skip to Main Content

A Seminar Dedicated to Leaders in the Northwest

For over fifty years, the Northwest Leadership Seminar (NWLS) has educated, supported, and connected public sector leaders in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. NWLS brings together some of the best and brightest seasoned and emerging leaders to exchange ideas, network, and learn from a variety of expert speakers. The event attracts between 600 – 800 people each year, and has gained recognition throughout the United States and Canada for the quality of leadership and management training provided. The NWLS offers tremendous value for leaders dedicated to developing their leadership skills.

About Us

The Northwest Leadership Seminar is made possible by the effort and contributions of many people and organizations. NWLS itself is headed by a Committee of distinguished public sector leaders, including representatives from Fire, Police, Education, Public Safety Standards and Training, and other Emergency Response Services. Speakers are selected by the Committee, and the event is made possible by a host of public and private sponsorships.

Our History

NWLS began as the Northwest Fire Management Seminar (NWFMS) in 1970, organized by Portland Fire Bureau’s Chiefs Association.  During the first five years the NWFMS was held at Portland State College (now Portland State University) and later moved to the Oregon Department of Transportation building in Milwaukie.

Around 1975, the Seminar reached a size beyond the Portland Fire Bureau Chief’s Association’s ability to manage.  The NWFMS transitioned to the Oregon Fire Chief’s Association (OFCA) and moved to the Red Lion Thunderbird Motel on Hayden Island.  As the seminar continued to grow, it was moved to its current annual location at the Red Lion at Jantzen Beach.

In the early 1990s, the NWFMS Committee began including members from Law Enforcement and 911 Emergency Communications as committee members.  In 1994, the seminar name was changed to the Northwest Leadership Seminar to include all public safety leaders.

Northwest Leadership Seminar Today

The Northwest Leadership Seminar marked its 50th anniversary in 2019. The seminar has grown from 60 seminar attendees in 1970 to over 800 aspiring leaders in recent years.

The Northwest Leadership Seminar is the educational and motivational highlight for many public and private sector managers in the Northwest. It has been awarded high marks over the years for presenting the latest ideas and strategies for numerous challenges faced by leaders and managers today.

Mission Statement

It is our mission to provide a variety of dynamic, educational experiences and valuable, practical skills for leaders of today and tomorrow.