National Human Services Assembly

2019 Annual Convening

Essential Conversations on Human Services

Tuesday, June 11 from 8:30 AM – 2:00 PM

FHI 360 Conference Center located at 1825 Connecticut Ave, NW, 8th Floor, Washington, DC 20009

Essential Conversations on Human Services: 2019 Annual Convening will be a time for members of the National Human Services Assembly along with partners, colleagues, and friends in the human service and nonprofit sectors, to gather and network with each other and the National Assembly Board of Directors and staff to further important conversations and collaboration in the sector. We are excited to offer a rich schedule of programming, including multiple learning sessions designed to drive important conversations. Additionally, there will be a dynamic and exciting keynote speaker, opportunities to network, time to engage with sponsors, and the election of our board and officers.

Check out highlights and photos from the 2019 Convening.

Learning Sessions & Other Programming

Keynote Speaker – Mohammed AL Samawi

Mohammed AL Samawi headshot, 2019 Keynote Speaker

Mohammed AL Samawi

The day will feature a dynamic and exciting keynote presentation with author Mohammed AL Samawi. Mohammed’s story is evidence of how individual voices and actions can form a powerful collective and how dismantling perceptions that cause “othering” can lead to building global well-being. Mohammed is an interfaith activist, a refugee from Yemen, and author of The Fox Hunt: A Refugee’s Memoir of Coming to America, which shares the moving story of love, war, and hope in which he recounts his harrowing personal transformation from a traditionalist to an interfaith activist, and how he escaped the brutal civil war in Yemen with the help of a daring plan engineered on social media by a small group of Facebook friends in the West. Mohammed’s riveting and inspiring account of the dramatic circumstances of his escape are a singular story of international friendship and human decency set against a backdrop of war, violence, ignorance, and hatred. The Fox Hunt offers a moving testament to compassion, friendship, faith, and redemption, on a global scale. Watch a short video about his amazing journey or read more.

Speaker on Equity Issues

Headshot of Whitney Parnell

Whitney Parnell

Whitney Parnell will join us to highlight the importance of being an ally in a world of privilege. Whitney is a Black millennial activist, singer, and the Founder and CEO of Service Never Sleeps, a nonprofit that empowers individuals and communities to catalyze social justice through service and Allyship. Her movement work involves equipping effective allies through truth-telling, bridge-building, empathy, and action. Among many other amazing experiences and talents, Whitney is also a musician and is releasing a social justice album called “What Will You Do,” with the goal of using empathy through song to ignite action.

Learning Session – From a Nation at Risk to a Nation at Hope

The Aspen Institute National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development was created to engage and energize communities in re-envisioning learning to support the whole child. Their report, “A Nation at Hope,” is stimulating the national conversation on young people’s learning and development. Merita Irby, Co-founder and Executive Vice President of The Forum for Youth Investment, will lead our conversation on how the human service sector is a critical partner in this work.

Learning Session – How Human Service Organizations Can Strategically Marshal Grassroots Advocacy Campaigns

Human service and other nonprofits have long considered grassroots advocacy as essential to achieving policy gains. With limited resources to devote to advocacy, and legal caps on formal lobbying expenditures, grassroots efforts to propel, or stop, federal policy changes require collaborative strategies and open communication across organizations. This session will address the ways in which organizations plan and engage in both individual and collaborative advocacy campaigns. Panelists will discuss ways to work more effectively across organizations toward building a more cohesive advocacy structure across the sector. The panel will consist of experts on developing well-framed narratives, like the Building Well-Being Narrative, around specific issues areas and professional policy advocates from a diverse range of organizations. Panelists include Khalilah Harris, Managing Director for K-12 Education Policy, Center for American Progress, Sonya Schwartz, Senior Policy Attorney, National Immigration Law Center, and Julie Sweetland, Vice President for Strategy and Innovation, the FrameWorks Institute.


The event starts at 8:30 AM and ends at 2:00 PM Eastern Time. Breakfast and lunch will be served and are included at no charge with registration for the event.

8:30–9:00 AM              Registration, Breakfast & Networking
9:00–9:35 AM              Opening Remarks & Equity Presentation
9:35–9:40 AM              Break
9:40–10:40 AM            Session I: From a Nation at Risk to a Nation at Hope
10:40–11:00 AM          Networking Break
11:00 AM–12:00 PM    Session II: How Human Service Organizations Can Strategically Marshal Grassroots Advocacy Campaigns
12:00 – 12:30 PM        Lunch & Networking
12:30 – 2:00 PM          Annual Meeting & Keynote with Book Signing


We are currently seeking sponsors for the event at a variety of levels. For more information, please see our Annual Convening Sponsorship Packages or contact Lee Sherman.

Thanks to our 2019 Sponsors for the Annual Convening! They are:

  • AdvantageTrust
  • Contour Data Solutions
  • Konica Minolta
  • Mutual of America
  • National & Enterprise Car Rental
  • PurchasingPoint
  • Spring Consulting


Registration closed on June 5, 2019.


If you are traveling in from out of town, please note that we do not have a block of hotel rooms reserved. There are several hotels available in the Dupont neighborhood near the FHI 360 Conference Center (located at 1825 Connecticut Ave, NW, Washington, DC 20009) or in downtown Washington, DC, just a short car, cab, or Metro ride away.

If you are looking for a hotel, try using our discount hotel booking site. If you are renting a car for the trip, you can contact us at to get a discount code for car rental.


For any questions, please reach out to the Team.