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WIMG meets to address the power of women as leaders.

Under the backdrop of "America's Most Historic City," leaders and members of NLC's Women in Municipal Government (WIMG) constituency group convened for their Annual Summer Conference, May 28-31 in Philadelphia.

The conference, held at the Marriott Philadelphia Downtown, was chaired and co-hosted by WIMG President Edna Branch Jackson, mayor pro tem of Savannah, Ga. The conference co-host was WIMG Past President Marian Tasco, council majority leader of Philadelphia.

According to Jackson, the conference was "designed to help individuals learn how to achieve and accomplish more in their roles as local leaders."

Participants achieved these goals by attending in-depth workshops and discussion forums that focused on a wide range of topics. The workshop themes included media tips and techniques for messaging to the public; powerful leaders and inspiring women; overcoming predatory lending with place-based approaches to foreclosure prevention; the impact of ex-offenders' reentry into society; life after elected office; and managing stress and women's health.

In addition, an NLC briefing was held to help participants focus on NLC's federal lobbying priorities for transportation funding, housing finance reform, public safety, immigration reform and collective bargaining.

Keynote speakers included NLC President Cynthia McCollum, councilmember, Madison, Ala., Rep. Cherelle Parker (D-Pa.), and Tasco.

While giving her remarks about the "The Powerful Woman," Tasco encouraged her colleagues by saying, "It is our challenge to challenge how the rules are engaged in the political arena. We can be influential in many disciplines." She encouraged conference participants from around the country to become more involved in shaping the decision-making process in their municipalities.

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter was enthusiastic in his welcome to conference delegates and invited guests from around Philadelphia to attend the City Hall Opening Reception. He stated, "This vital gathering beckons members from throughout the nation to network and discuss some of the more pressing issues affecting cities across America."

He presented both McCollum and Jackson with replicas of the Liberty Bell as tokens of the city's hospitality to NLC. In addition, Jackson presented McCollum and Mayor Nutter with keys to the City of Savannah, Ga., and let them know that they would always be welcome in her city.

Other key reception speakers and guests were Lt. Gov. Catherine Baker-Knoll of Pennsylvania who offered remarks on behalf of Gov. Edward Rendell, and Jack Garner, executive director of the Pennsylvania League of Cities and Municipalities. NLC Past President Brian O'Neill, councilmember, and Anna Verna, council president, Philadelphia, also offered enthusiastic greetings to conference attendees.

During her keynote remarks, McCollum told attendees, "You wouldn't be here unless you knew how important it is to help our colleagues in any way we can." She complimented the women in attendance by describing them as "tough, smart, able to withstand the difficult challenges of being able to work in cities every day."

McCollum stated that NLC is striving to achieve a strong federal and local government partnership and is already working to build a strong working partnership with the country's next President. She talked about the importance of addressing key issues such as poverty reduction and economic development as approaches to improving the quality of life within cities and towns.

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Other NLC constituency group leaders who served as speakers included Hispanic Elected Local Officials President Marie Lopez Rogers, mayor, Avondale, Ariz., and National Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials President James Mitchell Jr., councilmember. Charlotte, N.C. Rogers served on the panel discussion "The Power of Women as Leaders." Mitchell gave a speech entitled "How Women Have Inspired Me."

A highlight of the conference was the unique mobile workshop "Sights and Sounds of Philadelphia." The all-day workshop gave attendees the opportunity to visit several of Philadelphia's neighborhoods in a variety of the city's wards "to view economic vitality, entrepreneurship, arts and culture, and community best practices that can be adapted in their hometowns." Rep. Dwight Evans (D-Pa.) offered greetings to attendees during the tour.

Both Gov. Rendell and Rep. Evans served as conference cosponsors. Additional co-sponsors included the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau, TASER International, Bank of America, Comcast, Duane Morris LLC, Independence Blue Cross, Sunoco, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital and Wachovia.

During the conference, members of the WIMG Board of Directors met to discuss marketing approaches and fundraising needs for the annual WIMG Leadership Award program; the process for informing WIMG members about the final changes in the group's bylaws for a vote by the membership; the importance of applying for leadership positions with NLC steering committees, task forces, councils and free standing committees for 2009; and important topics for future workshops, such as the digital television transition, which will occur in February 2009.

Carolyn Coleman, NLC director of federal relations, shared extensive information about the digital transition that is available on www.nlc.org under the "Topics" menu for Technology and Communications.

WIMG member Erlinda Gonzales, former councilwoman from Taos, N.M., said, "It is so important to attend the annual WlMG summer meetings. I urge as many women as possible to attend these conferences because of the value they provide to us as leaders. You can make a difference in helping your hometown by seeing cost-saving and revenue producing programs that other cities and towns offer. In this type of meeting format, one can learn so much and take helpful information back to your councils."

Details: For more information about NLC's legislative priorities and for details about WIMG and how to join, visit www.nlc.org or contact call (202) 626-3169.
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Title Annotation:NLC's Women in Municipal Government
Author:Del Rio Daher, Sadira
Publication:Nation's Cities Weekly
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 16, 2008
Words:907
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