The future of convenience is changing, and leaders–like you–need strategies and insights that will keep them competitive and empower them to facilitate leadership that drives growth while navigating disruption.
The exclusive 2024 NACS Leadership Forum is a 3-day event bringing together top executives of industry-leading companies to discuss and explore how to lead in today’s hyper convenience-focused world. In a world moving at an unprecedented speed, you discover the steps top retailers are taking today to grow and scale their organizations.
Attendees will explore the future of convenience through world-renowned speakers and industry leaders during sessions packed with insights into top-of-mind opportunities for convenience retailers.
In addition, superior high-touch networking opportunities set the Leadership Forum apart from other industry events. During the 3-day program, top-to-top business meetings between participating Hunter Club supplier companies and invited participating retailers are the doorway to uncovering new opportunities to unlock growth, innovation and expand shopper experience.
This exclusive event is a powerful catalyst to align leaders, develop solutions to problems, explore new strategies, and fuel collaboration, facilitated by NACS, which has been advancing convenience and fuel retailing for more than 60 years.
If you would like to be considered for next year’s event, please visit our registration tab to fill out the request form.
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Henry Armour is the president and CEO of NACS. He grew up working in his family’s retail businesses, Armour Oil Company, rising to the position of vice president and COO in 1977. In 1980, he joined The Standard Oil Company of Ohio, where he served as manager of development strategies. He later founded West Star Corporation, which grew to include 59 NOW! convenience stores, truck stops and quick-service restaurants in the Pacific Northwest until he sold the company in 2004. In 1988, Armour founded Epoch Corporation, which operated retail enterprises in California.
He became president and CEO of NACS in July 2005, having also served as the association’s chairman in 2002 and 2003. Armour earned a BA in economics from Stanford University, an MSc in economics from the London School of Economics, and an MBA and PhD in economics from Stanford University.
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Bill Chidley is co-founder and partner of ChangeUp; a team innovators and marketing, brand strategy, and design professionals. He has extensive experience leading comprehensive brand strategy and design projects for major U.S. and global retail, restaurant and consumer packaged goods accounts. Bill also enjoys applying emerging behavioral economic and psychological theory to innovative brand experiences in today's integrated digital/physical world. Bill’s branding experience includes leading the strategic platforms for the rebranding of AT&T after the SBC acquisition and establishing John Deere’s global brand positioning and dealership experience. He also led the shopper-based design activities for P&G’s household needs businesses as well as similar work for other CPG/FMCG clients. In addition, he led creative teams in designing the identities for major brands such as Applebee’s, Subway, and Dunkin Donuts as well as the retail experience design for Home Depot, and dealership experiences for Land Rover and Honda.
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Jamie Cornelius is the Executive Creative Director at award-winning experience agency, ChangeUp. Innovating across categories, she is the creative force behind many of today’s most successful brands, including P&G, Panera, SHEETZ, and Target. Jamie is passionate about working with her multi-disciplinary team to create consumer experiences that delight, inspire, and raise the bar.
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Sterling Hawkins is out to break the status quo to create what’s actually possible for people and companies in our time. He has spent his life coming back from the brink to sell companies, finish ultra-marathons and getting results #NoMatterWhat it takes.
Sterling is an internationally-recognized thought leader and has given a TED talk with over 55,000 views on the topic of discomfort being necessary for innovation. He is a top-rated keynote speaker on the #NoMatterWhat approach to driving growth innovation and results, regardless of what’s happening in the world. His keynotes share meaningful strategies delivered with the inspiration to leave attendees in action.
His journey has been non-traditional right from the beginning. Sterling grew up a 5th generation retailer, having to master the intersection of technology and extreme competition. In 2004, Sterling co-founded, launched and sold his first technology company, Convena, where he developed innovative approaches to beat competition, handle high-growth and achieve performance no matter the obstacles.
He went on to be involved with the launch, growth and/or investment in over 50 companies. Today, Sterling reviews over 1,000 new companies every year further refining the keys to realizing breakthrough results regardless of circumstances and giving back that experience as a mentor to high-growth entrepreneurs working through heavy competition and instability in the world. He is the co-founder of CART, a platform to drive adoption of emerging technologies at Fortune 500 companies. And he speaks and runs workshops around the world for clients such as Samsung, Criteo, Synchrony Financial and the United Nations. Sterling is a certified yoga teacher and adventure seeker regularly pushing his own boundaries of what’s possible by skydiving, century bike riding, shark diving, and even trekking in the Sahara. He brings that energy of maximizing human potential and breaking past limiting beliefs to everything he does. Currently living in Colorado, he has been seen in Inc. Magazine, Fast Company, The New York Times and Forbes.
Sterling is inspiring a network of #NoMatterWhat leaders, entrepreneurs, investors and Fortune 500 companies, actively shaping the future for the betterment of business, communities and the human condition. Of course, he’s still regularly found on adventures.
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Andrea “Andi” Huels leads RadiusAI’s global Growth and Strategy. A go-to-market executive with expertise in artificial intelligence, machine learning, and data analytics, Andi helps F500 companies drive agility and re-invent their operations with AI. Her passion for evangelizing AI solutions inspires executives in retail, convenience, restaurants, and supply chain to think differently about how they can harness the power of artificial intelligence to make smarter decisions, increase operational efficiency, and enhance customer experience. A deep understanding of AI use cases, combined with her ability to cultivate technology ecosystems, enables Andi to become a trusted advisor to CXOs.
Andi was recently recognized as one of the “50 Most Powerful Women in Technology in 2023” and the “Top 50 Intelligent Automation Influencers” by engatica. She was also named as a member of the “Women Leaders of Conversational AI, Class of 2023.”
Prior to Lenovo, Andi served as NA Director of Business Development at Dematic, where she was instrumental in building the technology ecosystem necessary to deploy intelligent supply chain transformation for retailers, wholesalers, and manufacturers. Her background includes two decades of global strategy, growth, and innovation leadership roles with General Electric, ExxonMobil, Crane, Imerys, Omron, and General Mills.
Andi earned a BS in Management with honors from Indiana University and holds a Certificate in AI and Business Strategy from MIT. An avid cyclist, she resides in Atlanta, Georgia with her four children and their English Mastiff, Penelope.
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Refuel was founded in Charleston, SC in 2008 by Mark Jordan, expanding to 5 stores by 2016. Forming partnerships with Travis Smith and private equity sponsor First Reserve in 2019, there have since been 14 acquisitions and 11 new additional stores, bringing them to 208 stores today. With one convenience/food only location in downtown Charleston, their stores now span South Carolina, North Carolina, Texas, Mississippi, and Arkansas.
Mark graduated from The Citadel in 1993 and has also completed an Urban Economics and Real Estate program at University of Wisconsin, in addition to a Value Investing program at Columbia. A serial entrepreneur, Mark built and sold another company to The Pantry in 2005.
Mark is a competitive sailor and loves to travel. He has four children: Caroline, Graham, Thomas, and Zoe.
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Jeff Lenard oversees NACS’ industry-wide external communications campaigns to advance the role of convenience stores as positive economic, social and philanthropic contributors to the communities they serve. Lenard also serves as lead spokesperson and has conducted more than 6,000 media interviews about trends and innovations at the nation’s 148,000-plus convenience stores. In addition, he is the creator and host of the association’s award-winning weekly podcast, “Convenience Matters,” and oversees the long-running video series “Ideas 2 Go.”
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Chris McCarrick is the Asset Protection Solutions & Technology Senior Manager for the Kroger Company, located in Cincinnati, Ohio. A 30-year veteran of Asset Protection/Loss Prevention, he is responsible for identifying and piloting new technologies/solutions that help increase safety and mitigate shrink. Prior to joining Kroger 5 years ago, Chris held various leadership roles with Southeastern Grocers, Harris Teeter, Polo Ralph Lauren and The Home Depot. Chris holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice from Appalachian State University and holds the Certified Forensic Interview (CFI) designation.
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Bob Orr is a Senior Partner with Oliver Wyman and leads the firm’s North American Petroleum, Mobility and Convenience Retail Practice. Oliver Wyman is global strategic management consultancy, serving a range of industries and clients across their most important growth/strategy, operations, organization, and risk issues.
During his 25 years at Oliver Wyman, Bob has specialized in strategy development and activation with extensive experience across fuels/renewable fuels and convenience retail market growth/entry strategies, network planning/optimization, competitive business design, consumer value proposition development, retail and wholesale fuels pricing and channels strategies, and M&A strategies.
In his spare time, Bob is involved with family, music, and the Houston community. He serves on the Executive Board Committee of the Houston Symphony and is a decent jazz guitar player (and a developing classical guitar player). When on vacation road trips, Bob tests his wife’s patience by stopping to examine every interesting convenience retail site they come across.
Lori Buss Stillman is the Vice President, Research and Education for NACS, the National Association of Convenience Stores. Joining NACS in 2019, Lori leads the association’s industry-leading research portfolio, which includes the NACS State of the Industry suite of products and events, the Convenience Voices Shopper Insights solution that provides moment-of-truth insights into shopping behavior, monthly data insights from the CSX database and other research and insights programs critical to the convenience and fuel retail industry. She assumed responsibility for NACS Education programs in 2022, including event content, online learning and Executive Education programs available at Harvard, Yale, Kellogg, MIT and Wharton.
Stillman has a deep background in data analytics, decision support, business development and consulting. Most recently, she served as executive vice president of analytics, insights and business intelligence for Advantage Solutions. Leveraging 30+ years in the FMCG industry, she also has served as senior vice president of new client acquisition for Information Resources Inc., vice president of marketing and business development for WEBCO General Partnership, and senior vice president of strategic business development for Nielsen.
Lori earned a B.A. in business communications from Maryville University. She is active in the advancement of our industry, holding board level positions with the NACS/Coca-Cola Retailing Research Council, Conexxus, Stewart’s Enterprises, Inc., and with the Western Michigan University Food and CPG Marketing Program Industry Advisory Board. She is also a frequent speaker on the disruption taking place across the retail landscape. Lori makes her home in Northern Virginia, with her husband and daughter.
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Darren Rebelez is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Casey’s, a FORTUNE 500 company operating over 2,400 convenience stores throughout the Midwest and South. As CEO of the third largest convenience retailer and fifth largest pizza chain, Rebelez offers a wealth of experience from his career as a senior executive in the convenience, restaurant and fuel industries.
Prior to Casey’s, Rebelez served as the President of IHOP Restaurants, a unit of Dine Brands Global, Inc., which franchises and operates restaurants under the Applebee’s Grill & Bar and IHOP brands. He worked at 7-Eleven as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. Before 7-Eleven, Darren held numerous leadership roles within ExxonMobil, and before that, at Thornton Oil Corporation.
Preceding his civilian career, Darren was an Army Ranger and Gulf War veteran. A native of San Diego, he is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Foreign Area Studies. He went on to also earn an MBA from the University of Houston.
In addition to his role at Casey’s, Darren serves on the board of directors of Globe Life Inc. (NYSE: GL), and as an advisory board member for the Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation.
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FaceFirst is a global leader in highly effective face matching systems for retailers. FaceFirst’s software leverages artificial intelligence and human oversight to prevent violence, theft, and fraud. We turn passive CCTV cameras into proactive, actionable tools. With FaceFirst, you can provide safer environments for your valued customers and employees. We design our patented video analytics platform to be scalable, fast, accurate, and ethical, while maintaining the highest levels of security, privacy, and accountability. Based in Austin, Texas, FaceFirst is proudly designed, engineered, and supported in the USA.
Dara Riordan joined FaceFirst in 2019, after 14 years at Johnson Controls International in senior sales and strategic leadership roles. As president, she oversees FaceFirst’s business strategy, operations, planning, sales, product, global services, and marketing. Riordan helped lead the company through the pandemic response and executive transitions. “We partner with our clients to balance safety and privacy,” Riordan said. “People deserve privacy, and we do offer that to the general public. They also want to be safe. Employees and customers deserve to know when a person who is a known threat enters a store. People want to be safe doing everyday tasks, including working and going to the store. They want their families safe. As a mom, I know my kids are safer in places with this technology.”
Riordan earned her bachelor’s degree from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, California. She is active in community and industry associations. “I spent more than 15 years in retail loss prevention security sales,” Riordan said. “I understand retail well, and I know the players, the challenges, and the opportunities. I’m passionate about supporting my friends in the industry and helping them make their stores safer. It’s time for proactive solutions. Face matching helps retailers by giving them a non-confrontational, hands-off way to prevent violence and loss.”
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David Schonthal is an award-winning Clinical Professor and Director of Entrepreneurship Programs at the Kellogg School of Management where he teaches courses on new venture creation, design thinking, healthcare innovation and creativity. In addition to his teaching, he also serves as the Faculty Director of Kellogg's Zell Fellows Program, a selective venture accelerator program designed to help student entrepreneurs successfully launch or acquire new businesses. David is also co-author with fellow Kellogg professor Loran Nordgren, of The Human Element (Wiley, 2021), a book about overcoming people's resistance to innovation and change.
Outside of Kellogg, David has been a practitioner of entrepreneurship, design, and innovation for over 20 years. He has spent a decade working at world-renowned design firm, IDEO, and currently serves as an Operating Partner at 7Wire Ventures, a healthcare technology-focused venture capital firm. David is a Global Advisor at Design for Ventures (D4V), a Tokyo-based early-stage venture capital fund that invests in design-led Japanese startups and is the Co-Founder of MATTER, a 25,000-square-foot innovation center in downtown Chicago focused on catalyzing and supporting healthcare entrepreneurship.
David lives just outside of Chicago with his wife Erin, and kids Annie and Teddy. As much as David would like to think he’s one-of-a-kind…he’s actually a triplet.
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Kevin Paul Scott has traveled to six continents and spoken to leaders from more than 100 countries. Kevin co-founded the leadership consultancy ADDO, which is Latin for "Inspire." For consecutive years, ADDO was the #1 Small business on the Best Places to Work list in Atlanta. ADDO developed the national Chick-fil-A Leader Academy program, the Baltimore Ravens Leadership Institute, and helps companies attract and develop top talent. Kevin is the author of three books, including his latest The Lens. Kevin is a frequent guest on numerous media outlets, including Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC. www.KevinPaulScott.com
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Since 2013, Mark Romaine has served as Chief Operating Officer of Global Partners LP, a Fortune 500 master limited partnership traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “GLP”. With approximately 1,700 locations primarily in the Northeast, Global Partners is one of the region’s largest independent owners, suppliers and operators of gasoline stations and convenience stores. Global also owns, controls or has access to one of the largest terminal networks in New England and New York, through which it distributes gasoline, distillates, residual oil and renewable fuels to wholesalers, retailers and commercial customers.
Prior to his current role, Mr. Romaine served as the Senior Vice President of Light Oil Supply and Distribution for Global Partners LP from 2006 until June 2013. He joined a predecessor company to Global Companies LLC in 1998 as Premium Fuels Marketing Manager. Mr. Romaine received a bachelor’s degree from Providence College and an MBA from the University of Massachusetts.
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Susan Sly is the Co-CEO and cofounder of RadiusAI (RAI), an award-winning visual intelligence company specializing in the retail and healthcare sectors. RAI is currently implementing its smart retail solution at the edge for a national retailer with 1,000 locations.
RAI has been named one of the fastest growing startups in Phoenix three years in a row and won VentureBeat’s AI Innovation at the Edge Award in 2022, beating out several highly acclaimed technology companies.
Prior to co-founding RAI, Susan led channel sales teams in three sectors generating over $2 billion in revenue. As a sought after entrepreneurial thought leader, Susan has spoken for MIT, The Forbes School of Business, and shared the stage with Tony Robbins, Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, and many others. In her spare time, Susan is the host of the highly acclaimed podcast, Raw and Real Entrepreneurship, mom of five, wife, and tech investor. Susan has appeared on CNN, CNBC, Fox, ABC Family, and is a member of the prestigious Forbes Business Council.
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Thomas N. Trkla is the founder of Yesway, Inc. and has served as Yesway, Inc.’s Chairman, Chief Executive Officer, President and as a member of Yesway’s board of directors since its formation. He is also the Chairman, and Chief Executive Officer of Brookwood Financial Partners, LLC, which he founded in May 1993. Tom directs all aspects of Yesway’s businesses, including managing operations, shaping and setting the company’s culture, values and principles, assembling and leading the senior management team, formulating and implementing investment and disposition strategies, and evaluating, structuring, and capitalizing the companies’ acquisitions. He is also Chairman of Brookwood’s and Yesway’s Executive and Investment Committees.
Mr. Trkla currently serves as an Advisory Committee member of the Massachusetts Campaign for Children, a non-profit statewide child advocacy organization, a Director of the Princeton Association of New England, a Director of the Foundation for Excellence in Higher Education, a Director of the Land Conservation Assistance Network (LandCAN), a member of the Advisory Council for the James Madison Society at Princeton University, and a member of the Urban Land Institute. In 2021, Mr. Trkla was named an Entrepreneur of The Year® 2021 Southwest Award winner by Ernst & Young LLP. Mr. Trkla holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Princeton University and a Master of Management degree from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. In 2004, he completed the Oxford Strategic Leadership Programme at the University of Oxford’s Saïd Business School.
All 2023 Leadership Forum events and accommodations will take place at:
Eden Roc Miami Beach
4525 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33140
Group Rate: $379+tax; $10 resort fee/night
Hotel Reservation Deadline: Friday, January 13, 2023
Hotel Booking: Hotel accommodations will be made by NACS for all attendees. Arrival and departure dates need to be submitted as part of the registration process no later than Friday, January 13th. Confirmation numbers will be provided by NACS 2 weeks prior to arrival.
- Invited Retail Attendees: Complimentary Retail Attendees will have the first night of their stay (room and tax) covered directly by NACS. Paid Retail attendees will be responsible for the cost their entire hotel stay.
- Supplier Attendees: Supplier attendance is limited to Hunter Club Member companies. All Hunter Club attendees will be responsible for the cost of their entire stay. For more information on how to participate, please contact Leigh Walls, Director, Supplier Relations and Hunter Club Liaison at email@example.com.
Attendees must book their own flight accommodations. The cost of flights and ground transportation are not included in the event registration fee.
United Airlines is offering flight discounts for 2023 NACS Leadership Forum participants. Discounts will vary based on fare class, flights, departure city, etc. and are not guaranteed for all flights. Valid travel dates are February 3, 2023 – February 13, 2023 for flights going to/from Miami International Airport (MIA). You can book your reservation by visiting United.com. You will need to enter the offer code: ZMT7648378 under promotions/certificates. You may also call the United Reservations Meetings Desk at (800) 426-1122 and provide the offer code to secure your reservation over the phone.
What is Leadership Forum?
The NACS Leadership Forum is an invitation only event. Invitations are predominantly offered to operations, marketing, and food service executives of medium and large convenience retailing companies; to individuals in leadership roles from retail companies that demonstrate substantial engagement with NACS and is an exclusive membership benefit to our Hunter Club Suppliers.
How much does it cost to register for the Leadership Forum?
Please see the Registration tab for the full outline of event fees.
What changes have been made to the registration and benefits?
New for 2023, NACS has implemented changes to the fees and benefits available to invited guests of the NACS Leadership Forum. These necessary changes ensure NACS can continue to provide high-touch networking, engagement and executive-level programming—hallmarks of the NACS Leadership Forum— while maintaining fiscal responsibility to our association and to the NACS supplier member companies who so generously support this industry event.
What is the schedule of Events for Leadership Forum?
Please visit the Agenda Tab to see the full schedule of events during the meeting.
Will I be reimbursed for my travel expenses?
All travel expenses are on your own apart from the one-night room & tax covered by NACS for qualifying retailers, current members of the Retail Board of Directors, Past Chairs/Presidents and 5 Star NACSPAC Donors from retail companies.
What meals are included in my registration?
Coffee breaks and some meals are included in your registration. See chart below for sepcifics.
|Wednesday, February 8
||Committee Meetings Only
|Thursday, February 9
|Friday, February 10
What is the attire for this event?
All day time events are business casual. Jacket (no tie), and equivalent formality for ladies, is suggested for dinners and receptions.
What is the NACS Gala Dinner?
Back by popular demand, the NACS Gala dinner on Thursday will offer and evening of networking and fellowship with other Leadership Forum attendees. Participating Hunter Club companies will have the opportunity to host tables during the dinner. More information will come from Leigh Walls when instructions are available.
Will there be a NACSPAC Event?
Yes, there will be a NACSPAC event at Leadership Forum on Thursday. All participants must be a current Friends of NACS member to attend. More information will come from Katie Bohny when logistics are finalized.
What is the deadline to register for Leadership Forum?
Please register by Friday, January 13, 2023 so we can make and confirm your hotel reservation. Registrations will be accepted after January 13th, but hotel reservations cannot be guaranteed after the deadline and are subject to availability.
How can I get a copy of the slides from the General Sessions?
Select slide decks will be available for download, with the approval for release by the presenter, on their respective session. Upon completion of the post-forum survey, you will receive a link to review approved presentations.
Will a copy of the attendee list for Leadership Forum be provided?
Yes. The final attendee list will be made available on-site at the event. Past attendee lists are available. Please note, NACS does not share email addresses of any event attendees without expressed consent.
What are the Pre-Forum Meetings?
NACS hosts a number of committee meetings prior to the start of the Leadership Forum. These meetings are open to committee members and invited guests only. Participation in the committee meetings does not guarantee an invitation to the Leadership Forum.
What are Top-to-Top Business meetings?
A key feature of the NACS Leadership forum program, Top-to-Top Business meetings are 35-minute sessions where participating Hunter Club supplier companies can request to meet with participating retailers. There are 9 time slots for these meetings over the course of the event. The goal of these meetings are intended to be relationship building and forward looking.
As a Retailer, how can I participate in the Top-to-Top Meetings?
During the registration process, all retailers will need to indicate if they are available for Top-to-Top Business meetings for each day. If you indicate you are available, your name and company will be shared with the participating suppliers for them to request a meeting with you. If a request is received, you will be made aware before the NACS team confirms your meeting time slot. Full participation is encouraged when meetings are requested. Exceptions can be made in the instance of business conflicts. All communications related to Top-to-Tops for participating retailers will come from Allison Dean. Please contact her with any questions.
As a Supplier, how can I participate in the Top-to-Top Meetings?
A limited number of suites are available for purchase by Hunter Club members to host one-on-one private meetings with Retailers. Meetings are 35-minutes long and will take place on Wednesday and Thursday afternoons. Please contact Leigh Walls for more information.
What is your cancellation policy for this event?
NACS Leadership Forum is a world-class, invitation-only event made possible by the generous financial support of the participating supplier companies. Invited retailer attendees are strongly encouraged to be available for Top-to-Top Business Appointments and all other networking events when requested by suppliers. Final review/confirmation of all your event details will be provided approximately one week prior to the event.
To cancel your participation, please contact Suzanne George on or before January 24, 2023. Any fees paid will be returned in full if written cancellation notice is provided by January 24, 2023. After January 24, 2023 NACS will review all refund requests to assess forfeiture, full or partial refund depending on circumstances.
Is there any fine print I should be aware of?
By attending the event, all attendees consent to the terms and conditions below.
When is the 2024 NACS Leadership Forum?
Working on the date and location now. Dates will be announced at the 2023 Leadership Forum in Miami.