Call for Sessions for SPEAK UP! 2018

Guidelines and Application for Submitting Your Session Proposal

DEADLINE: November 30, 2017 at 11:59 PM EST

 Information about the Summit is available here.

Download a Word version of these instructions and the application here.

PWN_summit_2018_logo_cmykSPEAK UP! A National Leadership Summit for Women will be held April 12-15, 2018 in Myrtle Beach, SC. This Summit is open only to women with HIV, including women of trans experience. Please note that registration for SPEAK UP! 2018 will open November 15, 2017.


In September 2014, Positive Women’s Network – USA held our first-ever National Leadership Summit to build advocacy skills and leadership capacity among over 200 women living with HIV from 30-plus U.S. states, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Canada and Mexico. Our 2016 Summit brought together 250 women, including young women, women of trans experience, and mature women aging with HIV. Participants from both Summits have gone on to do amazing work in their communities – fighting stigma, advocating for justice and human rights-based policies and supporting people living with HIV in their regions. The 2018 Summit will be designed for both first time participants and alumni of other summits as emerging and seasoned advocates to deepen advocacy and our collective organizing strategies during a key election cycle.

To this end, we invite proposals for workshops and discussion groups for SPEAK UP! Positive Women’s Network-USA’s 2018 National Leadership Summit.

The goals of the 2018 SPEAK UP! Summit are to:

  1. Increase policy analysis and advocacy capacity on timely and strategic issues among women, including women of trans experience, living with HIV;
  2. Inspire our base and enhance our resilience by honoring our victories, examining our successes, and strengthening our relationships;
  3. Prepare our constituency to effectively engage in issue-based and electoral campaigns in 2018 and beyond;
  4. Advance the field’s commitment to intersectionality, with a focus on racial and gender justice through political education.

If you are interested in contributing to this growing and vibrant community, we encourage you to submit an abstract to conduct a session. As a session leader, you will ensure that information and skill-building activities are provided in line with PWN-USA values, priorities, and goals for the Summit.

There will be 6 tracks at the Summit:

1) Policy and Advocacy

2) Effective Leadership Skills

3) Political Education: Rights, Power and Justice

4) Organizing for Power

5) Strategic Communications for Leaders

6) Advancing the HIV Research, Care, and Prevention Agenda for Women.

Descriptions for session tracks:

Track Track Description
1.  Policy & Advocacy Sessions in the Policy and Advocacy track will examine or discuss timely policy issues and advocacy strategies relevant to women with HIV and provide participants with tools to take action at the local, state and/or federal level. We will prioritize issues aligned with PWN-USA priorities and our policy agenda.
2.  Effective Leadership Skills Sessions in the Leadership Skills track will focus on developing specific skills that support leadership by women with HIV, including self-care for leaders.
3.  Rights, Power & Justice Sessions in the Rights, Power & Justice track will focus on building critical consciousness, ability to engage politically, and/or ability to use a human rights/social justice framework in advocacy. We are especially interested in sessions that focus on racial justice, gender justice, and economic justice; that intentionally hold an analysis around race, gender and/or class,  and which advance our collective ability to be accountable and strategic as a movement and power-building organization. Sessions in this track may focus on particular rights and justice issues that disproportionately impact communities most affected by HIV.
4.  Organizing for Power Sessions in the Organizing for Power track will focus on building specific skills in community organizing, campaign planning, and engagement with voters and political candidates to help advance a rights-based agenda for women living with HIV and our communities.
5.  Strategic Communications for Leaders Sessions in the Strategic Communications for Leaders track will focus on building media and communications capacity of participants to advocate, organize and/or mobilize on policy issues through effective print, online and/or broadcast media, and/or social media strategies. This may include digital organizing, public speaking, and working with media.
6. Advancing the HIV Research, Care, and Prevention Agenda for Women Sessions in the Advancing HIV Research, Care, and Prevention Agenda for Women track will focus on building our ability to advocate for innovative and timely research, care, prevention and service delivery that works for women, including women of trans experience.


FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION: What to Know When Preparing Your Proposal

This is a skills-building summit focused on building capacity among women living with HIV to change policies and advance human rights. We welcome sessions designed to build relevant skills for both emerging and seasoned leaders.  

  1. We welcome interactive and informal sessions, including discussion-based and hands-on training exercises. We are not looking for sessions that are purely didactic or lecture-based.
  2. We particularly seek sessions that are led or co-led by people living with HIV, especially those communities most impacted by the epidemic, including women of color, women of trans experience, young women, low-income women, and women who are aging with HIV.
  3. Session proposals should clearly communicate what leadership-related knowledge, skills, tools, or insights participants can expect to gain from the session.
  4. We encourage sessions with more than one presenter or facilitator.
  5. Session presenters will not be compensated or otherwise reimbursed for travel, ground transportation from home to or to the Summit, food beyond meals covered through Summit registration, or other expenses. All presenters are expected to pay the Summit registration fee for the Summit ($200).
  6. Accepted sessions will be scheduled to minimize topic overlap and as meeting space and logistics allow. The program committee will consider requests for specific scheduling but note that we will not be able to honor all scheduling requests.
  7. Once a session has been accepted and listed online, cancellation imposes a serious burden. Please do not submit a proposal if you are uncertain that you will be able to fulfill your obligation to organize and conduct the session.
  8. Please note: If your proposal is accepted, all information provided as a part of your proposal will be confirmed for accuracy prior to the Summit. 

Timeline for Submissions, Review and Confirmation of Acceptance

  • Wednesday, November 1, 2017: Release of Call for Summit Session Proposals
  • Wednesday, November 15, 2017: Webinar on Summit Session proposal submission process (register at
  • Thursday, November 30, 2017: Summit session proposals due
  • Friday, January 5, 2018: Notification of accepted sessions
  • Friday, January 19, 2018: Deadline for Session Leaders to confirm participation, including payment of registration fees and submission of headshots


Sessions should provide an in-depth review of, or introduction to, a topic of interest, and should provide participants with materials and/or ideas that are immediately useful in the real world. Proposals will be assessed on the basis of the following criteria:

  1. Content is timely and relevant to PWN-USA’s mission, values, and/or policy platform (viewable at
  2. Content proposed supports Summit goals.
  3. Goals of session are clearly articulated.
  4. Proposal demonstrates a plan to leave participants with concrete tools and next steps to take action.
  5. Presenters clearly demonstrate the expertise to present on the issue.
  6. Session design includes presenters, speakers, or co-facilitators reflective of the constituencies impacted by the issue.
  7. Session design is engaging, creative, and interactive.

Final decisions will be made with an eye towards meaningful involvement of women with HIV and communities of color as presenters. In particular, we seek strong representation of women living with HIV, people of color, trans and gender non-conforming individuals, and young people as presenters.  We welcome abstract submissions from well-intentioned allies and encourage allies to submit in collaboration with women living with HIV. 


Note: Only complete applications will be reviewed.

Please submit your proposal by completing the form available online at by 11:59pm Eastern Standard Time on November 30, 2017.

For your convenience we have included the questions below and in this Word document so you can review them and prepare your responses in a separate document as you are putting together your proposal. We will not accept Word or PDF versions of proposals, emailed proposals, or faxed workshop proposals. 

First and Last Name of Lead Presenter  
Short Bio of Lead Presenter

Tell us about you including any experience with the topic you are presenting on. Please limit to 100 words. If you have any relevant articles or online presence that will help us understand your expertise feel free to include up to 3 links.

First and Last Name of Co-Presenter(s)  
Involvement with PWN-USA? ¨  Are you a member of PWN-USA:                                __ Yes     __ No

¨  Are you a member of PWN Regional Chapter:         __ Yes     __ No

¨  Is your co-presenter part of PWN’s membership:   __ Yes     __ No


Are you involved with other PLHIV Networks? ¨  Yes

If yes, please list:  ____________________________________

¨  No



HIV Status ¨  Positive

¨  Negative


¨  I don’t know

¨  I choose not to answer this question

Current Gender Identity  




Sex Assigned at Birth ¨  Female

¨  Male

¨  Intersex




¨  She/her

¨  He/his

¨  Them/theirs


¨  ____________________Other              (please fill in)


Please check one or more.

¨  African National

¨  African American/Black

¨  Asian/Pacific Islander

¨  Biracial or Multiracial

¨  Caribbean

¨  Caucasian/White

¨  Latinx

¨  Native American/First Nations

¨  ___________________ Other

(please fill in)

¨  I choose not to answer

Primary Email address    
Best telephone number    


Type of Session

Please check ONE that applies.

¨  Discussion Group (75 minutes) ¨  Workshop (75 minutes)

Please check ONE that applies.

¨  Policy & Advocacy

¨  Building Leadership Skills

¨  Rights, Power & Justice

¨  Organizing for Power

¨  Media & Strategic Communications

¨  Advancing HIV Research, Care, and Prevention Agenda

Session Level

Please check ONE that applies.

¨  Beginner

¨  Intermediate

¨  Advanced


Please select the choices that best describe how you will conduct your session: ¨   Lecture

¨   Panel Presentation

(Please limit the number of presenters to three.)

¨   Facilitated discussion

¨  Creative format                              (if checked, please describe)

¨  Interactive Activities                      (if checked, please describe)

¨  Case study

¨  Role Play

Please describe, if you checked creative format or interactive activities:

(Please limit to 150 words)

Session Title

Please limit title to 10 words.



Session Description

Please limit to 250 words.

Session Goal and Objective(s)

Please limit to 100 words.

Language What is the Primary Language for this workshop?

¨  English

¨  Spanish

¨  ASL

¨  Other _____


This application must be submitted online at