Meet the Annual Conference Keynote Speakers

Two keynote speakers will address SCAC’s Annual Conference on Wednesday, Aug. 2 at Wild Dunes Resort.

Bill Stainton is an expert on innovation, creativity, and breakthrough thinking; a 29-time Emmy Award winner; and a Hall of Fame keynote speaker who takes the mystery out of innovation for leaders and their teams worldwide.

For 15 years, Stainton produced the longest-running, highest-rated, and most award-winning regional comedy TV show in the United States. In 2019, he was inducted into the Council of Peers Award for Excellence Speaker Hall of Fame®, a lifetime award that honors professional speakers who have reached the top echelon of speaking excellence.

Stainton is the author of The Innovation Blueprint and has been cited in Forbes and The Wall Street Journal. He has also written for HBO, Comedy Central, and The Tonight Show, and is the creator of the Elite Innovation Roundtable, a think tank for innovative leaders. His clients include Microsoft, Boeing, Harley-Davidson, Amazon, Whirlpool, Nike, and Costco. On a personal note, he is also a pilot and a musician, although rarely at the same time.

Commissioner Mary Jo McGuire became National Association of Counties (NACo) First Vice President on July 24, 2022. She has been a Ramsey County Commissioner in Minnesota since 2012.

Prior to the county board, McGuire served 16 years in the Minnesota State Legislature, serving in both the House and Senate. She is a member of NACo’s Executive Board and serves on its Financial Services Corporation and the Audit and Finance Committee.

McGuire serves on Healthy Counties Advisory Board, Programs and Services Committee, and the Arts and Culture Commission. She is also active in her state, serving in leadership at the Association of Minnesota Counties (AMC), and is a member of its Public Safety Policy Committee and Education and Research Committee.

In her own county, McGuire chairs the county’s Legislative Committee and Active Living Ramsey Communities, and serves on the Suburban Ramsey Family Collaborative, Extension Committee, and Recycling and Energy Board.

She is involved in several community organizations, including Rotary International, the Optimist Club, and the Roseville Area Community Foundation. She is a lifelong resident of Ramsey County, currently residing in Roseville.

McGuire received her Bachelor’s in Business Administration from the College of St. Catherine, law degree from Hamline University School of Law, and Master’s in Public Administration from the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government. She is an adjunct professor in the Master’s of Organizational Leadership (MAOL) Department at St. Catherine University, and was a guest lecturer at West Point Military Academy.

The Annual Conference and Institute of Government classes, designed to help county leaders govern more effectively, will include educational sessions, and provide opportunities for county leaders to discuss challenges and successful strategies. The conference will also provide county leaders opportunities to network and learn about the products and services offered by SCAC’s Corporate Partners and conference exhibitors.

Laura Dawson Ullrich is a senior regional economist at the Charlotte branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. Previously, Ullrich was associate dean for undergraduate programs and a professor of economics at Winthrop University. She earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Georgia and a master’s and doctorate in economics from the University of Tennessee. Prior to graduate school, she worked as a business consultant for Ernst & Young, specializing in executive compensation determination. In 2014, she served as a Fulbright Scholar teaching economics in Kosovo and has spent considerable time working on local economic development issues in Bolivia. Ullrich’s research interests include higher education, school finance reform, local and state level tax and expenditure analyses, and the economic impact of local development. Ullrich is a member of the Aspen Institute Global Leadership Network and serves on the Executive Committee of the Charlotte Regional Business Alliance and the board of the Catawba Regional Council of Governments. She is also a board member of Family Promise of York County, the Rock Hill Technology Incubator, the Carolina Immigrant Alliance, and the Winthrop Eagle Club.

Get more details and register for the Institute of Government and Annual Conference