SLGR Agenda

State and Local Government Relations Conference

The 2020 agenda for this conference will be available in the summer. 
Below please reference the 2019 agenda for this conference.

Wednesday, September 25

5:00–7:00 p.m.
Opening Reception

Kick off the most important gathering for state government relations professionals by networking with your peers. Reception will include cocktails, bites and a raffle drawing!

5:15–5:45 p.m.
Mentor Meet up

If you signed up for a mentor cohort, join us before the reception to meet them as well as fellow mentees. Start your networking early and get key tips on how to make the most of your experience.

Thursday, September 26

8:00 a.m.
Registration and Networking Breakfast

8:30 a.m.
Opening Session: Megaphone Politics

Thanks to social media, wild card legislators can now bypass traditional leadership and accountability structures and take their message and agenda straight to the public. As a result:

  • Policy discussions are increasingly driven by polarizing public debate rather than facts
  • Familiar lobbying strategies don’t always work in this climate of megaphone politics

How do state government relations professionals act preemptively and react effectively to protect their policy priorities? Our panelists will walk through some case studies of success as well as some cautionary tales to give you the navigation tools you need.


Lieutenant Governor Mike Cooney
State of Montana

Delegate Patrick A. Hope

Delegate Patrick A. Hope
Member, Virginia House of Delegates
Executive Director, Medical Imaging and Technology Alliance

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Michael Steel
Hamilton Place Strategies

Session Moderated By: 


Kelly Memphis
Manager, Government Relations and
Stakeholder Engagement Practice
Public Affairs Council
@kelly_memphis  @PACouncil

9:30 a.m.
Networking Break

9:45 a.m.
Concurrent Sessions

Influential States Deep Dives

Gain insights from the states that are setting the biggest policy trends and priorities. Our panel of experts will walk you through what you need to know to run successful state government relations programs in four highly influential states:

  • California
  • New York
  • Texas
  • Illinois

Stephen L. Ball
Senior Vice President,
Wells Fargo & Company


Joel Baise
Senior Director, Government Relations
Walgreen Co.


Michael Garrison
Director of Grassroots
International Council of Shopping Centers


David Mintz
Vice President, Government Affairs
Texas Apartment Association

Public Speaking for Leaders

Love it or fear it, public speaking can make or break initiatives. Brush up on public speaking essentials at this professional development session with a special focus on the skills state government relations leaders need to have.


Amber Macdonald
Lede Strategies, LLC

11:00 a.m.
Networking Break

11:10 a.m.
Concurrent Sessions

The Circuit: Assessing Groups and Planning Visits to State Capitols

Feel like you aren’t on the road enough? Feel like you’re on the road too much? Either way, this session will help you assess your current state government relations travels and make good decisions for 2020 and beyond. Our panelists will discuss:

  • How to know if a national group is worth your time and money
  • How to decide if you should head to a state capitol
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Michael Behm
Co-CEO & Principal
Stateside Associates


Danielle F. Waterfield, Esq.
Senior Director, Government Relations & Assistant General Counsel
Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries

Compliance - Lobbying, PACs and Social Media

Our renowned compliance expert will help you avoid awkward conversations with state justice departments by answering essential questions such as:

  • Should you register as a lobbyist in a state? (No? Are you SURE about that?)
  • Do tweets count as lobbying?
  • Can you use PAC dollars in your target state?

Kenneth A. Gross
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom

12:10 p.m.
Lunch & General Session: In the Room Where it Happens

Get the inside scoop from an experienced elected official who has served as a state legislator, Congressman, and the Governor of Maryland. The Honorable Robert L. Ehrlich will share the stories behind why legislators and regulators decide to support or oppose policies.

The Honorable Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr.
Former Governor of Maryland

1:30 p.m.
Concurrent Sessions

Expanding Your State Government Relations Team and Budget

State government relations teams are being impacted by two competing trends: more issues are heading to the state and local level, yet many organizations are cutting back on their budgets. Our experts will tackle this conundrum and provide you with tips and guidelines to help you get the staff and budget you need to engage more states and more local initiatives.

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Theresa A. Flores
Senior Manager, Public Affairs
Mary Kay Inc.


Christopher Oswald
Senior Vice President, Government Relations
Association of National Advertisers

Working with Governors, Lt. Governors and Attorneys General

Bills don’t end in the legislature, and they often don’t begin there either. From avoiding (or encouraging) vetoes to partnering with increasingly influential attorneys general to promote your organization’s goals, learn why, when and how you should engage state executive branch leaders.

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Julia Brossart
Executive Director & CEO
National Lieutenant Governors Association


Albert Lama
Deputy Executive Director
National Association of Attorneys General

1:30 p.m. - 3:45 p.m.
Additional: The Lawyer is In - Attendees can sign up for 15 minute compliance consultations with leading experts

Consultations with compliance attorneys are very expensive. This is your chance for free 15 minute one-on-one sessions with some of the industry’s best! Secure your slot at the registration desk. (Note: Consultation will not constitute legal advice). Experts will include:


Kenneth A. Gross
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom


Derek Lawlor
Special Counsel, Election and Political Law Group
Covington & Burling LLP

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Adie Olson
Steptoe & Johnson


James G. Warner, Esq.
Senior Compliance Associate
State and Federal Communications

2:30 p.m.
Networking Break

2:45 p.m.
Concurrent Sessions

Switching Government Relations Careers

Getting pigeon-holed is easy. Changing government relations tracks is hard. Hear from professionals who have successfully made the switch between state and federal government relations, association and corporation, and elected official and lobbyist.


Stefani Millie Grant
Senior Manager,
External Affairs & Sustainability


Leif Johnson
President and Partner
FOCUS, a Leonine Business


John Kristan
Associate Director, Legislative Affairs
American College of Cardiology

Keys to Winning Local Campaigns in Cities and Counties

All. Politics. Are. Local.

As the gridlock that plagues Congress is slowly trickling to the states, policy action is increasingly going to the city and council level. Additionally, cities are driving state-level changes. Our local advocacy experts will share essential keys to starting and winning a local campaign.


Isabela Dorneles
Senior Manager, State & Local Government Affairs
American Hotel & Lodging Association


Dan Lynch
Vice President, State & Local Government Affairs
United Airlines

3:45 p.m.
Concurrent Sessions

Working with Controversial or Sensitive Issues

Do you work on an issue or in an industry that has a complicated reputation with the public, lawmakers or even your members? Advocating for those issues can be professionally and personally complex. Join this breakout to hear a discussion of management tactics and tips.

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Matthew DiLoreto
Vice President, State Government Affairs
Healthcare Distribution Alliance (HDA)

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Blake McDonald
Manager, Congressional Policy
American Academy of Dermatology Association


Erica Woods
Associate Manager, U.S. State Policy

A Practical Guide to Creating Legislation and Testimony

This session will cover how to:

  • Turn your policy goal into a written, sponsored bill
  • Provide meaningful testimony at hearings
Jill Birnbaum

Jill Birnbaum, JD
Senior Vice President, Field Advocacy Operations
American Heart Association


Andrew R Hackman
Principal Lobbyist
Serlin Haley LLP

4:45 - 6:15 p.m.
Networking Reception

Continue the discussions while relaxing and networking over drinks and light bites.

6:30 - 8:30 p.m.
Optional Industry Dinners

Enjoy Alexandria’s popular restaurant scene while dining with attendees facing similar challenges as you. Volunteers from various industries will be organizing dinner reservations and leading discussions. Price of dinner is on your own, and advanced sign up is required

Friday, September 27

8:00 a.m.
Registration and Networking Breakfast

8:30 a.m.
General Session: How Will Shifting Demographics Impact Politics and Elections?

Estimates from the Census Bureau and studies from think tanks predict that:

  • In the next 20 years, half the population will live in just eight states
  • The U.S. will become minority-majority

How will these and other demographic shifts impact upcoming elections and legislative sessions? Data experts will break it all down.


Robert Griffin, PhD
Research Director
Democracy Fund Voter Study Group

9:30 a.m.
Networking Break

9:45 a.m.
Concurrent Sessions

Practical Stakeholder Mapping and Engagement

Experts will provide you with the knowledge and tools you need to map and engage stakeholders at the state and local level.


Chris Bender
Vice President
Public Affairs Council
@cseanbender @PACouncil


Jay H. Dick
Senior Director, State & Local Government Affairs
Americans for the Arts

Organizational Structure Best Practices: Chapters, Regional Teams and More

Affiliated chapters? Regional teams? Contract lobbyists? Wondering how other organizations are structured? We’ll look at the most common systems and discuss how to work within each structure to maximize your effectiveness.


Jennifer Rosen
Director, State Affairs
Alzheimer’s Association


Gerri Madrid-Davis
Director, Financial Security & Consumer Affairs,
State Advocacy & Strategy

10:45 a.m.
Networking Break

11:00 a.m.
General Session: State Legislatures are More Diverse Than Ever: What that Means for State Government Relations

Last year’s midterms resulted in historical levels of diversity:

  • Women now occupy a historically high percentage of state legislature seats.
  • Many states are now experiencing other historical firsts, such as first female governor, first black mayor and more.

What impact will growing diversity have on government relations and the policies being passed at the state and local level?


Representative Gilda Cobb-Hunter
South Carolina House of Representatives District 66
President, National Caucus of Black State Legislators


Senator Sarah Elfreth
State Legislative District 30

Session Moderated By:


Kelly Memphis
Manager, Government Relations and
Stakeholder Engagement Practice
Public Affairs Council
@kelly_memphis  @PACouncil

12:00 p.m.
Networking Lunch by Region

Join fellow attendees who spend most of their time working in the same region as you! Network, exchange tips and discuss your favorite (or least favorite) policymakers over lunch.

1:30 p.m.
Concurrent Sessions

Are You Making What You’re Worth?

We will walk you through findings from the joint Public Affairs Council and State Government Affairs Council joint Government Relations Salary & Structure Survey.
  • Find out if your salary is on par with your peers
  • Get tips to navigate your way to a higher salary

Julian Ha
Heidrick and Struggles International, Inc.


Dasha Iventicheva
Manager, Global Public Affairs Practice
Manager, Consulting and Research
Public Affairs Council

Make Your State Legislative Day Stand Out

Bringing your members or employees to a state capitol? Hear about:

  • Creative on-the-ground programs
  • Using your grassroots and social media networks effectively

And other tactical tips to make your organization and message stand out


Christopher L. Johnson
State Affairs Associate
American College of Surgeons


Lisa B. Nelson
Director, Public Affairs & Government Relations
Walmart Inc.

2:30 p.m.