Study Tour: An Inside Look at Public Affairs in Washington

02 Jun, 2022

October 11-13, 2023
Washington, DC

The Study Tour is back! The Public Affairs Council is once again offering an in-person opportunity to meet, learn from, and mingle with leaders across our nation’s capital. Enhance your understanding of public affairs from the Washington perspective this election season. This immersive tour will help you and your organization make sense of the inner workings of policymaking, new trends in business and policy on the horizon, and how to make your public affairs strategy successful with knowledge and advice from inside the beltway experts.


Wednesday, October 12

9:00 a.m.  Introductory Session

Public Affairs Council – 2121 K St. NW, Ste 900, Washington, DC 20037

We will begin the first morning of the tour with an overview of the daily agenda, participant introductions, and time for questions.

alex donovan

Alex Donovan
Associate, Public Affairs Practice
Public Affairs Council

9:30 a.m.  Why Public Affairs Matters

Public Affairs Council – 2121 K St. NW, Ste 900, Washington, D.C. 20037

The Council’s President will discuss the latest data and trends affecting the profession, the biggest challenges facing those working in public affairs, and how to manage them successfully.

doug pinkham

Doug Pinkham
Public Affairs Council

10:30 a.m.    D.C. at the Center of Global Public Affairs

Toyota Government Affairs Office –  325 7th St NW, Washington, D.C. 20004

Why is Washington key to global public affairs? Leila Afas with Toyota will share her insights on understanding and leveraging your company’s presence in D.C. She will discuss strategies for engaging various stakeholders, what resources are available to make your strategies more effective, and best practices for running your company’s global public affairs operations out of Washington.

Afas_leila NEW

Leila Afas
Director of Global Policy
Toyota North America

11:40 a.m.  Transportation to Global Business Alliance

12:00 p.m.  Lunch Session: A Visit with Global Business Alliance

Global Business Alliance, 99 M St. SE, Ste 200, Washington, DC 20003

How can association and business council membership be leveraged in your public affairs work? You will hear about the Global Business Alliance’s operations, trends in FDI, what companies need to understand entering the American market and public, and how to leverage and build relationships with American journalists.


Jonathan Samford
Executive Vice President
Global Business Alliance

1:30 p.m. Transportation to Quorum

2:00 p.m. – A Visit from the National Association of Manufacturers

Quorum Offices – One Thomas Circle NW, 6th Floor, Washington, DC 20005

Industry-specific trade associations are a key part of the public affairs landscape in Washington. A session with the NAM will explore the benefits of belonging to a trade association, how your company can get involved in sponsorships, how associations cultivate grassroots networks, and how associations craft unique communications strategies to lawmakers and the public.


Jamie Hennigan
Managing Vice President, Communications and Public Affairs
National Association of Manufacturers

3:30 p.m. Session: International Law and Public Affairs

Quorum Offices – One Thomas Circle NW, 6th Floor, Washington, DC 20005

International public affairs professionals must navigate a complex framework of risk management and compliance obligations. However, laws, regulations and ethical standards are not always written clearly, implemented fully, or enforced uniformly — especially in developing and transitioning economies. This session will feature an overview of U.S. lobbying, anti-corruption laws and regulations and what you can expect if parties shift control of Congress after the midterms. Participants will have time to ask their own questions.


Charles Borden
Holland & Knight


Samuel Brown
Holland & Knight


Joel Roberson
Holland & Knight

5:00 p.m. Networking Happy Hour with Council Members

Quorum Offices – One Thomas Circle NW, 6th Floor, Washington, DC 20005

We will close out our first day of speakers with a welcome happy hour at the Quorum offices.

Thursday, October 13

9:00 a.m. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Initiatives in the American Workplace

Public Affairs Council – 2121 K St. NW, Ste 900, Washington, DC 20037

The Council’s lead expert on DEI, Erica Harris, will discuss the efforts that organizations are undertaking to ensure that more members of historically underrepresented groups are included in public and government affairs. This session will cover properly defining DEI, the current challenges certain workplaces face, and how you can incorporate DEI programs into your staffing and social justice strategies.

Erica Harris

Erica Harris
Manager, Social Impact Practice
Public Affairs Council

10:15 a.m. The Intersection of Public Affairs and ESG Issues

Public Affairs Council – 2121 K St. NW, Ste 900, Washington, DC 20037

What does it mean for your organization to fully embrace Environmental, Social, and Governance issues? As investor and public perceptions continue to place a greater emphasis on ESG criteria, ensure that you understand your own objectives for your public affairs goals. Austin Metsch from the S&P Global team will walk you through defining ESG, the S&P evaluation process, explaining the SEC’s incoming guidance on sustainability labels, and how you can mitigate risks in your own ESG-related public affairs approach.


Austin Metsch
Director, Government Affairs & Public Policy
S&P Global

12:00 p.m. Lunch Session with The World Bank

Public Affairs Council – 2121 K St. NW, Ste 900, Washington, DC 20037

This session will include presentations about The World Bank’s history, key initiatives, partnerships with governments and the private sector, and how these institutions are focusing their efforts on sustainable development in emerging economies.


Tania Ghossein
Senior Global Specialist
The World Bank

Goran Vranic

Goran Vranic
Technical Lead for the Technology and Business Regulation
The World Bank

1:35 p.m. Transportation to APCO

1:45 p.m. The Digitization of Public Affairs with APCO Worldwide

1299 Pennsylvania Avenue NW Suite 300, Washington, DC 20004

As global companies and organizations focus more on their digital engagement strategies, it’s important to examine how this trend is affecting public affairs. APCO, a Council member, will discuss the most recent digital trends in public affairs, as well as share case studies of how global companies have been using social media and digital engagement to further their public affairs agendas in the United States and abroad.


Julie Orsini
Senior Associate Director
APCO Worldwide


Dan Smith
Senior Associate Director
APCO Worldwide

2:50 p.m. Transportation to the Washington Post

3:30 p.m. The Media Landscape and Strategies with the Washington Post

1301 K St NW, Washington, DC 20071

A visit to the Washington Post will answer important questions facing traditional players in a constantly changing media ecosystem. Discover how the role of news institutions is evolving with new technologies and platforms, how news communication is changing to attract audiences, and which trends driving public opinion are relevant to your audience?

Ben Paltiel

Ben Paltiel
Creative Strategist and Editor, WP Creative Group
The Washington Post

Amelia Simpson

Amelia Simpson
Director, Audience Insights
The Washington Post

4:15 p.m. Transportation to Happy Hour/Networking Event. (Private Event

Hotel Hive – 2224 F St NW, Washington, DC 20037 

Friday, October 14

9:00 a.m. Government Relations Best Practices

Public Affairs Council – 2121 K St. NW, Ste 900, Washington, DC 20037

How are government relationships in the U.S. built? What are best practices to keep in mind as you develop your organization’s advocacy and stakeholder engagement strategy? Our panel of government relations experts will provide their insights on effective tactics for engaging D.C.’s toughest stakeholders, as well as provide an overview of emerging advocacy trends on the federal, state, and local level.


Ronald Eidshaug
Vice President Congressional and Public Affairs
U.S. Chamber of Commerce


Stephanie Reich
Vice President
State and Local Issues
Stateside Associates

10:30 a.m. Working with a Federal Agency Official

Public Affairs Council – 2121 K St. NW, Ste 900, Washington, DC 20037

Engagement at the federal level is a must for a successful and policy-driven public affairs function. A federal agency official will discuss policy making from an internal perspective, including insights on which other D.C. stakeholders are included in the process. Our speakers will also provide a practitioner’s overview of best practices for interacting with the public sector.

Cristina Killingsworth

Cristina Killingsworth
Chief of Staff
Office of the Undersecretary, International Trade Administration

11:45a.m. Transportation to American Dental Association Capitol Hill Offices

12:00 p.m. Lunch Session: Working with Embassies

137 C St. SE, Washington, DC 20037

During a presentation with an official from the Embassy of Denmark and a representative from LEGO, these speakers will provide an overview of their day-to-day public affairs work and how companies utilize embassy support to maintain an international presence.


Karen Hughes
Public Affairs Lead for the Americas
The LEGO Group

Sofie Laurentzius Nielsen.

Sofie Laurentzius Nielsen
Project Coordinator / Trade Department
Embassy of Denmark

1:45p.m. How Congress Works: A Visit to Capitol Hill

Capitol Hill – First St. NE, Washington, D.C. 20515

Knowing how Capitol Hill works is key to understanding Washington. A panel of senior Hill staff will provide the group with an overview of the Hill’s various actors and leadership, the legislative process up close, and what public affairs professionals could expect during the midterm elections and afterwards. Hill staffers will also provide participants with an understanding of committee structure and procedure, as well as what Capitol Hill engagement with other D.C. stakeholders looks like.

Doug Calidas

Doug Calidas
Chief of Staff
Office of Senator Amy Klobuchar

Nikki Cannon

Nikki Cannon
Communications Director
Office of Congressman Jerry McNerney

Micah Chambers

Micah Chambers
Legislative Director
Office of Senator Kevin Cramer

Dylan Laslovich

Dylan Laslovich
Chief of Staff
Office of Senator Jon Tester

Deena Tauster

Deena Tauster
Chief of Staff
Office of Congressman Andrew Garbarino

3:20 p.m.  Optional Group Tour of the Capitol

Capitol Hill – First St. NE, Washington, D.C. 20515

A guided tour of the Capitol Hill offices led by Congressional members’ staff. We will walk through the halls of Congress to see member offices, committee rooms, and understand how the day to day legislative decisions are made.

4:30 p.m. Transportation to Public Affairs Council

4:45 p.m. Adjourn

Thank You to Our Sponsors

Event Location

+ Click to expand

Public Affairs Council
2121 K Street, NW
Suite 900
Washington, DC 20037
Phone: 202.787.5950

*The start of each tour day meet at our offices and the Council will provide all transportation between tour locations.

Registration and Fees

Additional discounts may apply to this meeting. These discounts may include:

For multiple registrants: A discount will apply to the standard member/non-member rate for organizations that register two or more participants for the same meeting. The first registrant will pay full price, the second participant will receive a 10% discount and each additional registrant will receive a 15% discount. To register multiple participants, you may either register online or download the print and fax registration form.

Member discounts: Discounts for members are applied to all Public Affairs Council meetings.

Non-members: Join the Council today, and save by registering at the member rate and using the $200 new-member coupon you will receive. Contact our membership team for information about joining the Council.

Questions? Contact Alex Donovan at

alex donovan

Alex Donovan
Public Affairs Associate
202.787.5978 | email