• Meet Our Speakers
  • Dave Adkisson 

    A veteran chamber executive, former mayor and best-selling author, Dave Adkisson served as the CEO of three chambers - his hometown chamber in Owensboro, KY; the metro Birmingham Alabama Chamber and the Kentucky (State) Chamber. On the national level, he served as the 2010 chairman of the board of the American Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE), was a founder of the national State Chamber Policy Center and served six years on the board of the U. S. Chamber. Together, he spent more than 30 years in the chamber field.  

    Adkisson authored Horseshoes vs. Chess, A Practical Guide for Chamber of Commerce Leaders, which launched on Amazon and became a bestseller in several Amazon categories in January 2021.

    He and his wife, Bonnie, reside in Lexington, KY, along with their two children and three grandchildren. 



    Betty Nokes Capestany 
    Betty Capestany serves as the Director of Economic Development for Pierce County. The department focuses on retaining, growing, and bringing new jobs to Pierce County. Betty’s career has focused on building communities with the knowledge that successful, supported businesses help a community thrive. 

    Prior to coming to Pierce County, Betty served as CEO of the Bellevue Chamber of Commerce for 17 years; and prior to that the City of Renton Economic Development Director, Renton Chamber of Commerce CEO and Assistant Director for the Kent Chamber of Commerce.  

    For fun Betty loves to travel, read, long distance running and entertain family and friends.  



    Jay Chesshir, CCE
    Jay serves as the President and CEO of the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce. He began his career at the Little Rock Regional Chamber in February 2005 serving as their Economic Development Vice President, Senior Staff Executive for Fifty for the Future and Executive Director of the Metro Little Rock Alliance, an eleven-county economic development marketing coalition.

    Under his leadership, the Chamber has directly worked projects accounting for over $4.1 billion in new and expanded capital investment, more than 25,900 jobs and $933 million in new annual payroll for the metro Little Rock region.

    The Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce and Associated Industries of Arkansas recognized him for his outstanding representation of the Arkansas business and economic development community during the 83rd Legislative General Assembly. 

    Jay has been designated as a Certified Chamber Executive (CCE) by the American Chamber of Commerce Executives and is a graduate of both the Institute for Organization Management and Economic Development Institute. 


    Mark N. Eagan, CCE

    Mark Eagan serves as President and CEO of the Capital Region Chamber and the 
    Center for Economic Growth in Albany, NY. The organizations drive economic prosperity with one voice, one mission, as one region. The Chamber, with 2,600 member-business from throughout Albany, Saratoga, Schenectady, and Rensselaer counties, provides catalytic leadership, advocacy, and broad-based member services. The Center for Economic Growth is an 8-county regional economic development organization.  

    Eagan has more than 30 years of experience as a chamber executive. Prior to being recruited to the Capital Region in 2008, he held executive posts with chambers in Mansfield and Brockton MA, and South Bend, IN.

    Mark has been recognized as Chamber Executive of the Year by both the New England and the Indiana Associations of Chamber of Commerce Executives. The Capital Region Chamber was named Chamber of the Year in New York State in 2022. 


    Nancy P. Keefer, CCE
    Nancy Keefer was hired as the CEO of the Daytona Regional Chamber of Commerce after a national search for the position in 2013. Prior to this position, she served as President & CEO of two other chambers after beginning her chamber career with the Chemung County (NY) Chamber in 1987.

    Statewide, Nancy Keefer has served on the Board of the Florida Association of Chamber Professionals and is a past-Chair of the statewide professional organization.  She also currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Florida Chamber of Commerce, representing all chambers in the State of Florida.

    Nationally, Keefer recently served on the Executive Board and Board of Directors of the American Chamber of Commerce Executives and Chaired the national organization in 2019.  In addition, she chaired the US Chamber Institute for Organizational Management at the University of Georgia, Southeast Institute, in 2005 and currently serves on the US Chamber’s Committee of 100 and National Accrediting Board. Keefer has led three Chambers through Accreditation with the US Chamber.

    She resides in Port Orange, FL with her husband Chris and dog Mic.


    Casey Steinbacher
    Casey Steinbacher, Founder of Finding Next, is widely recognized as a thought leader and national expert in reimagining NEXT opportunities for organizations, businesses and communities.

    She is a 27 year veteran of leading community based organizations focused on business and economic development. She served as CEO of three Chambers of Commerce in Pennsylvania, Florida and North Carolina. During her tenure in the
    Research Triangle region, the Durham Chamber received international acclaim from the World Chamber Congress for its innovative economic development strategies, the only US Chamber to receive that designation.

    Casey has served on numerous state and national associations including Chair of the Institute for Organizational Management, and the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE) Board of Directors. She received her CCE designation in 1999, and was honored with ACCE’s highest honor, Life Member, in 2016, only the third female executive to be so honored.

    Casey is an accomplished author on topics ranging from urban innovation to equitable talent development. Two recent publications included the ebook “From Relevant to Essential” that redefined the work chambers and community based organizations need to do to elevate their value from relevant to essential, and “Closing the Equity Gap in Durham: The BULLS Academies”, which has been nationally recognized by the US Economic Development Association for its unique equity strategy.