Blog: Service to Politics Conference Recap

This past weekend, we hosted our first annual Service to Politics Conference in Washington, DC. The conference was a great success — over 150 servant leaders joined us and took part in a powerful day and a half of training and community building. Participants came from across the country and the political spectrum, and from a variety of service backgrounds, from the U.S. Military to AmeriCorps and the Peace Corps.

We kicked off the conference with a fireside chat featuring Josh Fryday and Joe Tate, moderated by our Founder & Executive Director, Emily Cherniack. Josh is a former mayor in California and currently the state’s Chief Service Officer (pretty cool job if you ask us!) and Joe is a former Marine who was just elected in November to the Michigan State House, where he serves as a state rep. for parts of Detroit and surrounding suburbs. Josh and Joe talked about the challenges they faced in running for office and how they stay anchored to their core values while they serve in the political arena. Following an amazing conversation, we closed out the night with a reception where our participants got to know each other better.

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On Saturday, we kicked off the day with a self-reflection session led by our Chief Program Officer Max Klau, where attendees worked to craft their personal mission and shadow mission statements. We then had a powerful panel discussion featuring Republican strategist Sarah Longwell, national service leader Mario Fedelin, and Wilmington Councilwoman Rysheema Dixon, moderated by retired Army Colonel and national service leader Rob Gordon III. 

Our servant leaders then split up and participated in a series of workshops tailored to inner work and personal growth. Our Founder and Executive Director Emily led a workshop on understanding your personal Leadership Compass, and helped attendees gain an understanding of their own strengths and weaknesses as leaders. Jess, our Campaign Advisor, led a session on Crafting a Personal Narrative, where she had attendees watch a powerful campaign video, and reflect on how to create their own story of why they want to run for office. Our Chief Program Officer Max helped attendees ask the right questions and explore these questions that arise. Stephanie Armstrong, our Director of Talent & Growth, led a session where individuals connected, speed-dating style, with servant leaders who have served in different political capacities. We were excited to give our attendees the chance to explore what interested them most in bridging the gap between the service and political worlds.

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We closed out the conference by creating space for our attendees to connect with people of similar backgrounds in “Common Bonds”. For example, we had Peace Corps volunteers connect with each other, and talk about how their international service experiences have led them to where they are today.

Lastly, participants spent time with our partner organizations and state and local elected leaders discussing service, servant leadership, and what growing this movement will take during our Spark Around the World session.

Thank you to all those who joined the first annual Service to Politics Conference. We hope you had the chance to learn and grow as a leader, and make some deep connections with other service and political leaders. We hope you will join us again next year, and spread the word to your friends! To stay involved with NPLA you can:

  1. Sign up for our introductory program Answering the Call to see how you can serve through politics:

  2. Join us for a weekend of campaign staff training the New Politics way at Campaign Academy:

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