Presentations & Speakers

In Order of the Agenda

Communication Strategies to Bridge Today’s Divisive Political Discourse, Lunch Workshop, with Holly Johnstone and Mark Webster

Considering the current political landscape, Mark and Holly will share their strategic communication process to help you navigate challenging, stressful, politically-charged conversations by deciding when to fight, persuade, pivot, or walk away. If the answer is to persuade, they will also help you find and tell your story so you can have a productive conversation in a stressful situation.

Mark Webster (Mark Webster Communication) is an expert on communication strategy, message and delivery. He helps large organizations, major corporations and international political figures frame issues, manage change and message complex challenges. His clients include Chevron, FBI, GAP, Genetech Roche, Home Depot, Marriott, Microsoft, Rio Tinto, Yahoo and many others. He has worked extensively in post-Soviet Central and Eastern Europe, Asia and the Middle East. He has run the Wisconsin Congressional offices of U.S. Reps. Les Aspin (D-Wisconsin) and U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin) and served on the Board of Fair Wisconsin.

Holly Johnstone (Johnstone Communication) is a strategic communication consultant who helps national and global organizations communicate transformational change in complex business environments. She has experience in the gaming, insurance, healthcare, technology, consumer products and aerospace industries. Her clients include Marriott, Electronic Arts (EA), Zynga, Northwestern Mutual, SC Johnson, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, ViON, and a Big Four Consultancy. Holly communicates high-level, strategic concepts in clear, concise and common language.


Freedom of Information Act/Public Records Requests:  Lisa Graves

Lisa Graves is the Executive Director of the Center for Media and Democracy, a national watchdog group. CMD’s niche is investigating and exposing the undue influence of corporations on public policy. She previously served as Deputy Assistant Attorney General at the U.S. Department of Justice.

CMD’s investigations are often cited by leading papers and have been featured on news shows on HBO, Showtime, PBS, MSNBC, NBC, CNBC, CBS, Democracy Now!, NPR’s Fresh Air, and more. CMD’s original research about the Koch brothers and the corporate special interest infrastructure has been credited in several documentaries and books, including Jane Mayer’s Dark Money.  CMD launched its award-winning ALECexposed investigation after a whistleblower gave Lisa all of the model bills secretly voted on by lobbyists and lawmakers. CMD publishes,, and

Lisa was Deputy Assistant Attorney General at the U.S. Department of Justice in the Office of Legal Policy/Policy Development and served as Chief Counsel for Nominations for the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee for Senator Patrick Leahy. She also worked as the Deputy Chief for the U.S. Court system in the division for lifetime-appointed judges, as an adjunct law professor, and as the leading legislative strategist on privacy issues in national security surveillance. She has testified as an expert witness in both the Senate and the House. Her analysis has been quoted on every major news network in the country and in every major paper in the U.S. and major international outlets.

She has appeared on ABC, NBC, CBS, MSNBC, CNBC, BBC, CNN, C-SPAN, Amy Goodman’s Democracy Now, the Thom Hartmann Show, and on numerous other news programs including National Public Radio and the Canadian Broadcast System. Her analysis has been quoted in the Guardian, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune, The Boston Globe, The Associated Press, Reuters, USA Today, the New Yorker, Mother Jones, the Atlantic, Vanity Fair, Esquire, Wired, Congressional Quarterly, Roll Call, National Journal, Legal Times, Newsday, The Nation, In TheseTimes, American Prospect, and The Progressive, among others, as well as online in Daily Kos, The Huffington Post, Talking Points Memo, and other blogs. Her articles have also been published by In These Times, The Progressive, Yes! magazine, the Texas Law Review, and other periodicals. Her analysis has also been cited in numerous books and documentary films.

Graves is on the board of U.S. Right to Know, in addition to other volunteering.

Immigration 101:  Linda Clifford

Linda Clifford has practiced law in Wisconsin for 43 years – three years as a Wisconsin Assistant Attorney General enforcing environmental regulations and 40 years in private practice concentrating on environmental and energy regulation, First Amendment litigation, municipal and state government issues, and immigration law.  Since 2007, she has specialized in immigration matters as a solo practitioner with Linda Clifford Law Office, LLC.

Linda earned a B.A. degree in International Relations from Beloit College and a J.D. from the University of Wisconsin Law School.  Listed in Best Lawyers in America since 1993, she has been recognized as a Wisconsin Super Lawyer in the field of immigration and was named a “2005 Leader in the Law” by The Wisconsin Law Journal for her pro bono representation of political asylum seekers.

Linda has served on the Board of Directors of and volunteers with the Madison-based Community Immigration Law Center, Inc. since 2009 and is a long-time member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.  A frequent speaker on immigration law issues, she also has testified as an expert witness in family law cases involving immigration issues.

Justice Is Blind, But Does It See Color?:  Mario White

Trial Advocacy Skills with Clients of Color

Mario White graduated from the University of Wisconsin Law School in 2008.  After graduation, he began working in the Madison Trial Office of the Wisconsin State Public Defender.  In that role, he represents clients charged with crimes ranging from criminal traffic to homicide.  In addition to his work as an attorney, Mario has been on the faculty of the Wisconsin State Public Defender Trial Skills Academy for several years.  He also coaches law students who participate in the UW Law School Mock Trial Program, a program to which he belonged while in school.  This year, he was invited to teach at the National Criminal Defense College in Macon, Georgia.

Adventures in Suing the State of Wisconsin: Tamara Packard

Tamara Packard is a partner in the Madison law firm Pines Bach. She and her firm have a long history of fighting unjust and illegal government action and laws. Most recently, in cooperation with Lambda Legal, Tamara obtained a federal court order directing the State of Wisconsin to provide two-parent birth certificates to married same sex couples and their children. Tamara and her colleagues have challenged numerous Walker-era laws including the Voter ID law, Act 10, limitations on the powers of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, and laws hampering women’s access to abortion. Most ofTamara’s professional time is spent representing employees in disputes with their employers, including State employees.

Rights in Transition: Legal Challenges Facing the LGBTQ+ Community:  Larry Dupuis and Brian Juchems

Larry Dupuis has been the legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin Foundation since July 2003. He litigates cases and coordinates the litigation efforts of pro bono attorneys from the private bar who handle cases on behalf of the ACLU. He has represented parties or friends of the court in, among other cases, Wolf v. Walker, the case that brought marriage equality for lesbian and gay couples to Wisconsin; Helgeland v. DETF, a state constitutional challenge to the exclusion of same-sex couples from state employee spousal benefits; Appling v. Doyle, a case defending the state’s limited domestic partnership law for same-sex couples against a challenge by anti-gay forces; Susan R. v. Circuit Court, a case seeking recognition of parentage for the same-sex spouse of a lesbian birth mother; Sundstrom v. Frank, a successful challenge to a statute banning hormone therapy and sex reassignment surgery for transgender prisoners with gender dysphoria; and Milwaukee Gay Arts Ctr. v. City of Milwaukee, a First Amendment challenge to the denial of a theater license for a production of “Naked Boys Singing.” He speaks frequently on civil rights and civil liberties topics to audiences including lawyers and law students, as well as the general public.

Larry received his bachelor’s degree from Marquette University in 1986. In 1996, he received his law degree from the New York University School of Law, where he was a Root-Tilden-Kern Public Service Scholar. After law school, he was a law clerk to the Hon. Robert W. Sweet, a federal district judge in the Southern District of New York. Prior to joining the ACLU, he was a Skadden Fellow and then a staff attorney at Legal Action of Wisconsin, a non-profit law firm providing representation to low-income individuals in civil cases. He has served on the governing boards or committees of a number of organizations, including the Civil Rights and Civil Liberties section of the State Bar of Wisconsin, Legal Action of Wisconsin and the Eastern District of Wisconsin Bar Association’s Pro Bono Committee.

Since 2002 Brian Juchems has served as the lead educator trainer for GSAFE, an organization working to create just schools for LGBTQ+ youth in Wisconsin. He has provided professional development for thousands of K-12 educators each year, and has partnered with Madison students to successfully advocate for the state’s first district-level transgender-inclusive nondiscrimination policy. Brian J. has also worked directly with and coached several dozen school districts to similarly modernize and implement their policies.  As GSAFE’s Senior Director of Education and Policy, Brian J. continues to be an advocate and ally for educators who seek to create welcoming and inclusive spaces for all students.

Lobbying 101:  Kelda Roys

Kelda Roys is an attorney, entrepreneur, former state representative, and advocate. Currently, she serves as CEO & Founder of OpenHomes, a venture-backed tech startup and virtual real estate brokerage that is automating the process of buying and selling homes.

Prior to founding OpenHomes, Kelda held elective office as State Representative in the Wisconsin Assembly, where she served as Democratic Caucus Chair and Vice-Chair on the Committee on Health & Healthcare Reform. She traveled to Japan and Pakistan as a delegate from the American Council of Young Political Leaders, and won numerous awards for leadership on issues ranging from health care to child safety. Kelda was a key leader during the 2011 massive protests against Act 10. While in the legislature, she was Of Counsel at Wheeler, Van Sickle & Anderson, handling client matters in real estate, contracts, small business, and estate planning.

At age 32, after serving two terms in the legislature, she ran for an open seat for US Congress in Wisconsin’s 2nd Congressional District, one of the youngest women to have done so in US history. Although she lost that race, she raised over $500,000 from over 3,400 individual donors, eschewing all corporate money.

Advocating for women has been a continual part of Kelda’s life. Kelda spent 4 years as Executive Director of NARAL Pro-Choice Wisconsin after graduating magna cum laude from the University of Wisconsin Law School. While a law student, she worked on the Wisconsin Innocence Project, for both Steven Avery and Audrey Edmunds, and she won the National Association of Women Lawyers Outstanding Law Student Award. She has volunteered with the Public Interest Law Foundation, the State Bar’s Legal Assistance Committee, and Wills for Heroes. Kelda graduated magna cum laude from New York University with a BA in Drama, Politics, and Cultural Studies.

Kelda has been active in many community organizations, including TEMPO Madison Board of Directors, Common Cause, the ACLU, and Citizen Action. She lives on Madison’s near west side with her partner Dan, their 3-year-old daughter Arcadia, and Dan’s two teen daughters.

Plenary Session –  Partisan Gerrymandering:  Wisconsin is Ground Zero:  Sachin Chheda and Bill Whitford

Sachin Chheda and Bill Whitford will discuss Whitford v Gill, the legal history of partisan gerrymandering, their work to attack the practice in Wisconsin, and the legal and political ramifications of their work.

Sachin Chheda is director of the Fair Elections Project, a nonprofit, nonpartisan campaign to end political gerrymandering in American elections. The Fair Elections Project organized and launched the lawsuit Whitford v Gill, in which a verdict in favor of the plaintiffs was returned in November, 2016. The special three-judge panel in U.S. District Court declared Wisconsin’s legislative district maps unconstitutional for being an excessively partisan gerrymander.

In addition to working with the Fair Elections Project, Sachin serves a consultant to economic development organizations, corporations and nonprofit agencies, and labor unions. He previously served as a senior aide to Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle and then-Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin and worked for advocacy groups and the UW-Milwaukee Chancellor. Sachin has been named in recent years as a “Behind the Scenes Power Player” by Gannett Media and one of the nation’s 500 top “Influencers” by Campaigns & Elections magazine. He lives on Milwaukee’s East Side with his wife Angela and their four children.

Bill Whitford, Professor of Law Emeritus, is lead plaintiff in Whitford v. Gill. He joined the University of Wisconsin Law School faculty in 1965 and retired in 2014. Whitford taught a wide range of business law subjects, most recently focusing on Contracts law. His research interests included Contracts, Bankruptcy, Consumer Protection and Taxation. Professor Whitford has also taught several years in East Africa and maintains an active interest in that area of the world.

Professor Whitford was actively engaged with the Law School’s Legal Education Opportunity Program (LEO) over many years and describes it as one of his passions. An active lifelong Democrat, his leisure-time activities include cooking, biking and backpacking.

Information about the Fair Elections Project can be found on their website at, including most case documents and articles regarding the case, and on social media at @wifairelections.

Keynote:  All Hands On Deck – A Call To Action

James H. Hall, Jr.

Mr. Hall is a partner with the Milwaukee firm of Hall, Burce & Olson, S.C., and his practice areas include, among other things, general business matters, small business and not-for-profit organizations, litigation, employment and civil rights.  Mr. Hall was co-lead counsel in the class action involving redlining discrimination against American Family Insurance Company, the class action settlement with the City of Milwaukee on behalf of African American Firefighters and the lawsuit challenging the Wisconsin voucher program.

James H. Hall, Jr. is past president of the NAACP Milwaukee Branch and is a founding member of 100 Black Men of Milwaukee.  He is a member of the Board of Directors of the ACLU of Wisconsin, a past member of the ACLU National Board of Directors, and a past member of the National Board of Directors of Americans United for Separation of Church and State.  He is also a board member of the Tanzanian Economic Development Initiative, the Haggarty Museum of Art and the Milwaukee Art Museum’s Fine Arts Society.  Mr. Hall has extensive experience with non-profit financial matters, having served for fifteen years on the finance committee of the National ACLU and having served for several years as the chair of the finance committee of Americans United for Separation of Church and State. Mr. Hall is currently the chair of the endowment policy committee of the ACLU National organization.

Since 2011, Mr. Hall has been an adjunct Instructor/Lecturer for the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Department of Educational Policy and Community Outreach, teaching Race and Public Policy in Urban America and Policy Analysis, among other courses.

Hmm…I wonder if this is a problem?:  Mary Ferwerda

Working Through Ethical Questions Of  Activism and Pro Bono Service

Mary Ferwerda is the Executive Director of the Milwaukee Justice Center, a public-private partnership utilizing volunteers to provide self-help and brief legal advice services to self-represented litigants in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin. Mary graduated from Marquette University Law School and earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska. Prior to completing law school, Mary worked for over 10 years in higher education administration at both Creighton University and Marquette University.

Executive Power:  Professor Asifa Quraishi-Landes

Professor Asifa Quraishi-Landes is a Professor of Law at the University of Wisconsin Law School.  She specializes in comparative Islamic and U.S.constitutional law, with a current focus on modern Islamic constitutional theory.  She is a 2009 Carnegie Scholar and 2012 Guggenheim Fellow. Recent publications include “Healing a Wounded Islamic Constitutionalism: Sharia, Legal Pluralism, and Unlearning the Nation-State Paradigm (forthcoming in Transformative Constitutionalism, Boaventura De Sousa Santos, editor) and “Legislating Morality and Other Illusions about Islamic Government,” (forthcoming in Locating the Shari’a: Legal Fluidity in Theory, History and Practice, Nathan French & Sohaira Siddiqui editors).  Currently, she is working on a book manuscript, “Islamic Reconstitutionalism,” in which she proposes a model for Islamic constitutionalism for the today’s Muslim-majority countries.

Professor Quraishi-Landes holds a doctorate from Harvard Law School and other degrees from Columbia Law School, the University of California – Davis, and the University of California – Berkeley, and has served as law clerk in the United State Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.  She has served as a Public Delegate on the United States Delegation to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, the Task Force on Religion and the Making of U.S. Foreign Policy for the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, and as advisor to the Pew Task Force on Religion & Public Life.  She is currently President of the National Association of Muslim Lawyers (NAML), and serves on the governing board of the Association of American Law Schools’ Section on Islamic Law.

Environmental Law in a New Era: Opportunities Lost & Gained:  Tressie Kamp

Tressie Kamp is a staff attorney at Midwest Environmental Advocates. She earned a degree in wildlife ecology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a law degree from Cardozo Law School in New York City. She enjoyed working for state and federal environmental agencies and non-profits during her time in New York. After practicing law out east, she returned to Wisconsin to work as a policy analyst for the state, focusing on alternative transportation and air quality programming. Now at MEA, Tressie works on agricultural law and policy issues throughout the State and coordinates the law clerk program. She is also MEA’s primary representative in filing and executing the citizen Petition for Corrective Action, which urges the federal government to require fixing of Wisconsin’s deficient water pollution permitting program.

Plenary Session:  The Great ObamaCare Debate and the Future of Health Care in America:  Robert Kraig

Robert Kraig  is the Executive Director of Citizen Action of Wisconsin. Robert is a leading strategist in the Wisconsin progressive movement, and is especially known for developing innovative approaches to strategic communication and issue campaign design and implementation. Robert is leading in the development of new progressive communications models which are more effective and fully integrate traditional organizing with earned, social, and new media strategies.

Robert frequently appears in Wisconsin media on health care and economic issues. He has also appeared on major national and international media outlets such as Fox News, MSNBC, Al Jazeera, Democracy Now, and many syndicated radio programs, and has been quoted in national newspapers and magazines such as the New York Times, Washington Post, The American Prospect, The Atlantic, and Mother Jones. He is also a regular panelist on the local PBS television program International Focus.

Robert periodically teaches graduate classes at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, most recently teaching a Ph.D Seminar in Spring 2014 (Communications 973: The Rhetorical Turn in American Politics). In October of 2011 Robert was one of the recipients of the Citizen Leadership Award from the Campaign for America’s Future. In January of 2009 Families USA, the national organization for health care consumers, presented Robert with its “Consumer Health Advocate of the Year Award.” Also in 2009, the Wisconsin State Assembly gave Robert a special citation for his work in promoting health care reform in Wisconsin. In 2007 Kraig shared, with his colleague Matt Brusky, the “Progressive Innovation Award” from the Ballot Initiative Strategy Center.

Robert is the author of several major academic articles on American political rhetoric and a well-regarded book, Woodrow Wilson and the Lost World of the Oratorical Statesman (Texas A&M Press). The book topped a Wall Street Journal list of the five best books on presidential rhetoric. From 1999-2005 he was the Wisconsin Political Director for SEIU, where he helped develop and win the passage of several policy innovations which enabled over twelve thousand low- wage workers to form unions.


3 thoughts on “Presentations & Speakers

    1. Yes! Right now, we have it scheduled that James Hall will speak late on Friday (after dinner). On Saturday, Robert Kraig is speaking on health care, we are planning an ethics session, and more. I’ll post a full agenda soon – it’s going to be a very full 24-hours.


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