IAP2 2013 Presenter Check-In: Lewis Michaelson
As we count down the days to #IAP2NA2013, we thought it would be nice to check in with our speakers and presenters to see what they’re looking forward to at the conference. Enjoy!
Who are you and what do you do?
Lewis Michaelson with Katz & Associates. As the COO and senior vice president, I manage a lot of internal functions at our 50-person firm, but my primary role for the last 28 years has been assessing, designing, and facilitating public participation and conflict management processes for our clients on controversial programs and projects.
What topic will you be presenting on at the conference, and what makes you feel passionate about it?
The session is primarily about how public meetings of various types are prevented from occurring by participants who want to stop or redirect the meeting’s intent, and how to handle the situation in that moment. As a facilitator of over 1,000 meetings, I know just about every way a meeting can “go off the rails,” but recently, meeting disruptions have become more frequent and intense, driven by political agendas that are meant to prevent public planning processes, resulting in the silencing of stakeholders who disagree with the disrupters. It is a direct threat to democracy, community dialogue and the exercise of meaningful public participation.
Based on the conference program, what other sessions do you hope to attend (and why)?
Unfortunately there are at least three sessions in every time period I want to go to, so choosing is going to be almost impossible. It’s a testament to the high quality and variety of presentations that are being offered. I think, though, that I am going to focus on sessions that provide insights into how to resolve public conflicts.
Where can we follow you?
At the conference, you can follow me to the nearest bar for a microwbrew.