The Power of Convening: EdFuel’s 2019 D.C. Talent Summit

Mary Mason Boaz
May 16, 2019

In many organizations, talent leaders often do their work in a silo or are members of very small talent teams where the chance to collaborate is limited. Additionally, talent leaders often take on multiple workstreams (recruitment, hiring, the retention…the list goes on!) and thus their time is scarce, which can mean that opportunities to grow and learn can be minimal. As a result, we hear from talent leaders about high levels of turnover on their teams, the feeling of stagnation or loneliness, and less effective practices because of limited time to grow and learn.

Over the past several years, with support from the Scholarships for Opportunity and Results (SOAR) Grant through the Office of the State Superintendent of Education in D.C., we have had the opportunity to support talent leaders to overcome these challenges by offering a space for them to collaborate and engage with national best practices and experts in the talent space.

This past April EdFuel hosted its third annual D.C. Talent Summit. We brought together nearly 150 talent leaders from across Washington, D.C. to spend a day learning and discussing practices to create equitable and inclusive talent systems in our organizations.

Our goals were to provide space for collaboration and connection, ensure participants walked out with practical resources and tools, and offer a wide range of high-impact talent sessions focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion and facilitated by talent experts.

To do this, we offered sessions covering a range of topics including:

• Implementing a Strategic Talent Calendar that Prioritizes Equity
• Emotionally Intelligent Leadership: Leading Across Lines of Difference
• Your Organization’s Got Talent: Unmask Their Potential
• Defining Your Compensation Philosophy and Position on Performance Rewards
• Close the Revolving Door: Identifying Equitable Strategies to Retain Staff
• Signed, Sealed, and Delivered: Steps to Successfully Matriculate and Onboard Staff
• Bust Up Your Bias and Hire the Best
• Building a Diverse Candidate Pipeline

Additionally, each participant received a link with access to all session decks and resources from all sessions offered at the summit. Our hope is that participants will share these resources broadly within their organizations. If you want to check out the resources, you can visit this Google Drive folder.

Acknowledging the work of many great, local organizations and leaders in the city, we partnered as a community to design and facilitate breakout sessions. Our partners included: Chante’ Chambers, Charter Board Partners, Barr Weiss Consulting, Noble Story Group, oneTILT, Revive Recruiting, School Leader Lab, and TNTP.

With the help of our partner organizations and the EdFuel team, we were able to deliver on our goals, providing a learning opportunity that included collaboration, comprehensive and relevant topics, actionable content and tools, and a focus and integration of diversity, equity, and inclusion as a driving factor of successful talent work.

Talent leaders shared feedback via a survey at the end of the Summit and we were excited to see the impact the day had on participants:

• 96% were strongly satisfied/satisfied with the D.C. Talent Summit
• 99% were strongly satisfied/satisfied with the quality of the facilitators
• 96% were strongly satisfied/satisfied with the content of the breakout sessions

We have learned, time and again, that bringing talent leaders together in a learning environment proves to be beneficial to organizations and to cities that are committed to recruiting and retaining great people who will, in turn, create the best environment for teachers and students to thrive.

If you are interested in hosting a Talent Summit in your community, please reach out to Kelly Gleischman ( If you would like more information about our 2019 DC Talent Summit please contact