Make Family Leave Not Suck
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 at MIT in April 2018 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 at the MIT Media Lab in Cambridge, MA. This summit is co-located with the Make the Breast Pump Not Suck Hackathon.

Working Agenda

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

6PM - 6:30PM: Snacks and drinks. Explore the art gallery.

 6:30PM - 7PM: Icebreakers & Introductions

7PM - 7:15PM: Welcome & Breast Pump Hackathon Origin Story

7:15PM - 7:45PM: The Big Picture with Kimberly Seals Allers: Breastfeeding, Equity, Policy, Innovation

7:45PM-8:45PM: Themes and Stories from New Parents Around the Country

Saturday, April 28th

8AM - 9AM: Registration & Breakfast

9AM - 9:15AM Welcome from Joi Ito, Director of the MIT Media Lab

9:15AM - 9:45AM: Leadership Team Keynote

9:50AM - 10AM: Policy Summit Welcome, AJ Jones, W.K. Kellogg Foundation

10-11:10AM: Equity & Innovation Workshop

  • Created by Jenn Roberts, Founder CEO, Versed Education Group, LLC Facilitated by Binta Beard, Equinox Strategies, & Becky Michelson, Emerson College

11:10AM - 11:30AM: Networking/Coffee Break

11:30AM - 12:45PM: 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 - 2:45PM: Lunch & Explore Innovation Gallery & Art Exhibition

1:15pm: Lamia's Lactation Lottery (3rd Floor Atrium in the Innovator's Gallery)

2:45-3pm: Storytelling Interlude - Alida García

3PM - 4:15PM: Creating Equitable Workplace Paid Family Leave Policies

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.  



4:15PM - 4:45PM: Coffee Break & Check Out Innovation Gallery & Art Exhibition

4:45PM - 6:30PM: 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.     

Moderator/Opening Remarks

  • Gayle Goldin, Rhode Island State Senator and FMLI Campaign Advisor at Family Values @ Work


6:30PM - 8PM: Dinner 

7PM - 8PM: Screening Zero Weeks by Ky Dickens

Invitation to watch insightful documentary that weaves together stories from policy makers, economists, researchers, and activists to lay out compelling argument for guaranteed paid leave for every American worker. The film’s award-winning director Ky Dickens will facilitate dialogue before and after film, along with Nicole Rodriguez, Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, and Adrianna Logalbo, 1000 Days.  

Sunday, April 29th

8AM- 9AM: Breakfast

9AM - 9:15AM: Storytelling Interlude - Clarissa Doutherd, Parents Voices Oakland

9:15AM - 10:30AM: 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.

10:30AM-11AM: Networking/Coffee Break

11AM-12:30PM: Continued Dreaming the Future Facilitated Breakout 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.

12:30PM - 1:30PM: Lunch and Explore Innovation Gallery & Art Exhibition

1:30PM - 2:30PM:  Unconferenced Breakout Groups (1 minute pitches)

Policy summit participants take the reins and generate dynamic breakout session topics based on their needs and interests. Individuals will have 30 seconds -1 minute to share topic areas.  Participants can use the time to gather input on works-in-progress, propose discussion topics, strategize for campaigns and more.

2:30PM - 3PM: Our Next Steps. I Will, We Should, Don't Forget

3:00PM - 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 Becky Michelson ( for any logistical questions and Binta Beard (, 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

Our Guides

We are grateful to the following organizations for providing strategic guidance and technical assistance as we planned this convening:


The MIT Media lab, April 27-29, 2018

Located at: 75 Amherst St, Cambridge, MA 02139


Funders & Sponsors

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