National convenings

The annual YEO Network National Convening provides YEOs with an opportunity to grow as public servants through workshops and trainings designed specifically for young leaders in their positions. This unique conference serves to nurture and support YEOs as innovative thinkers, young leaders, and elected officials.

Members of the YEO Network spend three days sharing policy ideas, connecting with strategic partners, gaining valuable skills and leadership training, and networking with the most innovative young leaders in our country.

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Convening highlights

SPEAKERS

Each annual convening features a line-up of top influencers in progressive spaces and policy experts leading efforts to make our country freer and fairer for all.

SKILLS TRAININGS

The Network leverages the expertise of our partners to provide members with valuable tools that help them better serve and advocate for their communities.

DAY OF SERVICE

Service comes first. Each year, we take the time to tackle critical issues through service to local communities in our host city.

BARBARA JORDAN LEADERSHIP AWARD

Barbara Jordan, co-founder of People For the American Way Foundation, was a true visionary and public servant. Serving as the first African American woman in the Texas State Legislature, and the first African American US Representative from the Deep South, she championed voting rights and the causes of the poor, the disadvantaged, and people of color. The award honors Congresswoman Jordan’s legacy and dedication to public service and our country by recognizing one outstanding young elected official—chosen by their peers—who is following in her footsteps by advancing the cause of justice. Each year at convening, The Barbara Jordan Leadership Award is awarded to an elected official who has demonstrated a commitment to the values and mission of the YEO Network and has a distinguished record of service to their community and the progressive movement at large.
 

Jordan Award Winners
 

Learn more about our most recent National Convenings

convening 2019 | MIAMI, FL

In August 2019, the Young Elected Officials Network held its 14th Annual National Convening in Miami, Florida, focused on the critical issues facing marginalized communities across the country and how young progressive leaders, a more powerful cohort than ever before, can make our communities and our country freer and fairer for all of us. 

Participants heard from national experts and change-makers, including voting rights activist Desmond Meade, Wisconsin Lt. Governor and YEO Mandela Barnes, Ben & Jerry's Board Chair and Co-Founder Jeff Furman, Kansas Secretary of Labor and YEO Alumna Delia Garcia, and many others. Click the image below to view our full #YEOMiami Recap!

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convening 2018 | Seattle, wa

In July 2018, the Young Elected Officials Network held its 13th annual National Convening in Seattle, Washington, focusing on the future of democracy and the progressive movement in the United States. Seattle was the ideal location for Convening 2018, as the city has been at the forefront of some of the country’s boldest policy ideas around increasing minimum wage, education, affordable housing, environmental justice, and technology, creating innovative solutions to some of the challenges facing our communities today.

 

In the spirit of Seattle’s can-do progressive vision, we spent the weekend working on interactive problem solving through networking, skills trainings, and leadership development. To make that possible, the YEO Network partnered with The Purple Aisle, a civic leadership accelerator whose mission is to advance new political theories and disrupt hyper-partisanship in government. YEOs worked together with The Purple Aisle team to form policy pitches to solve critical issues related to education, economic justice, sustainability and social justice.

YEOs teamed up with the National Urban League’s Summer University Students on a service opportunity where we built, painted, and furnished homes in a tiny-house village which will be used to combat the city’s growing homelessness crisis. YEOs worked hand in hand with students on constructing porches, painting homes, and cleaning the grounds to create the most welcoming and safe environment possible for homeless Seattleites.

Throughout our conference, YEOs also had the opportunity to hear from Washington’s Lieutenant Governor, Cyrus Habib, Entrepreneur Nick Hanauer, Washington State Senator Manka Dhingra, Seattle City Council Member Lorena González, Virginia House Delegate Danica Roem, and Washington, DC Student Activist Lauryn Renford.

convening 2017 | San Francisco, CA 

The Young Elected Officials Network held its 12th National Convening in San Francisco, California. We left Washington and hosted the convening in San Francisco to showcase the resistance and innovative work being done in California to fight for progressive reforms. With over 120 YEOs attendees, dozens of national leaders, policy experts, and civil rights activists, and phenomenal keynote speakers, 2017s National Convening was a spectacular success.

A Women’s Pre-Conference kicked off the 2017 Convening, where our women-identifying YEO members had the opportunity to learn and network with one another. The women were joined by speakers including operative Christine Pelosi, San Francisco Supervisor London Breed, Planned Parenthood leaders Wendi Wallace and Erin Carhart, and strategist Celinda Lake.

The Network hosted our third annual Day of Service at GLIDE Foundation, a San Francisco-based organization that focuses on creating an inclusive and just community to break the cycles of poverty and marginalization. Nearly 30 elected officials from the across the country worked with GLIDE’s Harm Reduction team to put together over a thousand safe injection kits that will save lives across San Francisco.

At the convening, young elected officials discussed policy solutions on topics ranging from climate change to criminal justice reform and heard from speakers including Tom Steyer, Founder & President of NextGen Climate;
Alicia Garza, co-founder of Black Lives Matter; and Khizr Khan, Gold Star father. The weekend also featured a series of  “TED-style Talks” on various policy issues including fighting pre-emption, the new social contract, state and local resistance, universal income, re-defining what it means to be American, and innovation in cities.

convening 2016 | Chicago, il 

The YEO Network held its 11th annual National Convening in Chicago, Illinois. Our policy sessions and skills trainings brought together national and Chicago-based experts with over 100 young electeds from across the country. In what has been a generally toxic year for national politics, the conference proved that young leaders can shift the narrative to be bolder and more unapologetically progressive. 

Convening 2016 started with our Women’s Caucus Pre-Conference, where women-identifying members learned about messaging, mentoring, and more from Erika Soto Lamb of Everytown for Gun Safety; Susan Mendoza, the Clerk of the City of Chicago; Jessica Byrd of Three Point Strategies; Cook County Commissioner Bridget Gainer; former West Virginia Delegate Meshea Poore; and Nicole Carlsburg of the Barbara Lee Family Foundation; Sara El-Amine and Yolanda Magallanes of Organizing for Action; and actress and People For the American Way Foundation board member Kathleen Turner. 

Our weekend included engaging discussions on the role of elected officials in expanding democracy; America’s changing demographic trends; community schools in our education system; increasing civic engagement; the future of work; student debt and college affordability; bolstering affordable housing and ensuring the resiliency of our communities; and immigration. Convening featured dynamic national and local voices including Cook County Commissioner Jesús “Chuy” García; Bestselling author and progressive strategist Steve Phillips; Univision’s Ron Estrada; and now-State's Attorney Kim Foxx

convening 2015 | Washington, dc 

Nearly 200 YEOs joined us for our 2015 National Convening — the best-attended event in our decade of supporting young, progressive leaders at every level of government.

Our Women’s Caucus Pre-Conference brought together our women-identifying members with leaders like Neera Tanden of the Center for American Progress and Celinda Lake of Lake Research Partners, as well as partner organizations such as the Higher Heights Leadership Fund, the Make It Work Campaign, VoteRunLead, and others.

 

The celebration of our 10th year included speeches from Network charter members HUD Secretary Julián Castro and Congressman Joaquín Castro, as well as U.S. Congressman Brendan Boyle, all of whom spoke eloquently about the need to restore the promise of the American Dream. We paused to remember the courageous life and work of another charter YEO member – Reverend and state Senator Clementa Pinckney, who was killed in the tragic shooting in Charleston that summer.

We were also joined by Deputy Secretary of Labor Christopher Lu, U.S. Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, charter YEO member Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema, Van Jones, Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby and Sharon Lettman-Hicks, one of the “architects” of the network. 

Plenaries and skills trainings tackled expanding access to voting and regulating campaign finance; criminal justice reform and the school-to-prison pipeline; the future of the workforce and threats to working families; and equity in our K-12 educational system.

 
 
 
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