C3X 2018 Conference & Expo
October 14-17, 2018 | Orlando, Florida



C3X artfully creates grand, signature moments through the delivery of several speakers.

Keynote Speakers

These packed-house general sessions unite hundreds of attendees under one roof to hear unforgettable stories that emotionally touch and professionally inspire all who listen. Content shared in C3X keynotes is the fuel that ignites on-site collaboration and the glue that bonds attendees – helping to foster priceless, lifelong peer-to-peer relationships.

Leland Melvin

NASA Astronaut/Former Pro-Footballer

Sunday Keynote Speaker Presented by Ricoh

“Houston, we have a problem.” Leland Melvin was 25 feet under water in the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory, a 6 million gallon pool, training to perform spacewalks as a NASA astronaut when he called the test director and asked him to turn the volume up in his headset. He never heard a reply and was immediately hoisted out of the pool to learn that he was deaf. Emergency surgery resulting in only partial recovery to his hearing led him to being medically disqualified to fly in space by NASA flight surgeons.

This is just one of the many career ending challenges Leland has overcome in his life. Before becoming an astronaut Leland was drafted by the Detroit Lions in the 1986 College Draft to play professional football but a hamstring injury thwarted his NFL career with Detroit and then later with the Dallas Cowboys.

Hear his fascinating story of perseverance and how he ultimately traveled off-planet twice on Space Shuttle Atlantis to help build the International Space Station. Leland is the only person drafted into the National Football League to have flown in space. The Pro Football Hall of Fame honored his athletic and academic accomplishments by placing his Detroit Lions jersey under glass in Canton, Ohio. Through these professional experiences working on high stakes teams, he developed a deep and nuanced understanding of effective team dynamics.

Kelly McDonald

Marketing Guru

Monday Keynote Speaker Presented by PrismRBS

The average college student is not the same as they once were. They represent a diverse range of races, socio-economic classes, religions, ages, and preferences. They think and act differently. As auxiliary services professionals, it’s our duty to make sure we are reaching each unique student and telling their stories. In her general session, marketing guru Kelly McDonald will provide tips and actionable takeaways you can use to ensure your marketing efforts are reaching every student. These steps will help you build a better experience for students on your campus.

Kelly McDonald is considered one of the nation’s top experts in marketing, customer service and consumer trends. Her client experience includes brands such as Toyota, Subaru, Kimberly-Clark, Nike, Harley-Davidson, Miller-Coors, and Sherwin-Williams. Kelly was named one of the “10 Most Booked Speakers in the U.S.” and she was also #1 on the list of “26 Hot Speakers” by Successful Meetings Magazine. She has been featured on CNBC, in Forbes, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Fast Company, on CNNMoney.com and on The Focus Group show!

She is the author of three bestselling books:

  • “How to Market to People Not Like You”
  • “Crafting the Customer Experience for People Not Like You”
  • “How to Work With & Lead People Not Like You”

Kelly lives in Denver and when she’s not on the road speaking, she enjoys hiking – and shopping for high heels.

eXpress Presented by NetSuite

Monday General Session

At C3X, the most thought-provoking concepts and inspiring real-life examples of campus solutions are shared by members of the NACAS community. Every day these thought leaders are thinking differently, borrowing strategies from other industries, and breaking free from perceived limitations that once hindered them. Now you can learn about these alternative perspectives at eXpress presented by NetSuite.

eXpress features multiple 10-minute presentations from industry leaders who challenge attendees to find new, progressive, and sometimes unconventional ways to run their auxiliary service departments. Explore the evolution of auxiliary services throughout the years, and discover future innovations and impact during the extended portion.

Kelsey Harmon Finn

Chief Executive Officer, NACAS

Public Private Partnerships: Moving Forward Together

“Experience” is the hot buzzword these days. Virtually every industry is preoccupied with improving experience for their customers and clients, but what exactly does that mean? In auxiliary services, integration is the name of the game. Innovative auxiliary professionals across the country are creating new revenue streams, allowing them to form a seamless integration of quality services/products, brand identity, and student experience. This blend makes for a well-oiled machine that churns out successful, skillful individuals who are prepared to take on the future. In order for this to happen efficiently, the current funding model has got to change.

In her eXpress presentation, NACAS CEO Kelsey Harmon Finn will explore how campus leaders can leverage public and private partnerships to build the best student experience possible, meeting demands and fusing brands into all areas of campus to maximize partnership opportunities. The ways in which we approach this integration should be (and CAN be) different. We need to envision a merging of higher education and business that benefits all parties involved. Kelsey will address the future of the industry and how student experience is limited by avoiding the creation of robust campus partnerships. Higher education is not the end of the line for students; the work that we do prepares them for the real world and life beyond the classroom.

Kelley Bailie Fechner

Director of Customer Solutions, Datassential

Dining/Food Services: Feeding the Future

Think back 50 years. What was your dining hall like? The cafeterias of yesteryear are something entirely different today. Armed with more resources and access to technology, universities and colleges are able to easily accommodate thousands of students with different tastes and needs. Whether they’re vegan, gluten-intolerant, or if they just want to try food from a different culture, campuses are working to ensure that the cuisine served is both healthy and tasty.

In her eXpress presentation, Kelley Bailie Fechner, Director of Customer Solutions at Datassential, will talk about how food services are continuing to evolve to meet the needs of a new generation of students. Kelley has worked in the food industry for over 20 years and joined Datassential in early 2017. Her role gives her access to the best data to understand food and restaurant trends and help clients use safe experimentation to continually grow their business.

Carolyn Farley

Market Development Specialist, DIRTT

Space Design: Building Better Campus Environments

Despite higher education’s role in advancing everything from cancer research to driverless cars to course content on demand, colleges and universities have been slow to adopt new materials and methods of creating built environments that are more sustainable and nimble for the long haul. Auxiliary services leaders, more so than many in higher education, understand the role of keeping services fresh and on trend when competing for and retaining students and their dollars. It is time to explore and embrace pre-fabricated interior construction, flexible space design, virtual reality, and other tools that make our campus facilities more readily adaptable to changing student wants/needs, technologies and teaching methodologies.  Let’s collectively experience that facility before it is even framed out. It is time to build better!

DIRTT Market Development Specialist, Carolyn Farley, has held several senior leadership positions over her 25-year career in higher education. Continuing her lifelong passion as an educator with DIRTT, Carolyn shares her firsthand experiences of overcoming numerous business pressures and financial challenges unique to educational facility construction. Equipped with vital industry and market knowledge, Carolyn helps forward thinking decision-makers in education realize the full scope of opportunities that DIRTT’s approach to interior construction offers their students, faculty, alumni and community.

Michael Dawisha

Chief Information Officer at Michigan State University’s Residential and Hospitality Services

Technology: Using Data to Help Students Succeed

Over the past 50 years, auxiliary services professionals have grown into the role of “campus advocate,” working to bolster student recruitment and retention. Learn how data captured through a university card system can help increase student retention, identify at-risk students, predict success earlier than traditional methods, and ultimately help those students graduate.

Michael Dawisha is Chief Information Officer at Michigan State University’s Residential and Hospitality Services.  Michael grew up in Canada where he began his career as a programmer and started a successful consulting business. Michael moved to Michigan in 1998 and became the Chief Information Officer for Michigan’s largest independent non-profit institution, Macomb Oakland Regional Center, Inc. He served as Technical Director for a national IT firm managing Walsh College’s IT operations, then moved to Michigan State University’s division of Residential and Hospitality Services. At RHS, Michael is responsible for an array of auxiliary units including housing, dining, hotel & conference center. Michael has led several national technology groups including Sungard technical directors, Acuho-I technology cohort and has given several presentations at IBM’s World of Watson and Think conferences.

Registration Fees at a Glance

Attendee Type



Business Partner

Business Attendee

Early Bird (7/13)





Advanced (8/31)





Standard (10/17)