August 01, 2019

The 2019 NLC Convention brought 350+ millennial leaders to Des Moines, Iowa for three days of conversations with presidential candidates, keynotes by elected leaders and activists, dynamic discussions about key issues facing the millennial generation, and more.

When attendees arrived in Des Moines on Thursday, the convention kicked off with offsite activities that explored the local community such as the Heartland’s community revitalization art walk, exploring renewable energy facilities in Iowa, and seeing first hand sustainable food sources. Back at the convention site, attendees participated in sessions around key issues like exploring Iowa’s progressive history, taking on conservative state legislatures, understanding the Iowa Caucus, and training to address implicit bias. 

Throughout the conference, attendees heard from fellow NLCers and the issues they were passionate about through Spark! Talks. Each day featured 5-minute, fast-paced talks on key issues like criminal justice reform, empowering women to lead, addressing mental health wellbeing, and more. 

Convention Recap 1

On Friday, we kicked off the #WeVoteToo Millennial Presidential Forum where U.S. Senator Cory Booker and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro answered questions from the NLC community about issues that affect our generation. 

Senator Booker wowed the crowd with his dynamic personality and thoughtful responses to questions. Senator Booker told attendees, “We don’t need a savior. We’re not looking for a presidential candidate to save us. YOU all are the leaders that we need!” 

Secretary Castro, also an NLC National Honorary Co-Chair, received a thunderous applause when he discussed immigration and said, “Donald Trump has not been bashful in his cruelty, so why the hell would we be bashful in our compassion?” and “The only way we are going to get people off the sidelines is being bold about what we believe in.” 

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On Saturday, we welcomed South Bend, IN Mayor Pete Buttigieg to the #WeVoteToo Millennial Presidential Forum to answer questions from the NLC community. Mayor Pete introduced himself by saying, “I think it’s fitting that as I seek to become the first millennial president of the United States that we spend some time together talking about what that would mean.” At the Forum, Mayor Pete spoke about revitalizing education, climate security, improving mental healthcare, and preparing millennials to face the challenges that are unique to our generation. 

We also welcomed the team from AARP to lead a discussion on the future of America’s financial security for millennials. We’re grateful for AARP’s support as a title sponsor of the 2019 NLC Convention and of Believe. Change. Inspire. (BCI) Summits across the country. 

And, we introduced the next NLC president, Clare Bresnahan English, to the NLC community. Clare is the former Executive Director of She Should Run, a non-profit dedicated to promoting leadership and encouraging women of all walks of life to run for office. She also is a 2012 NLC Fellow, former NLC Washington DC chapter director and LEAD trainer. Clare is committed to taking NLC to new heights as its next leader. You’ll hear more from her when she takes the reins next month. 

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At the NLC Awards Celebration, we welcomed actress and activist Alyssa Milano to the #NLCFamily. Alyssa spoke to attendees about the importance of standing up and using our voices when we see injustice in our communities. 

Congratulations to NLC San Antonio, the 2019 Chapter of the Year, and NLC St. Louis, the 2019 Institute of the Year! And, congratulations to all chapters who received programmatic awards and our #NLCFamily leaders who received individual awards. 

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Finally, our team would like to say a special thank you to outgoing NLC president Mark Riddle. Mark has led NLC for eight remarkable years and helped build NLC into the hub for millennial training and thought leadership. Under Mark’s leadership, NLC grew from 12 to 50 chapters and trained a new generation of leaders that reflect the future of America. Thank you, Mark. 

Thank you Mark

You can check out more photos from the 2019 NLC Convention and #WeVoteToo Millennial Presidential Forum on our Facebook page here. 

As we turn NLC’s next chapter, we’re honored to have your support as we continue training the next generation of progressive leaders. 


New Leaders Council