LSS 2018 PDS Agenda

July 29-30, 2018 | Los Angeles

A photo of the downtown L.A. skylineLSS will hold its professional development seminar July 29-30, 2018, during the first one and a half days before the 2018 NCSL Legislative Summit in Los Angeles. 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 the PDS. 


sunDay, july 29
Time Sessions (All Sunday sessions will be at the Sheraton Grand Downtown L.A. Room, Wilturn A)

8 a.m.-Noon


9-10 a.m.

Welcome Breakfast and Opening Remarks

  • Charity Stowe, LSS chair, Indiana
10:15-11:30 a.m.

Ethics and Civility

America has a civility deficit, and most Americans think civility will worsen in the years ahead. We see it every day on the news. Elected officials don’t just disagree on the issues anymore, they try to destroy each other personally and professionally. We will look at this issue of civility: How to define it, promote it, and protect it. We will consider ways to promote civility including communication skills and personal empowerment.

  • Mark Quiner, Center for Ethics in Government, NCSL
11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Social Media and Privacy

Kristen Walker, is a professor of marketing at Nazarian College of Business and Economics at California State University Northridge. Walker will discuss privacy and the use of social media. Discussion, will include Twitter open verification and how social media is used to sway public opinion.

  • Kristen Walker, Ph.D., California State University Northridge
12:30-1:30 p.m.

Lunch and 5 Minutes of Fame

Come prepared to share the latest challenges and innovations in your office and learn what's going on in legislative realms across the nation. 

1:45-2:30 p.m.

Vetting Lobbyist Information on the Fly

Lobbyists regularly provide information to legislators and staff, but the information should be verified and vetted before being used. What are strategies you use to test and confirm the information you receive from lobbyists? Engage in a dialogue with two current lobbyists who once were in your shoes. Both Kathy Bañuelos and Eric Miethke were once legislative staffers.

  • Kathy Bañuelos, vice president of government affairs, NBCUniversal
  • Eric Miethke, founder, Capitol Law and Policy Inc.
2:45-3:45 p.m.

Branding and the Model Code of Conduct

Any good staffer can tell you that reputation and relationships are everything. Building a good personal brand can help you develop both. Every day you are building your own personal brand, but are you building the brand you want? By understanding how you want to be seen and developing your professional core values, you can develop a strong personal brand that will help you succeed. Explore personal branding concepts and the NCSL Model Code of Conduct for Legislative Staffers, developed by some of the best staffers in the business.  

  • Butch Speer, clerk of the House, Louisiana
  • Megan McClure, senior staff assistant, NCSL
4-5:30 p.m.

Seven Secrets to Become the Leader You Never Thought You Could Be

With constant change increasing the pressure placed on all of us, how can you adapt to meet the needs of your customers and yourself? How do you deal with doing more with fewer resources? How do you stop spending your days putting out fires? Simple: Stop letting your title or organizational structure keep you from being a leader.

  • Josh Davies, CEO, The Center for Work Ethic Development
6:30-7:30 p.m.

LSS Dutch Treat Dinner

Karl Strauss Brewing Co.

7:30-8 p.m. LSS Nomination Committee
monDay, july 30
  (All Monday morning sessions will be at the L.A. Convention Center, Room 502A)
7:30-8 a.m. Breakfast and Introductions
8-9:15 a.m.

What’s Your Blind Spot?

What’s your blind spot and how does it impact the decisions you make, the conversations you carry and your behavior towards others? Learn how to spot your hidden preferences and find strategies for overcoming these blind spots when working with colleagues and others in the legislature.



  • Paul Meshanko, Legacy Business Cultures
9:15-10:15 a.m.

The Balanced Life: Your Most Productive Self at the Legislature

Working in a legislative environment is exciting, challenging, always changing, and often, chaotic. How do you maintain a healthy stress level while juggling all the responsibilities of your role at the capitol? Learn from a top mindfulness executive how to live a balanced and productive professional life while maintaining a happy, healthy mindset. 



  • Megan Jones Bell, Psy.D, Headspace
10:15-10:30 a.m.


10:30-11:30 a.m.

How to Conquer Your Fear of Failure and Maximize Your Risk
Failure can lead us to the best personal and organization results. Most of us have failed at something, then been embarrassed. For some, we stop trying new things. Yet others embrace their failures and turn them into successes. Explore the need for failure and risk, creating an environment where it's safe to fail and ways to flip the negative impression of failure. Learn to see failure as a developmental process, and how you can embrace the results and turn them around. 



  • Curt Stedron, NCSL
11:30 a.m.-12 p.m.

LSS Lunch and Business Meeting

L.A. Convention Center - Room 301B

The executive committee and general membership will hear from the incoming NCSL staff chair, Jon Heining, recognize this year’s Legislative Staff Achievement Award winner, vote on nominees to the executive committee, take names of those interested in participating in committees and discuss bylaws and possible name change for the association.