Leadership Connections | 2013 National Conference Highlights

On May 16-18, the McCormick Center played host to over 400 motivated and eager to learn early childhood professionals. This year’s Leadership Connections national conference was definitely one for the record books.


Opening Luncheon

During the Luncheon, J. Ronald Lally was presented the Visionary Leader award. After participants enjoyed a wonderful lunch, National Louis University Provost, Dr, Christine Quinn, presented PNC Bank  with the Corporate Champion for Change award. Following the awards, the enthusiastic crowd was treated to a keynote by body language expert, Janine Driver.

Public Policy Forum | The Real Early Learning Challenge

Camille Catlett, Scientist at the University of North Carolina’s Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, provided Public Policy Forum attendees ways in which effective policies can support a nuanced understanding of program excellence. After a presentation on how high-quality, inclusive early childhood programs can support each child’s full potential the group engaged in a  town hall format question and answer session.  Breakout sessions enabled attendees to further explore the topic.

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Paula Jorde Bloom Leadership Colloquium

The Leadership Colloquium, initiated in honor of Dr. Bloom’s leadership, provides an opportunity for conference participants to hear from the Visionary Leadership Award recipient. This year, the Colloquium featured J. Ronald Lally, who shared his vast experience and knowledge about infant and toddler development in a casual “around the fireplace” setting.


Participants attended energizing skill-building clinics on Friday and Saturday. Attendees took an in-depth look at topics of interest and walked away with practical strategies to implement in their programs.

Networking Reception and Marketplace

A soup, salad and potato bar on Thursday and a taco party on Friday afforded participants the opportunity to nourish their bodies and spirits as they networked with professionals and friends from across the country. There were lots of winners of wonderful door prizes from our many vendors and donors.

Closing Luncheon

Simon T. Bailey, founder of the Brilliance Institute, closed out the conference. In his inspiring keynote, Bailey challenged everyone to find and ignite the spark of brilliance within.