2010 Leadership Staff Section Professional Development Seminar 

September 8-11, 2010
Raleigh Marriott City Center
Raleigh, North Carolina

Agenda (as of August, 2010)

 September 8 | September 9 September 10 | September 11
Wednesday, September 8

8:00 am - 4:00 pm


8:30 am - 4:30 pm

Boot Camp: How to Run an Effective Communications Office

This year, we are going to focus on communicating with the media and becoming a good spokesperson for your legislature or government agency. In addition, you will discover how to take these techniques and prepare your leadership, members or colleagues to become better interviewees. Participants will learn the three parts of an effective media relations standup: preparing for the interview, conducting the interview, and interview evaluating. Boot camp will give you techniques for delivering an effective 10 to 12 second media sound-bite that will bridge to your key messages every time you speak with reporters.

At boot camp, learn:

  • The 3 C’s ( Control, Competence & Concern) of an effective media interview.
  • The importance of developing at least three main talking points.
  • The listen-pause-think-answer method.
  • How to handle a hostile reporter’s questions.
  • How to develop great talking points.
  • The importance of and how to effectively use non-verbals.
  • Effective key messages that your audience will remember, and much more.

 Presenter: Dr. Joe Trahan, President and CEO, Trahan & Associates.

6:30 - 9:30 pm

LSS Executive Committee Dinner

Thursday, September 9

8:00 am - 5:00 pm


8:15 - 9:30 am

Joint Session: Erskine Bowles - Success and Challenges When Leading at the Top

Erskine Bowles, former Chief of Staff to President Clinton, President of the University of North Carolina, Director of the Small Business Association and current President Obama appointee, will reflect on the competing challenges and pressures of leadership in the face of intense national scrutiny that are par for the course in the life of a White House Chief of Staff.

Speaker: Erskine Bowles, Co-Chair, National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform

9:45 am - 4:30 pm

LSS Nominating Committee

9:50 - 11:00 am

Joint Session: Millennial Generation - Keep Your Message Short and Your Tattoos Unique

Speaker: Andrew Krzmarzick, GovLoop

11:10 am - 12:30 pm

Both Sides Now - From Legislators to Leadership Staff

Two legislators-turned-leadership staff will lead a discussion about the knowledge and insight gained from serving as both members and legislative staff, and how it impacts the way they approach their bosses and their jobs.

Speakers: Don Richardson, Chief of Staff and Chief Clerk, Mississippi House
Bill Stovall, Chief of Staff, Arkansas House

12:45 - 1:50 pm

Joint Luncheon: America’s Ever-Changing Demographics

Jim Johnson, Kenan Professor at the University of North Carolina, is a noted demographer who believes our growing racial and ethnic population will dramatically transform the nation and create a new demand for a diverse workforce in all our social, economic and political institutions. Participate in this discussion on our nation’s changing demographics and what it signifies for state legislatures and public policy making.

Speaker: Jim Johnson, William Rand Kenan, Jr. Distinguished Professor, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 

2:00 - 3:30 pm

The Perfect Workday

Mike Collins, President of the Perfect Workday Company, will lead you to better days at the office in this session, where he’ll provide you with strategies for dealing with stress, competing priorities, and multiple projects AND show you how to still have fun on the job.

Speaker: Mike Collins, The Perfect Workday Company

3:35 - 5:00 pm

Get to Know Your Colleagues

Leadership staff will take this time to network and discuss life in the legislative workplace, conflict, interference of politics in the legislative process, and the other challenges in the legislative institution.

Friday, September 10

7:30 am - 1:00 pm


8:00 am - 9:45 am

Joint Breakfast Session

North Carolina’s Public Policy Polling , “best known for putting out highly accurate polling key political races across the country,” will speak about the latest in polling techniques and technology, the 2010 elections, how to interpret data, and how to develop a message based on polling information. 

Speakers: Dean Debnam, Founder and President, PPP, Raleigh, NC

10:00 - 11:15 am

2010 Fall Election Preview

This is a huge election year for the states, with 37 governors and 6,115 legislative seats up for grabs. The stakes are particularly high this year because control over redistricting hangs in the balance. Preview key races and ballot issues in the states.

Speakers: Jennie Bowser, Senior Fellow, NCSL
Tim Storey, Senior Fellow, NCSL

11:20 am - 12:30 pm

Thinking Skills for Legislative Staff

This session will explore how skilled thinking improves analysis, writing, and team meetings. Thinking and intelligence differ. Using car racing to illustrate, thinking is like driver skill while intelligence is like engine horsepower. Drivers win races. Similarly, the ability to argue a point and to criticize an opposite point of view, while valuable, often impedes thinking. In this workshop, participants will learn to recognize poor thinking, use parallel thinking, and learn techniques to evaluate and generate good ideas.

Speaker: John Turcotte, Director, Program Evaluation Division, North Carolina General Assembly

12:30 - 1:45 pm

LSS and LINCS Luncheon and Awards Presentation

1:30 - 2:00 pm

Walk to the North Carolina Legislative Building

2:00 pm

Welcome to North Carolina - Speaker Joe Hackney

2:15 - 3:15 pm

The Role of Leadership Staff – North Carolina Edition

Speakers: Laura DeVivo, North Carolina House Speaker’s Office
Amy Fulk, North Carolina Senate President Pro Tempore’s Office

3:30 - 5:00 pm

Joint: Tour of the Legislative Building

6:00 pm

Pig Pickin' at the DeVivo Home

Saturday, September 11

8:00 am - 12:00 noon

Information Desk

9:00 - 10:00 am

LSS Breakfast and Business Meeting

The LSS will elect a new chair and executive committee members to serve for 2010-2011. Other policy items may be discussed. Please be sure to attend to sign up for LSS committees and to learn about upcoming staff section events.

Presiding:  Janeen Halverson, Utah, Chair, NCSL Leadership Staff Section

10:00 - 10:30 am

Raleigh Recap

Meeting attendees will share their perspectives, give feedback on their Raleigh experience, and discuss ways to make next year's seminar even better. Bring your business cards and make sure to share contact information with your colleagues!

10:30 - 11:10 am

2010-2011 LSS Executive Committee Meeting

Presiding: TBD

11:10 am - 12:15 pm

Joint Session: Five Great Programs to Help Your Career

12:15 pm

Meeting Adjourned