2011 Professional Development Seminar (As of Oct. 5, 2011)

 Bootcamp |Thursday |Friday|Saturday

Bootcamp, October 12

9 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.


9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Bootcamp: Communicating During a Crisis
HR3, Virginia State Capitol

What is the best way to communicate during a crisis? First, be prepared well in advance. Establish your working relationships, hone your skills and create effective talking points before a disaster ever occurs.

This year, our boot camp will train you to be an effective communicator before, during and after a crisis. Jennifer Miller of Rockford Gray Communications will equip you with the tools you need for effectively engaging with reporters, consumers and other public audiences during an emergency. 

You will receive tips on what everyone should know before talking to the media, what the best use of social media is during a disaster, and what the most valuable method is for setting your agenda and creating your key messages. Your messages during a crisis are vital to satisfying reporters’ questions and achieving your public relations and policy goals.  

You will also discover the most important things to do during the first hour— the Golden Hour—of a crisis. This is when most organizations make their biggest mistakes. You’ll learn what the key role of a spokesperson is and how to handle the news media at the very beginning of trouble, before it becomes catastrophic .

You will leave with a clear understanding of your responsibility during a crisis and with renewed confidence in your ability to communicate effectively with the media, colleagues and constituents.


  • Meagan Dorsch, NCSL Public Affairs

*Breakfast, lunch and snacks will be provided for boot camp participants.

To register for the boot camp and PDS, click here.

5 - 6 p.m.

Networking Opportunity for LINCS and LSS members

Thursday, October 13

 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.


8:30 - 9:30 a.m.

Joint Breakfast with LSS
SR3, Virginia State Captiol


  • Jay Pearson, Legislative Education and Development Project Manager, Virginia House of Delegates


  • Former Virginia Governor Douglas Wilder

9:30  - 10:45 a.m.

The Role of Emotions and Crisis Communication

Do emotions affect the way we communicate? Is it nothing more than feelings? Yan Jin, PhD, is known for her research in the area of crisis communications and strategic conflict management. She will show us how emotions can influence decision making, your boss and even the public’s responses. In this session, Dr. Jin will help examine the role of different emotions in leadership and management process, demonstrate how emotions can impact the effectiveness of communications via traditional media, social media, and word of month. Dr. Jin is an associate professor and the Interim Director of the School of Mass Communications, Virginia Commonwealth University, where she teaches public relations courses at both graduate and undergraduate levels.


  • Bladen Finch, Senate Page Program Manager


  • Dr. Yan Jin, Associate Professor and Interim Director, VCU School of Mass Communications

11:00 a.m.- 12:05 p.m.

Joint Session: iPad Takeover
iPads are currently the coolest kid on the technology block. The demand to use iPads in state legislatures is growing and several pilot projects have been developed. But how have these programs worked and what has been the success rate? What demographics received iPads, what was the primary use and risks? Your colleagues in LINCS and LSS will help answer these questions and more as they discuss the “successes” and “teaching moments” in their own pilot projects.


  • Cory Stewart, Public Information Specialist, Louisiana House of Representatives


  • Tom Bennett, Assistant to the Majority Leader, West Virginia House of Delegates
  • Sharon Crouch Steidel, Director of Information Systems, Virginia House of Delegates

12:15 - 1:45 p.m.

Joint Lunch
HR3 - Virginia State Capitol

Dr. Bob Holsworth is the founder of VirigniaTomorrow.com and aManaging Principal of DecideSmart.com, a company that focuses on enabling innovation to succeed. His observations on national and Virginia politics have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, the New York Times, and numerous other papers and newsmagazines. Bob has also appeared on almost all the major American television networks, the BBC and ITN in Great Britain, and Fuji Television in Japan. He was the founding Director of both the Center for Public Policy and the Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs at Virginia Commonwealth University.


  • Dr. Bob Holsworth

2 - 3 p.m. 

Impact of Social Media on Elections

How are sites like Twitter, UStream, Flickr and Facebook used during the election season? Do they attract potential voters, or are they another tool to help facilitate two-way communication with constituents? Jeannie Layson, the communications director for the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, has some insight on this topic. She will show us how social media has been used by election officials during the last two campaign cycles, discuss how information moves on social media and what the public expects from election officials  and they use these communications tools during election season.


  • Jay Pearson, Legislative Education and Development Project Manager, Virginia House of Delegates


  • Jeanne Layson, director of communications, U.S. Elections Assistance Commission

3- 3:15 p.m.



3:15 - 4:15 p.m.

Joint Session: Making Legislative Information Public

There is a large, well-funded movement among computer programmers and journalists to make the work of state legislature more accessible, relatable and understandable to the public. Groups like the Sunlight and Knight Foundation have helped kick-start dozens of projects that aggregate government data and provide it to citizens in simple, understandable formats. We will discuss what role the legislature can play in the process, what legislatures are already doing to make this information accessible, how the public benefits and if this increases government transparency.


  • Waldo Jacquith, blogger
  • David Poole, Executive Director of the Virginia Public AccessProject
  • Karl Kurtz, NCSL Trust for Representative Democracy 
4:15 - 5:30 p.m.

Joint Session: Steal These Ideas!

How many times have you said, "Let's not reinvent the wheel?"

Luckily, our web 2.0 world allows us to constantly access new tools and programs that help us do our jobs more efficiently. In this interactive, rapid-fire session, you'll be able to steal the wheels out from under your LINCS and LSS colleagues as they share top tools to help make you a top legislative staffer. We'll cover  video players, timeline creators and converting PDF's to e-books. Come armed with ideas and tools that you use in your office!


  • Meagan Dorsch, Director of Public Affairs, NCSL
  • Anthony Sara, Associate Legislative Information Officer, Wyoming Legislature
  • Aurora Hauke, Caucus Staff, Minority Office, Alaska House of Representatives
  • Natalie O'Donnell Wood, Program Principal, Legislative Management Program, NCSL
5:45 - 7:00 p.m.

Welcome Remarks and Capitol Tours

  • Lieutenant Governor of Virginia Bill Bolling
  • Susan Clarke Schaar, Clerk of the Senate, Virginia
  • G. Paul Nardo, G. Paul Nardo, Clerk of the House of Delegates, Virginia
7:00 p.m. Dinner on the Portico
Friday, October 14

 7 - 8 a.m.


7:45 - 8 a.m.

Grab and Go Breakfast

Bus will leave for DC at 8 a.m. from the Omni Hotel.

10:30 a.m.

Arrive in D.C. at the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center

11:00 a.m.- 12:30 p.m.

Tour of the U.S. Capitol

12:45 - 2:30 p.m.

Tour and Q&A at CSPAN

We will walk from the U.S. Capitol to CSPAN's building, which is approximately four blocks. LINCS and LSS members will enjoy a light lunch at CSPAN, followed by a Q&A with CSPAN anchors and a tour. 


  • Invited: Steve Scully

2:45 - 4:30 p.m.

A Leader and Communications Visionary
We will walk from CSPAN to NCTA office.

As the president and chief executive officer of the National Cable and Telecommunications Association, Michael Powell knows it takes a mixture of good leadership and communication skills to successfully work with the administration, government agencies and Congress.

Mr. Powell was nominated by President Bill Clinton to serve on the Federal Communications Commission and was designated chairman by President George W. Bush where he served until 2005. As chairman, Mr. Powell oversaw the FCC during times of change and crisis. He was instrumental in allowing customers to keep their own phone numbers when switching wireless carriers, and establishing and implementing the Do-Not-Call list. His leadership skills were put to the test as his agency came under fire for the 2005 “wardrobe malfunction” by Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake at the Super Bowl half-time show. 

Mr. Powell also served as an armored cavalry officer in the United States Army. While on duty, he was seriously injured in a training accident and—after spending a year in the hospital—retired from service.

Mr. Powell graduated in 1985 from the College of William and Mary with a degree in Government. He is also a Henry Crown Fellow of The Aspen Institute.


  • Michael Powell, CEO and president of NCTA, former FCC Chairman

4:45 - 7:00 p.m.


National Press Club - Holman Lounge

LINCS and LSS members will have a chance to tour the historic National Press Club in Washington, D.C. A dinner and awards presentation will also be held for all NCSL attendees.

Special thanks to NCTA

7:15 p.m.

Board Buses for Richmond

9:30 - 11 p.m.

Networking Suite

Saturday, October 15

 8- 12 p.m.

Information Desk

9 - 10:00 a.m.

LINCS Business Meeting

10:15 a.m. - 12 p.m.

Joint Session - Memory Magic

In today's highly competitive world, the edge goes to the person with the best memory.  It's that simple. It's a skill everyone wants, yet so few know how to achieve. This session changes that.
You'll learn step-by-step techniques on how to speak without notes, including strategies on how to draft your remarks and preparing your mind to making a powerful presentation, as well as successful strategies on getting through the day without the fear of forgetting.
The section on remembering names and faces includes concentration techniques on recalling the name correctly. Through the use of pictures and examples, you'll create a proven system to correctly matching a name with a face. You'll also learn how to remember first names, last names, and groups of people, including information about them.
If there were a magic pill that would improve memory, millions would take it. This program proves you can improve your memory without anything to swallow. The answers to your memory problems are all in your head.


  • Paul Mellor, Fix My Memory