Public Affairs Leadership Summit

10 Apr, 2019

September 10, 2019
9 a.m. – 4 p.m. ET
Washington, DC

Good tactics are important: Writing a head-turning press release or conducting a fly-in that shifts a policy debate. Great strategy, however, is essential. Every press release and fly-in is a means to your organization’s bigger goals. How do we become great strategists? What’s involved in framing day-to-day activities in the context of a larger ambition? How do we articulate public affairs strategy in a way that resonates across our organization and helps develop a deeper understanding of and appreciation for our work? Join us at the Public Affairs Leadership Summit and find out.

This program is eligible for 3 elective credits toward the Certificate in PAC & Grassroots Management and 3 core credits toward the Certificate in Public Affairs Management.

As a CAE Approved Provider educational program related to the CAE exam content outline, this program may be applied for 5 credits toward your CAE application or renewal professional development requirements.


8:30 a.m. Networking Breakfast

9:00 a.m. Welcome

Introductions and learning objectives

  • What brought you to today’s summit?
  • What do you hope to learn?
  • In terms of networking connections, is there someone (specific individual or peer from a similar industry) you’re looking to meet?

9:30 a.m. Leadership and Organizational Culture

Like people, organizations have personalities: congenial, temperamental, curious or combative. Some are fact-driven; in others, persuasion matters most. How do you make your leadership style fit the organization’s temperament?

We’ll explore ways to master the personality of your workplace and drive change:

  • Assessing your organization’s culture and what kinds of team members are most successful
  • Emphasizing the elements of your leadership style that will move the needle, and learning or growing other skills you’ll need
  • Proven strategies and tactics for motivating and creating collaboration among team members

Dr. Carly R. Speranza
Assistant Professor of Management
School of Business and Technology, Marymount University

10:45 a.m. Break 

11:00 a.m. The Pressure Cooker: Leading a Public Affairs Team in a High-Pressure Environment 

The demands don’t stop. Leadership has high expectations. Every challenge or opportunity seems like a priority. In this session, a National Football League executive will share ways to release pressure from the valve and make your public affairs portfolio more manageable:

  • Create a process for assessing and prioritizing demands so it’s easier to determine where to focus time, energy and resources
  • Communicating to leadership what’s doable and what isn’t
  • Trying to spot and manage issues before they balloon into controversies or crises
  • Protecting an organization’s reputation through smart public affairs

You’ll also hear examples of what’s worked – and what hasn’t.

Bagley, Lester

Lester Bagley
Executive Vice President, Public Affairs
Minnesota Vikings

12:00 p.m. Lunch 

1:00 p.m. Conversation of Leadership 

How do leaders think and act differently, and in a way that inspires and motivates others? Can we train ourselves to improve our leadership skills? Join a former three-term county executive and discuss:

  • What sets leaders apart: how they view opportunities and challenges in a different frame than other professionals
    Inspiring people to work towards a greater purpose, and generating buy-in and support

You’ll also hear from his experience what’s worked – and what hasn’t.


Doug Duncan
President & CEO
Leadership Greater Washington
Former Montgomery County, Maryland Executive

2:00 p.m. Break

2:15 p.m. Selling Winning Ideas 

Public affairs is selling. Have you earned the right to close? Learn simple, proven sales and negotiating techniques from an expert sales professional, and how to apply those skills to working with legislative staff, community groups, trade associations and more, including:

  • Determining motivators of potential partners and building an approach that speaks to those motivators
  • Making a compelling, persuasive case that convinces potential partners to work with you
  • Essential do’s and don’ts, and case studies to prove it
  • Strategies and tactics for negotiating a deal with tough partners
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JD Myers
Senior Vice President and Region Manager
Cox Communications

3:20 p.m. Conversation: Diversity and Public Affairs

We can do more from a diversity and inclusion perspective to make the public affairs workforce better reflect society at large. Join us for a conversation on the state of the profession and how we can improve diversity and inclusion going forward.


Julian Ha,
Heidrick & Struggles

4:20 p.m. Wrap-Up

4:30 p.m. Adjourn and Reception

Event Location

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AT&T Forum
601 New Jersey Avenue,  NW
Washington, DC  20001


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Register Online 

Early-Bird Registration (Register by August 14 and SAVE!)

  • Members: $695
  • Non-Members: $895

Regular Registration (After August 14)

  • Members: $795
  • Non-Members: $995

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 us at 202.787.5950.