March Member Spotlight: David Kodama
Member Spotlight: David Kodama
This is the latest installment of a semi-regular feature highlighting one of our IAP2 USA members. This month, we asked David Kodama to share a bit about his background, the work he does and his involvement with the organization. Please let us know like to recommend anyone we should talk to. Thanks!
Who are you, and what do you do?
I’m an Account Manager and Senior Writer for Cook + Schmid, a public relations, marketing and community outreach firm based in San Diego. I manage a variety of accounts for the firm, from public agencies like the County of San Diego, Port of San Diego and City of San Diego, as well as provide oversight for private companies including the Bali Hai, Allylix, Tom Ham’s Lighthouse and others. I am a former journalist with more than 20 years of experience directing and creating compelling content for technical, business/trade and consumer publications before crossing over to Public Relations, Public Affairs and Marketing Communications (the dark side according to my editorial friends). Programs I’ve managed and supervised have been recognized by the Public Relations Society of America (national Silver Anvils and local Bernays), Health Care Communicators of San Diego, and Society for Marketing Professional Services. One of the publications I helped redesign won an award for the Most Improved Publication from the Western Publishers Association.
How long have you been an IAP2 member?
I’ve been a member of IAP2 for a couple of years, although I’d heard about the organization for several years before that.
In your day-to-day public participation work, what gives you the most satisfaction? What are the biggest challenges?
What gives me the most satisfaction is getting the public to actively participate and provide meaningful, relevant input that influences decisions and helps create a better outcome whether that is a project or a vision statement. It’s satisfying to know you enabled that through a well-thought-out process or event.
The biggest challenges come when the engagement process is perceived as not being impactful or done just to “check the box.”
As a member of IAP2 USA, what do you look most forward to in 2014? What can the organization do to best serve you?
I would like to see a few more case studies explored and discussed, in a variety of formats (blog, conferences, webinars, etc.), so we can learn from the experiences of others.
Just like in a few other places in the United States, there is currently some interest in relaunching chapters in various parts of the country, including Southern California. What activities would you like to see at the local level to generate interest in IAP2?
On a local level, I’d like to be able to attend networking mixers, maybe something quarterly that would help me to develop relationships with others with an interest in public engagement. Those of us who do this work need a kind of support group (lol). In all seriousness, I think it would be good for all of us not to work in so much of a vacuum. Sharing my stories with others, and being able to listen to the experiences of others, would be a great thing to get going again in our part of the country.
What is your most memorable, or favorite, public participation effort or campaign? Can you describe a P2 effort you were involved in or headed up that was unusual or ended in a high level of success?
The most memorable campaign is probably the most recent, which is still under way, to develop a long-term vision, guiding principles and a master plan for the Port of San Diego. This was a multi-tiered effort that started with us interviewing board members, elected officials, stakeholders and staff before engaging with the general public. We then held a series of public workshops and are conducting an online survey to capture even more input. I think the most satisfying part of it all is that we’ve been able to achieve some pretty impressive results and engaged some people who have not previously shown an interest with this organization.
What did you find particularly useful, interesting or otherwise noteworthy about the 2013 North American Conference, which you attended?
Going back to the networking issue, I met some very smart, creative people during the weeklong event. I made some new friends and learned from their experiences. What was particularly useful was to hear that there are a lot of similar challenges to putting on a successful engagement event, and that we all are frustrated when the effort falls short of being genuine. It’s rewarding to know that there are many others working in the field who are committed to a high standard and ethics when it comes to public participation.