NACEO | Past Speakers
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Past Speakers

2023 – Apr 10th – Nita A. Farahany

2023-04-10-Nita FarahanyMonday, April 10, 2023
Time: 7:00 AM

Guest Speaker: Nita A. Farahany, Professor of Law & Philosophy at Duke Law School

Nita A. Farahany is a leading scholar on the ethical, legal, and social implications of emerging technologies. She is the Robinson O. Everett Distinguished Professor of Law & Philosophy at Duke Law School, the Founding Director of Duke Science & Society, the Faculty Chair of the Duke MA in Bioethics & Science Policy, and principal investigator of SLAP Lab.

Farahany is a frequent commentator for national media and radio shows and a regular keynote speaker. She presents her work to diverse academic, legal, corporate, and public audiences including at TED, the World Economic Forum, Aspen Ideas Festival, Judicial Conferences for US Court of Appeals, scientific venue including the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Society for Neuroscience, the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine, the American Society for Political and Legal Philosophy, and by testifying before Congress.

Her current scholarship focuses on the implications of emerging neuroscience, genomics, and artificial intelligence for law and society; legal and bioethical issues arising from the COVID-19 pandemic; FDA law and policy; and the use of science and technology in criminal law. In addition to publishing in legal and scientific journals, as well as edited book volumes, Farahany is the author of the forthcoming book The Battle for Your Brain: Defending Your Right to Think Freely in the Age of Neurotechnology (St. Martin’s Press 2023).

In 2010, Professor Farahany was appointed by President Obama to the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues and served until 2017. She is an appointed member of the National Advisory Council for the National Institute for Neurological Disease and Stroke, an elected member of the American Law Institute and Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, past President of the International Neuroethics Society, an ELSI (ethical, legal, and social implications) advisor to the NIH Brain Initiative and to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, an appointed member of both the Forum on Neuroscience and Nervous System Disorders and the Standing Committee on Biotechnology Capabilities and National Security Needs for the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, and a member of the Global Future Council on Frontier Risks and Expert Network for the World Economic Forum. She served as Reporter for the Study Committee and later Drafting Committee on updating the Uniform Determination of Death Committee for the Uniform Law Commission. In 2022, she was appointed by Governor Roy Cooper to the NC Delegation for the Uniform Law Commission, and currently serves in that capacity. Farahany is a co-editor-in-chief and co-founder of the Journal of Law and the Biosciences and on the Board of Advisors for Scientific American. She also serves on scientific and ethics advisory boards for corporations.

Farahany received her AB in Genetics, Cell, and Developmental Biology from Dartmouth College, an ALM in biology from Harvard University, and a JD and MA from Duke University, as well as a Ph.D. in philosophy. In 2004-2005, Farahany clerked for Judge Judith W. Rogers of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, after which she joined the law faculty at Vanderbilt University. In 2011, Farahany was the Leah Kaplan Visiting Professor of Human Rights at Stanford Law School.


2023-June 12th – Spruill, Bill

2023-06-12-Bill SpruillMonday, June 12, 2023
Time: 7:00 AM

Guest Speaker: Bill Spruill

Bill is co-founder and former CEO of Global Data Consortium (GDC), the most widely channel distributed global identity platform through a single API, before its acquisition by London Stock Exchange Group in May 2022.

He started his career working with SAS Institute before working in a variety of companies focused on international address verification, matching and data quality, that had a habit of being acquired successfully, including AddressDoctor, Loqate, Identity Systems and Intelligent Search Technology.

Bill is an active angel investor. Past exits include Union Metrics (sold to Trendkite/Cision); Magnus Health (private equity acquisition) and Loqate (acquired by GB Group UK). As part of his volunteer work with the Council for Entrepreneurial Development (CED), Bill has mentored over 80 companies through early, mid-stage growth and exit challenges.

He attended Northrop University in Los Angeles, California and The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

2023 – Feb. 6th – Jacobson, Shane

Shane Jacobson

Monday, February 6, 2023
Time: 7:00 AM

Guest Speaker: Shane Jacobson,
Chief Executive Officer of the V Foundation

Shane Jacobson is the Chief Executive Officer of the V Foundation. He is an accomplished foundation executive with experience leading record-setting campaigns that align philanthropic partnerships with ambitious goals.

At the V Foundation, Jacobson and the staff have a laser-sharp focus on funding game-changing research and all-star scientists to accelerate victory over cancer and save lives.

Prior to joining the organization, Jacobson served as the President & CEO of the University of Vermont Foundation. His team set an all-time high in fundraising through a highly successful $581 million campaign. Included in this total is nearly $300 million in support of academic medicine and patient care, as well as $43 million for athletics. They also generated substantial investments in research and scientific discovery by more than doubling the number of endowed faculty professorships and chairs, with more than 125 positions now at the University. Additionally, Jacobson was part of a team that cultivated a $66M gift that named UVM’s College of Medicine – which represents the single largest contribution ever to a public university in New England.

A native of Iowa, Jacobson received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Iowa State University, and he completed the Harvard University Management Development Program. He has served on numerous boards and committees, including the Association of Governing Boards’ Council of Presidents and AGB Foundations Advisory Council and the UVM President’s Commission on Inclusive Excellence.

2022 – Nov 14 – Janet Cowell

Janet CowellMonday, November 14, 2022

Time: 7:00 AM

Guest Speaker: Janet Cowell, President and Chief Executive Officer

President and Chief Executive Officer for Dix Park Conservancy.  Janet has thirty years of experience in both public and private sector roles, including state treasurer, chief executive officer, corporate director, state senator, and city councilor. Her broad and diverse career experience spans finance, education, and healthcare in the United States and abroad.


2022 – Sept 12 – Patrick T, McHenry

Patrick McHenryMonday, September 12, 2022

Time: 7:00 AM

Guest Speaker: Patrick T, McHenry, United States Congressman

United States Congressman, Patrick McHenry, representative for North Carolina’s 10th Congressional District.  Congressman McHenry is serving his ninth term which comprises all or parts of eight counties in North Carolina, from the suburbs of Charlotte on Lake Norman to the Piedmont Triad region on the Virginia border.  Congressman McHenry is also the Republican Leader of the House Financial Services Committee.

2022 – Jun 6 – Donald Thompson

Donald ThompsonMonday, June 6, 2022

Time: 7:00 AM

Guest Speaker: Donald Thompson, Co-founder and CEO

With two decades of experience growing and leading firms, Donald Thompson (he/him) is a thought leader on goal achievement, influencing company culture, and driving exponential growth. As an entrepreneur, Donald has led multiple companies which have attained successful exits with strong returns for shareholders and employees. As our CEO and Certified Diversity Executive, he is a champion of DEI initiatives. Through his work, Donald actively raises both awareness of and commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion in order to create a more inclusive society and improve business outcomes along the way.


Donald previously led the multi-award-winning digital marketing firm Walk West, which was recognized by Inc. Magazine as one of the fastest-growing private companies in the U.S. throughout his tenure as CEO in 2018, 2019, and 2020. In 2021, he was named one of “Forbes’ Next 1000: Upstart Entrepreneurs Redefining the American Dream.”


A true believer in those who dare to dream, Donald works as a mentor for Google’s Entrepreneurs Exchange and is an angel investor, providing support to small startups and entrepreneurs. He also serves on the Board of Directors for the Raleigh Chamber and TowneBank Raleigh, the Board of Trustees for Vidant Medical Center, and the NCSU Entrepreneurship Advisory Board, as well as boards for various NC-based startups in technology, marketing, sports, and entertainment.


A member of the National Speakers Association, Donald speaks frequently for businesses, organizations, and universities, sharing actionable insights and strategies across key functions of business strategy, entrepreneurship, leadership development, and DEI in the workplace. He has written for multiple publications including WRAL Techwire,, and, and has published his own ebooks on decision making and diversity. Donald is a father, son, husband, racquetball player, and German chocolate cake enthusiast. To learn more, visit


2022 – Apr 4 – Boo Corrigan

Boo Corrigan

Monday, April 4, 2022

Time: 7:00 AM

Guest Speaker: Boo Corrigan, NC State Director of Athletics

Boo Corrigan joined NC State as director of Athletics on April 30, 2019. Prior to joining NC State, Corrigan served as director of athletics at West Point for eight years. Under his leadership, Army excelled in competition but also surpassed ambitious fundraising goals, upgraded several facilities, added three varsity sports and created a new brand identity, all while cadet-athletes raised the bar academically.


Corrigan is no stranger to the Atlantic Coast Conference. He spent much of his youth in Charlottesville while his father, Gene, served as the University of Virginia’s athletic director. Before joining Army, Corrigan worked for three years in the athletic department at Duke University, serving as senior associate athletic director for external affairs. He also served as assistant director of marketing at Florida State University for four years and as associate athletic director for marketing at the University of Notre Dame for five years. Outside of the ACC, Corrigan spent three years as associate athletic director for marketing at the U.S. Naval Academy.


Throughout his career, Corrigan has placed a consistent emphasis on student-athlete wellness, prioritizing mental health and social-media training. He was named a 2017 Athletic Director of the Year by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics. At NC State, Corrigan leads a program that includes 23 teams, annual revenue of about $86 million and more than 200 full-time employees.


Corrigan received his bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Notre Dame and earned a master’s degree in education from Virginia Commonwealth University.

2022-Feb 7 – Stanley A. McChrystal


Monday, February 7, 2022

Time: 7:00 AM

Guest Speaker: Stanley A. McChrystal, retired four-star general

A retired four-star general, Stan is the former commander of US and International Security Assistance Forces (ISAF) Afghanistan and the former commander of the nation’s premier military counter-terrorism force, Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC).
He is best known for developing and implementing a comprehensive counterinsurgency strategy in Afghanistan, and for creating a cohesive counter-terrorism organization that revolutionized the interagency operating culture.
Stan is a sought-after speaker, giving speeches on leadership to organizations around the country.  He is the author of Risk: A User’s Guide, offering a battle-tested system for detecting and responding to risk