Annual Key Executive Leadership Conference

A day of immersive learning experiences for current and future leaders of the U.S. government and beyond.

10th Annual Key Executive Leadership Conference

Register now for the 10th Annual Key Executive Leadership Conference

Tickets are on sale for the 2019 Conference! Buy yours today! Information on the Schedule, Presenters and Concurrent Sessions for the 10th Annual Conference are available now. You can find information in the right sidebar of this page.  
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Date: June 12, 2019
Time: (Registration begins at 7:30 a.m.)
8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. with Networking Reception from 5:30 to 6:45 p.m. 

Location: Washington Marriott Wardman Park Hotel
2660 Woodley Rd NW
Washington, DC 20008

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.

The Key Executive Leadership Programs is offering discounts to current degree-seeking students (AU and non-AU Students are eligible) and to AU Staff members (AU faculty, coaches and staff) to attend the conference. To access these discounted prices, please email Brianne Dorsey at You will be asked to verify for student your staff status. Discounted tickets are limited.

Questions? Contact Jennifer Tether at

For more about sponsorship opportunities, the Request for Session Proposals (RFPs), and a recap of the 9th Annual Key Executive Leadership Conference, please see the information below!

Share your skills, knowledge, personal experiences, and professional expertise with the Key community by participating as a speaker at our biggest conference yet! Submit your application to present at the 10th Annual Key Executive Leadership Conference on June 12, 2019. For more information on the Request for Session Proposals, click here!

The deadline to submit an RFP has passed.

For information on submitting your RFP, please contact Jennifer Tether at

Abigail Norville presents at the 9th Annual Conference

Abigail Norville presents at the 9th Annual Conference in June 2018. Apply to present here.

Becoming a sponsor of the Key Annual Conference is about creating meaningful experiences for participants. Create a lasting impression with us.

Hosting over 200 participants, the Annual Key Executive Leadership Conference is a great opportunity for potential sponsors to expose a diverse audience to their work and brand.  Sponsors will have the unique opportunity to directly interact with students, federal and public sector workers and many more. To view our Sponsorship Brochure, click here!

Submit your application to be sponsor here. The deadline to submit applications is May 17, 2019.

Please contact Jennifer Tether at for more information on sponsorship opportunities

Conference Attendee smiling

Conference attendees going to their next session during the 9th Annual Conference in June 2018. Apply to be a sponsor here

9th Annual Key Executive Leadership Conference Read About the 2018 Conference

Collage of the 9th Annual 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 InfluenceInnovation in a BoxDriving ChangeDiversity 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

View photos of the conference.