Study Tour: An Inside Look at Public Affairs in Washington

02 Jun, 2022

October 11-13, 2023
Washington, DC

Book your tickets for the annual Study Tour! Meet, learn from and mingle with leaders in the U.S. capital. This curated tour will help you and your organization navigate the inner workings of policymaking, new trends in business and policy on the horizon. Gain insight from DC-based public affairs experts on how to enhance your engagement efforts.



Wednesday, October 11

9:00 a.m.  Introductory Session

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

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

alex donovan

Alex Donovan
Associate, Public Affairs Practice
Public Affairs Council

9:30 a.m.  Why Public Affairs Matters

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

Public Affairs President Doug Pinkham will discuss the latest data and trends in public affairs as well as the biggest challenges facing the profession and how to navigate them.


Doug Pinkham
Public Affairs Council

10:15 a.m.  Transportation to Corporate Office

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

Location: United Parcel Service – 316 Pennsylvania Ave SE, Ste 300, Washington, DC 20003

Why is Washington key to global public affairs?  A corporate public affairs executive will share their insights on understanding and leveraging your company’s presence in D.C. Discussions will include successful strategies for engaging various stakeholders, resources you can put to use, and best practices for running your company’s global public affairs operations from Washington.


Dontai Smalls
VP, Global Public Affairs
United Parcel Service

11:40 a.m.  Transportation to International Fresh Produce Association

12:00 p.m.  Lunch Session: A Visit with a Trade Association

Location: International Fresh Produce Association (IFPA) Offices – 1901 Pennsylvania Avenue NW #1100, Washington, DC 20006

Industry-specific trade associations are core to the public affairs landscape in Washington. This session will explore the benefits of belonging to a trade association and how membership can be leveraged to align with your public affairs goals.

Rebeckah Adcock

Rebeckah Freeman Adcock
VP U.S. Government Relations
International Fresh Produce Association

Robert Guenther

Robert Guenther
Chief Public Policy Officer
International Fresh Produce Association

1:30 p.m.  Transportation to AARP Offices

1:45 p.m.  A Visit with a Non-Profit

Location: AARP Offices – 601 E Street NW Washington, DC 20049

Non-profits play a large policy role in Washington and advocacy as a whole. Find out how these organizations are operating, messaging online, promoting their work and engaging with lawmakers and key stakeholders.

John Hishta Head Shot

John Hishta
Senior VP, Campaigns

2:45 p.m.  Transportation to Akin Gump LLP

3:00 p.m.  Law and Public Affairs

Location: Akin – 2001 K St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20006

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 ahead of presidential elections. Participants will have plenty of time to pose their questions to our panel of legal experts.

Ken Gross 22

Ken Gross
Sr. Political Law Counsel & Consultant
Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld

4:00 p.m.  Networking Happy Hour with Council Members

Location: Akin – 2001 K St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20006

We will close out our first day with a welcome happy hour and a chance to get to know speakers and your tour mates!

Thursday, October 12

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

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

The Council’s DEI expert, Erica Harris, will discuss efforts that organizations are undertaking to include more members of historically underrepresented groups in public and government affairs.

Erica Harris

Erica Harris
Manager, Social Impact Practice
Public Affairs Council

10:15 a.m.  ESG and Sustainability: How to Prepare for the Future

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

As investor and public expectations continue to place a greater emphasis on environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria, ensure that you understand your own objectives for your public affairs goals. Our speakers will walk you through defining ESG, sustainability reports, the changing regulatory landscape as well as the politics and polling on these initiatives.

Kevin A. Maley

 Kevin Maley
Senior VP
VOX Global

11:00 a.m.  Coffee Break

12:00 p.m.  Lunch Session with Election Analysts

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

With a nationwide and presidential election year just around the corner, our panel of election experts will give you a rundown of what you and your organization will need to know ahead of November 2024. This session will provide an overview of US electoral trends and insights on the national and state levels with plenty of time for questions.

UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 29: Nathan Gonzales of CQ Roll Call is photographed, February 29, 2016. (Photo By Meredith Dake-O'Connor/CQ Roll Call)

Nathan Gonzales
Editor & Publisher
Inside Elections

1:30 p.m.  Transportation to FiscalNote

1:45 p.m.  The Future of Technology and Public Affairs

Location: FiscalNote Offices – 1201 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20004

As artificial intelligence, new software and emerging social media platforms dominate the headlines, it’s important to understand the new tools available to you. Our speakers will discuss the most recent digital trends in public affairs and share case studies of how global companies are using these tools to further their public affairs agendas in the United States and abroad.

Vlad Eidelman

Vladimir Eidelman
Chief Technology Officer & Chief Scientist

Michael O’Brien

Michael O’Brien
VP, Global Public Affairs
BSA | The Software Alliance

2:50 p.m.  Transportation to TBD

3:30 p.m.  A Visit with the News Media

Location: The Washington Post – One Franklin Square, 1301 K St NW, Washington DC 20005

A visit to one of Washington’s key media outlets will answer pressing questions facing traditional players in a constantly changing media ecosystem. Discover what a news institution’s role is in the face of corporate consolidation, how journalism and communication are changing and how to leverage sponsored content and paid media.

4:30 p.m.  Transportation to Happy Hour-Networking Event with members

Friday, October 13

9:00 a.m.  Government Relations Ask Me Anything

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

How are relationships built with U.S. government contacts? What are best practices to keep in mind as you develop your organization’s advocacy and stakeholder engagement strategy? What’s on the horizon in the American political arena? Our panel of government relations experts will share insights on proven tactics for engaging D.C.’s toughest stakeholders and cover emerging trends within the advocacy arena on the federal, state and local levels.

Ron Eidshaug

 Ron Eidshaug
VP & Chief of Staff, Government Affairs
U.S. Chamber of Commerce


Stephanie Reich
Sr. VP, State & Local Issues
Stateside Associates

10:30 a.m.  Working with Federal Agencies

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

Engagement at the federal level is a must for a successful policy-driven public affairs function. A federal agency official will discuss policymaking from an internal perspective, including insights on which other D.C. stakeholders are included in the process. Our speakers will also provide an overview of how the government builds relationships abroad and partners with the business community.

Alejandra Y. Castillo

Alejandra Y. Castillo
Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development
U.S. Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration

11:45 a.m.  Transportation to Air Line Pilots Association

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

Location: Air Line Pilots Association Townhouse – 304 Pennsylvania Ave. SE, Washington, DC 20003

Embassies are not just for getting visas. As key Washington stakeholders, they can be key to advancing organizational and public affairs initiatives. Hear from an embassy official who will share an overview of their day-to-day public affairs and diplomatic work, and how they engage with both U.S.-based and foreign companies.

Drew Felz

Drew Felz
Director, Government & Public Affairs
The LEGO Group

Sofie Laurentzius Nielsen.

Sofie Laurentzius Nielsen
Project Coordinator / Trade Department
Royal Danish Embassy

1:15 p.m.  Break

1:45 p.m.  How Congress Works: Dialogue with Hill Staff

Location: Air Line Pilots Association Townhouse – 304 Pennsylvania Ave. SE, Washington, DC 20003

Knowing how Capitol Hill works is key to understanding Washington. A panel of senior Hill staffers from the House and Senate will provide an overview of the Hill’s key actors, the legislative process and which policy-making trends you should be paying attention to. These staffers will also provide participants with an understanding of committee structure and procedure and what Capitol Hill engagement with other D.C. stakeholders looks like.

Alex Bolton

Alex B. Bolton
Chief of Staff
Office of Congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis


Stacey Daniels
Communications Director
Office of Senator Cynthia Lummis

2:45 p.mOptional Group Tour of the Capitol

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

A guided tour of the Capitol will include a brief orientation film and a walk through the Crypt, the Rotunda and the National Statuary Hall. The tour will begin and end at the Capitol Visitor Center and will be led by a Capitol Hill tour guide or congressional staffer.

4:45 p.m.  Optional Transportation to Public Affairs Council

5:00 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

** As a Signature Event, this program is not included in Membership Plus.

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