LSS 2011 Professional Development Seminar Preliminary Agenda (As of October 4, 2011)

 Wednesday |Thursday | Friday | Saturday |


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

 8:30 am - 4:30 pm


9:00 am - 4:30 pm

Boot Camp: Crisis Communications

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.

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

 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm

 Networking Opportunity for LINCS and LSS members
Thursday, October 13, 2011

8:00 am - 5:00 pm 


8:30 am - 9:30 pm  

Joint Breakfast: Governor L. Douglas Wilder

Lawrence Douglas Wilder was the first African American in the United States to be elected governor of a state. A veteran of the Korean War, he was a lawyer by profession, and he was the first black member of the Senate of Virginia in the twentieth century. In 1985 he was elected lieutenant governor, the first African American elected to statewide office in Virginia. Four years later he was elected governor of Virginia. Hear how his prominence in national politics, based on his achievements in Virginia politics, affected the state’s political climate.


  • Former Governor L. Douglas Wilder

9:45 am - 10:45 am


LSS: 2012's Top State-Federal Issues in 60 Minutes or Less

Jobs creation, deficit reduction, shrinking state assistance and possible preemption - what else can states expect to hear from Washington as they move into the start of their 2012 sessions? Discover what federal action on these and other issues could mean for you back home.

Michael Bird has worked for legislatures in Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Oklahoma and the Virgin Islands, on issues as diverse as agriculture and appropriations. He is NCSL's lead voice advocating for the states' agenda on Capitol Hill and serves as NCSL's liaison to congressional leadership offices and the White House.


  • Michael Bird, Senior Federal Affairs Counsel, NCSL

9:45 am - 10:45 am

LINCS Session: 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 mouth. 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 am - 12:05 pm

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 pm - 1:45 pm

Joint Luncheon

Dr. Bob Holsworth is the founder of and aManaging Principal of, 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

2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

LSS: What We Can Learn from the Census and What it Means for Redistricting

Newly released data from the U.S. Census Bureau provides a treasure trove of information for leadership staff, and can be especially useful as states continue to focus on redistricting. In this session, you'll get advice from Census experts about the information available and how to maximize your research. You'll also learn about the host state's 2011 redistricting experience and can share your state's redistricting story.


  • Cathy McCully, Chief of the Census Redistricting Data Office, U.S. Census Bureau
  • Mary Spain, Senior Attorney, Division of Legislative Services, Virginia General Assembly
  • James Whitehorne, Assistant Chief, Redistricting Data Office, U.S. Census Bureau

2:00 pm - 3:00 pm 

LINCS: 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

3:00 pm - 3:15 pm  


3:15 pm - 4:15 pm  

Joint Session: Making Legislative Information Public

There is a large, well-funded movement among computer programmers and journalists to make the work of state legislatures more accessible, relatable and understandable to the public. Groups like the Sunlight Foundation and the James L. Knight Foundation have helped kick-start dozens of projects that aggregate government data and provide it to citizens in simple, understandable formats. In this session, 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 whether or not this truly increases government transparency.


  • Waldo Jaquith, Web Developer, Miller Center, UVA
  • Karl Kurtz, Director, Trust for Representative Democracy, NCSL
  • David Poole, Founder and Executive Director, Virginia Public Access Project

4:15 pm - 5:30 pm


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
  • Aurora Hauke, Caucus Staff, Minority Office, Alaska House of Representatives
  • Anthony Sara, Associate Legislative Information Officer, Wyoming Legisltive Services Office
  • Natalie O'Donnell Wood, Program Principal, Legislative Management Program, NCSL

5:45 pm - 7:00 pm 

Welcome Remarks and Capitol Tours

  • Lieutenant Governor of Virginia Bill Bollin, Virginia 
  • Susan Clarke Schaar, Clerk of the Senate, Virginia
  • G. Paul Nardo, Clerk of the House of Delegates, Virginia

 7:00 pm

Dinner on the Portico

Friday, October 14, 2011 - DAY IN WASHINGTON, DC

7:30 am - 8:30 am




7:45 am - 8 am


Grab and go breakfast

8 am


Bus will leave from outside Omni Hotel

10:30 am


Arrive in DC

10:30 am - 12:30 pm


Joint Tour of the U.S. Capitol

12:45 pm - 2:30 pm


Joint Lunch, tour and Q & A at C-Span

  • Invited: Steve Scully

2:45 pm - 3:15 pm


Joint Session: A Leader and Communications Visionary

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. 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, Former FCC Chairman and President, National Cable and Television Association

3:15 pm - 4:30 pm


Joint Reception Session: Communicating With Style

Some studies suggest that fully 85% of any professional service provider's success is directly linked with their ability to effectively communicate. Yet few professionals receive any formal training in basic communication skills. In this interactive session, learn about your own personal style preferences and how to gain insight into the style preferences of the people with whom you work. From members to the media to constituents, this session will provide you with tools and techniques to use the minute you return from the nation's capitol to your own state capitol.

  • Speaker: Mary Crane, Mary Crane and Associates

4:45 pm - 7:00 pm


Joint Reception and Dinner - Holman Lounge, National Press Club

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 pm


Board buses for Richmond

9:30 pm - 12:00 am


Networking Suite

Saturday, October 15, 2011

8:00 am - 12:00 pm


Information Desk

9:00 am - 10:00 am


LSS: Breakfast and Business Meeting

9:00 am - 10:00 am


LINCS: Breakfast and Business Meeting

10:00 am - 12:00 pm


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

12:00 pm


Meeting Adjourned