2020 Future Summit

Event date: August 07, 2020

  • Friday, August 7, 2020 12:00 PM  –  4:15 PM

On August 7, 2020, the Millennial Action Project (MAP) hosted the 4th annual Future Summit. This year’s Summit was both MAP’s first virtual summit and largest, with a bipartisan group of 65 legislators from 34 different states in attendance.

These legislators represent a cross-section of the more than 1,500 bipartisan Millennial state legislators included in our State Future Caucus Network (SFCN). The SFCN creates space for bipartisan dialogue and action among legislators committed to working on innovative and future-focused policy. This year Future Summit attendees from both sides of the aisle shared their experiences adapting to the unique challenges of 2020, learned tools for leadership and bridge building by renowned speakers, and communicated best practices gained from their engagement on vital policy issues.

The day began with welcome remarks by MAP’s Founder and CEO, Steven Olikara, who spoke on our decision to go fully virtual and called the state roll, allowing representatives from the 34 different states in attendance to introduce themselves. The legislators were treated to a clip from the documentary film, The Reunited States, in which Olikara and many Future Caucus members are spotlighted alongside other leaders who have dedicated their lives to depolarizing politics and reaching across the political aisle to build a better future together.

Legislators then joined small breakout rooms of three to four legislators each, for a peer-to-peer discussion on the ways COVID-19 has affected their work in the legislature, and in their personal lives. Legislators traded tips for handling legislative logistics during these difficult times, noted the changes needed for their state legislatures to adapt to COVID-19, and expressed gratitude for their time learning from one another.

After a brief break, legislators returned to the virtual mainroom  for the panel discussion, “From Theory to Practice: Leaders in Action. The panel was moderated by MAP’s Executive Director and COO, Layla Zaidane, and featured distinguished guests: Dr. Lara Brown, the Director of the Graduate School of Political Management at The George Washington University; Dr. Chris Gibson, a former U.S. Congressman, decorated combat veteran, and current President of Siena College; Thione Niang, social entrepreneur and founder of Give1Project; and Robbie Bach, the creator of Xbox and current civic engineer.

Each of the panelists shared the principles and experiences that have guided them as individuals, offering their best advice to Millennial leaders. Dr. Brown highlighted the three dimensions of leadership: courage, curiosity, and compassion. Dr. Gibson shared the moving stories of two young men in the armed services who were willing to pay the ultimate price, speaking to building trust as a leader by embodying selflessness and courage. Mr. Niang stressed the importance of leading by example and of the opportunity Millennials have to bridge divides not only in America, but all over the world. Mr. Bach encouraged Millennials to embrace change, identify their 3 P’s (Purpose, Principles, and Priorities), and form teams that leverage the unique gifts of each of their members.

“To all our legislators here today seeking to improve themselves and… to be better servants of their constituents, I just want to affirm, being part of Millennial Action Project is really illustrative that you’re sincere and that you already are making a difference.

— Dr. Chris Gibson

Following the panel, legislators participated in policy breakout sessions centered on one of four policy issues. The legislators selected from the following policy areas: “From Justice Reform to Community Reinvestment”; “Maximizing Energy Innovation for a Healthier Future”; “Modernizing the Workforce to Create Economic Security”; and “Election Resiliency and Ensuring Representative Democracy.” With one Democrat and one Republican legislator leading each breakout session, attendees were able to learn about successful legislation from other states, trade insights on  passing legislation, identify solutions to legislative obstacles, and find notable consensus on each of the four policy areas.

After a break for lunch, legislators returned for a fireside chat with 2020 Future Summit’s keynote speaker, Martin Luther King III. MAP’s founder and CEO Steven Olikara covered a wide range of ground with Mr. King, building a dialogue around bridge building and asking questions about his family’s legacy.

The discussion was captivating, focused on political bridge building in today’s polarized political culture One of the legislators even brought a special guest to share in the moment…

To cap off the hallmark occasion, MAP legislators and staffers joined a virtual reception, where legislators mingled over cocktails and showcased items from their home districts such as Oregonian herbs, loose leaf tea, and a book featuring Oklahoma City.

MAP’s Executive Director and COO Layla Zaidane had the final word of the night, celebrating the day and the future of Millennial leadership:

“ When you think about Future Summit, she said, don’t think of it as the end, but think of it as the beginning.

— Layla Zaidane, MAP Executive Director and COO

Earlier Event: July 24

Technology Association of Oregon Resiliency Series: Featuring OR Future Caucus Co-Chair Rep. Julie Fahey

Later Event: August 7

A Fireside Chat with Steven Olikara and Martin Luther King III

Rep. Sara Jacobs


Be a part of a network of lawmakers committed to governing effectively, passing more representative public policy, and increasing public trust in democracy.