Keynote Speakers






Bishop Julius C. Trimble was assigned, July 16, 2016, to the Indiana Episcopal Area or Indiana Conference of The United Methodist Church – (INUMC), by the 184 delegates of the 2016 North Central Jurisdictional Conference of The United Methodist Church in Peoria, Illinois. He was elected and consecrated a bishop by the same jurisdiction in 2008 and served eight years as the resident bishop of the Iowa Conference of The United Methodist before his current assignment to INUMC

Trimble, a native of Chicago and a graduate of Illinois State University earned his Master of Divinity degree from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Chicago, Ill., and a Doctor of Ministry degree from Ashland Theological Seminary in Ohio.

Read Bishop Trimble's full biography






Betty Johnson has thirty years’ experience and training in leadership and management, focused primarily in the healthcare arena. Her work experiences include process analysis and management, conflict resolution/transformation and mentoring. As a former Chief Operations Officer, she understands the dynamics of human interaction in the workplace and the complex process of moving forward through change, conflict, and resource limitations. With a Master of Health Science degree from Louisiana State University Medical Center - New Orleans, Betty has studied and applied management and systems theory. Her strengths lie in the identification and nurturing of individual talent and skill, empowerment of individuals within a community or workgroup allowing for ownership and effective problem-solving.
Betty is the Executive Director of the St. Luke’s Episcopal Mobile Medical Ministry and serves as an adjunct faculty member of LSU School of Allied Health with instructional areas of Management Theory and Healthcare Law and Ethics. Her work with non-profits also equips her with a deeper understanding of social issues and the unique challenges of working with volunteers. She is a trained facilitator and has worked with both corporate and religious organizations/congregations.
Her areas of greatest demand include Spiritual direction; mentoring and staff development; organizational assessment and strategic planning/visioning; facilitating courageous conversations; grant writing and reporting, and walking with congregations/organizations through conflict, crisis, and empowerment.


Dr. W. Craig Gilliam is the Founder of Gilliam & Associates, LLC. For over 20 years, Craig has served as an organizational/congregational consultant, coach, educator, trainer, and facilitator. He is an adjunct instructor at SMU, a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach, works with a center for leadership/pastoral excellence in the Louisiana Conference, UMC, and consults/facilitates for JustPeace Center for Mediation and Conflict Transformation. 
As a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach, Craig's commitment is “to help create strengths-based organizations that engage leadership, teams, congregations, and communities for high performance, positive productivity and a deeper quality of life.” Areas of his work include understanding organizations/systems, leadership education and development, conflict transformation, group facilitation, and building strengths-based organizations—organizations that help their members identify, claim and leverage their strengths for better outcomes and lasting impact. 
Hobbies include family, exercise, poetry and martial arts. He is a 4th-degree black belt in traditional Japanese Karate. 



Jacqui King serves as the Director of Leadership for Congregational Vitality
at Discipleship Ministries of The United Methodist Church. She develops
leadership resources for local congregations, engages network groups in new
processes that implement core strategies for increasing congregational
vitality, designs, and promotes online learning through webinars. Active
design team member for School of Congregational Development (SCD) and
various networks including Rt. 122, University Church Network, BMCR,
Black Clergywomen and Black Staff Association. This leadership presenter
has taught in every US jurisdiction for Lay Servant events, led district /conference workshops coached for congregational visioning projects and explored new ways to
increase vitality by expanding community building practices of meeting needs, studying, serving others,
and prayer-walking.
As an elder ordained in the Texas Annual Conference, she became a pioneer for connecting technology
and faith community building by launching an online experience in 2007. She is a trained Interim
Ministry Specialist, a Profession Coach Training Graduate from GBHEM, and Fund Development
A specialist from The Fund Raising School. With advanced education including both business and
theological studies, she has achieved two masters degrees; MBA from Smeal College of Business at
Penn State University and M.Div. from Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University.
This well-spoken preacher completed her Doctor of Ministry degree at Drew University in 2012 with a
focus on global leadership development. Her dissertation was “Hear2Heal: Embrace a New Vision.”

Previously, she served as:

  • Associate Pastor, Leadership Development, Jones Memorial UMC, Houston, Texas
  • Senior Pastor, First UMC, College Station, Texas
  • Church Planter, Nu Faith Community UMC, Houston, Texas
  • Senior Pastor, St. Paul UMC, Port Arthur, Texas
  • Graduate Assistant for Dr. Evelyn Parker at Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas
  • Internship – College / Young Adult Pastor, Windsor Village UMC, Houston, Texas
  • Program Director of EPRUS AmeriCorps Program / Shalom Zone Ministries, Houston, Texas

Jacqui is married to Donel King. She believes that education can create avenues for all to become
empowered to live into their callings from the Lord.



Jeremy serves as the Director of Communications Training and Development at United Methodist Communications. He specializes in creating a learning atmosphere aimed at fostering growth, goal-setting, and purpose-driven results. In his spare time, he enjoys using his communication skills to diffuse and manage tight situations through his work as a high school and college football official.  







The Rev. Russell (Russ) Pierce is executive director of mission engagement at the General Board of Global Ministries. His unit encompasses marketing, fundraising and communications, the Center for Mission Innovation, and The Advance, which is the designated mission giving channel of the church.  Mission Engagement seeks to deepen the involvement of individuals, congregations, and annual conferences with the work of Global Ministries and the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR).  He joined the staff in 2017 following three years with Church World Service, the ecumenical relief, and development agency.   A native of North Carolina and an ordained elder in the Western North Carolina Annual Conference, Russ has pastored congregations ranging in size from eight to 2,200, both in the US and abroad. He did his seminary work at Duke Divinity School and earned a Master of Nonprofit Administration from the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business. He and his wife, the Rev. Kathy Barba Pierce, also a member of the Western North Carolina Conference, have two children, Clare and Aidan.
 A native of North Carolina and an ordained elder in the Western North Carolina Annual Conference, Russ has pastored congregations ranging in size from eight to 2,200. He did his seminary work at Duke Divinity School and earned a Master of Nonprofit Administration from the University of Notre Dame, Mendoza College of Business, Notre Dame, Indiana. He and his wife, the Rev. Kathy Barba Pierce, also a member of the Western North Carolina Conference, have two children, Clare, 12, and Aiden, 8. 


Shannon Priddy is president of the national organization of United Methodist Women and is the Individual Giving and Annual Fund Manager at Keep Indianapolis Beautiful Inc. in Indianapolis, Indiana. Originally from northern Illinois, she became a flight attendant for Delta Airlines in Boston after graduating from Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri. After retiring from Delta and beginning graduate school at Harvard University, Priddy transitioned to the Peace Corps, where she served in Armenia from 2009-2011 with a women’s resource NGO. She has been with Keep Indianapolis Beautiful since 2014.

Priddy grew up in The United Methodist Church and because of her mother’s example and invitation became an active member of United Methodist Women as a young woman, first by attending Mission u and in various leadership roles thereafter. Being a part of United Methodist Women has helped open her eyes to injustice and her heart to faith, hope and love in action.


From Indiana University Health

Growing up in Greencastle, Indiana with a philosophy professor father and a mother who taught the New Testament, Beth Watson’s childhood dinner table conversations centered around theology and justice.

“When I was in high school, my mother trained in pastoral counseling,” Watson recalls. “She told me about the work that she was doing with the dying. She would spend time with them as they talked about the meaning of their lives and how they were feeling about their sickness. I couldn’t think of anything that sounded more important or meaningful.”

And with that, Watson decided to follow in her mother’s footsteps, ultimately winding her way to become the current director of Spiritual Care and Chaplaincy at Indiana University Health.

Rewinding back, however, Watson, says it’s been a gratifying journey. After high school, Watson chose to attend a seminary affiliated with Elizabeth Kugler Ross, who wrote books about death and dying, and did her clinical training for hospital chaplaincy at The University of Chicago and Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago. As a United Methodist minister, she received special clinical training in interfaith ministry to care for people of all faiths or no faith.

Now, Watson facilitates the ministries of people in her department at IU Health and Riley Hospital for Children. She meets with managers and chaplains, hearing stories about their patient care. Occasionally, she will see a patient. Watson also provides workplace chaplaincy, visiting with people throughout all three hospitals who speak with her about the meaning of their work.

When not working, Watson enjoys life as a mother to two grown children – a 25-year-old son and 22-year-old daughter, helping at her local parish, attending movies and concerts with her husband, and walking her three dogs at the nature park in an effort to take 10,000 steps a day. She also loves to travel and cook, crediting The New York Times’s food section as her inspiration.

“I love the interdisciplinary nature of this work,” she says. “I like working with a community of people who are working hard to heal patients and care for patients’ families. I find that work exhilarating.”


From The United Methodist Publishing House

The Board of Directors of The United Methodist Publishing House (UMPH) unanimously confirmed the election of the Rev. Brian K. Milford as its new President and CEO, effective October 10.  Board Chair Justice Cornelia A. Clark, announced Monday the election during their October 10 meeting in Nashville, Tenn. Milford comes to the position after 2 years at UMPH as the Chief Content Officer and Book Editor of The United Methodist Church (UMC).

Neil M. Alexander, who has served as President and Publisher for twenty years, announced his plan to retire by the end of 2016. The board, after completing a strategic reassessment of the requirements and objectives of the UMC’s publishing and retailing ministry, conducted an extensive search managed by a national firm that resulted in Milford’s selection and election in the first half of 2016. 

“In our careful consideration of ten finalists with great track records in publishing, leveraging new technologies and leading organizations through periods of intense creative change, Brian Milford emerged as far and away the person most ready to provide missional vision, innovative business practices, sound stewardship and trusted leadership for the challenges ahead,” said then Board Chair, Dr. R. Carl Frazier, Jr.

Rev. Milford has remained in his position of Chief Content Officer and Book Editor of the UMC since his selection as the Incoming President/CEO, working with Mr. Alexander through a transition period. Alexander said, “Brian Milford consistently demonstrates integrity, intellect and ingenuity; he brings a wealth of leadership experience, deep empathy for others, an inquisitive mind and a stellar work ethic. He will guide UMPH with energy and insight to make a difference that matters for the people we serve and assures that UMPH thrives in what is sure to be a turbulent period of changes and opportunities.”  

“We will continue to remain true to our mission, accountable to The United Methodist Church and to create and deliver high quality products that support vital ministries. I am eager to do all I can to uphold the great tradition of UMC publishing and distribution. Fortunately, the United Methodist Publishing House is served by a cadre of deeply committed, faithful staff members who seek daily to serve God and neighbor through thoughtful and earnest holy work. I am privileged to forge ahead with them in this exciting adventure in ministry,” said Rev. Milford, upon assuming office as President.

Rev. Milford is an Elder in the Iowa Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church and was previously a District Superintendent and Dean of the Appointive Cabinet. He was a delegate to the last three General Conferences (the top governing body of the UMC).  Milford served churches as the senior or lead pastor and participated and/or chaired numerous jurisdictional and annual conference groups and task forces. He received his Master of Divinity degree from the Divinity School at Duke University and his B.A./B.S. in Business Administration and Sociology from Iowa State University.