NCSL Announces Summit Speakers

7/10/2015

NCSL NewsExciting Lineup of Speakers Set for 41st Legislative Summit in Seattle

DENVER— Ford Motor Company futurist Sheryl Connelly, Starbucks Senior Vice President John Kelly, Amazon Web Services guru Andy Jassy, economist Christopher Thornberg, best-selling author and historian Jon Meacham, and former Secretary of Defense and CIA Director Robert Gates are some of this year’s stellar line-up of speakers during the National Conference of State Legislatures’ (NCSL) 42nd  annual Legislative Summit Aug. 3-6 in Seattle.

The Legislative Summit will bring four inspired days of knowledge, resources and innovation. Join thousands of legislators and legislative staff Aug. 3-6, in Seattle.

Summit attendees will “dive deep” into four fascinating and provocative issues: legalizing marijuana, transportation funding, tapping brain potential and the future of everything.  These in-depth, interactive sessions provide insight and a roadmap to charting workable solutions for states. They are among some 100 sessions on the most critical policy issues of the day.

Following are some of the featured speakers and the topics they’ll address. All times are Pacific:

Tuesday, Aug. 4

John Kelly, senior vice president of Global Responsibility and Public Policy for Starbucks, is the opening general session speaker Tuesday. Kelly address the role and civic responsibility of a public company that is both aspirational and global. Aug. 4, 8:30-9:30 a.m., Room 6ABC

Robert Mikos, professor of Law at Vanderbilt University, is one of the nation’s leading experts on federalism and drug law. His most recent work looks at the tension between federal, state and local governments in gaining control of marijuana policy, analyzing the constitutionality, budgetary and tax considerations, and politics surrounding the issue. As a panelist at Tuesday’s deep-dive session, titled “Marijuana and Federalism,” Mikos will discuss and answer in-depth questions about policy surrounding medical and adult recreational use of the drug. Aug. 4, 3:30-5 p.m., Room WC602-604

Wednesday, Aug. 5

Sheryl Connelly, futurist and manager of Global Consumer Trends at Ford Motor Company, is a panelist in Wednesday’s deep-dive session, “The Future of Everything.” She tracks global consumer trends to develop strategies throughout the entire organization to create a successful, forward-thinking company. Fast Company magazine ranked her the 24th Most Creative Person in Business. Attendees will hear and respond to Connelly’s economic and social forecasts and learn what they may mean for their state’s policies and constituents. Aug. 5, 9:15-11:30 a.m., Room WC608-609

Robert Gates served as the 22nd secretary of defense (2006-2011) and will headline Wednesday’s general session, “The Challenge of Politics and America's Global Standing.” An Eagle Scout and president of the Boy Scouts of America, Gates is the author of “Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War,” a profoundly personal story and an insightful look into two administrations and the wars that defined them. Aug. 5, 11:45 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Room 6ABC

Piper Kerman, best-selling author of “Orange is the New Black,” will share her first-hand experience as a convicted drug offender, and her ideas about rehabilitation, re-entry services and other corrections and sentencing policies. Aug. 5, 2-3:15 p.m., Room WC618-620

Thursday, Aug. 6

Jon Meacham is the author of "Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power." He will share his portrait of Jefferson as a man who embodies an eternal drama: The struggle of leadership to achieve greatness in a confounding world. Aug. 6, 12:15-1:45 p.m., Ballroom 6ABC

A complete list of this year’s speakers can be found on our website along with the week’s agenda. In addition to speakers, NCSL.org also lists information about important meetings and events that will take place in Seattle this August.

NCSL’s Summit is the largest and only gathering of its kind where state legislators and legislative staff come together to promote bipartisan dialogue on some of the most pressing concerns facing states. Approximately 5,000 attendees are expected at the meeting, which will be held at the Washington State Convention Center.

All meetings held in conjunction with NCSL’s Legislative Summit are open to the press. Registration is required but free to credentialed members of the media. Online registration is open and highly encouraged. Please review NCSL’s media policy before registering.


NCSL is a bipartisan organization that serves the legislators and staffs of the states, commonwealths and territories. It provides research, technical assistance and opportunities for policymakers to exchange ideas on the most pressing state issues and is an effective and respected advocate for the interests of the states in the American federal system.