Convention Center

September 7 – 8

Tickets From


Featured Speakers

Danica Roem

Delegate, Virginia House of Delegates

Mitch Landrieu

Former Mayor of New Orleans, LA

Amber Goodwin

Founder and Executive Director, Community Justice Reform Coalition (CJRC)

Priya Parker

Facilitator and Author of “The Art of Gathering”

Chrissy Houlahan

Candidate for Congress in Pennsylvania

Larry Krasner

District Attorney, City of Philadelphia

Martin O'Malley

Former Governor of Maryland

Anand Giridharadas

Writer and Author of “Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World”

John King

Former US Secretary of Education

Movita Johnson-Harrell

Founder of The CHARLES Foundation, and Interim Victims Services Coordinator for the City of Philadelphia

Cristóbal Alex

President, Latino Victory

Michael Tubbs

Mayor of Stockton, CA

Michael Nutter

Former Mayor of Philadelphia, PA

Neera Tanden

President, Center for American Progress

Abdul El-Sayed

Former Candidate for Governor in Michigan

Helen Tai

Representative, Pennsylvania State House, District 178

Summer Lee

Candidate, Pennsylvania State House, District 34

Dr. Kira Banks

Associate Professor of Psychology at St. Louis University, Expert on Unconscious Bias

Sharyn Tejani

Time's Up Legal Defense Fund

DeJuana Thompson

Partner, Think Rubix and Founder, Woke Vote

Malcolm Kenyatta

Democratic Nominee for Pennsylvania State House




The afternoon will begin with a performance by Play On, Philly! under the direction of Andrés González. Play On, Philly! is an organization that provides personal development opportunities to children through the study of music.

Then, you will be introduced to the theme of the Summit, meet members of your cohort (your smaller group that you will reflect alongside throughout the weekend), and hear from a mixture of individual speakers and panel discussants.

During dinner, you will reflect on and share stories about defining experiences that shape your values and leadership with your cohort.

We will leave the main venue for an evening of desert, music, and dancing in one of Philadelphia’s most beautiful spaces: The Franklin Institute. The Franklin Institute was founded in 1824, is one of the most visited museums in Philadelphia, and is a short walk from the Convention Center.



We will begin by reflecting on the night before and setting goals for the day. We will then continue to hear from a range of national and local speakers who will reinforce the theme through their stories of pushing for change within the civic and political arena.

11:30am - 12:30pm

Lunch + Office Hours

We will split into smaller groups for workshops that provide space for skill-building and action planning around civic engagement and activism. The following trainings will be offered:

Taking Action for the 2018 Midterms

When we meet in Philadelphia, we’ll be only 61 days out from the critical 2018 midterm elections. The Arena is partnering with SwingLeft in support of their new campaign, The Last Weekend. This campaign is focused on recruiting volunteers for the last weekend before the election with the goal of increasing voter turnout. In this session, you'll learn about volunteer opportunities, recruit your friends to volunteer, and leave realizing that volunteering is easier and more fun than you might think.

Planning a Post 2018 Run

  • Kate Catherall, Co-Founder & Senior Partner, The Arena
  • Luis Avila, Founder & President, Iconico
  • Sarah Horvitz, Political Director, Run for Something

Thinking about running for office, but don't know where to start? 

Join Arena Partner and Arena Fellowship lead Kate Catherall in a session that outlines the first steps you should take when planning a run for office. We will review important questions to answer, timeline considerations, and early campaign planning. You will also learn where to find useful resources to guide your campaign from an idea to a reality. Come ready to ask questions and be inspired.

Working on a 2020 Campaign

  • A'shanti Gholar, Political Director, Emerge America
  • Quentin James, Founder & Executive Director, The Collective Pac
  • Eric Lundy, Program Director, Inclusiv

2020 is primed to be an historic election cycle, and an important time to immerse yourself in electoral politics. Whether you've worked on campaign before, or are just starting out, we will help you create a plan for joining a campaign — from presidential to local and everything in between. We will review what kinds of jobs campaigns hire for, when these jobs come available, and the best way to present your skill set.

Hip-Hop, Politics, & Your Voice

In this workshop, you’ll participate in a cypher aimed at building creativity, confidence, and self-expression. Led by hip-hop artist and educator Toni Blackman, you’ll connect the ideas of history and hip-hop, and participate in performative activities. You should only participate in this session if you are willing to open up, perform, and be vulnerable in front of others. No prior experience in hip-hop is assumed.

Unconscious Bias

Unconscious bias is a rigid belief, positive or negative, about a group of people that is based on limited evidence. It is something that everyone has yet few know how to keep in check. Bias often comes from our experiences, or lack thereof, and its effects are pervasive, like smog in the air. What type of messages you receive about whom, or what groups are omitted from these narratives is largely based on your personal social identities. Led by Dr. Kira Banks, this session will explore on how our personal and social identities influence our unconscious biases. You will increase your knowledge of the psychology of bias and learn the steps necessary to de-bias.

Economic Empowerment Through Social Entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurship is a key factor in local economic development. In this training, we'll examine innovation and private businesses that solve public problems, learn how local businesses get off the ground and work in small groups to design business models that have measurable social impact goals. You’ll leave with a new framework for sustainable and impactful business building and an inspiration to support, invest in, or start a business in your city.


This interactive, multimedia session focuses on how leaders in politics and advocacy use story to persuade and motivate their audiences. 'Origin Story' draws from many fields -- including cognitive neuroscience, narrative analysis, and live performance training -- to help you understand the critical difference between narrative and information, structure your stories for maximum effect, and use your unique physical and vocal tools to build a resilient and powerful connection with your audience.

2:30pm - 4:30pm

Community Time

We will hear from speakers — including our closing keynote, who will focus on our theme of Love + Action, with a special focus on how you can apply that theme in the months ahead. We will also feature a conversation on poverty featuring Michael Nutter, Former Mayor of Philadelphia and Chekemma Fulmore-Townsend, President & CEO of Philadelphia Youth Network, moderated by Errin Whack, Journalist and Associated Press' National Writer on Race and Ethnicity.

We will conclude with an opportunity for you to make final reflections and commitments — both to yourself and to the larger Arena community.

8:00pm - 11:00pm

Closing Party


We’ve worked hard to make our event as accessible as possible. Each room is ADA-compliant. The Ballroom, Grand Hall, and breakout rooms are accessible from Street Level via elevator access by both the Market Street Entrance (b/w 11th and 12th Streets) and the 12th and Arch entrances. Elevator access will bring guests to both the Grand Hall level with the Ballroom and breakout rooms.

There are ADA compliant restrooms on each level - most notably located directly outside the Ballroom entrance on either side.

We don't currently have ASL interpreters, but we are actively seeking volunteers to play this role. Please contact us if you know an interpreter who might be interested.

Host Committee

Karim Abouelnaga, Emily Abrams, Desmond Atem, Erica Atwood, Cathy Barbash, Jonathan Beninson, Aryanna Berringer, Daren Berringer, Lauren Bille, Alicia Bonner Ness, Rebecca Buckwalter-Poza, Melissa Byrne, Rolando Cantú, Charlie Cavell, Katrina Chan, Amy Chiou, Earl Coleman, Bobby Cunningham, Neil Deegan, Elijah Dornstreich, Erin Fitzgerald, Billy Fleming, Lauren Footman, Aman George, Jon Greeting, Alon Gur, Andrea Hailey, Josh Henderson, Jevin Hodge, Christine Jacobs, Molly Jong Fast, Nick Kowalski, James Lauderdale, Eric Lavin, Holly Lynch, Sara Lynch, Kevin Madden, Neil Makhija, Meghan Malloy, Claudia Marte, Coss Marte, Juan Martinez, Nick Marzano, Alexis Morin, Michael Newmuis, Michael O'Bryan, Millennial Politics, William Packer, Nathaniel Parks, Alex Peay, Alison Perelman, Desiree Peterkin Bell, Sujeet Rao, Anthony Robinson, Jason Salus, Annie Sanditen, Neal Sarkar, Adam Schupack, Stacey Shells, Michael Simon, Liz Simon, Michael Slaby, Charlotte Slaiman, Stanford Thompson, Megha Upadhyaya ,Christian Urrutia, Anne Wakabayashi, Elizabeth Wexler, Jeremy Wilcher, Katherine Zuk