2018 Conference Speakers 


Cathy Alford, Facilitator, The Leadership Institute at Columbus State University

Cathy Alford, MA, PCC, is a Leadership and Strengths Coach credentialed with the International Coach Federation. She works with individuals and teams to identify strengths, team dynamics and growth opportunities for success. She is the CEO of LifeWorks Coaching in Columbus, Georgia, and is a founding member of the Columbus Coaching Collaborative. Her certifications include: Myers-Briggs, Clifton StrengthsFinder®, Prepare-Enrich and Workshop Facilitation. She is a facilitator for The Leadership Institute at Columbus State University, has taught Coach Training at CSU and served in pharmaceutical sales management for over 23 years. She is a contributing author in the book, Inspired Women Succeed and the author of If Only We Could Talk: 3 Simple Steps to Parent-Teen Conversations.



Kim Cantrell, CEO, 2 Impact; Facilitator, The Leadership Institute at Columbus State University 

Kim Cantrell is an experienced Senior Executive, with an extensive background in leadership, non-profit operations, strategic planning, team building and finance. She currently serves as the CEO of 2 Impact, a coaching and consulting firm dedicated to equipping individuals and businesses to reach their maximum growth potential.

Kim was previously the Senior Vice President of Mission Services for Goodwill Industries of the Southern Rivers, (GWISR), headquartered in Columbus, Georgia. She joined the organization in 2000 as the Chief Financial Officer, after a successful career in retirement plan administration.  Kim holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Accounting and a Masters in Organization Leadership with a concentration in Servant Leadership from Columbus State University. She holds the designation of Associate Certified Coach (ACC) from the International Coach Federation. Kim is a firm believer in the value of servant leadership and is committed to its practices.  Committed to the local community, Kim serves on the boards of: Enrichment Services Program, Boy Scouts of America (Chattahoochee Council), Wells Fargo Advisory, and North Columbus Rotary.  

Governor Nathan Deal, State of Georgia

Since taking office in 2011, Gov. Nathan Deal has led Georgia to become the No. 1 state in the nation for business for four years in a row - a first in Georgia history - and helped create nearly 600,000 private sector jobs. In the last six years, Georgia’s job growth has outpaced the national average while its population has jumped from 10th to 8th nationally.

Through tax reform, workforce development initiatives and investment in education and infrastructure, the state continues to grow local small businesses and attract top companies from around the world. During Gov. Deal’s tenure, Georgia has become a global destination for companies in a wide range of industries. Under Deal’s leadership, Georgia has produced seven balanced budgets, saved millions of taxpayer dollars by maintaining Georgia’s AAA bond rating and grown the Rainy Day Reserve Fund to more than $2 billion.  Read more...

Kevin Langston
Deputy Commissioner, GDEcD's Tourism Division

Kevin Langston is Deputy Commissioner for the Tourism Division at the Georgia Department of Economic Development. Working with the Commissioner, Kevin oversees the activities of the department’s Tourism Division. Mr. Langston has served as Assistant Commissioner for theTourism division since May 2007, returning to the division after serving as Director of International Operations and Director of Projects, managing the state’s offices in ten locations around the world.

Mr. Langston previously served as Assistant Deputy Commissioner for the Tourism Division, where he oversaw marketing, sales and product development initiatives. He has also previously served as Director of Communications for the agency and in a number of roles in the department’s International Trade Division. Originally from northeast Missouri, Mr. Langston graduated with a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Kansas State University and a Master of Business Administration degree from Georgia State University. Kevin serves on the board of directors of Travel South USA, and is the chair of their international committee. He is also a member of the National Council of State Tourism Directors. Kevin is an active member of the Georgia Economic Developers Association, a Certified Economic Development Finance Professional, and serves with numerous other industry and civic organizations.

Eric Lopez
Government Research & Survey Program Coordinator, Georgia Dept. of Community Affairs

Eric Lopez joined the Office of Research at the Georgia Department of Community Affairs in 2014, and has worked broadly with the various local government surveys and reports conducted by that office. He is directly responsible for overseeing reports and responding to questions involving the Hotel Motel Tax, as well as the Report of Local Government Finances and Report of Authority Finances. Eric also oversees the tax-exempt bond allocations program for DCA. 

He holds a Bachelors Degree in Political Science and International Affairs from Auburn University, and a Masters of Public Administration from Kennesaw State University, graduating Summa Cum Laude. During his final semester of Graduate School, he served as the policy intern for the Association County Commissioners of Georgia (ACCG), where he remained on staff in a fellowship role until receiving his current position as the Government Research & Survey Program Coordinator for DCA.

Lisa Love
Division Director, Georgia Department of Economic Development's Tourism Division

Lisa Love is the Division Director for the Tourism Division of the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) overseeing operations. Prior to that, she spent six years managing music marketing and development initiatives for both Tourism and GDEcD’s Film, Music & Digital Entertainment division. For more than 12 years, she served in successive capacities, including executive director, at the Georgia Music Hall of Fame museum in Macon, and she spent two years as Director of Marketing and Communications for the Macon-Bibb County Convention and Visitors Bureau. Love is the guiding force behind the Georgia Music Foundation’s Board of Directors and is a member of the governing board for DREAM Academy, a music- and arts-integrated charter school.