The North Carolina Leadership Forum picks participants on a by-cohort, by-invitation process. We make careful considerations about who is in the room – From geography, political affiliation, occupation, race, age, creed, and more. Previous participants included members of the General Assembly, state and local officials, leaders of nonprofit and philanthropic organizations, education practitioners, and business leaders from across the political spectrum and from across North Carolina. Below is a map showing the political and geographic diversity of NCLF participants. A more detailed look into our alumni can be found here, showing which party, county, and cohort the participants come from.

Map of North Carolina, showing red and blue dots spread throughout the state with white borders dividing regions of the state.

Cohort 5 – Healthcare

Gale Adcock, State House of Representatives

Nida Allam, Durham County Commissioner

Donyel Barber, Gastonia City Council Member and Gaston County Family Health Services

Sydney Batch, State Senate

Ronny Bell, Professor, Wake Forest School of Medicine, and Director, Office of Cancer Health Equity at Wake Forest Baptist Cancer Center

Tonya Blackmon, Executive VP and Chief Equity Officer Novant Health

Rick Brajer, former Secretary of HHS and co-chair, Governors’Task Force on Mental Health and Substance Use

Phil Brown, Chief Community Impact Officer, Novant Health,and President, NC Medical Society

Jim Burgin, State Senate

William Buster, Senior VP of Impact, Dogwood Health Trust

Robert Clark, CEO of manufacturing firm and Winston-Salem City Councilman

Mandy Cohen, Secretary, NC Department Health and Human Services

David Craven, State Senate

Sarah Crawford, State Senate

Josh Dobson, NC Commissioner of Labor

Nicole Dozier, Director, NC Justice Center Health Advocacy Project

Brian Forrest, President, Access Healthcare, DPCMH, Professor at UNC CH and ECU

Michelle Hughes, Executive Director, NC Child

Ricky Hurtado, State House of Representatives

Lindsay Keisler, President, Catawba Chamber of Commerce

Daniel McComas, Shipping company; former member,NC House

Sarah Riser Newton, SAS, leader of Gov’t Health Policy team

Nathan Ramsey, Land of Sky COG director, former member, NC House

Devdutta Sangvai, VP Population Health Management at Duke Univ. Health Services

John Simpkins, President, MDC

Karen Smith, M.D., Former President of NC Academy of Family Physicians

Tunde Sotunde, President and CEO,BCBS North Carolina

Sarah Stevens, State House of Representatives

Edwin Thomas, Financial Adviser, Northwestern Mutual

Michael Waldrum, CEO of Vidant Health System

Frank Williams, Brunswick County Commissioner, chair, NC Assoc of County Commissioners

Patrick Woodie, President, NC Rural Center

Magaly Urdiales, Co-Director, WNC Worker Center; NC Collab for Strong Latinx Communities

Cohort 4 – COVID-19/Immigration

W. Ted Alexander, NC Senate

Abdullah Antepli, Duke University

Kevin Austin, Yadkin County Board of Commissioners

Rachel Baker, NC Council of Churches

Tamara Barringer*, UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School; Former NCGA Member

Johnny Bass, Bass Business Solutions

Emma Battle, Higher Ed Works

Mary Belk, NC House of Representatives

Tariq Bokhari, Charlotte City Council

Charles Bowman, Bank of America

Anita Brown-Graham*, UNC School of Government

Mitch Colvin, Mayor of Fayetteville

Kim Cotten-West, NC Republican Party

Donald Davis, NC Senate

Angeline Echeverria, El Pueblo

Chris Evans, Blackstone Entrepreneurs Network

Maurice “Mo” Green*, Z Smith Reynolds Foundation

*Denotes NCLF Steering Committee Member

John Hardister, NC House of Representatives

Doug Haynes, Vistage Worldwide, Inc.

Angela Hight, NC Crime Victims Compensation Commission

John Hood*, John William Pope Foundation

Terry Johnson, Sheriff of Alamance County

Joyce Krawiec, NC Senate

Chuck Neely*, Williams Mullen, Former NCGA member

Mujtaba Mohammed, NC Senate

Marcia Morey, NC House of Representatives

Jose Oliva, Replacements, Ltd

Jay Richardson, New Belgium Brewing Co.

Carson Smith, NC House of Representatives

Ray Starling, NC Chamber of Commerce

Suling Walker, NC Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

Melinda Wiggins, Student Action with Farmworkers

Charlotte Williams, Hickory City Council

Leslie Winner*, Former Executive Director, Z Smith Reynolds Foundation; Former NCGA member

Cohort 3 – School Choice

Jim Anthony, Colliers International Raleigh

Deanna Ballard, NC Senate 

Jonathan Barfield, Jr., New Hanover County Board of Commissioners

Lisa Stone Barnes, NC House of Representatives

Tamara Barringer*, UNC-CH Kenan-Flagler Business School; Former NCGA Member

Anita Brown-Graham*, UNC School of Government 

Ashton Clemmons, NC House of Representatives 

Kit Cramer, Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce

Paul Cuadros, UNC School of Media and Journalism 

Jeffrey Elmore, NC House of Representatives

James Ford, North Carolina State Board of Education 

Amy Scott Galey, Alamance County Board of Commissioners

Maurice “Mo” Green*, Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation

Rita Haire, A.M. Haire Corporation

John Hood*, John William Pope Foundation

Ray Jeffers, Person County Board of Commissioners 

Dale Jenkins, Medical Mutual Insurance Company of North Carolina

Simon Johnson, Quality Education Academy

Mike Long, Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina

Tomas Lopez, Democracy NC

*Denotes NCLF Steering Committee Member

Chris Lowder, Superintendent of Cabarrus County Schools

Natasha Marcus, NC Senate

Ann McColl, The Innovation Project

Chuck Neely*, Williams Mullen, Former NCGA member

Kate Pett, Asheville City Schools Foundation 

Rodney Pitts, Southern Elevator

Keith Poston, Public School Forum of North Carolina

Robert Reives*, NC House of Representatives

Cheryl Riley, Victory Christian Center School

Vickie Sawyer, NC Senate

Patrick Sims, The Hunt Institute

Erica Smith, NC Senate

Jule Smith, Fred Smith Company

Thomas Stith, The Michael Thomas Group

Terry Stoops, Vice President of Research and Director of Education Studies, John Locke Foundation

Tammi Sutton, KIPP Eastern NC Public Schools

Thomas Vaidhyan, Aten Inc.

Jay Wagner, Mayor of High Point

Leslie Winner*, Former Executive Director, Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation; Former NCGA member

Cohort 2 – Energy

Melanie Allen, Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation

Ian Baltutis, Mayor of Burlington

Tamara Barringer, N.C. Senate

Anita Brown-Graham, U.N.C. School of Government

Brian Buzby, N.C. Conservation Network

Algenon Cash, Wharton Gladden

Jack Cecil, Biltmore Farms LLC

Jay Chaudhuri, N.C. Senate

Adrienne Cole, Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce

Jennifer Copeland, N.C. Council of Churches 

Courtney Crowder, Crowder Consulting 

Natalie English, Wilmington Chamber of Commerce

Greg Fishel, Capitol Broadcasting

David Fountain, Duke Energy

Rick Glazier, N.C. Justice Center

Maurice “Mo” Green, Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation

Hank Henning, Guilford County Board of Commissioners

Mike Hager, former NCGA member

Reginald Holley, The Longmire Group


*Denotes NCLF Steering Committee Member

John Hood, John William Pope Foundation

Angie Maier, North Carolina Pork Council

Esther Manheimer, Mayor of Asheville

Marilynn Marsh-Robinson, Environmental Defense Fund

Julie Mayfield, Asheville City Council

Graig Meyer, N.C. House of Representatives

Arthur Morehead, The Duke Endowment

BJ Murphy, Mayor of Kinston

Chuck Neely, Williams Mullen, former NCGA member

Art Pope, John William Pope Foundation

Michael S. Regan, N.C. Department of Environmental Quality

Jack Sommer, UNC-Charlotte

John Szoka, N.C. House of Representatives

Jack Temple, Tailored Chemical Products, Inc.

Ivan Urlaub, N.C. Sustainable Energy Association

Glen Webb, Pitt County Board of Commissioners 

Leslie Winner, Former Executive Director, Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, former NCGA member

Curtis Wynn, Roanoke Electric Cooperative

Cohort 1 – Jobs

Anita Brown-Graham, Institute for Emerging Issues

Pete Brunstetter, Novant Health, Inc.

Pearl Burris-Floyd, Gaston Regional Chamber of Commerce

Jack Cecil, Biltmore Farms, LLC

Dan Clodfelter, Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein, LLP

Gene Cochrane, The Duke Endowment

Sharon Decker, Tryon International Equestrian Center

Martin Eakes, Self-Help Credit Union

Dan Gerlach, Golden Leaf Foundation

Rick Glazier, North Carolina Justice Center

Ann Goodnight, SAS

Maurice “Mo” Green, Guilford County Schools

Robin Hayes, Cannon Charitable Trust and Cannon Foundation

Hank Henning, Commissioner of Guilford County

John Hood, John William Pope Foundation

Bob Hunter, North Carolina Court of Appeals

Jeff Jackson, North Carolina Senate

Raquel Lynch, Crisis Assistance Ministry


*Denotes NCLF Steering Committee Member

Esther Manheimer, Mayor of Asheville

Frederick “Fritz” Mayer, Sanford School of Public Policy, Duke University

Chuck McGrady, North Carolina House of Representatives

MaryBe McMillan, North Carolina AFL-CIO

B.J. Murphy, Mayor of Kinston

Chuck Neely, Williams Mullen

Jim Phillips, Brooks Pierce

Art Pope, John William Pope Foundation

Robert Reives, North Carolina House of Representatives

Tom Ross, UNC President Emeritus and Terry Sanford Distinguished Fellow

Richard Stevens, Smith Anderson Law Firm

William Thierfelder, Belmont Abbey College

Eugene Washington, Duke University Health System

Andy Wells, North Carolina Senate

Brad Wilson, Blue Cross & Blue Shield North Carolina

Stelfanie Williams, Vance-Granville Community College

Leslie Winner, Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation