership at CityVision 2015.

Our keynote speaker for the opening general session will be Dr. Michael Fitzhugh, Director of Research for Municipal Research Institute in Billings, Mont. Dr. Fitzhugh’s groundbreaking book “Don’t Be The Village Idiot: How Cities and Towns
Fail When They Look To The Future” was the result of years of painstaking research into best practices by American cities and towns from 1764 to 1953. Dr. Fitzhugh is the leading expert on moving municipalities forward in building a better tomorrow.

“Dr. Fitzhugh is one of the leading minds in municipal governance,” said League Executive Director Paul Meyer. “He is a visionary in helping cities and towns maximize their potential.”

For Monday’s lunch, we will hear a message from Ron Wellman, Wake Forest University’s Director of Athletics. Keeping in theme of skillfully navigating change, Wellman will discuss how new approaches have moved the university into national spotlight during his tenure. Under his leadership, Wake Forest won four national championships, 17 Atlantic Coast Conference championships and finished 23rd in the 2007 NACDA Director’s Cup standings – it’s highest finish ever.

CityVision 2015 will feature 10 concurrent sessions, and each will focus on one of 10 challenges facing cities from the visioning efforts. Concurrent sessions fall into one of the following categories: infrastructure, risk management, governmental affairs or economic development. In addition, we will offer two mobile workshops – in Lexington and Winston-Salem – that will showcase best practices in redeveloping public spaces and fostering innovation. Lexington’s mobile workshop will show participants how Lexington has redeveloped public spaces, and Winston-Salem will provide a tour of the Wake Forest Innovation Quarter, a burgeoning section of downtown with more than 50 companies, 20 academic departments and 600 apartments.

On Tuesday, we will focus again on personal development by offering separate tracks for elected and appointed municipal officials. The Local Elected Leaders Academy class for elected officials will focus on developing tools to foster collaboration across functional, stakeholder and geographical boundaries. The track for appointed officials will feature a session on best practice in regional collaboration and a session to discuss the strategic visioning process that the North Carolina City/County Managers Association is about to embark upon.

On Sunday and Monday, attendees will have a change to explore the Exhibit Hall and learn about products and services that could be beneficial to their hometown. There will also be opportunities to win prizes!

Networking is one of the most important parts of the annual conference, and there will be plenty of opportunities to do so at receptions on Sunday and Monday. The Host City Event on Sunday night features dinner followed by the musical "Glory of Gospel," a production that tells the history of gospel music through song and dance. Winston-Salem is home to the National Black Theatre Festival and "Glory of Gospel" is a production of the North Carolina Black Repertory Company. The musical was written, directed and choreographed by Winston-Salem resident Mabel Robison.

On Monday night, we will have our President’s Banquet and Inaugural Gala, culminating with high-energy national band Jessie’s Girls. The band was created by Tyler Perry’s musical director and the leader of Party on the Moon, who performed at the League’s conference in 2014 and 2012. Jessie’s Girls shares a choreographer with Beyonce. Visit www.nclm.org/annualconference to learn more!