2022 Best of Leadership Summit Recap

2022 Best of Leadership Summit Recap

On March 3, 2022, the Leadership Louisville Center welcomed the community back to the Kentucky Center for its 9th annual Best of Leadership Summit. This was the first time the we held the event in a hybrid format – and had a record number of attendees. Leaders from over 200 different companies and organizations attended, representing a myriad of industries from all across the region.

If you were one of the 605 attendees who joined us that day, we appreciate you spending time with us and hope you found the content to be as informative and entertaining as we did. If you missed it, be sure to join our email list so you’ll be in the know when we announce our 2023 date! In the meantime, here are some highlights from the event:

Darryl “DMC” Opened up about his journey to stardom through depression. 

Certainly one of the many highlights of the Summit would have to be the morning keynote speaker, Darryl “DMC” McDaniels, legendary rap star and co-founder of Run-DMC, author of Ten Ways Not to Commit Suicide, and philanthropist. DMC shared that even those at the absolute top of their game or career trajectory – how he was with Run-DMC when they graced the cover of Rolling Stone Magazine and appeared on MTV – can be suffering mentally and emotionally.

The stressors sparked from the pandemic over the last two years have challenged everyone in a multitude ways, specifically mentally. DMC shared with the Best of Leadership Summit crowd his insight and strategies he used to identify his mental health struggles, face them in a healthy way, and take preventative measures to mitigate them for the future.


Belonging and mental health were key topics of the day. 

When you spend nearly one-third of your life at work, a sense of belonging and acceptance at the work place can go a long way. Carolyn Tandy, SVP, Chief Inclusion & Diversity Officer of Humana, Inc., touched on many ways to increase that feeling of belonging in her session, including examples like increasing the diverse representation in management roles and ensuring equity in new hires, promotions, and processes.

To further deep dive into the importance of mental health that was a theme throughout the entire event, Vitale Buford Hardin lead a breakout session on overcoming perfectionism, something 92% admitted to suffering from in a research study she conducted. She encouraged participants to create habits of self-compassion and to reframe “what if” statements into “even if” ones.

Many audience members and even our lunch-time musical performers (welcomed in by Ben Sollee) shared their experiences of being persons of color, in powerful acts of vulnerability. We’re proud to share content that works to help all leaders feel belonging within their organizations, so that these narratives may change in the future.


Technology played a major role.

One of our keynote speakers, Scott Blanchard, talked about the art and science of leading in a hybrid world – which focused primarily on understanding employee intentions and perceptions, and moving toward leadership focused on serving others over self. AppHarvest founder and CEO Jonathan Webb lead a breakout session that connected the dots between tech and agriculture, pushing mission-driven leadership to the forefront. Joe Folkman used a live-polling software to get real-time data from the crowd as he took us through his own research (and hilariously handled a little tech snafu we encountered when his laptop running it started running low on battery). Our HR Panel featuring Rocki Rockingham, Kimberly Sisnett, and Megan Verret, too, talked much about the importance of taking care of people – particularly as we continue to navigate these new communications channels coming out and through the pandemic.

Lastly, as mentioned, this year’s Summit was held in a hybrid format. The Whova platform certainly played a bigger role last year during our all-virtual conference, but we were still thrilled to be able to offer this year’s content to a larger audience. Even in-person guests were able to access the app to interact with other guests, create meetups, and access information about the event.


Media Coverage:

Darryl ‘DMC’ McDaniels reflects on career, personal struggles at Best of Leadership Summit (Louisville Business First)

DMC Finds Power In Talking About His Depression (LEO Weekly)

JCPS Instagram video with DMC (Instagram)

Run-DMC’s Darryl McDaniels promotes book, speaks at King Elementary (Courier Journal)

Three thoughts on leadership from the founder and CEO of AppHarvest (Louisville Business First)