Speakers, Conferences, and Events

2021 Events

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February 9: Publicly Engaged Scholarship in a Time of Pandemics with Dr. Timothy K. Eatman

Purposeful Pause: Publicly Engaged Scholarship in a Time of Pandemics with Dr. Timothy K. Eatman

Tuesday, February 9 from 12-1pm CST
Register for the webinar here

The Tommy G. Thompson Center is pleased to partner with the UW-Superior Link Center to welcome Dr. Timothy K. Eatman. Dr. Timothy K. Eatman, is a widely sought-after speaker, workshop facilitator, and collaborator who has earned local, national and international recognition for his leadership in advancing understanding about the multi-faceted impact of publicly engaged scholarship in the university of the 21st century. As with any public health emergency, a pandemic can also provide perspective and opportunity to reposition to examine how and when one can civilly engage in a post COVID-19 world. Dr. Eatman will illuminate opportunities for individuals, organizations, and public institutions to recommit to their community. This is the thirdpresentation of four in the series: “Bridging Civic and Public Health during Pandemic Times.” Learn more at the UW-Superior website.

February 26: Leadership & Resilience in Times of Public Emergency with Tevi Troy & Ryan Holiday

Leadership & Resilience in Times of Public Emergency with Tevi Troy & Ryan Holiday

Friday, February 26 from 12-1:30pm CST
Register for the webinar here

The UW-Whitewater Community Engagement Center, UW-Oshkosh American Democracy Project, and the Thompson Center are pleased to present a webinar on leadership and resilience in times of public emergency. COVID-19 has caused substantial disruptions to the American economy, institutions, and American life as we know it. This webinar will explore the centrality of leadership, and especially presidential leadership, in times of public emergency. Dr. Tevi Troy is a former Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services and author of Shall We Wake the President? Two Centuries of Disaster Management from the Oval Office. Ryan Holiday is a #1 New York Times bestselling author and known for Obstacle is the Way and Ego is the Enemy. Moderator is Dr. David Siemers, Professor of Political Science at UW-Oshkosh and author of Presidents and Political Thought.

March 23: Elected Officials Panel: Reflections from the COVID-19 Pandemic and Leadership Lessons Learned

Elected Officials Panel: Reflections from the COVID-19 Pandemic and Leadership Lessons Learned

Tuesday, March 23 from 12-1pm CST
Webinar registration info will be posted here

The Thompson Center is pleased to partner with the UW-Superior Link Center to host a panel with state-level elected officials on lessons learned from the COVID-19 Pandemic. The scope and speed of public health emergencies, particularly the current coronavirus pandemic has posed extraordinary challenges for leaders across the nation. Elected state public officials will speak about what it has taken to lead during a public health crisis, lessons learned and provide perspective on effective public leadership during uncertain times. This is the fourth presentation of four in the series: “Bridging Civic and Public Health during Pandemic Times.” More information can be found at the UW-Superior website.

March 30: How Disinformation, Distraction, and the Heckler’s Veto Undermine Collective Thought with Dr. Siva Vaidhyanathan

Cacophony: How Disinformation, Distraction, and the Heckler’s Veto Undermine Collective Thought with Dr. Siva Vaidhyanathan

March 30, 2021 from 7-8pm CST
Webinar registration info coming soon

The Thompson Center and UW-Whitewater are pleased to welcome Dr. Siva Vaidhyanathan. A cultural historian, media scholar, and lecturer, Dr. Vaidhyanathan serves as the Robertson Professor of Media Studies and the director of the Center for Media and Citizenship at the University of Virginia. He is a frequent contributor on media and cultural issues on public radio shows and news programs, notably the BBC, CNN and NBC. Siva has also authored several books, including The Googlization of Everything (And Why We Should Worry and Antisocial Media: How Facebook Disconnects Us and Undermines Democracy (Oxford University Press, 2018). His articles have appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Guardian and The Nation. Dr. Vaidhyanathan’s current project reflects major societal concerns related to the “global media ecosystem,” but touches on such issues as the prevalence of propaganda and misinformation (and its easy dissemination on social media) which further threatens to undermine democracy and destabilize governments across the world. Moreover, the lecture considers the importance of news and information literacy, which is fundamentally one of the most important issues of our time in an age when expertise and intellectualism is under attack.

Date Coming Soon: Former Governor of Florida Jeb Bush

Former Governor of Florida Jeb Bush

Pending Rescheduling

UW-Milwaukee at Waukesha
Lunt-Fontanne Theater
1500 N. University Dr. Waukesha, WI

The Thompson Center is thrilled to have former Governor of Florida (1999-2007) Jeb Bush join us at UWM at Waukesha to speak on his career and history. As Governor of a battleground state, Bush has a wealth of public leadership experience and practical knowledge which led him to be the first Republican governor to win reelection in Florida state history. During his two terms, Governor Bush championed major reforms in government, ranging from health care and environmental protection to civil service, education reform, and tax reform.

Past Events

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Past Speakers and Events

A Conversation with Governor Christine Todd Whitman

Election 2020: A Path Forward for a Divided Nation
Thursday, December 10, 2020 from 7pm – 8:15pm CST
Watch a recording of this event on YouTube

The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and the Thompson Center were pleased to welcome Christine Todd Whitman for a discussion of the 2020 election results and the road ahead for a divided nation. From her time as Governor of New Jersey and her service in President George W. Bush’s cabinet to her extensive public commentary and environmental work, Governor Whitman has earned praise from Democrats and Republicans alike. In these divisive times, Governor Whitman provided valuable perspectives on civility, bipartisanship, leadership, and finding common ground.

Find out more details about the event at the UW-La Crosse website.

An Evening with Kay Coles James on Peace, Hope, and Stability in America

Wednesday, December 2, 2020 from 7pm – 8:30pm CST
Watch a recording of this event on YouTube

The UW-Milwaukee College of General Studies and the Thompson Center hosted thought leader Kay Coles James. Kay Coles James spoke on peace, hope, and stability in America, including America’s pursuit of equality and civil rights. Mrs. Coles James is President of The Heritage Foundation, one of America’s premier conservative think tanks. Mrs. Coles James is the Founder of the Gloucester Institute, an organization that trains and nurtures college-age leaders in the African American community. She has an extensive portfolio of experience in state and federal service, having served in the administrations of George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush, including ultimately serving as Director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. She also served as Virginia’s Health & Human Resources Secretary.

Cosponsors included the UWM at Waukesha Future Business Leaders, UWM at Waukesha African American Union, UWM at Washington County Student Advocates Association, UWM at Waukesha Student Advocates Association, and UW-Madison AEI Executive Council. Learn more at the UWM website here.

To Whom Should Wisconsinites Look to Advance Digital Privacy & Security?

Friday, November 20th from 12pm – 2pm CST

The Thompson Center hosted this panel discussion with experts in industry and research on the future of digital privacy and security. This virtual event was part of the Thompson Center’s ongoing series: Privacy in a Digital World.


  • Roslyn Layton, Senior Contributor on Enterprise Tech at Forbes.com, Uniform Law Commission Could Resolve the State & Federal Impasse on Internet Privacy Legislation
  • Gabe Maldoff, Attorney at Covington & Burling, coauthor of The Costs of Not Using Data: Balancing Privacy & the Perils of Inaction 
  • Olivier Sylvain, Professor of Law at Fordham University Law School, Director of the McGannon Center on Communications Research and Member of the Academic Advisory Board of the Open Markets Institute
  • Omer Tene, Vice President & Chief Knowledge Officer at the International Association of Privacy Professionals, co-author of The Costs of Not Using Data: Balancing Privacy & the Perils of Inaction
  • Holly Yuan, Professor & Program Director of the Cybersecurity Research & Outreach Center (CyROC) at the University of Wisconsin-Stout, designated a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense for academic years 2017-2022 by the National Security Agency, and Department of Defense Security in Smart Manufacturing in 5G grant recipient

ModeratorBrian Dennis, Director, Cybersecurity Center for Business, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, recipient of a Wisconsin Execution of Cybersecurity Understanding, Remediation & Education for Defense grant from the Department of Defense and Closing the Skills Gap in Cybersecurity grant from the Department of Labor

Cosponsors were the UW-Whitewater Cybersecurity Center for Business, UW-Stout Cybersecurity Research & Outreach Center, and UW-Madison Jean Monnet Grants. View a recording of the event here.

Perspectives on Insuring Against Low Risk, High Cost Events (e.g., Pandemics)

Friday, November 6 from 12pm-2pm CST

The Thompson Center was pleased to host a panel discussion with experts on the current challenges and future possibilities of insuring low risk, high cost events. This virtual event was part of the Thompson Center’s ongoing series: Preparing for Public Emergencies.


  • Tom Baker, William Maul Measey Professor of Law and Health Sciences at University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School, Reporter for the American Law Institute’s recently published Restatement of the Law, Liability Insurance and founder of the Covid Coverage Litigation Tracker
  • Lloyd Dixon, Rand Corporation, author of Key Questions to Ask in Designing a Federal Pandemic Insurance Program and Is It Time for a Federal Pandemic Insurance Program?
  • Linda Kornfeld, Partner & Vice Chair of Insurance Recovery Practice Group at Blank Rome LLP
  • Arthur J. Park, Partner at Mozley Finlayson Loggins LLP, author of What to Reasonably Expect in the Coming Years from the Reasonable Expectations of Insured Doctrine
  • Shanthi Ramnath, Policy Economist, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and author of What is Business Interruption Insurance and How Is It Related to the Covid-19 Pandemic?

Moderator: Ty Leverty, Associate Professor of Risk & Insurance & Gerald D. Stephens CPCU Distinguished Chair in Risk at the University of Wisconsin School of Business

Approved for 1.5 CLEs – input your passcodes here. Cosponsors of this webinar were the University of Wisconsin Law School, Austin E. Cofrin School of Business at UW-Green Bay, Lubar School of Business at UW-Milwaukee, and the Wisconsin School of Business Department of Risk & Insurance at UW-Madison. View a recording of the event here.

Perspectives on Antitrust & Big Tech

Friday, October 30 from 2-3:30pm CST

The Tommy G. Thompson Center was pleased to present a virtual debate on antitrust policy in the digital age. Legal experts Timothy Wu and Daniel Crane offered competing perspectives with reflections on the origins of anti-trust policy from the early 1900s through the competing lenses of Justice Brandeis and former Solicitor General Robert Bork. The discussion was moderated by Fox News @ Night anchor Shannon Bream. Cosponsors of this webinar were the University of Wisconsin Law School and the UW-Madison Jean Monnet Grants. Approved for 1.5 CLEs. View a recording of the event here.


Friday, October 23, 9am-4:30pm CST
Virtual Symposium hosted by the UW-Stout Cybersecurity Research & Outreach Center (CyROC)

The Thompson Center was pleased to cosponsor the Cybersecurity Symposium, as part of the Thompson Center’s ongoing series: Privacy in a Digital World. Keynote Speaker was Jonathan Lehner, Dean of the National Security Agency National Cryptologic School’s College of Cyber, addressing the role of movies in some of the key events in U.S. cybersecurity. Meagan Wolfe, Administrator at the Wisconsin Elections Commission, spoke on election security in Wisconsin. The day also featured a panel discussion on mentoring and advancing women in security, remarks by UW-Stout Chancellor Katherine P. Frank, hands-on Cloud Security Labs, and a virtual exhibit hall and career fair.

Presidential DebateWatch 2020

Thursday, October 22, 2020

8:00pm-9:30pm CST: Watch Presidential Debate (via national broadcast)
Afterward: UW Post-Debate Discussion (immediately following on Zoom)

Students from UW campuses across Wisconsin joined the Tommy G. Thompson Center, UW-Madison Elections Research Center, Department of Political Science, and Morgridge Center for Public Service after the third presidential debate for a post-debate discussion. Faculty panelists included Dr. David Canon, Dr. Ryan Owens, and Dr. Michael Wagner.

Note: The University does not endorse nor oppose any candidate.

John Bolton – Populism, National Security, and U.S. Foreign Policy in Uncertain Times

Wednesday, October 21, 2020 from 7pm-8:30pm CST

The Tommy G. Thompson Center was pleased to present a webinar with John Bolton with the Wisconsin Institute for Public Policy and Services (WIPPS). Bolton is a former national security adviser to President Trump and former ambassador to the United Nations under George W. Bush. A long-time conservative Republican, Bolton has served as a political consultant, conservative media commentator and diplomat. The author of several books on American politics, he has championed a strong U.S. foreign and defense policy on American foreign policy and advocated for reform of the United Nations.

Note: The University does not endorse nor oppose any candidate.

Election 2020: The “Interregnum” – What Should We Expect After November 3?

Wednesday, October 21, 2020 at 6pm CST

The Tommy G. Thompson Center was pleased to cosponsor this Keep Our Republic event with the UW-Madison Elections Research Center. The discussion provided a review of 12th Amendment timelines, current and expected disinformation campaigns, and how safeguards built into our existing institutions ensure free and fair elections. Speakers included:

  • Barry Burden, Director of the Elections Research Center of UW-Madison
  • Young Mie Kim, Professor of the UW-Madison School of Journalism and Mass Communication
  • Reid Ribble, former U.S. Representative from Wisconsin
  • Timothy E. Wirth, former U.S. Senator from Colorado
  • Rob Yablon, Associate Professor of the University of Wisconsin Law School

View a recording of the event here.

Forward in Energy Forum at the Wisconsin Energy Institute

Tuesday, October 20, 2020 from 4:30 – 6:00pm CST

The Thompson Center was pleased to cosponsor the Forward in Energy Forum with the Wisconsin Energy Institute. This forum looked at the presidential election through an energy lens: the plans, policies, and agendas of the two major presidential candidates with regard to energy and climate issues. How do panelists anticipate each potential administration acting in the next four years with respect to domestic and international policy? Professor Greg Nemet, Thompson Center research affiliate, led the discussion. View a recording of the event here.

The Ostrich Paradox: Overcoming Human Deficiencies in Emergency Preparedness

Friday, October 16, 2020 at 12pm CST

The Tommy G. Thompson Center was pleased to welcome Dr. Howard Kunreuther for a virtual webinar on emergency preparedness. Dr. Kunreuther is the James G. Dinan Professor Emeritus, Operations, Information and Decisions (OID) Department at the Wharton School, and co-director of the Wharton Risk Management and Decision Processes Center. He has a long-standing interest in ways that society can better manage low-probability, high-consequence events related to technological and natural hazards. He co-authored The Ostrich Paradox: Why We Underprepare for Disasters, which discusses six common decision-making biases in cognitive psychology and behavioral economics in relation to preparing for disasters: myopia, amnesia, optimism, inertia, simplification, and herding.

Justin Sydnor, who is the Leslie P. Schultz Professor in Risk Management & Insurance at the Wisconsin School of Business, served as moderator. Cosponsors of this webinar were the Austin E. Cofrin School of Business at UW-Green Bay, Lubar School of Business at UW-Milwaukee, and the Wisconsin School of Business Department of Risk & Insurance at UW-Madison.

A recording of the event can be found here.

Civic Health: The Future of Our Communities Depends On It

Tuesday, October 13, 2020 from 12-2pm

The Tommy G. Thompson Center and UW-Superior Link Center were pleased to welcome Eric Liu for a virtual on addressing civic health. Liu addressed how to work collaboratively to help stitch the social fabric of citizenship back together. Son of Chinese immigrants and former Clinton White House speechwriter, Liu is the CEO of Citizen University, a nonprofit working to foster a culture of powerful, responsible citizenship. View a recording of the Facebook Live event here.

Presidential DebateWatch 2020

Tuesday, September 29, 2020
8:00pm-9:30pm CST: Watch Presidential Debate (via national broadcast here)
Afterward: UW Post-Debate Discussion (immediately following on Zoom)

Students from UW campuses across Wisconsin are invited to join the Tommy G. Thompson Center, UW-Madison Elections Research Center, Department of Political Science, and Morgridge Center for Public Service after the first presidential debate for a post-debate discussion with UW-Madison faculty. Questions were answered by our esteemed colleagues:

Dr. Barry Burden, UW-Madison Elections Research Center

Dr. Katherine J. Cramer, Political Science

Dr. Michael Wagner, School of Journalism

Dr. Ryan J. Owens, Tommy G. Thompson Center on Public Leadership

Note: The University does not endorse nor oppose any candidate.

What We Can Learn from History: The 1918 Pandemic

September 22, 2020 at 12pm CST

The Tommy G. Thompson Center and UW-Superior Link Center were pleased to welcome John Barry for a virtual on the lessons we can learn from previous pandemics. Barry is the author of the prize-winning and New York Times best-selling book, The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History. View a recording of the event here.

A Perspective on Digital Privacy & Security: The Honorable Michael Chertoff

Friday, September 18, 2020 at 12pm CST

The Tommy G. Thompson Center hosted Michael Chertoff, former federal Homeland Security Secretary and author of Exploding Data: Reclaiming Our Cyber Security in the Digital Age. Michael Chertoff is a renowned security expert whose extensive experience includes serving as the second Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. He founded the Data Equilibrium Project to explore data protectionism and the gap between privacy and national security. He is also co-founder and executive chairman of The Chertoff Group, a security and risk management firm where he provides high-level strategic counsel to corporate and government leaders on issues from risk identification and prevention to preparedness, response and recovery.

The event was moderated by Brian Dennis, Director of the Cybersecurity Center for Business at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. Cosponsors were the Cybersecurity Research & Outreach Center at UW-Stout and the Cybersecurity Center for Business at the UW-Whitewater.

To view a recording of the event click here! The recording will be available until March 22, 2021.

A Conversation with Michael Beschloss

April 23, 2020; 6:00pm CT

The Thompson Center partnered with UW-Green Bay to host the highly esteemed presidential historian Michael Beschloss for a free public webinar.  Michael Beschloss specializes in the study of American presidential history and is a #1 Best-Selling Author. He is the presidential historian for NBC News and a contributor to the PBS NewsHour, as well as a New York Times columnist. He is a trustee of the White House Historical Association and the National Archives Foundation. He has received an Emmy and six honorary degrees.

Kenneth T. Walsh – Presidential Leadership in Crisis

April 23, 2020; 12:00 Noon CT

The Tommy G. Thompson Center and UW-La Crosse Department of Political Science and Public Administration partnered to feature esteemed presidential historian Kenneth T. Walsh at a free webinar on presidential leadership.  Kenneth is a writer and analyst for U.S. News & World Report specializing in the White House and Washington, and a historian who has published eight books on the presidency. His most recent book is “Presidential Leadership in Crisis – Defining Moments of Modern Presidents from Franklin Roosevelt to Donald Trump.” To view a recording of the event click here.

Supreme Court 2020 with Paul Clement

April 21, 2020 – 12:00 Noon CT
Approved for 1 CLE credit (Continuing Education Credits)

Former U.S. Solicitor General Paul Clement  joined the Thompson Center for a free webinar to discuss the Supreme Court in 2020. Clement and the Thompson Center’s own Ryan Owens discussed the upcoming cases faced by the court, and the possible ramifications of their decisions.

Special Thanks to the Wisconsin Eye for recording this program. To see the discussion, click here or to view on Youtube, click here!

Virtual Earth Day Conference

April 20, 2020; content available from 8:30am – 8:30pm

The Tommy G. Thompson Center is cosponsoring an event hosted by the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies. This event will celebrate Earth Day’s 50th anniversary and will be delivered in a virtual format. It will feature a wide range of live and recorded educational sessions, with ample opportunity for live engagement. View a recording of the event here.

K.T. McFarland

April 9, 2020; 6:00pm

Former U.S. Deputy National Security Advisor K.T. McFarland presented for this free public webinar. K.T. is an expert on a wide array of contemporary national security topics, and will address a number of these at this event.


Michelle Reynolds – Improving Integration of Services and Outcomes Using Charting the Lifecourse

April 7, 2020 – 12:00

Michelle Reynolds is Director of Individual Advocacy & Family Support with the University of Missouri – Kansas City.  This event will be part of the Thompson Center’s ongoing series: Increasing Independence For Wisconsin’s Disabled Population.  Michelle’s talk will be hosted electronically on April 7th at Noon CT.

Joseph Stoltz

March 9, 2020

Joseph Stoltz, Director of the George Washington Leadership Institute and former member of the United States Military Academy Department of History, spoke to a number of students at UW-Stout on what lessons George Washington and the circumstances of his era are still valuable to us today. He also discussed George Washington’s personal brand of leadership style, and what made him so effective and a giant of his time.

A Conversation with Mia Love

Parkside – UW Parkside
Student Center Ballroom
March 9, 2020; 7:00pm

Mia Love is a former Representative of the 4th Congressional District of Utah and is the first and only Republican black female to ever serve in The United States Congress. This Q&A session gave students a chance to engage with Mia Love and offer their own questions. The event was moderated by UW-Parkside Political Science and Law Professor Dr. Ross Astoria.

From our UW-Parkside partner “…I think Mia had some great things to say, and I know that the High School students in particular really enjoyed the talk.  I believe I mentioned that the one HS girl is going to college for Political Science, and she was very interested in Mia’s story of how she got into politics.  I believe she is quite an inspiration for those young people.  I really enjoyed it as well.”

Socialism, Social Democracy, & Capitalism – A Debate on Which is Right for America

Madison – UW Madison Discovery Building – DeLuca Forum
330 N Orchard St, Madison, WI 53715
Wednesday, March 11, 2020 – 7:00 p.m.

The Thompson Center is pleased to be cosponsoring this important event with UW-Madison’s Center for Research On the Wisconsin Economy (CROWE).  This debate will discuss the ideas, philosophy, and practical policy questions behind socialist and social democratic systems, and compare them to capitalist economies (both in ideal form and in current practice in the US).  The debate will also discuss the historical and economic record of socialist and social democratic economies, and relate past experience to current policy proposals.

This debate will feature two highly esteemed professionals:

Brian Leiter, Karl N. Llewellyn Professor of Jurisprudence, and Director of the Center for Law, Philosophy, and Human Values at the University of Chicago Law School  will speak in favor of social democracy (and perhaps eventual socialism).  Dr. Leiter is an expert in moral, political and legal philosophy; constitutional law; evidence; freedom of speech and religion; and academic freedom.

Bryan Caplan, Professor Economics at George Mason University and Senior Research Fellow at the Mercatus Center will speak in favor of capitalism.  Dr. Caplan specializes in public economics, public choice, psychology and economics, public opinion, economics of the family and education, genoeconomics, and Austrian economics.  A great deal of his professional work has been devoted to the philosophies of libertarianism and free-market capitalism.

A Conversation with Doris Kearns Goodwin

Green Bay – UW-Green Bay – Weidner Center for the Performing Arts
2420 Nicolet Drive Green Bay, WI 54311
March 9, 2020 ; 6:00pm
Doors open at 5:30pm

The Thompson Center feels it has hit a home run with this award-winning author and is thrilled to partner with UW-Green Bay and the Weidner Center to bring Doris Kearns Goodwin to a free public event in Green Bay.

Doris Kearns Goodwin is a Pulitzer-prize winning author, biographer, presidential historian and former assistant to Lyndon Johnson. Her seventh and New York Times bestselling book, Leadership in Turbulent Times, was published in September 2018 to critical acclaim and became an instant New York Times bestseller. It is a culmination of Goodwin’s five-decade career of studying the American presidents focusing on Presidents Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Baines Johnson.

We hope you can join us for what is sure to be a fantastic event!

David Gergen – A Return to Civility

La Crosse – UW-La Crosse Student Union
February 27, 2020 – 6:00p.m.

The Thompson Center is pleased to announce a speaker presentation by David Gergen in La Crosse. This event will be part of UW-La Crosse Political Science and Public Administration’s “Civility in a Partisan Era” lecture series.

Gergen is a Senior political analyst for CNN and was an advisor to the Nixon, Ford, Reagan, and Clinton presidential administrations. He has an exemplary record of public service and more recently has worked as an esteemed political journalist, commentator, and editor.

Gergen is a professor of public service and founding director of the Center for Public Leadership at the Harvard Kennedy School, positions he has held for over a decade. Twice he has been a member of election coverage teams that won Peabody awards, and he has contributed to two Emmy award-winning political analysis teams.

The event was fully funded by the Tommy G. Thompson Center on Public Leadership.

Gergen meets a student     Gergen with students 1     gergen with students 2

Brian DeVore – Wildly Successful Farming: Public Policy and the New Agricultural Land Ethic

UW Eau Claire, Barron County; Ritzinger Hall
January 30th, 2020

Brian DeVore will describe farmers in Wisconsin, Minnesota and across the Midwest who are balancing profitability and food production with environmental sustainability and a passion for all things wild. These farmers are using innovative cropping and livestock production techniques and strategies to develop their “wildly” successful farms as working ecosystems and are adhering to the principles of the “land ethic,” which Aldo Leopold discussed in the 1949 book, A Sand County Almanac.  Discussion will also focus on the role public policy can play in promoting and supporting the kind of regenerative agriculture that produces numerous environmental and economic benefits in local communities.

Brian Devore Powerpoint     Brian Devore behind Lecturn     Brian Devore Audience

Temple Grandin – The World Needs All Kinds of Minds

UW Stevens Point; Sentry Insurance Theatre
December 3rd, 2019
*Tickets sold out

Temple Grandin is a world-renowned activist for autism and neurodiversity more generally. She has published six books on the topic, and her life story was featured in HBO’s 2010 film Temple Grandin. In her talk, Grandin will explain the needs for different types of cognition and provide a first-person view into the mind of someone living on the autism spectrum. She will share how she is able to build a bridge of understanding between humans and animals, as well as between people on and off the autism spectrum. For example, she speaks of how she thinks in pictures rather than language. In order to solve the energy crisis or develop cures for new diseases, Grandin advocates that society begin to appreciate different types of minds: sensory thinkers, pattern thinkers and abstract thinkers.

Jonah Goldberg – What’s Tearing America Apart?

UW-Madison; Ingraham Hall, Rm. 22
November 13, 2019

The Thompson Center is cosponsoring an event with UW-Madison’s Young Americans Freedom to bring Jonah Goldberg to the University of Wisconsin-Madison to talk about tribalism and how it undermines our political institutions. Goldberg is a New York Times best-selling author, AEI scholar, and editor-in-chief of The Dispatch.  His talk will explore the question: “What’s Tearing America Apart?”. This event is free and open to the public thanks to the support of the Center for the Study of Liberal Democracy, the Tommy G. Thompson Center on Public Leadership, and the Young America’s Foundation.

Karen Ray – The Three “Rs” of Developing Collaborations that Work: Results, Relationships, Resilience

UW Superior;  Yellow Jacket Union – Great Room
November 1st, 2019

Collaboration is a mutually beneficial and well-defined relationship entered into by two or more organizations to achieve results they are more likely to achieve together than alone”. In times of shrinking resources and strident disagreements on many issues, public leadership requires the willingness and ability to initiate, support, and implement successful collaborations. Such collaborations will be essential to improving Wisconsin’s future and are  inherent in the Wisconsin Idea. The talk with Karen Ray addressed:

• Reasons to collaborate and why collaborations are so often difficult
• Examples of collaboration that have had a positive impact in Wisconsin communities
• The key discussions and actions essential to starting a collaborative venture (and how to go back and amend them later)
• And how to keep a balanced focus on collaborations three key components : results, relationships and resilience

Why Does College Cost So Much?

UW Madison; Discovery Building, the De Luca Forum
October 24, 2019;  4:00pm

The Tommy Thompson Center was pleased to co-sponsor an event with PROFS, WISCAPE, and ASPRO which examined college costs, in particular what is driving their dramatic rise and what the implications of this added expense.  Panelists also discussed the pressure this has created on the state to increase funding levels and on universities to raise funds and pursue partnerships.
The Panel presentation consisted of:

David Feldman – William & Mary Professor of Economics
Laurent Heller  – University of Wisconsin-Madison Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration
Tracey Klein      – University of Wisconsin System Regent

and was moderated by:

Nicholas Hillman – University of Wisconsin-Madison Professor of Educational Leadership & Policy Analysis

      panelist seated                        Panelist standing

Arthur Brooks Speaking Event

UW Madison; Pyle Center Alumni Lounge
October 17th, 2019 – 4:30pm

Special Thanks to our UW-Madison Co-Sponsors: The Center for the Study of Liberal Democracy, The La Follette School of Public Affairs, and the American Enterprise Institute Executive Council

Dr. Arthur Brooks is Professor of the Practice of Public Leadership at the Harvard Kennedy School and Arthur C. Patterson Faculty Fellow at the Harvard Business School.  He most recently served for 10 years as President of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), a public policy think tank in Washington, DC.  His career includes serving as a columnist for the Washington Post, a host of the podcast “The Arthur Brooks Show,” and the bestselling author of 11 books on topics including the role of government, fairness, economic opportunity, happiness, and the morality of free enterprise.  Dr. Brooks joined us to discuss his latest book, “Love Your Enemies – How Decent People can Save America from the Culture of Contempt.”

Arthur Brooks 2              Arthur Brooks 1

George Will

UW-La Crosse, The Bluffs, UWL Student Union
October 17, 2019

George Will, whose newspaper column has been syndicated by The Washington Post since 1974, discussed “Civility, Partisanship and Conservatism in America” from 6 to 7:15 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 17, in The Bluffs at the UW-La Crosse Student Union. Will’s column appears twice weekly in about 400 newspapers in the U.S. and Europe. He also serves as a contributor for MSNBC and NBC News. His most recent book is titled “The Conservative Sensibility”.

Michael J. Isham Jr. – The Native American Presence in the Red Cedar Watershed, Past & Present

UW Eau Claire, Barron County;  Ritzinger Hall
October 17th, 2019

Mic Isham, executive director of the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission (GLIFWC.org), discussed the geography of the Red Cedar Watershed, migration routes of the Ojibwe along the St. Lawrence Seaway from the 1400s through the 1700s, and treaties between these tribes and the U.S. government in the 1800s.  He enumerated the 11 bands from Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan who are part of GLIFWC as well as the divisions and purposes of each part of this organization.  Finally, he explained how GLIFWC uses “tribal ecological knowledge” along with western scientific approaches to manage these resources.  Not only was the audience engaged throughout his presentation, but a Q and A period continued for another 30 minutes.  The presentation was filmed by Rice Lake Community Media and will be archived at this site (https://ricelaketv.viebit.com/?folder=Thursdays%20@%20The%20U) after being edited.

Tribal boundaries display       Audience       Michael Isham Jr.

Emily Ladau – Both Sides of the Disability Disclosure Line

UW Superior;  Yellow Jacket Union – Great Room
September 17th, 2019

As someone whose disabilities are both visible and invisible, Emily Ladau rolls on both sides of the disclosure line. Her body and use of a wheelchair automatically reveals part of her disability, but her experiences go well beyond what’s seen at surface level. In her talk, Emily discussed how her experiences as a woman with a visible disability have led to her move beyond shame regarding what’s hidden, and why it’s important to be open about disability as part of identity. She also addressed the need to foster a culture of support for people with all types of disabilities, and through a personal lens, shared practical pathways toward progress and (self-) acceptance.

Speaker Emily Ladau giving a presentation

Transportation & Innovation Expo

May 23, 2019; 8:00am – 4:00pm
Alliant Energy Center – Exhibition Hall
1919 Alliant Energy Center Way, Madison WI

Wisconsin Clean Cities, Alliant Energy, and the City of Madison are partnered to put together a conference and expo featuring sustainable energy industry leaders. The event included a breakfast and lunch and access to exhibit booths and vehicle displays. Breakout sessions featured throughout the morning and afternoon.

While not directly sponsored by the Thompson Center, this event aligned well with the discussions featured at the Thompson Center’s Future of Transportation in Wisconsin conference this past April.

Energy Innovation and Our Wisconsin Economy

May 22, 2019; 9:00am
State Capitol, Madison WI

Thompson Center Director Ryan Owens moderated a legislative panel at a state capital briefing. Progress has been made in Wisconsin to realize economic opportunities presented by energy tecnologies but more remains to be done.  The events discussion focused on:
The economic benefits that could be made by an expansion of Wisconsin’s innovation in the energy markets;
How current state laws and policies influence innovative energy technologies; and
Highlighting potential policies that could improve the success rate and accelerate expansion of these opportunities.

This event was supported by Citizens’ Climate Education, The Wisconsin Conservative Energy Forum, and the Midwest Renewable Energy Association.

Wisconsin Women in Government Gala

May 15, 2019; 5:00-8:00pm
Monona Terrace Community & Convention Center
1 John Nolen Dr., Madison WI 53703

Wisconsin Women in Government hosted its 2019 Scholarship and Recognition Gala, held at the Monona Terrace Community & Convention Center on Lake Monona. WWIG  presented this year’s gala in partnership with the Tommy G. Thompson Center on Public Leadership and the Wisconsin Historical Society, as they celebrated the 100th anniversary of Wisconsin’s ratification of the 19th Amendment.

The keynote speaker for this event was Kristen Soltis Anderson;  a pollster and co-founder of Echelon Insights, a research and analytics firm. She was one of TIME‘s “30 Under 30 Changing the World” and has been featured as one of ELLE‘s 2016 “Most Compelling Women in Washington.” Anderson is also an ABC News political contributor, columnist at The Washington Examiner, and is the co-host of The Pollsters, a bipartisan weekly podcast. She regularly appears on programs such as Morning Joe, Fox News Sunday, Real Time With Bill Maher and more.

Austin Channing Brown

April 24, 2019; 6:00pm
UW-Superior – Yellowjacket Union Great Room
1605 Catlin Ave, Superior

Austin Channing Brown is a leading new voice on racial justice, and author of I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness. Austin is committed to exploring the intersections of racial justice, faith, and black womanhood. Most recently she served as a Resident Director and Multicultural Liaison at Calvin College.

Ramez Naam

April 22, 2019; 4:00pm
UW-Stevens Point – DUC Laird room
1015 Reserve Street, Stevens Point

Author, lecturer, and energy Investor Ramez Naam was at the UW-Stevens Point campus to talk about “The Exponential Energy Revolution: How Clean Energy is Disrupting the $6 Trillion Energy Industry” as part of a wider Earth Day event at UW-Stevens Point.

Alberto Gonzales, Dean Strang, and Criminal Justice Reform

April 18, 2019; 4:00pm
Discovery Institute – H.F. DeLuca Forum
330 N. Orchard St. Madison, WI 53715

The Tommy G. Thompson Center was very pleased to host former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and Attorney Dean Strang to speak about criminal justice reform at UW-Madison’s H.F. DeLuca Forum in the Discovery Building.

WI Ideas conference

April 12-14, 2019
UW-Madison, Union South
1308 W. Dayton St., Madison WI

The Tommy G. Thompson Center will be sponsoring two scholarships to be awarded to UW-System students.  Competition for these scholarships will involve first signing with the WI Ideas Conference, which can be done here; and then later submitting an essay based on a writing prompt.  Thompson Center scholarships will be awarded to two UW students who submit a well essay relating to leadership and the future of transportation in Wisconsin.  Along with receiving the scholarships, the selected students will be offered the opportunity to discuss their essay and thoughts in a short presentation at the Thompson Center’s “Future of Transportation in Wisconsin” conference.  (April 26, at the Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee)

The Inclusive Economy: How to Bring Wealth to America’s Poor

April 15, 2019; 4:00 P.M.
Discovery Building – Orchard View Room
330 N. Orchard St. Madison, WI 53715

The UW Institute for Research on Poverty will host Michael Tanner, a Senior Fellow at the CATO Institute on April 15. The event will feature a discussion of the topics of his newest book, which examines poverty in America and critiques the political Right and Left on what they get wrong in addressing the issue.  A reception will be held after the event.

This event is also sponsored by the Center for Research on the Wisconsin Economy and by the Thompson Center.

Frederick Hess

April 9, 2019; 6:00pm
UW-Platteville, Ullsvik Hall
1 University Plaza, Platteville

Frederick Hess is Resident Scholar and Director of Education Policy Studies at the American Enterprise Institute. He spoke on the key lessons he’s learned about education reform over 20 years, illustrated by his experiences talking to politicians, philanthropists, and school leaders around the world.

Jonah Goldberg

April 9, 2019; 7:00pm
UW-Parkside, Student Center Ballroom
930 Wood Rd, Kenosha, WI

Jonah Goldberg Ross Astoria

Author and political commentator Jonah Goldberg (Left) was at the UW-Parkside to talk about his new book, “Suicide of the West: How the Rebirth of Tribalism, Populism, Nationalism, and Identity Politics Is Destroying American Democracy.” This free Q&A session was moderated by UW-Parkside Political Science and Law Professor Dr. Ross Astoria (Right).

John McCormack

April 4, 2019;  4:30pm
UW-La Crosse, Student Union Theatre
521 East Ave. N., La Crosse

John McCormack and student Dinner group     John McCormack and College Republicans

John McCormack a Washington D.C. correspondent at the “National Review” kicked off a new UW-La Crosse lecture series that aims to bring some civility back into political discussion.

John will spoke on “A Crisis of Civility: How the left and the right are damaging political debate in America” at an engaging event attended by around 70 students, faculty, and members of the public.

John McCormack has appeared on a variety of radio and TV news programs, including MSNBC’s Morning Joe, CNN’s Inside Politics, HBO’s Real Time, NPR’s On Point, and several Fox News shows, including Special Report with Bret Baier.

Karl Rove and David Axelrod Point-Counterpoint

April 3, 2019;  6:00pm
UW-Green Bay, Weidner Center
2420 Nicolet Dr, Green Bay, WI 54311

David Axelrod, Karl Rove, and Moderator

National political strategists and former senior advisors to Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush, David Axelrod and Karl Rove, were on the UW-Green Bay campus for a Point-Counterpoint Conversation on Wednesday, April 3.  Over 700 students, faculty, and members of the Green-Bay community and beyond registered to attend this event.

The event consisted of an hour of Q.A. with UW-Green Bay students and was followed by a larger free public event designed to provide and promote civil, non-partisan and thought provoking conversation about election polling and strategy, politicians and presidents, red and blue culture, the state of our democracy, the media and more.

Fox News 11 and ABC 2 news both aired stories on this event.

Fox News 11

Donna Brazile and Kelly Ayotte

April 1, 2019;  7:00pm
UW-Milwaukee, UWM Union, Wisconsin Room
2200 E Kenwood Blvd. Milwaukee, WI

Kelly Ayote and Donna Brazile

Donna Brazile, an American political analyst, and Kelly Ayotte, a former U.S. senator, spoke at the UWM Union Wisconsin Room on Monday, April 1, 2019.  They lead a conversation spanning across political parties with a focus on women in leadership and politics. Over 150 students, faculty, and members of the public attended this excellent event.  The Thompson Center would like to thank the University of Milwaukee for their substantial assistance in putting this together.

Michael Murphy Speaking Event

March 29, 2019
Fluno Center
601 University Avenue,  Madison, WI 53715

The Tommy G. Thompson Center was thrilled have Michael Murphy deliver a talk regarding the state of contemporary politics in America.  The conversation spanned presidencies, elections, the future of the democratic and republican parties, the rise of the “I’m right, you’re evil” mentality prevalent in current political discourse.

Charlie Sykes

March 21, 2019  7:00PM
UW-Parkside – Student Center Ballroom

Conservative pundit and former WTMJ-AM radio host Charlie Sykes discussed his book How the Right Lost its Mind and engaged in an extensive question-and-answer session at a forum about overcoming partisan politics for the public good.

Sykes is an NBC and MSNBC contributor, a contributing editor at the Weekly Standard and the host of the magazine’s Daily Standard podcast. He is also author of nine books and was co-editor of the National Review College Guide.

Wisconsin Civics Games

February 2, 2019
UW-Madison, Union South
1308 W. Dayton St., Madison WI

In an effort to foster civic engagement in Wisconsin youth, the Wisconsin Newspaper Association Foundation  launched the Wisconsin Civics Games, which took place during the second semester of the 2018-19 school year and were open to all Wisconsin high schools.  The Thompson Center sponsored the regional Wisconsin Civics Games at UW-Madison’s Union South. Center staff in attendance felt they were a smashing success, and were greatly impressed by the calibre of student participants who took part in the competition.

A Badger’s Journey: A Talk with Tommy Thompson

November 15   6:00pm-8:00pm

Address: One Alumni Place, 650 N. Lake St., Madison WI

Governor Thompson and his biographer Doug Moe were in Madison to talk about their new book, and to hold a question and answer session with the audience.  The Governor engaged the audience with stories from his childhood, from his early days running for office, and of some of his experiences as both Wisconsin’s Governor and Health and Human Services Secretary. Following this was a reception and book signing.

Debate and Election Night Viewings

October 26
October 29
November 6

The Tommy G. Thompson Center sponsored debate and election night viewing events at UW-System campuses around Wisconsin!  These events bring together UW students from across the political spectrum to view the American political process in action.

Come Fix the Debt Interactive Event

October 25

The Tommy G. Thompson Center was pleased to partner with the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB) to put on an exciting, fun, and free public event at UW-Madison’s Education Building!  Attendees were asked to solve the federal debt crises.

Judge Jeffrey S. Sutton  September 25, 2018

Judge Jeffrey Sutton was on the UW-Madison campus and delivered a talk to students and other attendees on September 25th.

Thompson Book Event  September 13, 2018

The Thompson Book Event celebrated Governor Thompson’s legacy of pragmatic policymaking, interest in tackling big issues, and willingness to work across the aisle.  Governor Thompson discussed his new book TOMMY: My Journey of a Lifetime and weighed in on contemporary policy matters. The event was largely sponsored by the Thompson Center, working in conjunction with WisPolitics.com.


The Center hosted Dr. George Koonce in May of 2018. Koonce is a former linebacker for the Green Bay Packers and shared with us his own story of challenges and finding the strength to overcome them.

Why Universities Must Defend Free Speech

Cosponsored with the Center for the Study of Liberal Democracy at UW-Madison. Professor Keith Whittington of Princeton University headline presented, with discussion from Professors Donald Downs, Howard Schweber, and Anuj Desai.

Introducing High School Principals to the First Amendment

Cosponsored event which provided information to principals on what the First Amendment allows in the public school setting as well as how the First Amendment will apply to students who go on to colleges and universities.

Professor Jennifer Doleac

The Center worked with the La Follette School to have Professor Jennifer Doleac present her research while in Madison for the Center’s criminal justice conference. She came to Madison a day early to teach La Follette’s  students about her discoveries.

School Choice

Cosponsored along with the Department of Economics and the Center for Research on the Wisconsin Economy, on the particulars and potential outcomes of school choice.  Caroline Hoxby of Stanford University headlined, and the discussion drew in students and faculty across the university.

Past Conferences

Wisconsin Biohealth Summit 2020

Wednesday, September 23, 9am-3pm
Virtual event presented by BioForward Wisconsin

The Thompson Center was pleased to cosponsor the Wisconsin Biohealth Summit 2020. September 23’s all day events focused on the challenges of COVID-19 and how Wisconsin is adapting through collaborations and the public response. The conference continues on September 30 and October 7. More information at www.bioforward.org/events/.

Achieving Greater Independence for Adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (Webinar)

April 3, 2020
9:00am – 1:15pm

The Thompson Center’s third conference on “Increasing Independence for Wisconsin’s Disabled Population” was held via webinar. This conference focused on managing the transition to living independently and working as adults with a disability.  A panel discussion also approached the topic of how technology can be optimized to facilitate the independence of adults with an intellectual or developmental disability.  The Keynote address was delivered Michael Morris, Executive Director of the National Disability Institute & The ABLE National Resource Center.

Protecting Democratic Institutions from Threats to Liberty (Webinar)

March 27, 2020

The Tommy G. Thompson Center  hosted an event looking at global freedom and democracy and its progress or lack thereof over the past several years.  Alongside this was an examination of the specific cases of the USSR, Russia, and Venezuela. Our panelists gained their expert perspectives from spending significant amounts of time in these countries through tumultuous periods. Discussion also looked at America’s role on the world stage, and the need for it to be a Model of Liberty.

Renewable Energy Development, Grid Modernization, and Distributed Generation in Wisconsin

March 6, 2020
UW-Milwaukee; 9:00am-1:15pm
Golda Meir Library – 2311 E Hartford Ave.; Milwaukee, WI 53211

This was the third event of our “What is Wisconsin’s Energy Strategy?” series looking at renewable energy production in Wisconsin. This conference focused on what roles innovation and grid modernization play in renewable energy development at a national level and how these affect Wisconsin.  The event examined economic and regulatory questions around distributed energy generation and storage in a modern world. The keynote address was delivered by General Donald Hoffman, United States Air Force Retired, and member of the Military Advisory Board of the Center for Naval Analysis.

The Future of Manure Digesters in Wisconsin

February 25, 2020
UW-Green Bay; 9:00am – 1:15pm
University Union – 2420 Nicolet Drive; Green Bay, WI 54311

This is the second event of our three part series “What is Wisconsin’s Energy Strategy?,” which explored renewable energy production in Wisconsin.  Questions addressed at this conference included challenges and opportunities facing digester development in Wisconsin, and how developers/regulators can optimize economic, environmental, and energy benefits of this technology.  Mark Hill, DTE Energy Vice President of Operations, delivered the keynote address.  Wisconsin State Representative Gary Tauchen provided a legislative update.

Improving Integration of Services and Outcomes for Children Affected by Disabilities

February 7, 2020
UW-Whitewater; 9:00am – 1:15pm
Community Engagement Center – 1260 West Main Street;  Whitewater, WI 53190

The Tommy G. Thompson Center on Public Leadership presented its second conference in a three-part series on the topic of disability in Wisconsin.  This event focused on preparing children for increased independence later in life, including preparation for the workforce.  The conference also examined the promise of telehealth for assisting children and families affected by intellectual and developmental disabilities, in particular, and what hurdles and concerns would need to be overcome to increase telehealth access.  Laura Nagel of CI Therapies provided the keynote address, focusing on the important role occupational therapy plays in increasing independence.

Growing Leaders Among Persons with Disabilities

November 7, 2019; 9:00am – 1:15pm

The Tommy G. Thompson Center on Public Leadership presented the first conference in a three-part series on the topic of disability in Wisconsin.  This event focused on the importance of self-advocacy and its continued optimization, in addition to best practices for supporting families affected by intellectual or developmental disabilities. The keynote address was delivered by Cathy Ficker Terrill, a lifelong advocate, expert consultant, and leader of a number of prominent disability research and advocacy organizations.

What is Wisconsin’s Energy Strategy?

October 4, 2019; 9:00am-1:15pm

The Thompson Center held the first event of a three-part series on renewable energy production in Wisconsin entitled “What is Wisconsin’s Energy Strategy?”  The conference examined opportunities and challenges for expanding Wisconsin’s renewable energy capacity, and ways the state can optimize its existing renewable energy resources.  Sharon Jacobs of the University of Colorado Law School and author of “The Energy Prosumer” served as the keynote speaker.

The Founding Fathers and Public Leadership

Friday, September 20th, 2019; 10:50am-3:15pm

The Tommy G. Thompson Center held a conference on the UW-Madison campus examining the beliefs and insight of the founding fathers as they pertain to public leadership in America.  The Thompson Center brought together a large number of panelists with expertise to examine the mindsets of Franklin, Madison, Adams, Marshall, Dickinson, Douglass, and many other framers of America’s beginnings.  Former Ambassador Rick Graber interviewed Former Second Lady of the United States Lynne Cheney during the luncheon.

Future of Transportation in Wisconsin

April 26th, 2019 ; 9:00am-4:00pm

This one-day conference was held in Milwaukee at the Harley-Davidson Museum and examined a host of issues relating to Wisconsin’s transportation, jobs,  and what challenges/solutions will mean to businesses and average Wisconsinites in the future.

Second Chances and Prisoner ReEntry in Wisconsin

March 7th, 2019 ; 9:00am-3:30pm

This was a one-day conference sponsored by the Tommy G. Thompson Center at the Monona Terrace in Madison.  The conference examined Governor Thompson’s recent proposal to create a second chance for criminal offenders, enhancing Wisconsin’s workforce and creating a path for prisoner re-entry as a result.  This event was approved for 6 CLE credits and a free lunch was also included with registration.

Effective Public Leadership

November 30, 2018

The Thompson Center hosted a well attended and free event featuring a number of academic luminaries and policymakers  involved in leadership in contemporary American politics.  The event was held In the Pyle Center Alumni Lounge and featured an excellent view of Lake Mendota.

Criminal Justice Reform

April 26, 2018

Criminal Justice Reform brought together academics, policymakers, and think tanks to address needed reforms to the criminal justice system in Wisconsin and nationwide. Grover Norquist served as keynote speaker.

Leadership Across the Branches

November 17, 2017

Leadership Across the Branches was devoted to identifying leadership skills among public officials and disseminating that knowledge. It showcased esteemed individuals from both parties from the judicial, executive, and legislative branches at the federal and state levels.