Senate President Karen Spilka

Senate President Karen Spilka will be the keynote speaker for the annual Women Elected Municipal Officials virtual spring symposium on May 3.

Spilka will engage in a fireside chat with WEMO Vice Chair Yolanda Greaves, who’s also the vice chair of the Select Board in Spilka’s hometown of Ashland.

The Senate president will reflect on the challenges of serving as a woman in a top leadership position, and discuss her experience navigating disagreements on contentious issues during her career.

Spilka is widely recognized for her policy work on key social issues in Massachusetts, including mental health, juvenile justice, and caregiving. In January, the MMA honored her, along with House Speaker Ron Mariano, with an MMA Legislator of the Year award, recognizing her leadership during the COVID pandemic and work on the fiscal 2024 state budget.

The free WEMO symposium will also feature a civil discourse workshop led by Kathy Eckles, an associate and project manager with Essential Partners. Eckles will cover the steps of a “dialogue design” process — from preparation to facilitation and follow-up — that attendees can implement in their work with municipal boards and committees. The session will provide opportunities for large- and small-group learning.

The symposium will run from 9 to 11 a.m., and will include opportunities for small-group networking. In the coming weeks, the agenda will be available at and will be emailed to WEMO members with a registration link.

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