NLC 2017 Spark! Talks Application

**Apply today to present a Spark! Talk**

The New Leaders Council National Leadership Retreat Team is excited to announce that applications are now open for NLC alumni and community members to present Spark! Talks at the 2017 NLC National Leadership Retreat this July in Pittsburgh Philadelphia, PA.  

With nearly 4,000 alumni, NLC is an organization rich in talent with individuals who are making real progressive change in communities. With such an amazing cohort, we want to give our community members an opportunity to share and learn from each other.  Spark! Talks provide an opportunity for alumni to share their stories and ideas to an audience of fellow NLC alumni, donors, and progressive policy makers.  We encourage those of ALL levels of comfort with public speaking to submit proposals, as coach will be provided for all presenters.

Submit your proposed talk by Thursday, April 27th.

Spark! Talks 
New Leaders Council National Retreat
July 20-22, 2017
Pittsburgh, PA

What is a Spark! Talk? It’s a fast-paced presentation where a speaker gets 5 minutes to share their thoughts and viewpoints. Each presenter is accompanied by 20 slides, which automatically advance every 15 seconds, allowing speakers to be prepared, concise and thoughtful. This format allows NLC retreat attendees to learn about your passions and community involvement in a quick and informative way.


Check out some of the Spark! Talks from #NLC10:

NLC Tampa Bay's Cesar Hernandez: Immigration

NLC Maryland's Keith Nolan: Fighting to Fight

NLC New Jersey's Kylie Patterson: Race, Wealth, & Millennials


The Application Process: 

What topics will be selected to present their Spark! Talks at the NLC National Retreat? The most interesting and innovative proposals from the NLC family will be selected for Spark! Talks. We are looking for diverse perspectives and unique proposals that will resonate with the audience and “Spark!” discussion among retreat attendees. This is certainly not limited to policy discussions but also progressive and entrepreneurial perspectives and insights. Emphasis onNLC’s mission of creating a network of individuals, highly-skilled in working together across sectors to improve the progressive infrastructure and ensure strong democracy, social justice, and equal opportunity will be key considerations in how speakers are selected.

How will speakers and presentations be selected? What support is offered? A diverse team NLC alumni and staff will review applications and invite 10-12 applicants to present at the NLC National Retreat. The selections team will choose speakers that will provide National Retreat attendees as diverse and unique experience as possible. Selected presenters will be notified by May 2nd and then will be set up with dedicated Spark! coaches to practice and perfect their talks in advance of the Retreat.

What are the next steps/timeline?

APPLICATION STEP 1: Complete an application for your Spark! Talk no later than Thursday, April 27th, by 11:59 pm, Pacific Time. Applications can be found here: Apply to be a Spark! NLC Speaker.

APPLICATION STEP 2: Submit the required 60 or less video explaining what you would like to present to no later than Thursday, April 27th, by 11:59pm PST.  This can be recorded on your cell phone or using your computer.

DECISIONS: Applicants will be notified of their status by Tuesday, May 2nd.

PRESENTER EXPECTATIONS: All presented talks will be filmed and posted on YouTube after the Retreat and each presenter will be required to sign a photo and video waiver allowing NLC to utilize the Spark! Talk for promotional purposes. Those selected will be required to execute the following timeline. *(This timeline will be reviewed on the 4/18 open question and answer call as well as the mandatory call for selected presenters on 5/4.).

  • 5/4 Mandatory call for all selected presenters at 8:30 pm et.
  • 5/14: Draft script and slides will be due for review by Spark! coaches.
  • 5/29: Updates and edits to slides due.  
  • 6/24: First round full-run through with coaches must be completed.
  • 6/20: Mandatory check-in call for all selected presenters at 8:30 pm et.
  • 6/23: Updates and edits to slides due.
  • 7/1: Partner practice and evaluation due.
  • 7/14: Final round full-run through with your coach must be completed.
  • 7/20-22: Spark! Time!

If a selected presenter does not reach these milestones, they will be taken off the schedule at retreat.

Submit your idea by Thursday, April 27th.  The first part of the application is here: Apply to be a Spark! NLC Speaker. Please email your 60 second required video to 

We look forward to your proposal!


The NLC Spark! Team

Alise Roderer, NLC-New Jersey          Dave Rini, NLC-Boston

Kimberly Hayes, NLC-Augusta           Nellie Sires, NLC-Chicago

Sarah Boal, NLC-Pittsburgh               Jewel Anderson, NLC-Atlanta

Vincent Dixie, NLC-Nashville