2022 Keynote Speaker: Kendra Adachi


Kendra Adachi is the New York Times Bestselling author of The Lazy Genius Way and creator of The Lazy Genius Podcast. As a systems expert and professional permission giver, Kendra helps others stop doing it all for the sake of doing what matters. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and three kids.





2022 Virtual Speakers: Dr. Mary Hemphill and Kathie Niven

Dr. Mary Hemphill

Mary is a Leadership Expert & Coach, K-12 Educator & Administrator, Author, & Inspirational Speaker. With over 15 years of professional experience as a teacher, administrator, state director, and university professor, Mary understands the importance of fusing education, empowerment, and leadership together as she works with learning and working communities and speaks to audiences across the country.She holds a PhD in Leadership Studies from NC A&T State University, and currently teaches as an adjunct professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Mary Hemphill is also the CEO and Founder of The Limitless Leader, a company that helps individuals ignite the leader in themselves so they can better serve their community, company, and personal career. Mary has led, coached, and impacted close to 30,000 individuals around the world on transformational and innovative strategy, self empowerment, and leadership through her Limitless Leader Program.

Mary most recently had the unique opportunity to hone her expertise through her role as North Carolina’s first state director of Computer Science & Technology Education where she works to leverage support & leadership around Computer Science initiatives across the state. Her statewide initiative #IAmCS, which was a campaign developed to shine a light on gender and equity disparities in the field of Computer Science, garnered the attention of the national Code.org nonprofit organization as well as  boasts over 250,000 impressions across social media. Mary is now able to continue that work as the newly named Director of Academic Standards for the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, where she now leads a team responsible for all the NC Standard Course of Study content areas including ELA, Math, Science, Social Studies, Counseling, Physical Education, Global Languages, and the Arts.

Mary was named Regional Principal of the Year for the Sandhills Region of North Carolina in 2018 for her transformative work turning around schools & is the co-founder of a 501c(3) Rebrand NC Education which is aimed exclusively at helping North Carolina school leaders shatter the status quo and shift the conversation around public education. Most recently, Mary was also selected as a 2021 School Ambassador Fellowship panelist by the US Department of Education to add her voice and expertise to the process of selecting ambassadors for the Department’s current administration. Mary is the author of The One-Minute Meeting: Creating Student Stakeholders in Schools, which was released nationally in July 2020. The One-Minute Meeting teaches readers how to leverage a unique instructional practice called the One-Minute Meeting to authentically glean information from students.Developed to inspire school and district leaders to fully engage with and empower their students, The One-Minute Meeting is an exceptional resource for college & university courses in school leadership and administration. The text is also a valuable resource for in-service educators and administrators at K-12 institutions.

Mary believes that in order to show up in the world as your most authentic & powerful self, we must break through limiting beliefs that keep us from maximizing our full potential. If we want to create opportunities, pathways, & impact that shift our world in a more positive direction, then we need young adults, learning communities, & organizations who are prepared to lead the movement!


Kathie Niven

Serving in roles as CEO, president, vice-president, and senior executive for both national and international brands, Mrs. Niven specializes in designing and executing brand strategy and organizational design. In 2014, she led the rebranding of Biscuitville, which included the addition of FRESH SOUTHERN® to its name; remodeling, relocating or rebuilding 100% of its restaurants; and a re-energized commitment to sourcing locally. Currently over 90% of all orders include at least one local ingredient. In 2018, she was promoted to President to prepare the brand for growth and continue executing the brand’s nine-year plan. In 2021, Niven was promoted to President and CEO reporting to the Executive Chair and 2nd generation owner, Burney Jennings. Since joining in 2010, Mrs. Niven has enjoyed an executive leadership role in driving Biscuitville’s growth from $55mm to $125mm.

Working with JP Morgan during its 2006 investment in Quiznos Corporation (Denver), Mrs. Niven served as vice-president of field marketing to develop the brands co-op marketing strategy and assist in the brand’s revival. In this role, the newly formed family of co-ops outpaced the remaining markets in both sales and traffic throughout its incorporation. She also served in the growth and development of new product innovation, catering and delivery, and the execution of the company’s repositioned pricing strategy.

Prior to Quiznos, Mrs. Niven served as Senior Director of Marketing for Arby’s Roast Beef Corporation (previously RTM franchise). Leading the West region marketing team, Mrs. Niven was responsible for building a team to execute corporate branding, public relations, media, marketing and communication – ultimately accountable for both corporate and franchisee sales performance. Directing over 500 restaurants and a $25MM marketing budget, in 2004 the region achieved its highest annual sales volume in the history of the company. Under her leadership, the region also assisted in the innovation of several long-standing products including MARKET FRESH® line extensions, breakfast and wraps.

Previously, she served with Burger King Corporation in sales and marketing for the Southeast region; with Krispy Kreme as manager of national field marketing preparing the company for franchising under the newly executed IPO; and with Bouvier Kelly as director of client services earning six Addy awards.

She has been married to her husband, Drew, for 25 years, and they have two children – Ellie, 15 years old, attending Page High School, and Will, 19 years old, attending West Point USMA.