Thursday - March 2, 2023
9:15 am – 3:45 pm

Registration for the WLG Conference is closed. No walk-ins will be accepted. Contact MMA Senior Member Services Coordinator Denise Baker at with any questions.

Women Leading Government will hold its third Annual Conference on March 2 at Devens Conference Center.

The full-day event is designed for women in appointed positions in local government who are interested in advancing their careers and building their management and leadership skills.

The conference will begin with an opening panel discussion: “Women in Leadership.”

Concurrent breakout sessions will be:
• “The Art of Delegation,” focusing on a skill that often requires practice and dedication
• “First-Time Managers,” a panel discussion about what happens when you become a town manager or department head and what the transition is like

An afternoon workshop, “Polishing Your Public Persona,” will focus on how you present yourself professionally, including guidance on making public presentations both in person and virtually, using software and online tools, and public speaking.

The day will conclude with a networking session.

WLG events are open to all staff in appointed positions in local government. Women are invited and encouraged to attend.

The non-COVID related cancellation deadline is Feb. 23. To cancel your registration, please send an email to After Feb. 23, refunds will only be considered for COVID related cancellations.

The MMA is advising in-person meeting attendees to keep up with the latest COVID vaccines for which they are eligible. We highly recommend that attendees take an at-home rapid antigen test prior to attending, and not attend if they have any COVID symptoms or if a household member has tested positive for COVID. These protocols are subject to change based on the latest public health data and guidance.


8:30-9:15 a.m.
Breakfast, Registration
Headshots: Beginning at 8:30 a.m., photographer Sarah Leary will be offering headshots to all attendees. She will be available throughout the day.
Dress For Success: Worcester Dress for Success will be onsite. As your closet allows, please bring ONE suit or professional blouse to donate.

9:15 a.m.
Opening Remarks
Kelly Axtell, WLG Co-Chair and Lexington Deputy Town Manager

Dress for Success
Worcester office Executive Director Justina Lachapelle will give a brief overview of the services and workforce programs offered by the three Dress for Success offices in Massachusetts.

9:30-10:30 a.m.
Leadership Keynote
Speaker: Catherine Conlow, Executive Director, Maine Municipal Association
Conlow was appointed to her position in September 2021, becoming the first woman to lead the other MMA. Her 30 year career in local government began with an internship in county government in Oregon and Conlow held several positions before being appointed Bangor city manager in 2011. Conlow will share her experience of navigating in a traditionally male dominated profession. She’ll discuss developing the confidence to go for that next opportunity and preparing yourself for taking on a leadership role, mistakes and all!

10:30-11:15 a.m.
Human Bingo!
During this fun networking activity, you will have a chance to learn all about your fellow attendees.

11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Breakout Sessions
The Art of Delegation
Learn more about this skill which often requires practice, dedication and follow-up.
Speaker: Bernie Lynch, Principal, Community Paradigm Associates and Instructor, MMA/Suffolk Management Certificate Program
Moderator: Julie Jacobson, retired town manager and WLG Committee

Management 101
This session will focus on career advancement: acquiring the right skills, signaling you’re ready for promotion, and what to expect when transitioning to a management position.
Speakers: Carys Lustig, DPW Director, Needham
Feng Yang, Chief Information Officer, Brookline
Moderator: Kristen Las, Town Manager, Westford

12:30-1:30 p.m.

1:30-3 p.m.
Leadership Presence: Why You Need It and How to Get It
Speaker: Kristen Van Busum, Founder, SpeakHero Coaching
Do you remember a speaker so captivating you were hanging on their every word? That wow factor; is what we call leadership presence – the ability to connect with others and inspire them to act. The good news is leadership presence is a skill, not a trait. That means it’s something you can build with a little bit of practice. In this interactive workshop, you will learn a step-by-step approach to help you speak like a leader, craft messages that stick, and learn tips to connect with anyone at work. You’ll walk away ready to put your new communication skills into action!

3-3:45 p.m.
Open Networking
All attendees are encouraged to join for this opportunity to build your network!

Devens Common Center, Devens

MMA Senior Member Services Coordinator Denise Baker,
Massachusetts Municipal Management Association