Rave Reviews of CityVision 2024 in Winston-Salem

Isabella Mormando, Communications Associate

The NC League of Municipalities’ most anticipated event, CityVision, took place in Winston-Salem this past April. To say this conference was a success is an understatement. CityVision 2024 saw sold-out, record-breaking attendance of over 600 municipal leaders gathering from across North Carolina. There was something special about this CityVision, and it was felt by participants and League staff the entire week.

“In every possible way, the League delivered its best,” said Executive Director Rose Vaughn Williams about CityVision 2024.

This event has taken form as somewhere that city and town officials can feel at home. All around the Benton Convention Center, there was a friendly sense of unity.

Local leaders attended CityVision for a myriad of reasons, learning, networking and fellowship are among a few of them. But all come to CityVision with one common sense of purpose: to become better leaders for their communities. This purpose is embedded across each aspect of what the League provides at CityVision.

This year, the educational offerings covered a wide range of relevant topics. From generational differences to case studies in economic development, there was something for each person to learn, from all different sizes of cities and towns. With these educational offerings, the League provided Advancing Municipal Leaders (AML) program credits. The AML program is a governance education program to help municipal officials gain the knowledge and skills needed to be effective leaders. Officials who attended the conference are well on their way to earning AML certifications that will be recognized and honored at CityVision 2025.

Among this year’s special guests was the National League of Cities (NLC) CEO Clarence E. Anthony. Anthony highlighted the important work that local leaders are doing in their communities. He called attention to the need for leaders to pause and recognize the importance of what they do. From Anthony’s perspective, working as CEO of the NLC, he knows that some of the hardest work really happens in the cities and towns across the United States.

The NLC is celebrating 100 years of strengthening cities this year. Anthony recognized the League’s helpful role in this milestone by presenting (then) NCLM President William Harris and Executive Director Rose Vaughn Williams with a poster to commemorate the moment.

As tradition, the League’s new Board of Directors was sworn in at the President’s Dinner. Durham Mayor Pro Tem Mark-Anthony Middleton was sworn in as the League’s new president.

In his remarks, Middleton shared, “The North Carolina League of Municipalities is the most authoritative voice for our cities, towns and villages precisely because we focus on what local leaders always focus on—results. I will be a president that leverages relationships on both sides of the aisle to benefit the smallest hamlet to our most bustling city. The menu of services and benefits the League offers to our members is outstanding and I will be a brand ambassador for them from Dare to Cherokee.”

Additionally, Albemarle Mayor Pro Tem Marth Sue Hall and Clayton Mayor Jody McLeod were sworn in as first and second vice presidents, respectively. Fuquay-Varina Commissioner Williams Harris will serve as the immediate past president. (See ‘Middleton, Hall, and McLeod to Lead NC League’ article for more information.)

Finally, the Advancing Municipal Leaders awards were given out to standout partners of the League. The AML Partnership Award Winner was received by the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality—Division of Water Infrastructure and the UNC School of Government.

This partnership between the League and the NCDEQ led to the creation of the Utility Management Best Practices On-Demand course where NCLM and the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality Division of Water Infrastructure staff worked together to develop and produce course content that helps municipal officials meet state requirements.

For many years, the NCLM and the School of Government have partnered in many areas, including the Essentials of Municipal Government course. As a result of that partnership, thousands of newly elected officials gained the foundational knowledge needed to start on the path to good governance and effective municipal leadership.

The Town of Edenton received the AML Learning Culture of the Year Award. Edenton has developed a culture of continuing education that permeates across all municipal departments. In 2023, they hosted the League for multiple trainings, and members of the Edenton town staff attended numerous other League courses. Additionally, they are working with the League to schedule further training in 2024. Their commitment to professional development has not just improved their own abilities, but has benefited the AML program as a whole.

CityVision 2024 would not have been so remarkable without the work of the wonderful host city, Winston-Salem. Mayor Allen Joines, the city’s council, the host city committee led by Winston-Salem Assistant City Manager Ben Rowe, the Benton Convention Center staff and Winston-Salem volunteers went above and beyond to provide comfort, entertainment and ease at this year’s conference. From their exceptional social event “Bright Lights and Bites” to their numerous mobile tours exploring the city, there was no doubt their efforts are what made this year so special.

And finally, the League would like to thank all of its members who attended and contributed to CityVision. Your attendance alone is what makes CityVision a place of fellowship. Your participation in sessions as speakers, panelists and audience members is what makes CityVision a place of education. Your willingness to travel and devote time to us at CityVision is what makes you an impactful and effective leader.

Let’s keep the good times rolling at CityVision in Greenville, North Carolina, April 29–May 1, 2025!