Doris Kearns Goodwin Headlines Bipartisan Senior Staff Symposium at Mount Vernon

Daylong event also featured breakout sessions led by American University’s School of Public Affairs

WASHINGTON, DC — The Ripon Society and Franklin Center for Global Policy Exchange held their annual Senior Staff Symposium on Leadership at Mount Vernon this past Friday, a daylong event that drew over 100 top Republican and Democratic congressional aides to the historic estate of America’s first President for a series of speeches, discussions, and breakout sessions that focused not only on the challenges they face in their jobs on Capitol Hill, but the challenges facing the American people in 2019.

“This is the ninth year we have been hosting this Symposium,” stated Ripon/Franklin President & CEO Jim Conzelman in remarks to open the event. “And as some of you may have noticed, we are doing something different this time around. For the first time since we first hosted this Symposium in February of 2012, we have invited Congressional staff members from both sides of the political aisle to participate. The reason is simple — in today’s polarized environment, the opportunities for Republican and Democrats to come together in both a substantive and collegial environment are becoming fewer and far between.

“By hosting you here at Mount Vernon, we hope to take a step toward reversing that trend. At the same time, we also hope to provide you with insights, information and resources that will be of assistance in your role as a senior staff member on Capitol Hill. In that regard, we are excited to once again be partnering with the faculty at American University’s School of Public Affairs, who have developed and will be leading the breakout sessions you will be participating in this morning.”

According to Conzelman, the breakout sessions focused on three key leadership topics, including:

Team Building – which focused on how to put together a high performing staff, and was led by Andrew Rahaman, Executive-in-Residence at AU’s School of Public Affairs;

Mindful Leadership – which focused on the importance of emotional intelligence in effectively managing and getting the most out of a staff, and was led by Ruth Zaplin, who also serves as an Executive-in-Residence at AU’s School of Public Affairs; and,

Managing Up – which focused on why success depends not only on how well you manage those who report to you, but also those to whom you report. This session was led by Vicky Wilkins, who serves as Dean of AU’s School of Public Affairs, and Reginald Wells, who serves as a Senior Adjunct Professorial Lecturer at the school.

In addition to the morning breakout sessions that focused on the office environment and the challenges congressional aides face in their jobs on Capitol Hill, Friday’s Symposium also featured a discussion about the political environment and the priorities that are important to the American people in 2019. The discussion was led by Republican strategist Ed Goeas, the President & CEO of The Tarrance Group, and Democratic strategist Jonathan Voss, the Vice President of Lake Research Partners.

The Symposium concluded with a conversation with America’s Historian-in-Chief, Pulitzer Prize winning author Doris Kearns Goodwin, who not only talked about her most recent book, Leadership in Turbulent Times, but how the presidencies of Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, and Lyndon Johnson provide lessons in leadership that can help guide us through the turbulent times we are living in today. The conversation was moderated by Betsy Fischer Martin, who serves as Executive Director of American University’s Women and Politics Institute and is an Executive in Residence at the AU Department of Government.

Dr. Douglas Bradburn, the President and CEO of Mount Vernon, also delivered remarks to welcome attendees to the historic estate.

A photo gallery of Friday’s bipartisan Senior Staff Symposium on Leadership at Mount Vernon can be viewed by clicking here.

The Ripon Society is a public policy organization that was founded in 1962 and takes its name from the town where the Republican Party was born in 1854 – Ripon, Wisconsin. One of the main goals of The Ripon Society is to promote the ideas and principles that have made America great and contributed to the GOP’s success. These ideas include keeping our nation secure, keeping taxes low and having a federal government that is smaller, smarter and more accountable to the people.

Founded in 1978, The Franklin Center for Global Policy Exchange is a non-partisan, non-profit 501(c)(3) organization committed to enhancing global understanding of important international issues. The Franklin Center brings together Members of the U.S. Congress and their international parliamentary counterparts as well as experts from the Diplomatic corps, foreign officials, senior private sector representatives, scholars, and other public policy experts. Through regular conferences and events where leading international opinion leaders share ideas, the Franklin Center promotes enlightened, balanced, and unbiased international policy discussion on major international issues.