Emerging Minority Leader Conferences

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Notes from the Backpack Podcast

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As we expand our reach to communities that have been overlooked in the past, building leadership capacity is a critical step. Emerging Minority Leader Conferences, typically held at the state level, allow PTA members from different regions an opportunity to meet, network, share best practices and build new relationships. An Emerging Minority Leader Conference provides both training for minority leaders and a platform for PTA members to present workshops and develop their skills. These events also offer people in leadership positions the chance to step away from their busy day-to-day lives to focus on diversity initiatives, re-energize and recharge. This helps to keep leaders motivated as they move forward to create change throughout the organization.

This section of the Toolkit contains critical points and advice that state PTAs can use in planning and implementing an Emerging Minority Leader Conference. A more complete Conference Planning Guide and Appendices can be requested from the National PTA office or found on the National PTA website.. For additional information or help with any challenges, please contact the National PTA Diversity, Inclusion and Outreach Committee member liaison assigned to your state congress and/or National PTA staff liaisons at diversity@pta.org.

Task Force/Planning Team

Proper planning of your event is essential for its success. Consider appointing a Diversity Committee Chair and/or a Team Lead to plan and implement your conference.

Under the direction of the State Diversity and Inclusion Chair (or other leadership position responsible for Diversity and Inclusion initiatives in your state), a task force/planning team should be composed of people who can bring a wide variety of perspectives to the table. Consider including the following: a school administrator, a teacher, a community stakeholder, a state PTA representative, a local PTA representative and a corporate representative.

The task force will be essential in determining your conference goals and objectives. Is the goal to train future leaders, or is it to equip parents with the skills they need to advocate effectively for children in the school or community? Potential goals for an Emerging Minority Leader Conference include the following:

  • To stimulate inclusive decision models
  • To prepare a pool of leaders to lead and represent diverse groups and communities
  • To support multicultural membership growth 

Suggested outcomes for attendees include the following:

  • To strengthen skills needed to take a leadership role at state, council, region and district levels
  • To build capacity to lead and represent diverse demographic groups
  • To build relationships with staff members at Title 1, English language learner and Department of Education Offices

Budgeting and Funding

Early in your planning, you will need to determine your budget and identify a source of funding. Consider including some or all of the following items in your budget:

  • Facility fees
  • Speakers (honorariums, thank-you gifts, travel expenses)
  • Handouts and other workshop materials
  • Travel costs for task force members, staff and participants
  • Refreshments


To make sure your event goes off without a hitch, it is important to develop a timeline for when things should be completed. Remember the five Ps: Prior preparation prevents poor performance. Your timeline should include tasks to be completed before your event, on the day of the event, and after the event. It also should list who is responsible for each task.

Speaker Information

Speakers or workshop facilitators are an important part of your event. Your choice of presenters will be driven by your goals and target audience.

Your state PTA may be able to recommend speakers. State PTAs have a lot of experience holding conventions. It is wise to use the expertise right in your backyard before you spend countless hours investigating and researching speakers yourself.

It is a good idea to develop a formal agreement with speakers to ensure that everyone is on the same page and help eliminate any surprises. This also will help you determine how much to budget for speakers. These agreements should be completed three to six months prior to your event.

Have your speaker complete a housing request form, so you will not have to guess your speakers’ needs. A similar form can be helpful for your participants, if your conference runs more than one day.


Whether you use PTA training resources or an outside trainer, you will have to decide who will be responsible for duplicating materials. Some questions to consider in planning:

  • Do you have the capacity to duplicate and collate materials yourself?
  • Will you need to put together a team of people to handle this task? Who is available to help?
  • How much will it cost? Did you include this cost in your budget?

Again, check with your state PTA to see what resources are available to assist you in providing handouts. Keep in mind that you will probably need to give outside speakers a deadline to get handouts to you if you decide to perform the duplicating and collating yourself.


As you select the location, think about the format for your event. Questions to consider:

  • Will you have simultaneous breakout sessions? How many sessions will be held at one time?
  • Do you need a large space to hold a general session?
  • If you will be providing meals and refreshments, who will provide them and where will they be served?


Make sure you make participants and speakers aware of your travel policies. If travel is required, include airfare, per diem, mileage, and other similar costs in your budget.

Registration and Promotion

Registration and promotion should be simultaneous activities. Work with relevant organizations, community stakeholders and parent leaders to help you to get the word out.

Asking participants to register in advance will help you plan your event by giving you a running count of how many participants to expect. This count will give you an idea of how many handouts to prepare, how much food to order and how many breakout rooms you may need. Many speakers also like to know in advance how many people will be attending their session. This helps them develop appropriate workshop activities.


Consider what resources you would like to make available to participants. For example, will you use this opportunity to promote PTA membership, programs or leadership opportunities? Some states accomplish this by setting up a resource table at the conference.


Follow-up may be the most important aspect of your event. How will you measure the success of your training? How will you find out if the skills and leadership training are being put to use (for example, through follow-up phone calls to participants)? Will attendees be asked to participate in council-, region- or state-level activities? Discuss these options with your state leadership to see how best to engage these new leaders.

The National PTA Diversity, Inclusion and Outreach Committee wishes you success with your conference! Remember, you are not alone. Feel free to contact National PTA’s Diversity Committee Liaisons for help. We are always interested in hearing about successes out in the field. Be sure to share your great ideas and strategies with your peers across the country.