LSS 2017 PDS and Summit Combined Agenda

Aug. 5-9 | Boston

LSS will hold its professional development seminar Aug. 5-6 during the first one and a half days before the 2017 NCSL Legislative Summit in Boston. This allows attendees to register for both the PDS and the Summit and get the most bang for their buck.

See below for a detailed agenda for both the LSS PDS and LSS co-sponsored programming at the Legislative Summit.



8-9 a.m.

LSS 2016-2017 Executive Committee Meeting/Breakfast - in the Lobby of the Marriott Copley Place

9-9:30 a.m.

Transfer to Westin Waterfront Hotel for sessions

All sessions in the Burroughs Room

425 Summer St, Boston, MA 02210

A group will assemble in the lobby of the Marriott Copley Place at 9:00 to transfer over to the Westin Waterfront via Uber. Otherwise, please make your own travel arrangements to get to the Westin by 9:30 am.
9:30-10:30 a.m. Welcome Breakfast and Opening Remarks
10:45 a.m.-Noon

Constituent Services Roundtable

Learn techniques to help improve the public image of the legislature. How to engage those who are apathetic or uninterested and how to educate (protocol, process) those who are newly interested. How can staff provide resources for educating citizens who come to the capitol.



  • Charity Stowe, Legislative Assistant, Deputy Director of Legislative Affairs, Indiana
12:15-1:30 p.m.

General Session /Lunch


Good Supervisors – Good Performance: Set your team up for success whether you’re a member of the team or a supervisor. Focus on how good managerial practices apply to individual professional and personal growth.



  • Brian Weberg, Center for Legislative Strengthening, NCSL

Training the Trainer

Learn techniques and share ideas about how to effectively take what you learn at PDS and Summit back to your legislature. How do junior staff convey new ideas or tools that they have learned to their peers? How do senior staff turn what they learn into trainings for staff? And how to do this on a tight or non-existent budget. 



  • Natasha Perez, chief of staff to Senate President Stan Rosenberg, Massachusetts Senate
1:45-3 p.m. 5 minutes of Fame: Avoid reinventing the wheel
What processes have you put into place in your state/agency to help manage continuity of service and abilities when facing turn over?
3-4:30 p.m.

Where do you draw the line, ethically speaking?

Leadership staff sometimes walk a fine line between their political roles working on campaigns and their institutional roles working at the legislature. Where--and how--do you draw the line? The first half of this session will provide a briefing from an ethics specialist. Then, LSS staff will participate in a roundtable discussion on ethics, where they can share stories, suggestions and solutions and discuss this important line to be walked, and to help each other clarify where, and how, the line should be drawn.



  • Mark Quiner, Center for Ethics in Government, NCSL


  • Andrea Chiapella, senior policy analyst, Oregon Senate Republican Office
4:30-6 p.m. Break
6-7 p.m.

Dutch Treat Dinner

Legal Sea Foods - Copley Place Location

100 Huntington Ave. Boston, MA 02116
7-7:30 pm LSS Nominating Committee
SUNDay, AUG. 6
7:30-8 a.m.

Transfer to Westin Waterfront Hotel for sessions

All sessions in the Burroughs Room

425 Summer St, Boston, MA 02210

A group will assemble in the lobby of the Marriott Copley Place at 7:30 to transfer over to the Westin Waterfront via Uber. Otherwise, please make your own travel arrangements to get to the Westin by 8:00 am.
8-11 a.m.

Making Your Case: Effective Communication * pre-con at the Westin Waterfront. Must be registered for Summit to attend

Commonwealth Ballroom

When the public policy topic at hand is important to you, it is critical to state your position persuasively and succinctly. Attend this workshop to learn how to craft and deliver an argument to advocate for what you believe in, and how to tailor your messages for different circumstances. Discuss how to be assertive without coming across as unyielding, how to disagree respectfully, the importance of nonverbal cues, and how to put these techniques into practice.


* This session is held in conjunction with the Women's Legislative Network and is an alternative to the following sessions held with the Young and New Professionals Group.

7:30-8 a.m Transfer to the Westin Waterfront Hotel (all sessions on Sunday morning will be at the Westin Waterfront)
8-8:30 a.m. Breakfast, Introductions 
8:30-9:15 a.m.

Communicating Your Way Through the Legislature

Learn best practices on navigating communication with bill sponsors, lobbyists, inquiring legislators and legislative aides, and other players in the legislature.

9:15-10:30 a.m.

Navigating the Legislature During Contentious Times

Engage with your peers and veteran legislative staff to learn best practices of navigating the legislature during contentious times.

10:30-11:30 a.m.

Finding and Utilizing a Great Mentor

How to ask the right questions of the veteran staff in the office for institutional knowledge, best practices to communicate up, and gain

11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.    

LSS Business Meeting

Rm: Faneuil

Have a box lunch with your peers in LSS, talk with and hear from incoming staff chair, Chuck Truesdell, and see who won the LSS Legislative Staff Achievement Award and participate in the executive committee election for the 2017-2018 season.


Jennifer Jankowski, chair, Leadership Staff Section

11:45 a.m.-1 p.m.

Legislative Summit Orientation

206 AB

First time at the Summit? Take part in this interactive orientation and learn how to navigate your way through the nation's most substantive public policy meeting. Hear about the business meeting, standing committees, deep dives and issue forums to get the most out of your time in Boston!
1-2 p.m.

General Session - From Politics to Statesmanship: Solving Problems in a Partisan World


Solving complex problems is always difficult, and the job is harder when the participants are from different parties. Hear from Massachusetts’ two legislative leaders—both Democrats—and the Commonwealth’s Republican governor on how they roll up their sleeves and reach consensus to move their state forward.

2:15-4:15 p.m.

In the Trenches With Social Media
257 B
Twitter, Facebook Live and other social media apps are increasingly popular and important communications and outreach tools. But their instantaneous nature can lead to unintended consequences. Learn best practices for influencing the narrative surrounding social media content. How can you manage these apps properly without getting too caught up in them? What are some tactics other states are using to master this dynamic and challenging landscape?

4:15-5:30 p.m.

Expecting the Unexpected

206 AB      

A sudden special session, protesters at the capitol, a natural disaster, cybersecurity or security threats? Legislative staff are on the front line when the unexpected happens. Hear from colleagues in various roles about how they prepared for, dealt with or found solutions for unexpected situations.
5:30-6 p.m.

Staff Red Carpet Meet and Greet

SE Lobby B2

We’re rolling out the red carpet for legislative staff! Take time to see old friends and meet new colleagues before heading to the reception at the Lawn on D.

5:30-7:30 p.m.

Social Event at The Lawn on D

Lawn on D

We’re having a party and it’s for you! Come join us at The Lawn on D so you can have the ultimate New England experience. Network with your peers over lobster tails, New England wines and local craft beers.

monDay, aug. 7
10-11:45 a.m.

Legislative Staff University
205 ABC

Willow Jacobson, associate professor at the University of North Carolina School of Government, will tell you about cutting-edge research – and practical ideas – to motivate people, recognize and reward employees, and give you strategies to improve morale. Jacobson will speak at the Legislative Staff University.
Noon-2 p.m.

LSS Dutch Treat Lunch and Tour of the Massachusetts State House

Meet your fellow LSS members at the main entrance of the Westin Waterfront hotel no later than noon. We will Uber to the 21st Amendment Restaurant for lunch and then walk over for the tour at 1:00.

You must RSVP to Megan McClure (303) 995-5979, no later than July 31st to come on the tour.

3:45-5 p.m.

Concurrent Sessions:

Advising Legislators on Federalism

253 C   

Decisions made at the federal level can have a powerful impact on the states. Learn how to guide legislators on how best to craft legislation to ensure that power is appropriately shared between state and federal governments.


Policies for Legislative Technologies: How Are They Working?

206 AB

Social media, personal and state-owned devices, email and text messages—all raise questions about whether and how legislators and legislative staff use them, how the records they create are retained (or not) and what records are subject to public records requests. Discuss how legislative policies were developed, what legislatures considered and how they came to their conclusions.


  • Mike Allen, Office of Legislative Information Technology, Montana
  • Susan Fox, Legislative Services Division, Montana
10:15 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Concurrent Sessions:

Communicate to Succeed 

206 AB      

If there were only one skill that would determine your success as a legislator, staffer or lobbyist, it would probably be the ability to communicate your ideas efficiently and effectively. You’ll gain practical tips and acquire the tools needed to give short, compelling presentations.

What you’ll learn:

  • How to make your speeches funny, memorable and moving.
  • How to become a master storyteller.
  • How to use visual graphics most effectively.


The Changing Nature of Jobs: Is Our Workforce Prepared?


While the current national unemployment rate is under 5 percent, millions of Americans still feel left out of the tepid economic expansion we’ve experienced since the Great Recession. Learn how states and the private sector are working together to address the skills gap and get unemployed and underemployed Americans back to work, focusing on job training and career readiness. 
What you’ll learn:

  • The different measures of unemployment and how much “slack” is really in the labor market today (hint: it’s significant). 
  • What regions and occupations are facing notable mismatches in terms of supply and demand of qualified workers. 
  • How private companies and educators are partnering to create a pipeline of job-ready applicants.
12:30-2 p.m. Salute to Legislative Staff Luncheon
Celeste Headlee is an award-winning journalist, author and expert on the art of conversation, music, journalism and more. Her TED talk, Ten Ways to Have Better Conversations, has been seen by more than 6.5 million people. She hosts a daily talk show for Georgia Public Broadcasting and was formerly a host at National Public Radio. She holds multiple degrees in music and still performs as a professional opera singer.
2:15-3:30 p.m.

Concurrent Sessions:

Critical Thinking: Objective Analysis for Today's World
258 AB       

Critical thinkers know how to evaluate massive amounts of information filled with sophisticated rhetoric designed to sway their decisions. In today’s world where we are bombarded with instant information, learn how to filter out bias, recognize misrepresentations, and teach others how to distinguish bias from fact.


Seven Secrets to Leadership

206 AB   

Learn and practice strategies legendary leaders use every day. Discover how to deal with constant change, increasing pressure and the need to adapt quickly. Through activities and humor, legislators and staffers will be ready to apply these seven secrets the minute they get home.



  • Josh Davies, The Center For Work Ethic Development, Colorado
3:45-5 p.m.

Concurrent Sessions:

Leadership Lessons from Star Trek

204 AB   

Star Trek captured the imagination of millions as the U.S.S. Enterprise successfully navigated the cosmos. Who knew that the daring and debonair Captain James T. Kirk would become a quintessential leader, widely admired for his keen leadership skills? This entertaining session offers a new perspective on successful leadership.



  •  Alex Knapp, Forbes, Missouri


Research Methods—Which One Do I Choose? 
151 AB         

Good legislative research—whether for a specific member, a committee or a program evaluation—requires having the data needed to make sound decisions. A research method is a systematic plan for gathering evidence, and a range of methodologies exist. How do you decide which method is best suited to achieve your objective? Learn several approaches to designing the appropriate methodology.

9:30-10:30 a.m. Securing Legislative Committees: Legal Ramifications
Legislative committees study issues and hear from supporters and opponents. Civil disobedience at these hearings is becoming the norm. Learn how the courts are ruling on cases where the exercise of constitutional rights of citizens affects the safety and security of these legislative proceedings.
9:30-10:45 a.m.

Leadership Roundtable

204 AB         

Legislatures thrive with outstanding leadership. Hear those in the top ranks share their philosophies on bold leadership and how to get things done in the unique world of the lawmaking. You’ll leave knowing what it takes to be an extraordinary legislative leader.

11a.m.-12:15 p.m. 

Statehouse Saboteurs: How to Thwart Schedule Disruptions
151 B

Media snafus, constituent requests, vetting information on the fly—all these can get you off track quickly and ruin your day. Find the tools to deal with these everyday roadblocks from experts who have learned how to successfully head them off.

12:30-2:15 p.m.

2018 Kickoff Luncheon

You won’t want to miss Pulitzer Prize-winning author and presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin. Goodwin brings history alive with an uncanny sense for detail and a master storyteller’s grasp of drama and depth as she examines the leadership triumphs, trials and tribulations of the men and women who have shaped this nation, culled from her lifetime examination of the U.S. presidency.