January 4-7, 2024 / St. Louis, Mo

McKenzie Family Presidents Leadership Conference

The Fraternity and the Phi Delta Theta Foundation created the McKenzie Family Presidents Leadership Conference (PLC) to develop leadership skills and train each chapter’s newly elected president.

Learning Outcomes

Presidents Leadership Conference participants will:

  1. Acquire and apply both current and new knowledge in the following areas:
    • Internal chapter operations
    • Risk management information and planning
    • External relations and PR techniques
    • Hazing prevention practices
  2. Value a mutually beneficial and healthy relationship with the General Fraternity (GHQ, alumni volunteers, other chapters, etc.).
  3. Be prepared to demonstrate leadership in guiding their chapter to success.


The 2024 McKenzie Family Presidents Leadership Conference will occur from January 9–12 in St. Louis, Missouri.


Registration will open in the fall.

To attend the McKenzie Family Presidents Leadership Conference, you must be:

  • A newly elected president or president-elect.
  • Willing to learn and grow as a leader.
  • Committed to transferring the Fraternity not only, not less, but greater than it was transmitted to you.
  • Willing to model leadership in your activities as a Phi Delt man. Modeling leadership includes refraining from the use of alcohol and drugs during the conference.


Arrival and Departure Times

You should plan to arrive at the conference before 2:00 p.m. on Thursday, January 4, and plan to leave no earlier than the morning of Sunday, January 7. Registration begins at noon on Thursday.

McKenzie participants will arrive at the Renaissance St. Louis Hotel-Airport where they will be during the duration of the conference. Participants are not permitted to leave the property. All participants flying to St. Louis will take the hotel shuttle directly from the airport to the hotel.

Travel Reimbursements

A travel reimbursement check will be provided on the last night of the conference. This check will be based on ten cents per mile round trip from the hotel to your home chapter (up to $250). In the event a check is lost or misplaced, the replacement check will have the $35 stop payment fee deducted from the reimbursement amount. This reimbursement is not intended to offset the entire travel cost of attending McKenzie, but it should supplement the planned expense for conference travel in your chapter budget.

Air Travel

Make airline reservations early, as prices will increase as the date approaches.

All flights should arrive at the St. Louis Airport (STL).

Once you have made your air travel arrangements, please notify General Headquarters of your plans by emailing Renée Crist Lefter.

Free airport shuttle: When you fly to St. Louis, complimentary shuttles will take you from the airport to the hotel and back when you depart. The shuttle runs from 4 a.m. to 12 a.m. every 20 minutes, starting at the top of the hour. If you arrive between 12 a.m. and 4 a.m., the shuttle runs only on demand. In any case, a call to the hotel (314) 890-3050 for pick-up is encouraged. There will not be any reimbursement should you choose to take a taxi or ride share to the hotel.


Renaissance St. Louis Hotel-Airport
9801 Natural Bridge Road
St. Louis, Missouri 63134
(314) 429-1100

The Fraternity provides one-half of a double room for each chapter delegate beginning on Thursday through Sunday. All requests for an upgrade must be submitted by December 10 by contacting Renée Crist Lefter if not selected during registration. The lodging upgrade fees will be billed to the chapter’s account in January 2024.

Lodging Options and Cost

Room upgrade cost (deadline for room upgrade is December 10).

  • Lodging upgrade with double beds (2 people in room) – No cost
  • Lodging upgrade to single (1 person) – $220 billed to chapter’s account

If your travel plans require you to arrive one day early or stay one extra night, you will be responsible for the additional costs of the room. There is no need for you to make hotel reservations unless you plan on arriving a day early or stay an extra day.


Business casual clothing (khakis, polo-style shirts) for the general sessions, team meetings, and free time are acceptable. No coat or tie is required for the conferences. Be sure to bring a winter coat as the average high for St. Louis in January is 41°F.

Faculty Info

Interested in volunteering to be a faculty member for McKenzie? As a faculty member, you participate in all sessions with the undergraduates, as well as lead a group of twelve to eighteen undergraduates through the team-meeting curriculum.

Faculty positions are competitive and extremely limited (approximately eighteen).

Faculty applications are currently closed.

Important Faculty Information

  • Please plan to arrive on Thursday, January 4, by 1:00 p.m.
  • Faculty orientation starts at 2:00 p.m. in the Renaissance Hotel.
  • The team-meeting curriculum is sent to you in advance to review it prior to your arrival.
  • To book a single room, please email Renée Crist Lefter. You will be responsible for half of the charges.
  • Faculty members are expected to refrain from the use of alcohol during the conference.

Peer Mentor Info

The peer mentor track will be included for the 2024 McKenzie Family Presidents Leadership Conference. The program focuses on enhancing leadership skills, group facilitation, problem-solving, and provides specialized education to become more familiar with Phi Delta Theta’s best practices and initiatives.

Peer mentor applications are now closed.

Important Peer Mentor Information

  • Please plan to arrive on Thursday, January 4, by 1:00 p.m.
  • Peer mentor orientation starts at 2:00 p.m. in the Renaissance Hotel.
  • The team-meeting curriculum is sent to you in advance to review it prior to your arrival.
  • Peer mentors are expected to refrain from the use of alcohol during the conference.

The McKenzie Family

The McKenzie family business’ success comes from a spirit of community and a model of servant leadership. Now, Mickey and Barbara McKenzie have ensured that the Phi Delta Theta family’s young leaders receive the best-in-class preparation through the McKenzie Family’s $1 million endowment of the Presidents Leadership Conference—the premier annual membership development experience.

In August 2019, Barbara and Michael McKenzie, Texas Tech ’67, joined the Phi Delta Theta history books when they became the second living donors to make a $1 million gift to the Foundation. Barbara and Mickey made their gift to support member development, namely the Presidents Leadership Conference, which takes place annually in St. Louis and is attended by all chapter and emerging chapter presidents.

Mickey was initiated into the Texas Epsilon Chapter of Phi Delta Theta at Texas Tech in 1965 and was elated when thirty years later, his son Ryan was initiated into the brotherhood that had influenced his life. When presented with the chance to give back to Phi Delt, Mickey says he felt privileged to support an organization that provided Ryan, ’98, and him with wonderful opportunities and life-long friends. Having never seen a Brinks truck going to a cemetery, he and Barbara wanted to make their contribution now so that in their lifetime, they can witness the impact on chapters and build solid young leaders who will make a difference for those who come after them.

Mickey is the chairman of the board of Grocery Supply Company (GSC), founded in 1947 by brothers Curtis and Kenneth (Mickey’s father) McKenzie, and Woodrow Brittain. GSC is rooted in a mantra of “families serving families.” While the company has grown and evolved since its founding, they stay true to the family culture. Both the McKenzies and Phi Delta Theta value servant leadership as a key to building strong organizations, attributing stewardship, humility, service, gratitude, and self-awareness as the crucial elements when dealing with internal and external constituents.

Ryan McKenzie, COO, notes the staff’s longevity at GSC by stating, “I’ve known many of our employees since I was a kid working in the warehouse during the summers. Of our six-hundred employees, one-third of them have been with our company for over twenty years. We see this as a true blessing. Our business continues to grow, but GSC remains committed to our family culture.” GSC has numerous stories of co-workers helping one another in times of need. Employees of GSC have created several charities for those most in need in the community. One example was a truck driver who desired to help military veterans and started a charity called Operation Victor Echo Tango (VET). GSC sponsors an annual barbecue cookout with all proceeds going to local vets and their families for emergency financial needs.

The family business comes in second only to the business of the family. In addition to Ryan (and his wife, KK), Barbara and Mickey also have a daughter, Mariah; they have also been blessed with eight grandchildren: four future Phi Delts and four lovely granddaughters. Barbara and Mickey enjoy traveling the world in their free time, having visited six continents! Scotland is a favorite return to their ancestral roots, and Mickey often wears the original McKenzie clan tartan kilt at formal events.

Mickey is also quite close with several of his Texas Epsilon brothers and makes an annual trek to the group’s New Mexico gathering. The Fraternity has certainly been a lifelong experience for Mickey, and one that he hopes to pass on to future generations. Phi Delta Theta is thankful to Barbara and Mickey for their monumental support of this brotherhood leadership learning experience. We are proud to cement their legacy in the newly named McKenzie Family Presidents Leadership Conference.

Ryan McKenzie

“I have great memories of visiting Texas Tech with my family. I was always amazed at the close friendships with my dad’s Fraternity brothers and how happy they were to get together over college football weekends in Lubbock. To this day, he is still close with many of his Texas Epsilon brothers. Years later, when I became a member, I cultivated many similar friendships and couldn’t be more appreciative. Many of us were the sons of older Phi Delts, which made it even more special for both generations.”

“My dad has always fostered and nurtured friendships, and I certainly think I learned that from him. The men I’ve met through the Fraternity have shaped who I am today, that’s for sure. Without a doubt, my Dad and I both have lifelong friendships through Phi Delta Theta, and I am extremely grateful for that.”

McKenzie Memories

A glimpse into the McKenzie experience.