Keynote Speakers

Molly Mitchell Spearman

Molly Mitchell Spearman was elected as the 18th South Carolina State Superintendent of Education on November 4, 2014. Native to Saluda County, Mrs. Spearman’s childhood laid the foundations of family, faith, and hard work that transcended into her professional career as an educator and civil servant. 

Superintendent Spearman’s career has spanned 18 years as a public school music teacher and an assistant principal.  In addition to teaching and administration, she has served four terms as a member of the South Carolina House of Representatives, six years as Deputy Superintendent of the South Carolina Department of Education, and ten years as the Executive Director of the South Carolina Association of School Administrators. She holds a B.A. Degree in music education from Lander University, a Master’s Degree in education supervision from George Washington University, and an Education Specialist degree from the University of South Carolina. 

As the South Carolina Superintendent of Education, Mrs. Spearman has the experience and relationships needed to move South Carolina’s education system forward. Superintendent Spearman strongly believes the foundation for student success lies in effective classroom teachers and principals who facilitate personalized learning for every student, every day. Her vision is for every South Carolina graduate to be prepared for the next step after graduation. 

Superintendent Spearman is excited to keep a positive and forward-thinking approach to South Carolina education to promote better schools and brighter futures. 

Mark C. Perna


Mark C. Perna is the founder and CEO of TFS in Cleveland, Ohio, a full-service strategic consulting firm whose mission is to share and support every client's passion for making a difference. Mark, a graduate of John Carroll University, has many years of experience addressing industry leaders on the topic of expanding their reach in an increasingly global marketplace. As an international expert on Generations Y and Z, Mark has devoted his career to empowering educators and employers to unleash the tremendous potential of today's young people, both in the classroom and on the job.

After successfully parenting two Millennials as a single father, Mark has become a passionate advocate for bridging the generational divides that are contributing to America's profound skills gap. Parents, schools, districts, businesses, and state organizations across North America have successfully used Mark's insights and strategies to connect more effectively with the younger generations. In his work with educational and business organizations, Mark has pioneered many best practices for achieving more with today's young people, including the TFS Education with Purpose® philosophy and highly popular Career Tree® strategy, among others. Mark is frequently cited as the national expert in education enrollment, retention, and performance.

See Mark on Wednesday, June 27 at the Summit.

John Lane

John Lane is Director of Academic Affairs at the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education, which is responsible for academic program implementation, effectiveness, and policy development at the state’s public and licensed colleges and universities. In addition, the division manages successful initiatives in research and innovation (SmartState®), interstate reciprocity (NC-SARA and SREB), and educator improvement (EIA Centers for Teaching Excellence).

Dr. Lane studied composition (University of South Carolina School of Music) and divinity (Harvard), with training at the Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst (Vienna), and served previously in campus administration posts and academic departments, earning faculty achievement awards in Illinois and South Carolina. Regularly, he premieres original scores and papers nationally, and his higher education interests include college readiness, access, and completion for South Carolina’s residents.

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speakers who will inspire you

Steve Haffner


Steve Haffner is a personal development speaker, corporate entertainer and mentalist. His programs encourage mental performance improvement through understanding the hidden influences of the subconscious mind.

Previously, Steve had a 30 year corporate I.T. career as a systems engineer, project manager and business analyst for companies such as EDS, William M Mercer, and Humana.

As a mentalist, he has studied how the primitive "lizard brain" has hidden effects on decision making.

Steve pulls from his own experiences in both corporate management and entertainment, as well as research in the fields of psychology, neuroscience and behavioral economics. His keynotes and workshop programs explore how professionals can improve their decision skills, effectiveness, and relationships.

See Steve on Monday, June 25 at the Summit.

Michael McInerney

Michael McInerney was named Director of External Affairs for the S.C. Department of Commerce in December 2012. McInerney serves as the liaison between the department and the state legislature, and represents the department at outside events. He also serves as special assistant to the Secretary of Commerce.

Michael has extensive background in the business world. Before joining the Commerce team, McInerney was president of Hart Telephone Company, a telephone and cable company based in Hartwell, Ga. He was with the company for more than 18 years, and also served as a board member of the Georgia Telephone Association. 

Previously, he worked at Standard Telephone Company in Cornelia, GA, and at AT&T in Atlanta and in Columbia. McInerney has a Bachelor of Science from the University of Vermont and a Masters in Business Administration from Winthrop University. 

He and his wife, the former Salley McAden of Columbia, have two children, Skipper and Mac.

Brandy Incorvia

Brandy Incorvia is the Administrator of Educational Programs for Santee Cooper, South Carolina's largest power producer. She is responsible for the coordination, planning, implementation and evaluation of the company’s education outreach initiatives.  Prior to joining Santee Cooper, she was an educator for 7 years in South Carolina.

Incorvia has been central to the Grand Strand Technology Council's Women in Technology Initiatives. She is on the board for Women in Philanthropy and Leadership at Coastal Carolina University and spoke at their 2016 Women's Leadership Conference.  She presently serves as the State Volunteer Coordinator for South Carolina FIRST LEGO League and Robotics Education where she is responsible for recruiting volunteers, organizing qualifying and state championship events, and improving communications with teams.  She also coaches a neighborhood FIRST LEGO League team and serves as a mentor for several other teams. 

Lou Kennedy

Lou Kennedy is President, Chief Executive Officer, and Owner of Nephron Pharmaceuticals Corporation. She joined Nephron Pharmaceuticals in 2001, and accepted the position of President and Chief Executive Officer in September 2007. Having held a variety of marketing and operational roles during her career, one notable achievement at Nephron was creating a national sales force - a rarity in the pharmaceutical industry. In the years following, this helped Nephron Pharmaceuticals grow by 300% and increased shipped products each year to one billion doses for the last seven years.

Nephron recently built a state of the art manufacturing facility in West Columbia, South Carolina. Mrs. Kennedy was at the forefront of this expansion, which opened in June 2014. Lou is always seeking to enhance and grow her business. She started a 503B Outsourcing division of Nephron in 2016. Production for that division began in January 2017 and is rapidly increasing.

Along with her husband Bill, Mrs. Kennedy helped establish the Kennedy Pharmacy Innovation Center in conjunction with the USC School of Pharmacy. She serves on a variety of business and civic boards, including but not limited to, the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce, the National Bank of South Carolina Board, a division of Synovus, Columbia College Board of Trustees, South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance as well as the USC Athletic Department Board. Lou and Bill Kennedy were named Ambassadors of the Year by the Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce in 2013. They also received the Lexington County Ambassador for Economic Development award in 2014. A graduate of the University of South Carolina’s College of Journalism with a Bachelor of Arts degree, Mrs. Kennedy never shies from the opportunity to cheer on the Gamecocks!

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The South Carolina Department of Education does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, age, sex, or disability in admission to, treatment in, or employment in its programs and activities. Inquiries regarding the nondiscrimination policies should be made to the Employee Relations Manager, 1429 Senate Street, Columbia, South Carolina 29201, (803-734-8781). For further information on federal nondiscrimination regulations, including Title IX, contact the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights at OCR.DC@ed.gov or call 1-800-421-3481.

Dr. Tim Hardee

Dr. Tim Hardee became System President of the SC Technical College System in November of 2016.  Prior to joining the System Office, he served as President of Central Carolina Technical College.  Dr. Hardee has over 30 years of experience in education throughout the State of South Carolina.  Prior to entering higher education administration, he served as a teacher, coach, counselor, and principal on the K-12 level.

Dr. Hardee graduated with a B.S. in Psychology from Coastal Carolina University, a M.Ed. in Counselor Education and an Ed.D. in Educational Administration from the University of South Carolina. 

Dr. Hardee serves on the State Workforce Development Board, the Coordinating Council for Workforce Development and the SC Council on Competitiveness.  He is a graduate of Leadership South Carolina and the South Carolina Economic Developers Institute. Dr. Hardee was presented the Coastal Carolina University Outstanding Alumni award and the Sumter Chamber of Commerce Outstanding Achievement Award.

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