Women's Legislative Network 2015 Legislative Summit Agenda


Summit LogoThe Women's Legislative Network celebrated its 30th anniversary at the NCSL Legislative Summit in Seattle.

Visit the Summit Resources page for complete meeting information.

Meeting attendees supported Seattle women's empowerment and leadership by making a donation to the local chapter of Dress for Success. NCSL collected gently-used women's professional clothing and accessories. Find a chapter of Dress for Success here.

Women's Network Logo

sunDay, august 2
Time Sessions

4 -5:30 p.m.

Sheraton Ballard Room

Women's Legislative Network Board Meeting

Participants at the summer board meeting reviewed the year's activities, discussed the Network's 30th anniversary, and planned for the future.

monDay, august 3

9 a.m.-Noon

Sheraton Redwood B

Courageous Conversations: Digging Deep for Success

This workshop explored one important factor that often holds women back from being the most effective leaders we could be: ourselves. Using humor and examples, we explored how closely tied our success is with our ability to initiate and navigate courageous (aka. difficult!) conversations. We discussed how to give feedback to a colleague, address the seemingly intractable challenge within your caucus, propose the bold idea you've been sitting on, or acknowledge the "elephant in the subcommittee" that everyone has been avoiding. In this lively, thought-provoking session, participants learned how to:
• Identify the factors that are holding you back from speaking up
• Increase your skills and confidence in how to identify and prepare for important conversations
• Articulate strategies to navigate high-stakes conversations effectively
• Connect with your peers to access the collective wisdom in the room, sharing success stories and lessons learned


Facilitator: Sara Lawson, Shorthand Consulting

Noon-1:30 p.m.

Sheraton Aspen Room

States Support Female Veterans
With the Task Force on Military and Veterans' Affairs

This session examined how states are addressing the unique needs of female veterans regarding education, employment and reintegration.

Read the recently-released report from Easter Seals about community supports for female veterans.


Speaker: Col. David W. Sutherland (U.S. Army Ret.), Chairman and Co-Founder, Easter Seals Dixon Center for Military and Veterans Services, Washington, D.C.

Kimberly Mitchell (Former U.S. Navy), President and Co-Founder, Easter Seals Dixon Center for Military and Veterans Services

Sponsored by: NCSL gratefully acknowledges the Easter Seals for sponsoring the lunch.

1:30-4 p.m.

Convention Center


Returning to Trust Workshop: A Process for Rebuilding a Critical Infrastructure

With the Legislative Effectiveness Committee

The culture of the legislature is changing, and most people believe it is a change for the worse. At the heart is decreasing trust among members, staff, and the people they serve, and the belief that legislatures can effectively solve complex social problems. The Returning to Trust program is a facilitator-led, interactive learning experience designed to teach participants how to reestablish the connections, practices, values and organizational culture that build trust.

What you'll learn:
--Thorough discussions and exercises get at the reasons that people say the "fun" has gone out of legislative service.
--Identify values critical to the effectiveness of state legislatures.
--Learn how to set goals and take actions that foster a culture of civility, respect and trust within our treasured institutions.
--Take home new tools, skills and an action plan to begin similar discussions in your state capitol.

Facilitator: Senator Elaine S. Bowers, Kansas
Facilitator: Ted Celeste, Next Generation, Ohio
Panelist: Diane Douglas, Seattle City Club, Washington
Panelist: Michael Kern, William D. Ruckelshaus Center, Washington
Watch a Q&A with Ted Celeste here.
tuesDay, august 4

8:30-9:30 a.m.

Convention Center

Ballroom 6ABC

General Session

John Kelly is the senior vice president of global sustainability and public policy for Starbucks.

Read a blog post about his address here.

9:45-11:15 a.m.

Convention Center


Mentoring in a Legislative Environment

With the Legislative Effectiveness Committee

New legislators and staff enter the fast-paced legislative environment with unique experiences and expertise, but still need to become acclimated to their legislature and its processes, procedures, customs and traditions. One-on-one mentoring programs are one strategy to help legislators and staff learn about formalized procedures and unspoken rules. Learn about existing mentoring programs and examine the benefits and challenges of establishing mentoring relationships.

Moderator: Assemblymember Irene Bustamante Adams, Nevada
Panelist: Representative Rosie M. Berger, Wyoming
Panelist: Mary Quaid, House Legislative Services, Louisiana Legislature

2-3:15 p.m.

Convention Center


Economic Engines: Women-Owned Businesses Keep the American Dream Alive
Firms owned by women grew at 1.5 times the national average in the past 15 plus years. This session featured a discussion about strategies to ensure women have access to financing they need to become business owners, improve employment and gain a foothold in industries such as construction and transportation.


Panelists and Resources: 


4-5 p.m.

Convention Center


Women's Legislative Network Roundtable Policy Discussions
Women legislators and friends gathered for informal roundtable discussions about women in politics, human trafficking, domestic violence and campus sexual assault, women in the workforce and wage issues, and women's health.

5-6 p.m. 

Convention Center

3ab Lobby, North Galleria

Women's Legislative Network 30th Anniversary Gala Reception
The Network celebrated its 30th anniversary and women in politics.

wednesDay, august 5
6:30-8 a.m.

Walk for Wellness

State legislators, legislative staff and friends gathered for the 10th annual Walk for Wellness! The 5K fun run or walk in beautiful Centennial and Myrtle Edwards Parks along the Seattle waterfront was a great way to start a busy day of meetings.

8-9 a.m.

Convention Center

Ballroom 6ABC

General Session

Innovation, technology and the economy: the three major global influences on people, business and government. Preparing for what may be on the horizon is crucial to meeting the future. Hear three fascinating perspectives on what is in store for America tomorrow, next year and in the decade to come.


Presenters: Sheryl Connelly, head of global consumer trends and futurist for Ford; Andy Jassy, head of Amazon Web Services, the pioneer in cloud computing; Christopher Thornberg, leading economist and expert in forecasting, employment and labor markets.


Watch a video with Andy Jassy here.

11:45 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Convention Center

Ballroom 6ABC

General Session: The Challenge of Politics and America's Global Standing

Robert Gates served as the 22nd secretary of defense (2006-2011) and is the only secretary of defense in U.S. history to be asked to remain in that office by a newly elected President. President Barack Obama is the eighth president Gates has served. He previously served under President George W. Bush. On Gates' last day in office, President Barack Obama awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America's highest civilian honor. An Eagle Scout and president of the Boy Scouts of America, Gates is the author of Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War, a profoundly personal story and an insightful look into two administrations and the wars that defined them.


Watch a video with Robert Gates here.

12:30 p.m.

Convention Center

Ballroom 6ABC

Women's Legislative Network Group Photo

All female state legislators were invited to the stage following the Robert Gates session for a commemorative group photo to mark the Network's 30th anniversary.

12:30-2 p.m.

Convention Center


Women's Legislative Network 30th Anniversary Lunch

Participants celebrated the Network's history, women in state legislatures and politics at the luncheon and participated in the business meeting and elections.


Moderator: Debbie Walsh, Center for American Women and Politics
Panelist: Chancellor Lisa Brown, WSU Spokane, former Washington senate majority leader
Panelist: Shirley Hankins, Washington, former Washington state representative and Network chair
Panelist: Louise Miller, Washington, former Washington state representative and Network chair

2-3:15 p.m.

Convention Center


Corrections Reflections: A Conversation with Piper Kerman
Piper Kernan, best-selling author of "Orange is the New Black," also an award winning Netflix series, shared her first-hand experience as a convicted drug offender, and her ideas about rehabilitation, re-entry services and other corrections and sentencing policies.

Session Resources:

thursDay, august 6

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

Convention Center


NCSL Business Meeting
All legislators and legislative staff were encouraged to attend the Business Meeting and consider Policy Directives and Resolutions that will guide NCSL's advocacy efforts before Congress and the administration, amendments to the Bylaws and Rules of Procedure, election of NCSL officers and approval of the Conference budget. All other meeting participants were welcome to observe.

12:15-1:45 p.m.

Convention Center

Ballroom 6AB

General Session Luncheon

Thomas Jefferson embodied the aspirations of a young nation in ways that reverberate still today. The New York Times best-selling author Jon Meacham paints a portrait of Jefferson as a flawed, contradictory, elusive man who embodies an eternal drama—and one we confront today: The struggle of leadership to achieve greatness in a difficult and confounding world.