Electric cooperative CEOs from throughout the nation will gather in January to exchange ideas and hone their leadership skills at NRECA’s 2024 CEO Close-Up in Phoenix, Arizona.

The conference will take place Jan. 8-9 at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort. Pre-conference workshops will be held Jan. 7 along with a golf tournament, a pickleball tournament and a Women in Power networking reception.

“With continued pressure on CEOs to adapt and perform, we’ve designed this year’s agenda to focus on preparing leaders to face imminent challenges: the legislative and regulatory landscape, the need for expertise in strategic communications and strong leadership to navigate the bumps in the road,” said Erin Pressley, NRECA’s senior vice president for Education, Training and Events.

Pre-Conference Workshops

CEOs who attend the pre-conference sessions on Sunday, Jan. 7, will participate in a four-hour media training workshop designed to help them stay on message and communicate effectively during interviews. The workshop, which will include interactive group exercises and peer feedback, will be led by Stephen Bell, NRECA’s senior director of media and public relations, and Kate Tillotson, NRECA’s senior manager of media relations.

There also will be a two-hour Women in Power workshop for female CEOs on “how to unleash your inner authentic leadership power.” Led by Cyndi Wentland, founder of Intentional Leaders, the content “fosters growth, development and passion in leaders at all levels of experience.”


Pressley and NRECA CEO Jim Matheson will welcome co-op leaders to the conference at Monday’s opening general session and introduce David Wasserman, senior election analyst at The Cook Political Report. Wasserman will provide “an insider’s guide to the new reality” in Washington, D.C. He will talk about what might actually get done in the deeply divided Congress and provide insight into the upcoming presidential election.

Louis Finkel, NRECA’s senior vice president of Government Relations, will then help CEOs explore ways to inspire political engagement at their co-ops and in their communities.

On Tuesday, Touchstone Energy® Cooperative Executive Director Jana Adams will welcome participants to the first of two general sessions that day.

A panel of co-op leaders will then discuss leading—and communicating—through adversity. Bell will talk with Avery Wilks, vice president of communications at The Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina, Chad Lowder, CEO of Tri-County Electric Cooperative in South Carolina and Dale Lambert, CEO of Randolph Electric Membership Corp. in North Carolina.

The final general session on Tuesday afternoon will feature Sterling Hawkins, an expert on innovation, transformational leadership, growth through adversity and resilience. Hawkins, founder of the Sterling Hawkins Group, will talk about how effective leaders should learn to embrace the discomfort that comes with rapid changes in society and the workplace.

Breakout Sessions

Breakout session topics on Monday, Jan. 8, include designing innovative rates, maximizing broadband revenue and learning about new employee benefits that are coming from NRECA in the next few years.

There also will be sessions that day on harnessing the power of artificial intelligence, dealing with governance challenges and learning about collaborative operating models to ensure a reliable and resilient electric grid.

On Tuesday, Jan. 9, sessions will focus on improving technology and analytics capabilities, learning about legal developments that affect co-ops and understanding new electric vehicle-related loads.

That day’s sessions will also highlight labor relations and collective bargaining issues and innovating for a future grid that includes an increasingly electrified economy.

View more conference details and registration information. The deadline to secure hotel reservations at the discounted rate is Dec. 8.