The 24th SPN Annual Meeting October 3-6, 2016 Nashville, TN

October 3-6, 2016 • Nashville, TN

The 24th SPN Annual Meeting

What is the SPN Annual Meeting?

SPN’s Annual Meeting is the leading conference in the freedom movement aimed squarely at advancing state policy reforms essential to the American principles of liberty and law. Think tank leaders, network partners, and investors gather to strategize, network, learn from one another, share ideas, be inspired, and build requisite knowledge and skills.

Tracie AM Photo

Tracie Sharp, President of State Policy Network

Described as the family reunion of the freedom movement, SPN Annual Meeting has grown from 19 individuals who attended the first meeting in Colorado Springs, CO in 1992 to more than 1,000 who joined us for our 23rd Annual Meeting in Grand Rapids, Michigan in 2015. It is an opportunity to highlight and amplify successes of the network—individuals and organizations—dedicated to advancing freedom.

Each year, SPN recognizes accomplishments and entrepreneurship in public policy with two prestigious awards. SPN keeps the memory alive of our founder Thomas Roe by presenting the Roe Award to a person whose achievements have greatly advanced free market reforms or the lay of the land in which these reforms can be achieved. The Unsung Hero Award, sponsored by the Vernon K. Krieble Foundation, is a $25,000 cash prize that honors an individual whose volunteer work defines or protects freedom in the marketplace and everyday life. This speaks to the spirit of Helen Krieble, the Foundation’s president.

Why should you go to the SPN Annual Meeting?

SPN’s Annual Meeting is a gathering place for people who are serious about winning the battle of ideas for this generation and those generations to come. Four large group plenary sessions are surrounded by more than 70 skills and knowledge-building workshops, and lots of networking time. Together we learn about powerful public policy ideas, ways we can assess and employ our individual strengths, discover and brainstorm winning strategies, celebrate victories, renew our strength, build lasting and effective networks, and (even) have a little fun.

You can access wisdom from more than 1,000 people: policy and professional specialists from 325+ organizations and many industry experts, too. You can also build or join smaller groups of like-minded freedom lovers to refine your strategies, increase knowledge. and recharge your battery.

This year’s plenaries and programs are designed around SPN’s tagline, State Solutions. National Impact. Given the likely outcome of our national elections, now more than ever, state solutions are requisite for national good governance and civic health. As the connector of the freedom network, the Annual Meeting creates the ideal environment for independent think tank leaders, policy practitioners, and supporters to build thriving, successful freedom partnerships.

A few highlights for 2016 to whet your appetite (more to come):

  • More than 100 specialized workshops covering seven professional and personal disciplines. Well-known industry experts will lead many of these workshops.
  • A host party to remember as the Beacon Center of Tennessee rolls out the red carpet in legendary Nashville.
  • Roe Award recipient: a surprise until the Roe Dinner, but it won’t be a surprise that the winner is a leader we respect, admire, and deeply value—whose life work has left and will continue to leave a big freedom footprint.

All that, and did we mention Nashville, TN?

This year’s host, the Beacon Center of Tennessee, will show us how the city earned the reputation as Music City. Furthermore, we’ll get to show you a few of Beacon’s marvelous accomplishments.

Nashville Skyline

Courtesy of Nashville Convention & Visitors Corporation.

An important note!

Our pattern has changed for 2016. The conference opening reception is on Monday night with the Roe dinner on Wednesday night. Pre-conference activities fill the day on Monday and post-conference activities fill part of Thursday. (Normally the days are Tuesday-Friday morning.)

I’m booking my trip for this year…

October 3-6, and I’m marking my calendar for next year, August 29-September 1 in San Antonio Texas.

 Please note: This is a private event, and SPN reserves the right to refuse registration and entrance to the event.

Registration Info

Ticket Types & Rates

Ticket Type Who should register? Rates
Affiliate Executives and staff from state think tanks who are current SPN affiliates. Early Bird: $0 through August 1
Regular Price: $100
Affiliate Board Member Current board members of state think tanks who are SPN affiliates. Early Bird: $0 through August 1
Regular Price: $100
Associate Executives and staff from current SPN associates. Early Bird: $350 through August 1
Regular Price: $500
General Attendee Attendees who are not employed by an SPN affiliate or associate. Early Bird: $750 through August 1
Regular Price: $1,000
One-Day Attendee Attendees who plan to attend one day of the conference and would like access to that day’s sessions, meals, and networking opportunities. Monday: $100
Tuesday: $350
Wednesday: 350
Thursday: $100


Review Policy

The SPN Annual Meeting is a privately held event and acceptance of registration is pending verification of eligibility. This review policy ensures registrants have selected the most appropriate ticket option. All registrations will receive notification of registration status within three (3) business days. Payment will not be processed until registration is accepted.

Registration Confirmation

After the review window, accepted registrants will receive an email with a confirmation number. This confirmation number may be used to modify or review the attendee’s registration through September 2, 2016.

Refund & Cancellation Policies


Affiliate registrations are eligible for full refund until September 2, 2016. Affiliate registrations may be transferred to members in the same organization prior to October 2, 2016.


Associate registrations are eligible for a full refund less a $75.00 cancellation fee prior to September 2, 2016 at 5 pm EDT. No refunds will be given after September 2, 2016 at 5 pm EDT. Refunds will only be issued to the original registrant or credit card holder. Associate registrations may be transferred to individuals in the same organization as the original registrant prior to October 2, 2016.

General Attendees

Refunds will be issued prior to September 2, 2016 at 5 pm EDT, less a $75.00 cancellation fee. General attendee registrations are not eligible for transfer.


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Sponsors and Exhibitors

As a sponsor or exhibitor at the SPN Annual Meeting, your organization can connect with over 1,000 attendees spanning 330 groups and all fifty states. SPN offers several sponsorship and exhibition opportunities to help you maximize Annual Meeting’s opportunities to forge relationships with network think tanks and leaders.

For more information on sponsorship or to claim a sponsorship opportunity, please contact Spencer Hughes at 703-740-0313 or

Presenting Sponsorships

The SPN Annual Meeting is known for the excellent and inspiring programming we offer. All meals are open to every attendee, and they are highly attended and highly rated. As a presenting sponsor, all eyes will be on your brand.

Freedom Partner – $150,000+

  • Prominent Tier 1 recognition in the following:
    • Special mentions from the podiums
    • Prominent event signage throughout
    • Featured post on Annual Meeting website
    • Special feature in SPN News Sept/Oct publication
    • Promotional posts on Facebook and Twitter
  • 20 complimentary VIP conference registrations
    • VIP seating at all meals
    • VIP receptions access for Host Night and Roe Award Dinners
  • Available meeting room to use throughout the week
  • Complimentary premium booth
  • Compliment running ad on mobile app

Enterprise Partner – $75,000

  • Prominent Tier 2 recognition in the following:
    • Special mentions from the podiums
    • Prominent event signage throughout
    • Featured post on Annual Meeting website
    • Special feature in SPN News Sept/Oct publication
    • Promotional posts on Facebook and Twitter
  • 15 complimentary VIP conference registrations
    • VIP seating at all meals
    • VIP receptions access for Host Night and Roe Award Dinners
  • Available meeting room to use throughout the week
  • Complimentary premium booth
  • Compliment running ad on mobile app

Liberty Partner – $50,000

  • Prominent Tier 3 recognition in the following:
    • Special mentions from the podiums
    • Prominent event signage throughout
    • Featured post on Annual Meeting website
    • Special feature in SPN News Sept/Oct publication
    • Promotional posts on Facebook and Twitter
  • 10 complimentary VIP conference registrations
    • VIP seating at all meals
    • VIP receptions access for Host Night and Roe Award Dinners
  • Available meeting room to use throughout the week
  • Choice of one of the following:
    • Complimentary premium booth
    • Compliment running ad on mobile app

Independence Partner – $25,000

  • Prominent Tier 4 recognition in the following:
    • Special mentions from the podiums
    • Prominent event signage throughout
    • Featured post on Annual Meeting website
    • Special feature in SPN News Sept/Oct publication
    • Promotional posts on Facebook and Twitter
  • 5 complimentary VIP conference registrations
    • VIP seating at all meals
    • VIP receptions access for Host Night and Roe Award Dinners
  • Available meeting room to use throughout the week
  • Choice of one of the following:
    • Complimentary premium booth
    • Compliment running ad on mobile app

Federalism Partner – $15,000

  • Prominent Tier 5 recognition in the following:
    • Special mentions from the podiums
    • Prominent event signage throughout
    • Featured post on Annual Meeting website
    • Special feature in SPN News Sept/Oct publication
    • Promotional posts on Facebook and Twitter
  • 2 complimentary VIP conference registrations
    • VIP seating at all meals
    • VIP receptions access for Host Night and Roe Award Dinners
  • Choice of one of the following:
    • Complimentary premium booth
    • Compliment running ad on mobile app

Co-Sponsor – $5,000

  • Prominent Tier 6 recognition in the following:
    • Prominent event signage throughout the room
  • 1 complimentary conference registrations

Programming Meals:
Thomas A. Roe Award Gala – $25,000
Tuesday Plenary Breakfast – $25,000
Tuesday Plenary Lunch – $25,000
Sold: Wednesday Plenary Lunch – $25,000
Roe Dinner Host Committee – $5,000

Non-Programming Meals:
Wednesday Networking Breakfasts – $15,000

Reception Sponsorships

The SPN Annual Meeting is one of the best networking events of the year. Attendees look forward to meeting new people and catching up with old friends. Make sure your brand is front and center at one of the many receptions throughout the week.

Thomas Roe Award Gala Reception – $20,000
 Welcome Reception – $15,000
Sold: Cigar Reception – $15,000
Development Reception – $7,500

Sold: Communications Reception – $7,500
Sold: Policy Reception – $7,500
Operations Reception – $7,500

Other Sponsorship Opportunities

Sold: Networking Lounge Presenting Sponsor – $25,000
Our Networking Lounge is the central location for all networking, exhibitors, and receptions. As the presenting sponsor, you can highlight yourself throughout the week in one of our most popular spaces.

Sold: Sponsored Policy Sessions – $15,000
This is a prime opportunity to drive a discussion on a priority policy topic of your choice. Sessions will be branded and listed on the main agenda during a prime time. SPN will work with you on planning an appealing and well-attended session.

WiFi – $10,000
All attendees see and use WiFi and will see your brand on the customized landing page.

Sold: 5K Race – $10,000
Back by popular demand, our unique 5K race has been one of the most popular activities of past conferences.

Photo Booth$7,500
Have your name and message seen by all attendees with a photo booth directly on the conference floor–right in the middle of the action!

Sold: Hotel Key Cards$7,500
Introduce yourself at check-in! Custom-made keycards capture the attention of all participants throughout the conference. Price includes production and distribution. Only your artwork is required.

Sold: Session Notepads – $5,000
Have a presence in each breakout room with branded notepads and pens for attendees to use in each of our breakout tracks.

Mobile App – $3,000
Our mobile app will help attendees discover sessions, build their personalized agendas, network with attendees, and share photos and updates from their conference experience. Your name and brand will be front and center.

Custom Signage – $1,000
Purchase space for a custom sign to promote your brand, service, or campaign.

Exhibitor Booths

Sold: Hospitality Suites ­– $10,000
Our largest spaces in the Networking Lounge will give you a chance to highlight your brand in one of the most active, trafficked conference spaces.

Premium Exhibitor Booth – $2,500
These larger 10 x 10 spaces will allow you to make a larger impression with your brand in the Networking Lounge.

Exhibitor Table – $1,000
Sponsor a six-foot table in the Networking Lounge, a secure, high-traffic area.

All exhibitors will be provided with directions for shipping, set-up, and tear-down.

The following floor plan shows the booth spaces available in this year’s Networking Lounge. Please contact Spencer Hughes ( with questions about being an exhibitor or securing a particular booth.

SPN_NETWORKING_LOUNGE - new logo added

Host Think Tank

Thank you to the Beacon Center of Tennessee for being the host state think tank for the SPN 24th Annual Meeting!TENNbeaconThe Beacon Center of Tennessee’s mission is to empower Tennesseans to reclaim control of their lives, so that they can freely pursue their version of the American Dream. The Beacon Center has an impressive list of accomplishments advancing that mission:

  • 2011: Ending the practice of collective bargaining by government education unions.
  • 2011: Reforming our tort system to limit lawsuit abuse and create a more stable business climate in the state.
  • 2012: Repealing Tennessee’s death tax, saving taxpayers more than $100 million a year.
  • 2014: Enacting a constitutional amendment to permanently ban a state income tax.
  • 2015: Bringing about Tennessee’s first ever school choice program in the form of Education Savings Accounts for special needs children.
  • 2015: Stopping an unaffordable and immoral expansion of Medicaid in Tennessee.
  • 2015: Passing Right to Try unanimously in the state legislature, giving terminally ill patients access to life saving medicine.
  • 2015: Launching a Legal Foundation to preserve Tennesseans’ economic liberty, property rights, and other constitutional protections.
  • 2015: Obtaining an injunction against the city of Nashville for a portion of its unconstitutional laws limiting the use of Airbnb.
  • 2016: Repealing the Hall Income Tax, making Tennessee a truly income tax-free state.


What Makes Beacon Different?

Beacon is effective and efficient, enabling its powerhouse staff of seven to achieve great things.

  • The collaboration between departments is another positive. Any staff member can walk into the CEO’s office or any other department head’s office to discuss projects.
  • The Beacon Center’s tone is a big reason it has been successful. Beacon values and practices respect toward legislators and media outlets – even those who don’t agree. This respectfulness has reaped rewards for the organization both in media coverage and in building a positive, credible reputation.


Current Policy Work

The Beacon Center is currently pursuing several policy solutions in education, healthcare, and tax reform that will empower Tennesseans even more:

  • Expanding school choice opportunities for Tennessee families through an opportunity scholarship program.
  • Providing greater course access to high school students, especially those in rural areas.
  • Protecting the rights of patients to enter into Direct Primary Care membership agreements.
  • Repealing or significantly reforming Tennessee’s antiquated certificate of need laws in healthcare.


Beacon Center in the News

The Beacon Center has received significant attention for its role as a key player in Tennessee’s policy arena. Mentions have come from a range of national outlets, including Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Huffington Post, Reuters, Salon, Yahoo, Politico, MSNBC, FOX News, USA Today, American Spectator, and Bloomberg. Local outlets like The Tennessean have also noticed Beacon Center’s impact.

“But the conservative Beacon Center of Tennessee, one of the loudest voices of opposition when the state considered expansion, said Obama is selling a program that is a “taxpayer bailout for special interests and hospitals.

‘While we thank the president for visiting our beautiful capital city, giving a speech on bad policy and shaking a few hands is not going to solve our healthcare problems here in Tennessee,’ said spokesman Mark Cunningham.” 

Reuters, 2015

“But state GOP lawmakers rejected [Medicaid expansion] anyway, and it’s worth appreciating the paranoia that drove the opposition.

Yet the head of the conservative Beacon Center of Tennessee suggested the state could be locking itself into expansion long term, even if it wants to get out.

Although the federal government has said it is voluntary and can be rolled back if a state chooses, CEO Justin Owen said expansion may not be so easily undone. “Can you trust the federal government?” he asked Tuesday during a House Insurance and Banking Committee hearing.”

The Rachel Maddow Show, 2015

Beacon Party: A Night in Music City

A Night in Music City—brought to you by the Beacon Center of Tennessee—will feature “Four Great Parties Under One Historic Roof.” Acme Feed & Seed is a world-class venue in a restored grain depot and chicken hatchery located at the end of historic Broadway Avenue in downtown Nashville. Acme creates a uniquely Nashville atmosphere that honors the unparalleled character of the city’s past, present, and future.

A Night in Music City
“Four Great Parties Under One Historic Roof”
Acme Feed & Seed
Tuesday, October 4, 6:00pm-9:00pm

A Night in Music City provides something for everyone. On the first floor, guests will experience true Nashville music with an acoustic set of local musicians. On the second floor, guests can chill and network in a retro lounge. Guests on the third floor will put on their dancing shoes and boogie the night away to any type of music they request. Guests can then escape to the rooftop for whiskey and cigars under the stars, as well as one of the best views of downtown Nashville. All four floors will offer authentic Nashville cuisine and Music City’s finest drinks of choice. And to top it off, after the party you can spill out onto historic Broadway Avenue, just steps away from dozens of world-famous honky tonks.

Transportation to and from the Gaylord will be provided. Busses will depart from the Gaylord at 5:30 pm on Tuesday, October 4, and begin loading for return to the Gaylord at 9:00 pm.

Thank you to Beacon Center’s sponsors:

Anheuser Busch Logo

K12 Logo


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Hotel and Travel

Host Hotel

Gaylord Exterior 1

Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center
2800 Opryland Drive, Nashville

SPN has negotiated group rates of $189/night and $254/night for an upgraded room with a view of the atrium. You can secure the group rate for three days before the Annual Meeting, based on hotel availability, if you would like to spend extra time enjoying Nashville. Reservations can be made online by clicking below or by calling 615-889-1000 and mentioning State Policy Network. If your organization participates in the Marriott Rewards program, please note that that Gaylord is a Marriott Rewards property. SPN’s room block will close on September 13.

Make a Reservation

Attendees must use the link above if they wish to stay at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center during Annual Meeting. This link ensures you reserve accommodations within SPN’s room block; otherwise, the Gaylord will show as sold out during the week of October 3-6. 

Other Accommodations

The Inn at Opryland
2401 Music Valley Drive, Nashville

The Inn at Opryland is a three-minute drive from the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center. The group rate is $169/night. Reservations can be made online by clicking below or by calling 615-889-0800 and mentioning State Policy Network.

Make a Reservation

Travel to Nashville

The local airport is Nashville International Airport (BNA), approximately eight miles from The Gaylord. Several major airlines serve Nashville, including Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta, Southwest Airlines, United, and US Airways.


  • Shuttle: The Gaylord Opryland offers daily roundtrip shuttle service from the airport. Guests have access to Gaylord Opryland’s airport shuttle, hotel shuttle, and sedan service, with transportation to Gaylord Springs Golf Links and the Grand Ole Opry. Make airport/hotel shuttle reservations.
  • Taxi: Taxi services are available. Taxi fare to and from BNA is $30 one-way.
  • Uber: Uber is a great affordable option for traveling to and from the airport or getting around Nashville.
  • Car Rentals: All major auto rental agencies are represented at BNA. If you choose to rent a car, please note that the Gaylord charges an onsite parking fee of $24/day.


Below are a few of the excellent speakers who are part of this year’s Annual Meeting lineup. More speakers will be announced in the coming weeks.

Keynote Speakers

Mike Rowe

Creator, Executive Producer, and Host of Somebody’s Gotta Do It and CEO of the mikeroweWORKS Foundation

Plenary Speaker – Roe Award Dinner, October 5

Mike Rowe has been called the “dirtiest man on TV,” a title he earned while hosting the hit TV series, Dirty Jobs, a show that paid tribute to hardworking people who make civilized life possible for the rest of us. On the show, Mike worked as a good-humored apprentice on more than 300 unique, unglamorous jobs— from boiler repairman to abandoned mine plugger. On his latest TV series, Somebody’s Gotta Do It, Mike introduces viewers to innovators, do-gooders, and entrepreneurs who march to the beat of a different drum. Mike is also well known for narrating documentaries and television shows about everything from lions of the Serengeti to fisherman in the Aleutian Islands.

As CEO of the mikeroweWORKS Foundation, Mike spends a significant amount of time speaking about the country’s dysfunctional relationship with work, highlighting the widening skills gap, and challenging the persistent belief that a four-year degree is automatically the best path to take for the most people. The mikeroweWORKS Foundation, a 501(c)(3) public charity, awards qualified people with a passion to learn a skill that is in demand. The Foundation has been instrumental in granting more than $3 million in technical and/or vocational education through its scholarship programs, including the Work Ethic Scholarship Program, for trade schools across the country.

Track Speakers

Dee Allsop, Heart+Mind Strategies

Dr. Allsop is currently CEO and managing partner of Heart+Mind Strategies. Over his 30-year career, Dr. Allsop has had experience providing brand and communications strategies for some of the world’s largest companies, organizations, and destinations. From 1986 to 1988, working with Richard Wirthlin and Wirthlin Worldwide, Dr. Allsop directed the public opinion research program for the Reagan White House. Dr. Allsop has led research and strategic communications for the key issues of our day: religious freedom, the family, free speech, education, healthcare, tax reform and more.

Where to see him:

  • How Beacon Center Used Marketing to Make Tennessee Truly Income Tax Free – October 4 at 2:00 pm
  • Saying it Right: Transform Your Tax and Regulation Rambles into a Compelling Message about Job Creation – October 5 at 9:45 am

Lawson Bader, DonorsTrust

Lawson Bader is president and CEO of DonorsTrust, a community foundation that works with donors and charities to promote limited government, free enterprise, and personal responsibility. He comes to DonorsTrust with 20 years of experience leading public policy research and advocacy organizations having been president of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and Vice President of the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.

Where to see him:
Enemies of Debate: How Our Opponents Use the Government to Shut Down Public Debate -October 5 at 9:30 am

Brian BurkhartBrian Burkart, SquarePlanet

The founder and driving force behind SquarePlanet, a communication strategy firm, Brian is also an adjunct lecturer at Northwestern University’s Farley Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation. Through his work with TED speakers, Shark Tank contestants and business leaders around the globe, Brian’s mission is to help bring innovative ideas to life through the power of communication. With a growing client list that includes McDonald’s, Redbox, Transamerica and many more, Brian’s ability to see what others cannot has made him one of the most sought-after speaking, messaging and strategy coaches in the business.

Where to see him:

  • How to Tell a Story That Changes the World – October 5 at 9:45 am
  • Present with Pizzazz: How to Give an Awesome Presentation – October 5 at 2:15 pm

Jonathan Butcher, Goldwater Institute

Jonathan Butcher serves as education director for the Goldwater Institute. He has researched and testified on education policy and school choice programs around the country. His work has appeared in journals such as Education Next and the Georgetown Journal of Law and Public Policy, and he has appeared on local and national TV outlets, including C-SPAN and Fox News.

Where to see him:

  • United We Stand: Inspiring Case Studies in Coalition Building – October 4 at 9:30 am
  • The End of the Beginning: The Future of Educational Choice in the 21st Century – October 6 at 12:30 pm

Ben CaseBen Case, Case Consulting Services, Inc.

Benjamin Case, president of Case Consulting Services, Inc. helps nonprofits raise more money by advising on strategic planning, fundraising, and communications. Mr. Case has served in the nonprofit sector for 38 years as an advancement professional, senior manager and leader. He formed Case Consulting Services, Inc. in 2001. His experience includes work with world-class institutions such as Duke University and the Metropolitan Opera, as well as being involved in the start-up of more than ten successful nonprofits. He has worked for and been engaged by organizations that have raised over $3.8 billion and has been personally involved in the successful solicitation of over $1.1 billion dollars in gifts. He has done extensive presentations and trainings for non-profits, including writing and presenting a two-day conference on major gifts: ThinkBIG.

Where to see him:

  • Overcome Askophobia: Ask, Negotiate, and Close Major Gifts – October 4 at 9:30 am
  • Boards, CEOs, & Development Staff: A Team Approach to Fundraising – October 5 at 11:15 am
  •  Investing in Staff to Build Successful Development Teams – October 5 at 2:15 pm

Claire Kittle Dixon

Claire Kittle Dixon, Talent Market

Claire Kittle Dixon is the executive director of Talent Market. Claire has a decade of experience in the talent development field. She operated her own headhunting firm for more than three years before transitioning into a career in the free-market nonprofit movement She joined the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation where she served as the Program Officer for Leadership and Talent Development. While at Koch, Claire managed the hiring process for the Foundation and launched and managed two talent programs – the Koch Associate Program and the Koch Internship Program.

Where to see her:
Development Shop Success: Are You My Perfect Development Staff Member? – October 4 at 11:00 am

Ann FitzgeraldAnn Fitzgerald, A.C. Fitzgerald & Associates

Ann earned a master’s degree in philanthropic studies from Indiana University. She has more than two decades of experience in sales, management, fundraising, publishing and marketing. Her expertise in analyzing nonprofit performance and creating tailored solutions has allowed her nonprofit clients to achieve their missions, raise more money and maximize personnel resources. Prior to starting the firm, Ann was director of development for The Heritage Foundation, where she helped increase contributions income by twenty percent by establishing integrated programs for direct marketing, major gifts, and planned giving. Ann regularly writes and speaks on fundraising topics, including donor relations, grant writing, systems management and prospect research.

Where to see her:

  • Ask the Investors: Best Practices in Building Foundation Relations – October 4 at 2:00 pm
  • Partners, Sponsors, or Donors? How to Think About Corporate Fundraising – October 5 at 11:15 am


Peg Fitzpatrick

Peg Fitzpatrick, Co-Author of The Art of Social Media

Peg Fitzpatrick is a popular social media speaker, trainer and, social media author. She’s co-author of The Art of Social Media: Power Tips for Power Users. Covering all the major social media platforms, she frequently hears “you’re everywhere!” She’s passionate about social media and inspiring others to be their best.

Where to see her:
The Art of Social Media with Peg Fitzpatrick – October 4 at 9:30 am

Joe HenchmanJoseph Henchman, Tax Foundation

Joe Henchman is Vice President of Legal & State Projects at the Tax Foundation, where he analyzes state tax trends, constitutional issues, and tax law developments. Joe has testified or presented to officials in 31 states, testified before Congress six times, and has written over 75 major studies on tax policy. In 2010, he was identified in State Tax Notes as among four people who “will likely dominate the field in the next 10 years,” and the Tax Foundation’s state policy program was honored as most influential in state tax policy by State Tax Notes for 2011, 2012, and 2013.

Where to see him:
How to Reach the Executive Branch – October 5 at 9:45 am

Brian KelseySenator Brian Kelsey, Tennessee General Assembly

Brian Kelsey serves as state Senator for Cordova, East Memphis, and his hometown of Germantown, Tennessee. He is chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. In 2014, he became the first legislator in Tennessee history to sponsor two successful amendments to the state constitution: one forever prohibited a state income tax, and the other followed a Founding Fathers model for selecting appellate judges. In the same year, Senator Kelsey passed a law to prohibit ObamaCare Medicaid expansion in Tennessee. He also sponsored the governor’s comprehensive tort reform act in 2011. He has passed a school voucher bill through the Senate that he hopes will pass in the House this year.

Where to see him:
Get a Legislator’s Attention – October 5 at 2:15 pm

Jimmy KempJimmy Kemp, Jack Kemp Foundation

Jimmy Kemp is president of the Jack Kemp Foundation, which he established in 2009. Its mission is to develop, engage, and recognize exceptional leaders who champion the American idea, beginning with the premise that the condition of your birth shouldn’t determine the outcome of your life. Mr. Kemp co-founded and is the managing partner of Kemp Partners, a strategic consulting firm based in Washington DC. Established in 2002, Kemp Partners provides government relations and corporate affairs services to a diverse clientele.

Where to see him:
Change the Narrative on School Choice: Upward Mobility, Innovation, and Education – October 5 at 9:45 am

Kevan KjarKevan Kjar, Arrowhead3 Consulting

Kevan Kjar founded ArrowHead3 Consulting to help companies with complex product or ideas create a story that resonates with their buyer, and creates a momentum among their team so everyone is singing the same song. Kevan has helped companies such as Siemens, SAP, Oracle, Johnson & Johnson, think tanks and many others with their message and how their message is presented, not just once, but he was brought in many times with each of these accounts. ArrowHead3 Consulting’s unique “ArrowHead” process and Story methodology helps companies win their story war by creating a winning story, putting a human face on their product and delivering that story with passion.

Where to see him:

  • Develop a Powerful Organization Brand ArrowHead with Kevan Kjar – October 4 at 9:30 am
  • Saying It Right: Transform Your Tax and Regulation Rambles into a Compelling Message about Job Creation – October 5 at 9:45 am

Kent LassmanKent Lassman, Competitive Enterprise Institute

Kent Lassman is president and CEO of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, where he oversees strategy for the free market organization, including management of a team of policy, communications, and fundraising staff. Prior to joining CEI, Lassman spent eight years as vice president at a public affairs firm in Washington, DC, counseling clients on campaign approaches to issues ranging from telecommunications to privacy to biotechnology and state licensure. His past experience includes testimony before Congress, state legislatures, and in regulatory proceedings. His research has covered topics as varied as the federal budget and Progressivism in America, as well as electricity and tech policy. Having held positions in nonprofit organizations, on advisory councils, at private firms, and policy organizations, Lassman is a recognized expert in free-market economics and strategic marketing for the principles necessary for individual and economic freedom to flourish.

Where to see him:
Enemies of Debate: How Our Opponents Use the Government to Shut Down Public Debate – October 5 at 9:45 am

Derek McCoyReverend Derek McCoy, Center for Urban Renewal and Education

Derek McCoy serves as a National Director for the Center for Urban Renewal and Education (CURE) which works to fight poverty and restore dignity through the message of faith, freedom and personal responsibility. CURE addresses issues of race, poverty and culture via policy, media, and a National CURE clergy network. McCoy has an extensive background in policy, political strategy, and advocacy on key cultural issues including race, poverty, life, marriage, and religion. Rev. McCoy has served as the President of the Maryland Family Alliance, SVP for the High Impact Leadership Coalition, and Coalitions Director and Outreach Director key campaigns and initiatives.

Where to see him:
Case Studies in Break Cultural Barriers – October 4 at 11:00 am

Cleta MitchellCleta Mitchell, Foley & Lardner LLP

Cleta Mitchell is a partner and political law attorney in the Washington, D.C. office of Foley & Lardner LLP, and a member of the firm’s Political Law Practice. With more than 40 years of experience in law, politics and public policy, Ms. Mitchell advises nonprofit and issue organizations, corporations, candidates, campaigns, and individuals on state and federal campaign finance law, election law, and compliance issues related to lobbying, ethics and financial disclosure. Ms. Mitchell practices before the Federal Election Commission, the ethics committees of the US House and Senate and similar state and local enforcement bodies and agencies.

Where to see her:

  • Enemies of Debate: How Our Opponents Use the Government to Shut Down Public Debate – October 5 at 9:45 am
  • Successfully Navigate Legal Compliance – October 5 at 2:15 pm

Levi MorehouseLevi Morehouse, Ceterus

As a CPA with a passion for entrepreneurship, Levi founded Ceterus in 2008, to empower small business and non-profit entrepreneurs, with accounting and reporting solutions delivered through the cloud. Levi graduated from Western Michigan University and resides in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina with his wife Alicia and their five boys.

Where to see him:

  • Think Like a Chief Financial Officer – October 4 at 9:30 am
  • CFO in Action: Q&A with Your Peers – October 4 at 11:00 am

Justin Owen - Beacon Center of TennesseeJustin Owen, Beacon Center of Tennessee

Justin Owen is the president and CEO of the Beacon Center of Tennessee. Justin has helped bring about Tennessee’s first ever private school choice program, stop an expansion of Medicaid under Obamacare, usher in comprehensive tort reform, assisted in the repeal of collective bargaining by government unions, and worked to end Tennessee’s death tax, among many smaller achievements.

Where to see him:

  • Unleashing Economic Growth and Job Creation – October 5 at 11:15 am
  • Get a Legislator’s Attention – October 5 at 2:15 pm

Laura Vanderkam, Author of 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think 

Laura Vanderkam is the author of several time management and productivity books, including I Know How She Does It, What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast, and 168 Hours. Her work has appeared in publications including Fast Company, Fortune, USA Today, and the Wall Street Journal. She lives outside Philadelphia with her husband and four children, and blogs at

Where to see her:

  • 168 Hours: Create Your Best Life 24/7 – October 4 at 11:00 am
  • Help Direct Reports Work Smarter, Not More – October 4 at 2:00 pm

Unsung Hero


The sixth annual Unsung Hero Award, sponsored by the Vernon K. Krieble Foundation, will be presented at the State Policy Network 24th Annual Meeting in Nashville, TN. The award honors an individual whose work defines entrepreneurial public policy action in the spirit of the Vernon K. Krieble Foundation’s founder and president, Helen Krieble. The winner will receive a cash prize of $25,000 and recognition at SPN’s 24th Annual Meeting plenary luncheon on October 5, 2016.

Criteria for Nominees:

  • Nominee is a policy entrepreneur who has not received recognition for his or her successful free market (or “liberty-minded”) solution.
  • Leadership resulted in a victory that reduced the size or scope of government and made a difference for freedom.
  • The outcomes recognized are transformative and truly innovative.
  • The policy victory can serve as inspiration to other freedom champions and replicated in other areas of the country.
  • Nominee has not accepted monetary aid or a leadership position from an organization to complete his or her work.

The organization that nominates the Unsung Hero winner will also receive a $5,000 prize!

Nominations for 2016 have closed. Please direct all questions about the Unsung Hero Award to Sarah Ferrara at

Learn More About the Unsung Hero Award


A Special Thank You

Krieble-Bio-Pic2Helen Krieble is the founder and president of The Vernon K. Krieble Foundation, a private foundation dedicated to public policy and America’s founding principles.  A hard-working hero for freedom in her own right, Helen and her foundation actively support free enterprise and entrepreneurship, nationally and internationally.  Under her leadership, the foundation has carved out a history of hard-fought local and national public policy accomplishments in missile defense, immigration reform, taxation, government regulation and citizenship. Without her leadership, the Unsung Hero Award would not be possible.

Announcing the State Unsung Hero Award!

If you are a state think tank you are eligible to receive a $1,000 State Unsung Hero Award Grant from the Vernon K. Krieble Foundation. For more information, please contact Stephanie Muth at