Ninth Annual Key Executive Leadership Conference

2017 Key Executive Leadership Conference Attendees


Date: June 12, 2019

Location: Washington, D.C. 

About the conference:

The Annual Key Executive Leadership Conference is a 200-person conference provided by the School of Public Affairs Key Executive Leadership Programs at American University. This event provides participants with the opportunity to explore principles, industry trends, and best leadership practices through key plenary and concurrent session presentations given by exceptional leaders in the field. Set in the heart of Washington, D.C., Key conference participants are from the federal government and public sector as well as non-governmental and non-profit organizations. 

*Check out the 'Key Conference Quick Links' on the right-hand side of this page for the 2017 conference session descriptions, presenter bios, schedule and more!

Questions? Contact Mary Margaret Herman at

Read about the 2018 conference

The Ninth Annual Key Executive Leadership Conference took place at the Renaissance Hotel in downtown Washington, D.C. on June 6, 2018.  Hosting over 200 attendees and two sponsors, CORAS and Project 986 Consulting, workers of the public and private sectors, students and curious minds gathered to explore the year’s theme: Innovation in a Box

 Opening the conference was keynote speaker Sam Worthington, CEO of InterAction, whose discussion of the importance in recognizing and embracing the need for disruptive change as an opportunity for growth energized the audience for the day to come. 

Attendees had the option to attend four breakout sessions throughout the day that fell under one of the following learning tracks: Sphere of Influence; Innovation in a Box; Driving Change; Diversity and Inclusion; and Opportunity Knocks

Each track featured sessions focusing on unique and essential points to contribute to the attendees’ overall understanding of what it means to lead and to become an extraordinary leader regardless of their position in or out of the workplace. 

Some of the sessions included: Culture, A Driver of Organizational Performance and Employee Engagement with Lahaja Furaha, Organizational Culture Practice Lead, Management Concepts; Innovate Where You Are with Angelo Ioffreda, Chief Executive Officer, IO Spark Communication; Inclusion: If You Can’t Stand the Heat Stay Out of the Kitchen with Abigail Norville, Director of Human Resources, Communication and Legal Counsel, City of Rotterdam; Who Is Fit For Executive Leadership with Don Zauderer, Associate Professor Emeritus, Department of Public Administration and Policy and Eileen Corwin Mason, Former Senior Deputy Chairperson, National Endowment for the Arts; and Analyzing Ethnic Identification for Promoting Effective Diversity and Inclusion Strategy with Warren Dukes, Academic Program Manager and Continuing Lecturer, Purdue University. All sessions and their descriptions can be viewed here.

Presenters brought their personal stories, knowledge and expertise to share with attendees. Each illustrated a unique and effective approach to teaching and leadership for their audiences to use beyond the conference.  

An afternoon session with Warren Dukes discussed the importance of understanding the difference between diversity and inclusion and some misconceptions of these concepts. While Abigail Norville from a morning session outlined her personal experience with making the City of Rotterdam in the Netherlands more inclusive, the obstacles she has and continues to endure in the process, and the importance of having a strong and clear leadership mindset to be successful when implementing any change.  
With every session, attendees had the opportunity to fully engage with presenters who are experts in their respective fields and as life leaders and with one another, deepening the learning experience.  

After the closing remarks from Dr. Patrick Malone, the conference ended with the networking reception featuring live music from Johnny and the GIs, a four-person Americana, folk, and bluegrass band formed in honor of American veterans. 

The team at Key Executive Leadership Programs invites all to attend of Tenth Annual Key Executive Leadership Conference on Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Photos of the conference can be viewed by clicking HERE!