News & Press: Announcements

Women in Government Relations Hosts First Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Virtual Conference

Monday, July 13, 2020   (0 Comments)


Emily Bardach, WGR Executive Director

Monica Almond, WGR Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Summit Chair

Resource: Summit Workbook

Women in Government Relations Hosts First Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Virtual Conference

WASHINGTON, D.C.Women in Government Relations (WGR), an organization of over 1100 government affairs professionals, will host a three-part virtual conference on the critical issues around Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI).  The DEI Summit held on July 14, 21, and 28 is a sold-out event with nearly 200 participants. Each day will present to government affairs professionals leading experts in DEI history, social issues and economics.

The virtual DEI Summit will be held three Tuesday mornings from 9:30 am to 11:30 am. Each of the three days has a theme: Education, Ownership and Action.

“The Summit emerged from WGR’s Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Committee which was established in 2017,” noted Monica Almond, of The Almond Group, inaugural chair of the DEI Committee and Co-Chair of the inaugural Summit Alpha Lillstrom Cheng of Lillstrom Cheng Strategies. “Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) are three essential pieces necessary for creating a moral and just society. It is especially important in the government relations space because the policies and laws that our organizations champion have a ripple effect across our cities, our states, our country, and the world,” noted Almond. 

Day 1 on July 14 opens with keynote speaker Ruby Mendenhall, Ph.D., Associate professor in Sociology, African American Studies, Urban and Regional Planning and Social Work at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her presentation, “400+ Years of Black Racial Trauma: Policy Levers to End Systemic Racism,” will review some of her work on the causes and solutions.

A panel of experts will discuss why DEI is important for the government affairs process. Participants include Lashonda Brenson, Ph.D., Senior Fellow, Diversity and Inclusion at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies; Vandana Das, Diversity & Inclusion Specialist,

International Finance Corporation; and Naomi Mercer, Senior Vice President, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the American Bankers Association.

Interactive small groups led by leaders in the field will provide opportunities to discuss such topics as unconscious bias training, housing segregation, and wealth inequality.

Day 2 on July 21 focuses on Ownership of DEI issues, providing small group opportunities for discussion and interaction for self-reflection as well as speakers including Deanna Blackwell, Diversity & Inclusion Training Specialist for Peace Corps Intercultural Competence and Deepa Iyer, Senior Advisor, Building Movement Project.

Day 3 emphasizes Action with multiple speakers and breakout sessions with expert facilitators. Topics include Partnering in Diversity, DEI in Communications and Public Relations and How to Apply a Racial Equity Lens to Policies. Allison Manswell, Founder & Chief Results Officer of Path Forward Consulting will be the final speaker on Leadership Agility in Action.


Women in Government Relations (WGR) has been dedicated to advancing and empowering women for over 40 years, by fostering professional development and growth opportunities through a community that supports women’s leadership in government relations. Learn more and join us at You can also follow us on Facebook.