I hope everyone had a fantastic Fourth of July. With the holiday behind us, we’re all quick to notice we have passed the halfway point of 2023. I take this time to inform you about two upcoming opportunities to connect with legislative staffers from across the country.
NCSL is hosting its 2023 Legislative Summit in Indianapolis in August. During the meeting, there will be in-depth policy discussions, moving keynote speakers and opportunities to collaborate with legislators and legislative staff.
In October, LINCS and LSPA are joining together to host a professional development seminar in Washington, D.C. This meeting will offer unique opportunities for new and tenured legislative communicators to connect, grow and take new knowledge back to their state capitols. During the seminar, LINCS will hold its own professional development workshops and a business meeting, and members will have the chance to select new members for the LINCS Executive Committee.
I traveled to my first LINCS seminar in Washington, D.C., in 2017. Spending time with colleagues from across the nation has helped advance my knowledge and career. Over the years, the seminars have also helped me stay up to date on the latest trends and developments. Additionally, my connection with other legislative professionals has been greatly beneficial and meaningful.
Attending LINCS, connecting with other legislative professionals who face similar situations, and learning best practices have been incredibly helpful. Whether you are an active member of LINCS or just learning about our staff association, I encourage you to come to Washington, D.C., this fall. LINCS is a great place to foster relationships, interact with fellow legislative staff and increase your professional development and career.
Additional information about both upcoming events is below.
It is a pleasure to serve as the chair of your LINCS Executive Committee. Please reach out to me or any committee member with questions, ideas or input. You can contact me directly at email@example.com.
2023 Legislative Summit
NCSL’s 2023 Legislative Summit will be in Indianapolis from Aug. 14 to 16. The Summit is the nation’s largest gathering of legislators and legislative staff. There are several sessions that are relevant to legislative communication professionals—storytelling, social media and civility, using Instagram reels, and a roundtable discussion specifically for legislative communications staff.
LINCS and LSPA 2023 Professional Development Seminar
The LINCS and LSPA Professional Development Seminar brings together staff who are critical to the legislative process, including leadership, caucus, personal and district staff, and communications/information, public relations and press room staff. The 2023 seminar features sessions on important legislative issues, soft skills, best practices and opportunities for networking, along with tours of congressional staff offices and talks with staff.
This year’s meeting takes place in Washington, D.C., and aims to bring together participants to hear new information, learn important skills, build relationships, and take away new tools and ideas to enhance the effectiveness of state legislatures.
The meeting will include a variety of sessions designed by and for staff in roles just like yours on topics such as constituent services, communications strategies, leadership skills, office culture, policy roundtables, resilience, writing skills, “5 Minutes of Fame” and so much more!
Get to Know Your Peers
This series features legislative staff discussing their roles in their legislature, what inspires them and what they love about their jobs. They also offer some great tips on what to read, watch and listen to!
Matt Prellberg, Director of Communications for the Hawaii Senate Majority
Hometown: Colorado Springs, Colo., and Mōʻiliʻili, Hawaii
Years of legislative service: 13
Why did you choose to work at the Legislature?
I’ve wanted to work in public service and government since I was 10 years old. After watching a news story about puppy mills, I was determined to put an end to the practice. I wrote a letter to then-President Bill Clinton asking him to protect our puppies, and after many months, I received a letter from the White House that effectively said, “We appreciate your passion and engagement, but this is really a local issue.” I learned then that some of the most important issues can and should be tackled by those closest to home, and I’ve dedicated myself to helping my neighbors ever since. Serving the Legislature is one of the most direct and impactful ways I can serve my neighbors.
What skill or talent are you most proud of?
I’m a good listener. Nothing brings me more joy than to have genuine human connection when someone allows me the opportunity to hear their story and perspective.
What’s the best advice you were ever given?
Who or what inspires you?
I try to remain open to inspiration, which allows it to come in any form, from nature to art to random acts of kindness. Generally speaking, I am inspired by the stories and hearts of other people. The more impactful inspirations in my life are my late mother Lori’s unconditional love, patience and ability to treat strangers like family, and my husband Stacy’s infinite well of creativity and ability to see from a truly unique perspective.
What’s one thing you love about your state?
I wish I had an answer more captivating than a cliché, but I don’t, so here we go … What I love most about Hawai'i is aloha. In many contexts, aloha as a word and a concept has been commodified and lost its essence. While the true meaning of aloha is complex and difficult to properly translate into English, state law has, in part, defined the aloha spirit as, “The coordination of mind and heart within each person. It brings each person to the self. Each person must think and emote good feelings to others.” If you know aloha, then you know that there is nothing more powerful than aloha.
What are you currently reading/listening to/watching?
I am currently reading “The Mothers,” by Brit Bennett. I am currently listening to “Ivory,” by Omar Apollo. I am currently watching “RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars.”
You, Me, We: How to Create a Culture of Connection in a World of Disconnection
Gallup has been asking us for more than 20 years: Do you have a best friend at work? Those of us who can answer “yes” to this question are seven times more likely to be engaged, call in sick less often, provide better customer service, and feel more committed to our team and organization. And yet, the engagement needle has barely moved. Maybe we’re asking the wrong question. Nurturing our friendships can be difficult anytime and lockdowns have only made them even harder to maintain. As we continue to work in a hybrid environment, how we lead, connect with and inspire the people around us matters. The real question is: Are you a best friend at work?
In this interactive keynote, you will:
- Understand why you need to be intentional about how you show up in all your relationships.
- Explore the five qualities of an Ally Mindset™ that result in powerful workplace relationships.
- Learn the three steps to strengthen your leadership presence and impact.
This keynote is based on the new book “You, Me, We. Why We All Need a Friend at Work (and How to Show Up as One!)” by Morag Barrett, Eric Spencer and Ruby Vesely. This webinar was presented during NCSL’s Legislative Staff Week 2023. You can watch the webinar at NCSL’s Legislative Video Resource Center.
Legislative Staff Week Shoutouts 2023
Every day, you and your colleagues work behind the scenes to support the work of state legislatures. From drafting bills to making statehouses accessible to the public to keeping computer networks secure, legislatures couldn’t function without you. During the week of May 8-12, NCSL celebrated your contributions and considered the importance of both gratitude and recognition in the legislative environment. Celebrate yourself and your fellow LINCS members!
We had more than 1,700 shoutouts submitted from across the country—a new record! You can view all the shoutouts here.
Do you have a question for your fellow LINCSters?
For any and all communications-related questions, you can always ask NCSL or post your questions to the LINCS listserv. Please contact the LINCS Liaisons, Ta’Vion Hampton and Carrie Maulin, for more information on how to get your questions answered by your peers!
The Voice Suggestion Box
Have an idea for a future issue of The Voice? Want to contribute a short feature?
Contact LINCS Secretary Jacque Bland.