Policy Summit

The Make Family Leave Not Suck Policy Summit is convening 60-75 advocates, thought leaders, academics, community organizers, the private sector, and others to engage in dynamic and collaborative discussions with the shared goal of bolstering access to equitable paid family leave. We are at a potentially transformative time as more states and workplaces are considering paid leave policies. Through dynamic panel discussions, personal narratives from mothers and parents, networking, and collaborative breakout sessions, the Policy Summit aims to center equity in paid leave, elevate traditionally marginalized voices, and create a forum that nurtures enhanced coordination and communication to shape a future where all families can access equitable paid leave.

Please note that this is an invite-only event.

Working Agenda

Friday, April 27th, 6PM-9PM:

All Participants Attend Inspiration Night & Kickoff Party.

Saturday, April 28th

8AM - 9AM: Registration & Breakfast

9AM - 9:45AM: Keynote and Welcome

9:45AM - 11AM: Equity & Innovation Workshop

11AM - 11:15AM: Networking/Coffee Break

11:15AM - 11:30AM: Policy Summit Welcome and Introductions

11:30AM - 12:30PM:  Panel - Paid Family Leave in the US: Where We’ve Been, Where We Are, and Where We’re Going

Overview on paid family leave policy and practices in the United States. Summit attendees have varied expertise and experiences with paid family leave at different levels of government and in the private sector. This panel aims to describe the landscape of where paid leave is in the United States, what’s on the horizon, and the importance of centering equity in paid family leave.  

12:30PM - 2PM: Lunch & Check Out Innovation Gallery & Art Exhibition

2PM - 3:15PM: Panel - Paid Family Leave In The Work Place

This panel offers varied perspectives on expanding access to paid family leave in the workplace. Panelists will share insights on challenges, solutions, approaches to advocacy and strategies for building more equitable workplace policies.  

3:15PM - 3:30PM: Performance Interlude

3:30PM - 4PM: Coffee Break & Check Out Innovation Gallery & Art Exhibition

4PM - 5:30PM:  Panel - Spotlight on State and Local Paid Leave Legislation, Advocacy, and Lessons for the Future

As more states create and expand paid leave policies, insights can be gained from the lessons and challenges encountered in states at different points in the process of considering and enacting paid leave policies. Panelists will share findings from some of the first states to enact paid family leave, states that may be on the cusp of new laws, and energized leaders of advocacy and coalition building in states with legislatures not yet ready for paid leave policies.     

5:30PM - 7PM: Dinner and Lightning Talks

Sunday, April 29th

8AM- 9AM: Breakfast

9AM - 10:15AM:  Dreaming the Future of Paid Family and Medical Leave

What does success look like for paid leave in five years? In this breakout session, small groups work with design thinking facilitators to outline a 3-5 year vision for paid leave policies that center equity and health. Group visions may include macro goals such as how many states enact paid leave policies by 2023, as well as process and implementation goals around coordinated advocacy, messaging, access, and technology. Groups will report back their vision for future success, which will anchor conversations for the next activity.

10:15AM - 10:45AM: Networking/Coffee Break

10:45AM - 12:15PM: Breakout Facilitated Conversations

Interactive design thinking challenge during which small groups revisit the 3-5 year vision crafted in the last session and backcast to strategially describe actions and processes related to building political will, advocacy, digital organizing, commitment to equity, implementation, and access that are needed to achieve the 3-5 year objective(s). Groups will shareback strategies and recommendations.

12:15PM-12:30PM: Storytelling Interlude

12:30PM - 1:45PM: Lunch & check out Innovation Gallery & Art Exhibition

1:45PM - 2:45PM: Unconferenced Breakout Groups

2:45PM - 3:15PM: Our Next Steps. I Will, We Should, Don't Forget

3:15PM - 4PM: Coffee & Snacks, Hackathon Demos & Judging!

4PM - 5PM: Awards Ceremony and Collaborative Visioning Session for the Future of Breastfeeding Innovation


What is the cost of the event?

This event is free! Friday evening there will be light refreshments and Saturday as well as Sunday there will be coffee breaks and lunch provided. On Saturday night, dinner will be served.

What are the lodging options for this event?

Guests may reserve their rooms at the nearby Boston Marriott Cambridge by calling Marriott Central Reservations at 1-800-228-9290 no later than Friday, April 6th, to receive the discounted rate for the room block of $249/night.  Guests may book their rooms online as well: Book your group rate for Emerson College Breast Pump Conference Room Block. Please note that check-in times are 4:00pm and check-out times are noon. The room block is available from Rooms available from Friday, April 27th-Monday April 30th.

How can I contact the organizer with any questions?

Please contact breastpump-organizers@media.mit.edu for any logistical questions and Binta Beard (bbeard@noxstrategies.com), Policy Summit Lead for any agenda related questions.

How can I stay updated on this initiative?

Join our monthly newsletter, read our blog, and follow-along on Twittter (@BfInnovation) as well as any social media with the #breastfeedinginnovation


The MIT Media lab, April 27-29, 2018

Located at: 75 Amherst St, Cambridge, MA 02139