2022 Key Conference

Thank you for attending the Key Conference this year and we hope to see you again next year.

Date & Location: December 1, 2022 at The Mayflower Hotel
Time: 1:00 - 8:00PM ET 

This year's conference will also host the Annual Roger W. Jones Award for Executive Leadership to honor four senior executives. The award ceremony will now take place after the final concurrent session.

The Roger W. Jones Award annually recognizes federal career executives of the Senior Executive Service committed not only to mission success, but also to developing and inspiring those whom they lead, consistent with the career of the extraordinary public servant for whom the Award is named. 

The Annual Key Executive Leadership Conference brings together public servants from across the country for a day of immersive learning, professional development, reflection and exploration.  This event provides participants with the opportunity to delve into industry trends, leadership practices, new and emerging perspectives on leadership and enhance professional skills. Featuring concurrent sessions, plenary speakers, workshops and networking, the Key Conference has spurred nearly 2,000 public servants to become exemplars of excellence in leadership and service since it began in 2010.

There are 2,000+ Key Executive Leadership Conference Alumni

The Key Conference has a 91% overall approval rating from attendees surveyed

Mindfulness Mondays with Dr. Ruth Zaplin Podcast Series.  New episodes once a month at 8:30AM.

2022 Key Conference & Award Ceremony Schedule & Session Descriptions

Key Conference Schedule
 Time  Event  Location
 1:00 - 2:00 PM ET  Keynote Plenary Leading with Love & Laughter
with Patrick Malone and Zina Sutch
 Palm Court Ballroom
 2:00 - 2:15 PM ET Break
 2:15 - 3:30 PM ET  The Restorative Leader  Pennsylvania Room
 Resilience for Members of the Overwhelmed Club
with Russell Robinson
 South Carolina Room
From Identity to DEIB
with Angela Chiarenza
 3:30 - 3:45 PM ET Break
 3:45 - 5:00 PM ET  The Restorative Leader  Pennsylvania Room
 Resilience for Members of the Overwhelmed Club
with Russell Robinson
 South Carolina Room
From Identity to DEIB
with Angela Chiarenza
 5:00 - 5:30 PM ET Networking Break
 5:30 - 6:30 PM ET  Roger W. Jones Award Ceremony  Chinese Ballroom
 6:30 - 8:00 PM ET  Cocktail Reception  Chinese Ballroom











The Restorative Leader: Revitalizing Your Workplace from the Inside Out

As leaders, we want our people to thrive, to live and work to their fullest potential, but we don’t always know how to help them. Sometimes, it may even feel impossible.

This talk equips leaders to cultivate hope and create a culture of possibility, resilience and realized potential by transforming your thoughts, words, and actions to engage the hearts and minds of others.

This program is perfect for leaders who:

  • Want to be agents of change–developing their mindset and presence so they can engage their employees in creating an inspiring future.
  • Find themselves stuck in survival mode, constantly reacting to problems and changing priorities instead of pursuing their high-level goals.
  • Are struggling to bring out the best in their people and create a culture of trust, innovation, and collaboration.

From Identity to DEIB

Diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB) are common words in today’s language. Using the experiences you have, our time together will provide opportunities to explore and understand various identities. We will move from self-reflection to guided conversations, focused on increasing awareness and understanding. Attendees can expect to depart from this session with an expanded understanding of self and others, with strategies to increase DEIB.

Resilience for Members of the Overwhelmed Club

Over the past 32+ months, civil servants have constantly had to do more with less. Public service managers have always had to support their teams through constantly changing priorities. Now let’s add emotional impacts COVID, social justice events, hyper-partisan politics, work-from-home and return to work, and managers are feeling overwhelmed. But rarely are they provided resilience solution to help them as individuals and as

Over the past year, managers have supported their teams with a range of emotional difficulties, changing priorities, and a growing demand for more flexible work arrangements. As a result of these efforts, supportive managers have been influential in reducing workforce stress amid the pandemic’s many challenges of 2020 and beyond.

But while managers have done an excellent job alleviating their direct reports’ stress, they themselves remain highly stressed, feeling wedged in the middle of a transforming work culture. 

Keynote Plenary Leading with Love & Laughter  
with Patrick Malone & Zina Sutch

The Restorative Leader
with Andrew Bennett

From Identity to DEIB
with Angela Chiarenza

Resilience for Members of the Overwhelmed Club  
with Russell Robinson

10th Annual Key Executive Leadership Conference Review Leadership & Culture | June 12, 2019 | Washington, DC

Collage from the 10th Annual Key Executive Leadership Conference

The Tenth Annual Key Executive Leadership Conference took place at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park hotel in Washington, D.C. on June 12, 2019.  Hosting over 250 guests and three sponsors, Eagle Hill Consulting, LLCSenior Executives Association and American University School of Public Affairs’ Justice Programs Office, workers from the public and private sectors, students and curious minds convened to explore the year’s theme: Leadership and Culture.

Opening the conference was Dr. Patrick Malone, Key Programs Director, whose discussion on the culture of kindness in the federal workplace, especially following one of its most tumultuous moments and general times of divisiveness. Malone’s focus on the powerful impact kindness can have in the workplace for facilitating collaboration, creative, innovation and overall happiness energized the audience for the day to come.

Conference attendees had the opportunity to attend four breakout sessions throughout the day that fell under one of the following learning tracks: Vision, Networking, Conscious Collective, Diversity & Inclusion, and Communication.

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

Michele Perez presenting at the Key Conference

Some of the sessions included: Managing Up: How to Succeed with Any Type of Boss with Mary Abbajay, CEO, Careerstone Group; Authentic Networking: How to Network without Being an A****** with Strother Gaines, Speaker, Trainer and Coach, But I’m a Unicorn, Dammit!; Presenting While Gendered: How Men and Women Can Make the Most Speaking Opportunities and Meetings with Meghan Dotter, CEO, Portico Presentations; Revitalizing the Human Spirit at Work with Andrew Bennett, President, Bennett Performance Group; From the “Outside-In” – How Investing in Women Worldwide Led to Investing in Ourselves with Michele Perez, Vice President, Department of Management and Administration, OPIC. All sessions and descriptions can be viewed here.

Presenters challenged attendees to reflect inward as illustrated by Jacqueline Garrick’s examination of whistleblower retaliation in relation to work culture and its symptoms.  Attendees were also presented with unique leadership tools and techniques that stimulated both mind and body as seen in Dr. Nicole Cutts’ session on yoga and managing change.  In the afternoon, Strother Gaines led a session encouraging everyone to be authentic in bringing out their inner networking genius and making the most of networking opportunities. 

With every session, attendees had the opportunity to fully immerse themselves in the unique stories and knowledge of the presenters. Each presented tools and best practices for how to engage in an evolving workplace and overall landscape while remaining true to one’s core values.

President Burwell at the 2019 Conference

Further deepening the experience, AU President Sylvia Burwell took the stage following lunch and addressed the entire conference, reminiscing about her time in the federal government and the transition outside of that field into her current role. As she recounts her own experiences, she encouraged everyone to reach across the aisle, even in hard times, and to always continue to embody the spirit of public service.

The conference ended with a networking reception featuring karaoke, a DJ and flipbook station. To round off the event, Key also featured signature cocktails for the special occasion - Leadership Journey  and #3 in the Nation.

The team at the Key Executive Leadership Programs invites all to attend the 11th Annual Key executive Leadership Conference next year – date to be determined – that will also host the 42nd Annual Roger Jones Award Ceremony for the 2019-2020 cycle.  Be on the lookout for more information coming soon!