Special Format: Talk Show Panel

Topic: Building Sector Sustainability

Public policy advocacy that influences all levels of government is an essential capacity for leaders in the social service sector. As the pace of change, the political landscape, and limited government funding are today's norm, individuals and organizations must be equipped to educate policymakers and articulate key issues that accelerate or thwart their mission and business. It is vital that leaders are active in protecting and enacting policies that strengthen families and support strong, healthy communities. 

During this session, leaders in the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities network will lead an interactive discussion, sharing their own advocacy experiences, tips for fitting advocacy in to a busy schedule and packed organizational agenda, and advice for building policy advocacy muscle. As members of the Alliance strategic action network, all participants will learn about the member-developed public policy platform, which features values, distinct positioning, and framing, that all members can use in our collective advocacy and their organizations’ state and local advocacy.

Learning Objectives

  • Perspectives on the value of engaging in policy advocacy as a senior social sector leader
  • Tips for integrating policy advocacy into a busy schedule and focused organizational agenda
  • Ways to position your organization as a go-to resource for policymakers at local, state, and federal levels on issues that matter to your mission and business


  • Marlo Nash, senior vice president of Public Policy and Mobilization, Alliance for Strong Families and Communities (@AlliancePolicy @AllianceNews)
  • Members from the Alliance network

Marlo Nash
Senior Vice President, Public Policy and Mobilization
Alliance for Strong Families and Communities

Marlo Nash has served as the senior vice president of public policy and mobilization since July 2015, and she led the process to develop the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities’ public policy platform and 2017-2019 federal legislative agenda. She returned to the Alliance in this role after a brief time away to help lead the startup of the National Foster Youth Institute, founded by the Congressional Caucus on Foster Youth. In 2013, Nash began working at the Alliance as its director of external relations and network mobilization. She designed the network mobilization approach that is in action today.

Previously, she served on the leadership team of Voices for America’s Children as its vice president of membership. Prior to this role, Nash’s early childhood network building, awareness, and engagement efforts captured the attention of United Way of America, and she was recruited to join its national team to lead 2-1-1 and Success By 6, the nation’s largest public-private network of early childhood advocates.
During nearly 10 years with the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy (OICA) as the director of Oklahoma KIDS COUNT, the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s long-running data tracking and policy change initiative, Nash trained hundreds of child advocacy leaders, produced the annual KIDS COUNT Factbook, and worked closely with media outlets to elevate key issues.