Workshops & Speakers

As we continue to develop the agenda for the 2016 Annual Conference, we will add speaker profiles here.

Jaylen D. Bledsoe

Opening General Session, Friday, August 12, 8:30 - 10 a.m.

Motivation, perseverance, good old-fashioned hard work, and the willingness to take risks, fall down, get back up and do it again have made Jaylen D. Bledsoe an amazing entrepreneur, motivational speaker and technical prodigy at the young age of 17 years. His journey and success actually began at 12 years of age when he started his own Information Technology Consulting business called Bledsoe Technologies, LLC. With a dream and $100, he began marketing his technology services, and within two years he had 150 contractors working for him. The scope of services his company provides is vast and includes brand development consulting.

Now leader of The Jaylen D. Bledsoe Global Group, his expertise and success is multifaceted and includes start-up businesses, brand and business development, Venture Capital Funding, direct marketing platform development and implementation, entrepreneurship and increasing revenue streams.

As a motivational speaker, Bledsoe brings enlightenment, wit, comedic humor, and moving stories to his audiences young and old. He has been featured keynote speaker for Disney Dreamers Academy, NSBE, Junior Achievement, Steve Harvey Mentoring Program, Stanford, Google, and Facebook just to name a few.

A junior at Hazelwood West Senior High in St. Louis, Bledsoe serves in many community and advocacy capacities including Board President of the National Youth Rights Association, junior board member of Independent Youth, Inc., and board member at Multitasking Hearts Corp. In 2014, Bledsoe joined Jordin Sparks’ Charity, The M.A.D. Girls, to serve as the Director of Business Development.

David Glover Headshot

David Glover, Associate Conductor, The Lucy Moore Ruffin Chair

Second General Session, Saturday, August 13, 8:45 - 9:45 a.m.

David Glover joined the N.C. Symphony as Associate Conductor during the 2014-15 season. He conducts education and evening concerts throughout the state, as well as performances on the Pops Series and Young People’s Concerts, along with pre-concert talks. Glover previously served for two years as Assistant Conductor of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, where he led its Discovery, Family, and Side-by-Side Concerts.

He has led numerous other orchestras including the Ensemble Orchestral de Paris, North Czech Philharmonic, Bulgarian Opera in Bourgas, and Hungarian Opera-Cluj. As a participant in numerous competitions, he placed in the semifinals of the Bartók Opera Competition and was the youngest person to pass the preliminary round of the Cadequés Competition in 2008. In addition, Glover has held positions as the Ansbacher Fellow to the Salzburg Festival and conductor of the Indiana University All-Campus Orchestra.

He holds degrees from the University of Georgia and Boston University in violin performance, as well as a master's degree in instrumental conducting from Indiana University, where he was named an Adjunct Lecturer in 2007. Glover founded and served as Artistic Director of L’Orchestra da Camera, Boston, which he led for its first two seasons.


Ted Abernathy, Managing Partner, Economic Leadership LLC

Third General Session, Saturday, August 13, 10 - 11 a.m.

Ted Abernathy has 35 years of experience in directing economic development and workforce development programs. He is the economic development policy advisor to the Southern Governors Association and, in his role with Economic Leadership LLC, works in more than a dozen states to develop economic strategies. Mr. Abernathy's current North Carolina-based projects include developing a new rural economic strategy for the N.C. Chamber of Commerce, creating new economic strategies for the Research Triangle Regional Partnership and the Piedmont Triad Partnership.

Born in Dallas, N.C., Mr. Abernathy received his bachelor’s degree from UNC-Chapel Hill and his Master’s from Johns Hopkins University. He is a graduate of the Economic Development Institute and is an Eisenhower Fellow for global economics.

From 2008-13, Mr. Abernathy was the Executive Director of the Southern Growth Policies Board, a 42-year old public policy think tank that provided economic development research, strategy and marketing advice to states and communities across the South. Before coming to Southern Growth, he was a practicing economic developer for 28 years. Most recently, he served as Executive Vice President and COO for the Research Triangle Regional Partnership. During his eight years directing RTRP's operation he worked with hundreds of clients and helped generate 65,000 new jobs and almost $10 billion in investment.


Tim Lowry, Storyteller

Workshop, Friday, August 12, 10:30 - 11:45 a.m.

Closing Session, Sunday, August 14, 9:30 - 10:30 a.m.

Tim Lowry has been telling stories of the People, by the People, and for the People for 15 years. Telling a variety of Folk Tales and Stories from American History, Mr. Lowry has presented thousands of educational programs for schools across the country. At festivals he entertains audiences with a mixture of Folk Tales and Personal Narrative. He also presents storytelling/communication workshops at corporate retreats. When not on the road, he makes his home in Summerville, SC, where he often performs stories of southern culture and history from the “Sweet Tea Trail.”