The Congressional Institute was established in 1987 as a not-for-profit organization committed to the excellence of Members of Congress and their professional staff. By hosting conferences and development opportunities, the Institute effectively provides resources for continued excellence.
Since the organization’s founding, the contours of legislating and governing have evolved so that the Institute itself has risen to meet those changes. The Institute’s professional board of directors is composed of former senior Hill leadership aides who provide expert advice and counsel. Additionally, the Institute works closely with the most talented government affairs professionals who lend their policy expertise as a valued resource.
The Institute hosts major conferences for the benefit of Members of the United States Congress as well as a number of smaller gatherings, all devoted to an examination of important policy issues and strategic planning. Congressional Institute programming is widely regarded as premium level and often draws attendance from high-level elected officials including U.S. Presidents and Vice Presidents, as well as foreign leaders such as Prime Ministers and others. It provides space for Members and staff to discuss legislative priorities and strategies as well as develop professional relationships with each other and experts in their fields.
Consistent with its mission, the Congressional Institute also develops resources such as a House Floor Procedures Manual and Surviving Inside Congress, a manual for Capitol Hill staffers and a guidebook for academic and collegiate level instruction. It regularly produces policy papers and issue guidance and has sponsored Oxford-style bipartisan Congressional debates.
Additionally, the Congressional Institute sponsors the bipartisan annual Congressional Art Competition, a celebration of artistic discovery by the nation’s high school students. Each congressional district hosts an individual competition with the first-place artwork hanging prominently in the United States Capitol for one year.
About Kelle Strickland, President and CEO
Kelle Strickland serves as the third President and CEO of the Congressional Institute, with a strong commitment to institutional integrity and uncompromised leadership as the first woman selected by the board of directors for this role.
Since joining the organization in the summer of 2023, Kelle focuses on the strategic realignment and modernization of the Institute’s structure and its offerings. She prides herself on anticipating the changing and growing needs of the United States Congress and aims to deliver programming to produce insightful and collaborative dialogue with the advancement of innovative results.
At the helm of the Congressional Institute, Kelle continues her service as a long-time trusted advisor to Members of Congress and staff. Prior to her appointment, Kelle was tapped twice by House GOP leadership to serve as the Republican Staff Director of the House Ethics Committee and the principal liaison to House Republican leadership teams, Members, and staff, helping set political strategies while advising on best practices. She spent a decade proudly working for her hometown district before joining the Texas delegation as a chief of staff. Additionally, she served as chief of staff in the nonpartisan institutional Office of the Sergeant at Arms.
Kelle grew up in Mobile, Alabama, earned her JD at Cumberland School of Law at Samford University, and is a graduate of Spring Hill College. Kelle’s volunteer and civic efforts include her tenure as the 2017 RAMS Head, a 60- year-old organization of current and former senior Republican staff. She also serves on the Board of Trustees of Thompson-Markward Hall, a Washington, DC, nonprofit. In 2021, she received the Women’s Congressional Staff Foundation Leadership Impact Award, recognizing her leadership in creating meaningful change to improve the professional lives of women on and off Capitol Hill. Strickland is a member of the Washington, DC Bar.
Board of Directors
President & CEO
David A. Bockorny
Barbara A. Morris-Lent
Jo-Marie St. Martin
Michael S. Johnson
Board Member Emeritus