The 2020 WVSAE annual meeting at The Greenbrier focused on “Leadership in Changing Times.”  It was a great success with outstanding speakers, food, networking and more!  We began with a lovely reception Sunday night.

Betsy Debord Miles and new husband Wayne visited with Pat McDonald at the opening reception.

From left, WVSAE Vice President Pat McDonald, Director Beth White, CAE, APR, former president Marie Beaver and President Jonathan Adler enjoyed visiting during the social hour sponsored by The Greenbrier, Glade Springs Resort and the West Virginia Association of Counties.

Rick and Lori Miller Smith visited with Herb Faulkenberry. Both the Independent Oil and Gas Association of West Virginia and Oglebay Resort and Conference Center sponsored activities at the conference.

Kim Lapana, left, visited with Haley Walker and Heather Darr during our cocktail event.

Pat McDonald visited with speaker Mark McMillion in the foreground, while Jonathan Adler spoke with Betsy Miles.

WVSAE Director Beth White, CAE, APR, visited with sponsor Rea of Hope’s Marie Beaver.

At left, Heather Ouimette of sponsor Glade Springs Resort visit with Sarah Stump, while Shelly Gutta visited with speaker Chuck Stump and Cindi Napier of sponsor The Greenbrier.

WVSAE Secretary-Treasurer Lori Miller Smith, Shelley Gutta and Executive Director Diane Slaughter, CAE, APR, shared a toast prior to dinner in the Main Dining Room.

Mark McMilion of McMillion Leadership Associates opened the conference by reminding us to know our values, purpose, mission and vision and choose carefully what to keep and what to change. The second opportunity he shared is the opportunity to strengthen those same things, even if you take the opportunity to fail, since doing nothing is a decision. He said you should emphasize your mission, link plans and actions to your values and ask your members or customers how you can help them. He said we need to give our members a strong place to stand in our organization.


WVSAE member Chuck Stump of The Performance Group, said that in the pandemic, people just want to keep doing their jobs, even amid the chaos. The attitude of leaders sets the tone and, as such, leaders need to make their teams feel safe. He said that as things change, there are five things to consider:
1. With changes, what do you expect?
2. What happens if we drop the ball?
3. How are we doing? What gaps do we have? What can we do better?
4. What’s going on in your world that I need to know?
5. What can I do?


Scott Edwards and Paul Page from Netranom focused on the technology threats and possibilities of working from home or a hybrid of work environments. Having half frightened everyone in the room with their vulnerabilities, he discussed unsecured networks, hackers, internet issues and strategies for data backup and recovery. The two shared ways to stay more protected, including three locations of data, use of VPNs and exercising caution in what is downloaded onto your computer at work or at home.


Although he couldn’t join us in person, WV State University Chief of Staff Dr. Henderson Hatch said the first question to ask is “Are we relevant?” You need to: determine what is being done well; are we prepared for the future; do we know what’s coming our way; are we open to the future; and can we lead the charge of change? He discussed decision-making and recommended reviewing our own cognitive biases. He also shared information on transformational leadership and decide whether you want new leadership or new leadership perspectives. You can leverage organizational knowledge with new ideas. He closed by urging us to look at the efficiency and effectiveness of processes and procedures.


Kelly Allen of the West Virginia Center for Budget and Policy discussed economic conditions before, during and after the pandemic. She said the recovery has been unequal, with high wage earners recovering more quickly than others. She said job recovery has slowed to a crawl, with two unemployed people for every job opening in the country. West Virginia has one of the lower labor force rates of participation in the US. The diverging recovery is at risk of exacerbating racial income inequality. Moody’s is projecting recovery to February 2020 job level recovery will happen between 2023 and 2027. Allen said protecting critical public services will hasten the recovery. There are elevated opportunities in the pandemic, including the areas of childcare, public health investment, broadband and paid and family medical leave.


We want to give special thanks to our many sponsors for making this event possible: