Get ready for jammed-packed 36 hours that will educate, challenge, and inspire you. From plenary panels to hands-on trainings, the Unite Summit offers something for everyone. See the program, pitch an Unconference session or Indy Talk, and be sure to check back soon for updates!

Friday, August 17

7:00 PM

"Party Without A Party" - Presented by IVC Media


The ART Hotel - 1201 Broadway, Denver, CO 80203


Grab a drink and a bite and meet movement supporters from across the nation. The festivities begin at 7pm and will include two drink tickets and light hors d'oeuvres.

Saturday, August 18

7:45 AM

Check In & Breakfast


38th Floor


Check in begins at 8am outside of Capital Peak A on the Grand Hyatt Conference Center's 38th floor. After checking in, enjoy a continental breakfast, stop by our merch table to pick up some souvenirs, and the picturesque mountain views until programming starts at 8:30am. 


8:30 AM

Opening Plenary & Keynote: "You Are the Movement"


Capitol Peak A



Hon. Cheri Jahn -- Colorado State Senator (I) & Steering Committee, Unite Colorado

You Are The Movement

Movements are born, not made or managed. Fundamentally, movements are comprised of people who fill unique and important roles. We’ll meet some of the leaders of the Unite America movement and explore what roles each of us can play. Moderated by Joel Searby - Senior Strategist, Unite America.

  • Greg Orman -- Independent Candidate, Governor of Kansas
  • Nick Troiano -- Executive Director, Unite America
  • Charles Wheelan -- Author, Centrist Manifesto; Founder and Co-Chair, Unite America
  • Marc Merrill –– Co-Founder & Co-Chairman, Riot Games; Board Member, Unite America

10:00 AM 

Panel Breakouts: "Do" or "Think"


Mt. Evans (Track A) or Grays Peak (Track B)


Track A: "DO"

The morning "Do" track takes a look at the tangible things our movement can do to win elections and make an impact

  • Crashing the PartyCandidates endorsed by Unite America discuss the opportunities and challenges facing independent candidates in 2018. Moderated by Charles Wheelan - Founder and Co-Chair, Unite America. 
  • Lessons from the Left, Right, and CenterLeading campaign operatives and digital media experts from both sides of the aisle download and discuss the best practices for organizing and campaigning, online and offline. Moderated by Dominick Scafidi - Field & Digital Manager, Unite America.
    • Panelists include: 
      • Ian Hines - CEO, Hines Digital
      • Ryan Morgan - CEO, Veracity Media
      • Chad Peace - President, IVC Media
      • Jusleen Sodiwal - Senior Communications Project Manager, NationBuilder
  • Organizing Our Movement: Unite America state organization and grassroots chapter leaders reflect on how we can unite Democrats, Republicans, and Independents in common cause to bridge the growing partisan divide. Moderated by Tyler Fisher - Deputy Director, Unite America.
    • Panelists include: 
      • Bob Perls - Former State Legislator (D); Co-Founder, Unite New Mexico
      • Chris Vance - Former State Legislator (R) & GOP State Chair; Co-Chair, Washington Independents
      • Nicole Rowlette - Regional Coordinator, Unite America
      • Lena Eng - Chapter Leader, Unite America

Track B: "THINK"

The morning "Think" track takes on some of the largest strategic questions facing our movement in the year ahead.

  • Campaign 2020 - Where should our focus be? They've run independent presidential campaigns and survived to impart their wisdom on whether or not the White House should be our goal in 2020. Moderated by Lisa Rice - Board Member, Unite America.
    • Panelists include: 
      • Jim Jonas - Co-Founder, Unity08 & Americans Elect
      • Jackie Salit - President,
      • Joel Searby - Fmr. Campaign Manager, Evan McMullin
      • Russ Verney - Fmr. Campaign Manager, Ross Perot
  • Unrig the System: How can independents advance reform? Leading experts and practitioners of political reform explore how independent voters and candidates can champion structural changes to level the playing field with both parties and improve democracy. Moderated by Linda Killian - Board Member, Unite America.
    • Panelists include: 
      • Kyle Bailey - Campaign Manager, Maine Ranked Choice Voting
      • Dan Krassner - Political Director,
      • Amber McReynolds - Election Innovator & Executive
      • Dr. Jessie Fields - Board Member, Open Primaries
      • Katie Fahey - Executive Director, Voters Not Politicians Ballot Committee
  • Party Time? Should independents form our own political party? Independents are just that: independent. But, in some states, organizing as a party might make better sense. These third party leaders break down the pros and cons of being a political party. Moderated by Colston Young - Co-Chair, Unite America.


12:30 PM

Lunchtime Panel: "Governing 101: Independents in Elected Office"


Mt. Elbert


As you grab lunch from the buffet, join us as the Unite America Institute releases a groundbreaking report examining how independents can make a difference in office. Incumbent independent legislators from Alaska to Maine will weigh in with their personal experience. Presented by Nick Troiano - Executive Director, Unite America, and Kyle Butts - Researcher, Unite America Institute. 

Moderated by Ron Fournier, Former journalist; Spokesperson, Unite America

2:00 PM 

Group Breakouts: "Talk" or "Listen"


Mt. Evans (Unconferences) or Grays Peak (Indy Talks)


TalkUnconference featuring participant-driven and self-organized breakout sessions and conversations. Additional topics may be added live. 

Round #1: 2:00-2:50

  • Let’s balance the U.S. budget: an interactive exercise in finding common ground  –– facilitated by Erik Carter
  • How can we build a movement that reflects the diversity of our country? –– co-facilitated by Dr. Jessie Fields & Lisa Rice 
  • Meet and Greet with Unite Colorado candidates

10 minute break

Round #2: 3:00-3:50

  • What is Ranked Choice Voting and how can we expand it everywhere?–– co-facilitated by Anthony Maine & Linda Templeton

  • What are innovative policy ideas that independents can use to break through the two-party gridlock? –– facilitated by Robert Z. Poore

Listen: A series of 7-minute TED-style "Indy Talks" on a variety of topics from a diverse roster of speakers

Round #1: 2:00-2:50

  • “What neuroscience can teach us about leadership.” –– by Dr. Kate Harris, independent candidate (NH)

  • “Civility is dead. Here’s how we can revive it.” –– by Hon. Owen Casas, independent State Representative (ME)

  • “Lessons in teamwork from sports and the military.” –– by Cory Ann Ellis, independent candidate (SD, HD-2)

  • “How to craft an independent platform in a two-party world.” –– by Daniel Hofstein, independent candidate (NV)

  • “I lost my race for Congress in California in 2018. Here’s what I learned.” –– by Matt Woody, former independent candidate U.S. House (CA).

10 minute break

Round #2: 3:00-3:50

  • “A fresh perspective on campaign finance reform, and why Citizens United is closer to the solution than the problem.” ––  by Hamish Hume, constitutional litigator & Partner, Boies Schiller

  • “Won’t you be my neighbor? Guidelines for bridging the partisan divide.” –– by Luke Repici, Unite America Philadelphia Chapter Leader

  • “The historical evolution of America’s two-party system and insights for the future of our independent movement.” –– by Steve Peterson, independent candidate (CO, SD-30)
  • "The 'Meta-Issue Movement:' How non-political reform groups can enact change in Washington" -- by Mike Murphy, Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget



4:00 PM

Closing Plenary & Keynote: "Confessions & Reflections of Former Members of Congress"


Mt. Elbert


Former U.S. Representatives of both parties dish on drivers of Congressional dysfunction and what we can do to make Congress a more effective and representative institution.

Moderated by Mort Kondracke.

  • Panelists include:
    • Hon. Brian Baird –– Former U.S. Representative (D-WA)
    • Hon. David Skaggs –– Former U.S. Representative (D-CO)
    • Hon. Zach Wamp –– Former U.S. Representative (R-TN)

Keynote Closing: Evan McMullin – former independent Presidential candidate & co-founder, Stand Up Republic

5:15 PM

Adjourn for the day

Sunday, August 19

8:00 AM

Breakfast & Book Signing


Mt. Elbert


Grab a bite and bring your copies of Charlie Wheelan's Centrist Manifesto and Greg Orman's A Declaration of Independents for the authors to sign! Both books will be available for purchase on Saturday and Sunday at the merch table. 

8:45 AM

2018's Biggest Wins (So Far)


Mt. Elbert

  In his bid for California Insurance Commissioner, Steve Poizner won his top-two primary in June. Ann Diamond just won a spot on the ballot for her run for Washington's State House. Now they're both headed for the general election and have at making history as independent elected officials. 
9:15 AM

The Future of Our Movement


Mt. Elbert


Executive Director Nick Troiano will sketch the strategy and plans of Unite America through 2022, and facilitate a collective visioning exercise where you’ll have an opportunity to help answer the question "where we go from here?"


10:00 AM



Mt. Elbert (Track A) or Mt. Evans (Track B)


Track A: Finding Common Ground as Independents

Mark Gerzon co-designed and facilitated the US Bipartisan Congressional Retreats in the late 1990s and has spent the years since sharing his key to transpartisan cooperation. He’ll lead an interactive workshop on how our movement of Uniters can help find common ground in polarized times.

Track B: Running for Office: Candidate Strategy & Tactics

Joel Searby has worked with candidates across the country for over a decade, including managing Evan McMullin’s independent presidential campaign. He’ll lead an interactive workshop on the fundamentals of running a strong independent campaign.

Media 101: Learn the do's and don'ts of how to effectively get your message out through the press from Ron Fournier –– a former columnist for the Atlantic, editor-in-chief for the National Journal, and Washington Bureau Chief for The AP.


11:00 AM



Mt. Elbert (Track A) or Mt. Evans (Track B)


Track A: Group Breakouts

Dedicated time & space for 2018 candidates, elected leaders, Unite America Chapter Leaders/Volunteers, and any other self-organized groups.

Track B: Running for Office (continued)

  • NationBuilder 101: Unlock the power of NationBuilder with these 3 essential campaign tips. Whether you’re already a NationBuilder expert, or brand new to this community organizing software, there will be something for you to learn in this practical workshop. 
  • Mentor Meetups: Current and potential candidates will have an opportunity to meet with mentors/advisors in small groups around key topics such as messaging, organizing, and fundraising. 
12:00 PM

Closing Plenary & Group Photo


Mt. Elbert


An opportunity to bring your reflections & commitments to the full group. Remember to wear your Unite T-Shirt (available at the Summit) for a group picture!

12:30 PM

Adjourn (until 2020!)