Convention Center

December 8 – 9

Tickets From





  • Anand Giridharadas delivered a keynote that revisits the theme of “A More Perfect Union,” ten years later. Anand is a writer and author of The True American: Murder and Mercy in Texas and India Calling: An Intimate Portrait of a Nation’s Remaking. He was a foreign correspondent and columnist for The New York Times from 2005 to 2016, and has also written for The Atlantic, The New Yorker, and The New Republic.
  • Angela Glover Blackwell, Founder and CEO of PolicyLink, spoke to racial and economic equity, and how we can shape progressive policy agendas leading into the 2018 cycle and beyond.
  • Tom Perriello, former Congressman and CEO of Win Virginia, discussed the lessons we learned in last week’s historic election in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
  • Randy Bryce, Veteran, Ironworker, and Candidate for U.S. Congress (WI-1), spoke about the need for authenticity in our politics.
  • Ellie Pérez, Arizona DNC Member, shared her journey into the arena and why she fights for a more perfect union.
  • Alex Gomez, Living United for Change in Arizona (LUCHA), spoke about the immigrant rights movement and building power from the ground up.

Lennon Flowers, Co-Founder and Executive Director of The Dinner Party, and Micky ScottBey Jones, Director of Healing Justice Initiatives at Faith Matters Network, helped us learn how to build a more inclusive, tolerant, and compassionate world across differences through a People's Supper.

8:30pm - 10:00pm

Welcome Party



  • Gabby Giffords, former Congresswoman, and Captain Mark Kelly, retired astronaut, shared why they continue to fight in the arena, and how they shape a more perfect union through responsible gun ownership.
  • Jason Kander, President of Let America Vote, shared his reflections about the state of our democracy on the one year anniversary of the first Arena Summit.
  • Desmond Meade, Executive Director of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, highlighted the work he is leading to end Jim Crow in Florida and restore voting rights to 1.6 million formerly incarcerated individuals.
  • Adrian Fontes, Maricopa County Recorder, shared his story of why he decided to enter the arena, and the work he is doing to advance voting rights and access for America's fastest growing county.
  • January Contreras, Candidate for Arizona Attorney General, shared her vision of a more perfect union.
  • Earned Media and Messaging 101: How to Get Your Name in the Paper
  • Listen Now, Win Later: The Science Behind Persuasive Conversations
  • New Times, New Tactics: Using Human-Centered Design to Run a Campaign
  • Texting Out the Vote
  • Get. That. Money. (AKA 10 Tips for Getting Your Organizing Work Funded by Philanthropies and Major Dollar Funders)
  • Digital Advocacy on a Shoestring
  • Doing Good While Being Well: Self Care Essentials for Social Impact Leaders
  • The Power of Volunteers
  • Innovator + Founder Track [application only]
  • Campaign Leadership Track [application only]
12:30pm – 1:30pm

Lunch + Office Hours

  • Earned Media and Messaging 101: How to Get Your Name in the Paper
  • How to Craft Values Based Messaging to Influence a Variety of Audiences
  • Reaching Your Audience Online
  • Getting Creative: How to Challenge Traditional Communication Methods
  • Mastering Call Time
  • Strategic Planning, Data-Driven Targeting, and You
  • Civil Dialogue®: Exploring Hot Topics with Cool Heads
  • Root Causes of Our Political System
  • Innovator + Founder Track [application only]
  • Campaign Leadership Track [application only]
3:00pm – 4:00pm

Community Time

  • DeRay Mckesson, Black Lives Matter leader and Co-Founder of Campaign Zero, delivered the closing keynote of The Arena Phoenix. He discussed why criminal justice reform and educational opportunity are fundamental to shaping a more perfect union, and why he fights in the arena every day. DeRay currently hosts the Crooked Media podcast Pod Save the People.
  • Mayor Robert Uribe from Douglas, AZ, shared his story of entering the arena and being an inclusive mayor representing a border community.

Advanced Tracks

Public Narrative Training, All Day Friday, December 8

This is an all-day Public Narrative workshop based on the Harvard University course, taught by Sarah ElRaheb and a teaching team who has trained alongside prominent social justice activist and Professor Marshall Ganz. In a small-group setting, participants worked with coaches to develop their capacity to lead through learning to tell their own story, the story of those they call to join them, and the story of their call to action. This workshop leads participants through a dynamic experiential process that enables individuals to identify their values and inspire action.

Campaign Leadership Track, All Day Friday, December 8 + Afternoon of Saturday, December 9

This is a training track for campaign managers and other campaign leaders, looking to level up their skills in strategy, new media storytelling, management, and data. This training will not be comprehensive, but rather, will focus on discreet needs that we have observed in our interactions with campaign leadership teams. We highly recommend this track for first-time campaign managers and people stepping into leadership roles on campaigns, but invite all interested parties to apply. The cost of attendance for this session is $50.

Innovator + Founder Track, Afternoon of Saturday, December 9

Higher Ground Labs, Empowered to Run, and Lab 736 are bringing together fellow innovators and founders who are developing new civic projects and organizations. We will explore gaps in the current ecosystem and strategize on issues like joint/coordinated fundraising, developing shared tech infrastructure, and staying legally compliant.

Based on your input in the application, we will pick two or three topics. Then we’ll start developing solutions together at the Summit. This is not a talk or panel discussion. Instead, it’s an opportunity to work with fellow innovators and entrepreneurs to accelerate your/our work.