Recent Events

Farm Bill Panel
Hosted by the Energy, Environment & Agriculture Task Force

June 13, 2017

On June 13, the Energy, Environment and Agriculture (EEA) Task Force held a panel discussion with key congressional staff focusing on the outlook for the 2018 Farm Bill.   Attendees heard from majority and minority staff for both the Senate and House Agriculture Committees.  The panel – one of the first agriculture-policy focused events for the task force - drew over 30 attendees and fostered good discussion and networking opportunities.  The EEA Task Force looks forward to hosting more ag events in the future.

Reconciliation and the ACA: Repealing and Replacing Through Process and Policy
Hosted by the Health & Social Policies Task Force

February 23, 2017

The timing could not be better for the Health and Social Policies Task Force’s event entitled, Reconciliation and the ACA: Repealing and Replacing Through Process and Policy on February 23.   WGR members heard from health policy experts on why the reconciliation process is being used to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and how this process will limit efforts to repeal the ACA in full.  Speakers for the event included Andrew Adair, American Academy of Family Physicians; Christopher Condeluci, CC Law & Policy; John Greene, National Association of Health Underwriters; Stan Collender, QORVIS MSLGROU; and Amanda Walsh, America’s Essential Hospitals.  The panel fielded questions about the intricacies of the congressional budget reconciliation process, the timeline, and what provisions of the ACA could be expected to be repealed or preserved.

Advocating for Education in a Trump Administration
Hosted by the Education Task Force
December 13, 2016

On December 13, the Women in Government Relations (WGR) Education Task Force hosted a panel discussion on how education organizations are approaching engagement with President-elect Trump’s upcoming administration and what to look out for in education in 2017. The panel of policy experts and educate advocates shared their perspectives on the outcome of the 2016 General Election, President-elect Trump’s education priorities, and the approaches their organizations are taking to influence K-12 and higher education policy with the new administration. Moderated by Sheryl Cohen of the Committee for Education Funding, the panel featured Jessah Walker of the Council of Chief State School Officers, David Baime of the American Association of Community Colleges, Jennifer Scully of the American Federation of Teachers and Monica Almond of the Alliance for Excellent Education.
WGR Election Series: Does the Glass Ceiling Still Exist?

Hosted by the Congressional Outreach Committee
November 3, 2016

On November 3, Women in Government Relations (WGR) hosted the second event in our 2016 Election Series, which sought to answer the question, “does the glass ceiling still exist?” In her opening remarks, WGR President Katie Schubert reminded attendees that the organization was formed in 1975 when a salary survey of government relations professionals showed large discrepancies between men and women working in our field.

Jessica Grounds, founder and principal of Solid Grounds Strategy, LLC, moderated the panel, which included former U.S. Representatives Connie Morella (R-MD) and Mary Bono (R-CA), Anna Davis from the National Governors Association, and Cicely Simpson from the National Restaurant Association. They discussed how they overcame obstacles to get to their current positions, what they learned from their failures, and how to not be modest or let others take credit for their success.

The panelists had inspiring advice for all the women in the room. “Don’t give up. No guts, no glory,” said Congresswoman Morella who told how she lost her first election and then came back stronger than ever four years later. Anna Davis shared that early in her career she tried to be more like the men she worked with, but then realized that she could be more successful by doing things differently. “It’s the not the experience, but how you respond to it,” said Cicely Simpson who told attendees to always keep their eyes open for opportunities. And when asked which woman, in addition to their mother, inspired them the most, Congresswoman Bono named Swedish golfer Annika Sorenstam who was the first woman to play in a PGA Tour event since 1945. “Nobody told her that she could or couldn’t. She just did it.”

To see photos from the event, check out #WGRElectionSeries on Twitter.

Health Agencies 101: Understanding How to Navigate CMS, the Innovation Center, and FDA
Hosted by the Health & Social Policies Task Force
October 20,2016

The Health &Social Policies Task Force held a well attended Health Agency 101 Event on Thursday October 20.  Speakers for the event included Martin Corry, former Special Assistant in the Office of the CMS Administrator and current Chair of the Government Relations and Public Policy Department at Hooper Lundy and Bookman, Mai Pham Acting Director of Innovation Center Policy and Programs Group, and Julie Finegan Regulatory Counsel in FDA’s Office of Scientific Integrity.  The event included a discussion about how best to advocate for your client’s needs in front of CMS, the Innovation Center, and the FDA.  The panel answered questions about MACRA, the prospective payment systems, and how best to present your concerns with the agencies.

Congressional Coffee with Rep. Grace Napolitano (D-CA)
Hosted by the Transportation & Infrastructure Task Force
September 22, 2016

The Transportation & Infrastructure Task Force held a congressional coffee with Congresswoman Grace Flores Napolitano. The Congresswoman represents California’s 32nd District and is the most senior California member of the U.S. House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure where she currently serves as the top Democrat on the Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment. The Congresswoman also serves on the House Committee on Natural Resources and is a long-time advocate for conservation. The group wasvery lucky to hear her perspectives on water policy, her work on the House T&I Committee and the impact she has had as a senior female member of Congress. Thanks to Venable for hosting the event.

WGR Leadership Institute: Moments that Matter
August 2, 2016

On Tuesday August 2nd, a diverse group of members from across WGR leadership and WEN came together for an engaging brown bag seminar entitled “Moments that Matter.” Led by Immediate Past President Meredith Shue the group was challenged to rethink how they face the moments that make up daily lives. Meredith moderated a lively discussion illustrating how key actions, or the 10 moves, you can make can help ensure those moments really matter – the key is being ready for those moments and not just letting them happen.

WGR Leadership Institute: What is your Work/Life Fit?
July 12, 2016

On July 12, we co-hosted with Bloomberg Government the second event in our new WGR Leadership Institute series, which are intended to be fun and interactive professional development dialogues for government relations professionals at all levels.
Suzy Walther Yarnall, the global head of talent at Bloomberg, moderated a panel that consisted of four professional women and one man discussing work/life fit. These professionals shared what has worked for them over different points in their careers and provided various tips for attendees whether they’re a working mom, attending school at night, caring for aging parents, or just want to better understand the point of view of their male managers and working dads.
Communication was the key takeaway from the conversation. Lisa Horn from SHRM, who is a single mom, talked about the support she receives from her colleagues who attend most of the evening networking events. Senior Corporate Counsel at Rockwell-Collins Laurie Sussman talked about how her bosses and coworkers pitched in to allow her to attend law school at night, transition to a new role in the general counsel’s office at her firm, and travel to North Carolina to care for her father-in-law.
The worst thing that can happen is someone will say “no.” Edda Collins Coleman, managing director of The 316 Group, told the audience about her employee, who is a single woman, and how she approached her to request for more “me time” to recover from a family tragedy. Michael Zola also shared about his time on the Hill hiring a woman who had shared her early pregnancy during the interview process. He explained that they really wanted her in the position and her open disclosure and hard work during the next seven months caused everyone to be more supportive during her maternity leave.
Attendees came away with a better understanding that when it comes to work/life fit, one size does not fit all and everyone has unique needs and aspirations. No one has it completely figured out, but communication is key.

The Evolution of State Relations
Hosted by the State Relations Task Force
June 10, 2016

 On Friday, June 10, the State Relations Task Force held its annual Evolution of State Relations seminar. This event, which focuses on best practices, featured Laura Rose of the National Conference of State Legislature (NCSL) and Diann Smith of McDermott, Will & Emery as the speakers for the first panel titled "Winning on the State Legislative Playing Field". The second panel, "Stop, Collaborate, and Listen! Tactics for Effective Coalition Building and Engagement", featured Maureen Riehl of Multistate Associates, Jordan Quinn of the Hartford Financial Services Group, and Lisa Maartz of the American Association of University Women. Attendees learned state legislative procedure, key considerations in drafting legislation, how to determine coalition goals, and when to leave a coalition.

Crisis Communications Essentials for Education Advocates
Hosted by the Education Task Force
May 20, 2016

Members of the Education Task Force gathered May 20th for a breakfast workshop on crisis communications best practices.  Karen Doyne of Burson-Marsteller and Alyssa Aalmo of Apollo Education Group shared tips on when and how to engage stakeholders and how to ensure government affairs has a role in the response strategy.  Key take-always included the importance of being prepared with crisis simulations, pre-approved content and trained spokespeople.  And always beware the false dawn of premature recovery!


A Conversation with Rep. Martha McSally
Hosted by the Homeland Security & Defense Task Force
April 29, 2016

On Friday, April 29, the WGR Homeland Security & Defense Task Force held a luncheon with Rep. Martha McSally (AZ-2).  As a member of two powerful national security committees in Congress – the Armed Services Committee and the Homeland Security Committee – Rep. McSally spoke about the pressing policy issues of the day, including the recently passed FY17 National Defense Authorization Act and the challenges of border security legislation.  A decorated combat veteran who broke barriers on and off the battlefield, Rep. McSally also spoke about her experiences in the military and how it helped her prepare for her current role in Congress.

WGR Hill Day - #WomenStormTheHill
Hosted by the Congressional Outreach Committee
April 20, 2016

On Wednesday, April 20 WGR stormed the hill to spread our mission of advancing and empowering women in government relations through education, professional development, networking, and mentoring! The day start ed with breakfast and a presentation on how WGR engages with Congress and female members of Congress. The group visited 58 offices for meetings with members of congress and staff.
As a result of Hill Day, five members of Congress joined as Emeritus Members - Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ), Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV), Rep. Mimi Walters (R-CA), Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC) and Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME). The group even had some time to catch up with 2016 Spring Reception honoree Congresswoman Barbara Comstock (R-VA) who gave some great advice to women in our field. Read more at WGR Blog.

 View past events by task force: