The 3rd Annual ICMA University + League of Women in Government Symposium  was held in conjunction with the ICMA Annual Conference on Saturday, October 22nd. This annual pre-conference event focused on trending issues that are important to not only local government women, but to everyone who is striving for inclusivity and gender equity in their organizations. In addition to the speaking program, the League along with sponsor, the National Research Center, Inc. recognized the nominees, presented the finalists with special awards, and announced the winner of the 2018 Leadership Trailblazer Award, Opal Mauldin-Jones. Below are some photos from the event and a recap of the speakers:   


Fran Mainella was this year’s Symposium opening speaker. Director Mainella served nearly six years as the 16th Director and the first woman to lead the U.S. National Park Services. Prior to that, she served twelve years as Director of Florida’s State Parks, which were awarded the Gold Medal Award, recognizing Florida as the best state park system in the country.
Ms. Mainella has also served as executive director of the Florida Recreation and Park Association and as president of both the National Recreation and Park Association and the National Association of State Park Directors. Today she leads her own consulting firm and spoke about Reaching the Summit through the 3 C’s: Courage, Communication, Connection.


Joanne Lipman, bestselling author of That’s What She Said: What Men Need to Know (and Women Need to Tell Them) About Working Together was this year’s keynote speaker. One of the nation’s most prominent journalists, she most recently was Chief Content Officer of Gannett, and Editor in Chief USA TODAY and the USA TODAY NETWORK, comprising the flagship title and 109 other news organizations including the Detroit Free Press, the Cincinnati Enquirer, and the Arizona Republic. In that role, she oversaw more than 3,000 journalists and led the organization to three Pulitzer Prizes plus an additional three Pulitzer finalists.   Ms. Lipman began her career as a reporter at The Wall Street Journal, ultimately rising to Deputy Managing Editor, creating Weekend Journal and Personal Journal, and supervising coverage that earned three Pulitzer Prizes. New York Times media columnist David Carr described her as the Journal’s “innovator-in-chief.” She subsequently was founding Editor-in-Chief of Conde Nast Portfolio and Portfolio.com, which won National Magazine and Loeb Awards. She is a frequent television commentator, seen on CNN, NBC, CNBC, and CBS, among others, and her work has appeared in publications including The New York Times, Time, Newsweek and Harvard Business Review.

In addition to  Joanne Lipman and Fran Mainella, Angelica Wedell, National Research Center, Inc. Marketing Director presented survey data highlighting the perspectives of local government employees across the U.S. Following Angelica’s presentation, Damema Mann, Senior Survey Associate from NRC, Inc. served as the master of ceremonies for the 2018 Leadership Trailblazer Award portion of the program. 

Damema announced the nominees, finalists and the 2018 winner, Opal Mauldin-Jones, City Manager of Lancaster, TX. Unfortunately, due to bad weather delaying her flight, Opal, accompanied by her daughters, was unable to accept the award until the following day during a special presentation by League President Ashley Jacobs at the ICMA Women’s Luncheon.

Photo credits: Angelica Wedell; From the top photo: Opening Speaker, Fran Mainella; Keynote Speaker Joanne Lipman; NRC, Inc. Senior Survey Associate Damema Mann; and the 2018 Leadership Trailblazer Winner, Opal Mauldin-Jones.