IAP2 Member spotlight: Thao Hill
– By Lance Robertson
Member spotlight is a frequent feature of the IAP2 USA newsletter. If you have a suggestion for a future profile, please email Lance Robertson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Briefly introduce yourself. Who are you, and what do you do?
I am the Director of Strategic Accounts for GovDelivery. I started with GovDelivery way back in February of 2015 :-). My job at GovDelivery is to consult with its different teams (Sales, Marketing, Product, Implementation, Customer Service, etc.) to help drive more new partnerships with local and state government. So, essentially what that means is that I help government public information officers, communications directors, public participation professionals and others leverage the internet (the cloud, the web, whatever you wanna call it) to execute their successful communications strategies.
Many folks know me because of the work I did from 2005-2014 with another cloud services company – Granicus. Prior to that, from 2000-2005, I was the head technology officer for Public Systems Associates, the IT outfit for the Louisiana Legislature.
So, essentially, I’ve devoted my entire career to helping government agencies leverage technology in the most productive and useful way possible – particularly when it comes to getting information from inside government out into the hands of citizens.
I was born and raised outside of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, in a very, very small town. I received my Electrical Engineering degree from Tennessee Tech University.
How long have you been a member of IAP2? How did you first hear about the organization?
I officially joined last month! I’ve been involved with IAP2 since I attended the North American Conference two years ago in Salt Lake City as a technology vendor.
In your day-to-day public participation or community outreach work, what gives you the most satisfaction?
I get the most satisfaction when I see a press release from one of my customers informing the public about a service they are offering to help the public be better connected to their government. I can say “I was a part of that!”, and that’s super cool for me personally. Knowing I helped them make the decision to do something and it was successful!
What are the biggest challenges you’ve found in doing this kind of work?
I get really frustrated when I talk with someone in charge of public participation or communications and they say, “I’m happy with how we do things today.” They are not being open to doing it better. We should always be open to giving our citizens better services with their tax dollars.
Why did you decide to get more involved in IAP2?
I see how communications and public participation professionals love their jobs, and I have seen how helping government use technology better can make people feel more connected to their government. To use it to help get the public to take part in the decision-making process of government… that’s the most rewarding!
In several parts of the country, there is interest building in re-launching or re-building chapters to connect local folks on the ground. What’s your vision for the Northern California chapter? What kinds of things are going on there?
Too early to tell… but it feels like that we have the unique opportunity here to partner with a lot of tech businesses that want to help engage with the public, and our place will be to bring them together with public participation professionals and guide them so the tools we develop and use are ones that will actually work.
What are your off-work passions and interests? What do you like to do for fun?
I play the piano, and I sing… I do a lot of this for community service to organizations in San Francisco that are in need. I am a part of the San Francisco Ducal Court, which is a group of mostly entertainers that perform to raise money for many LGBT organizations in San Francisco.
Anything else you want to add?
I’m very excited to become more involved in my Northern California Chapter. My life passion has been to help governments utilize technology to achieve a more representative democracy built on trust between citizens and government. IAP2 can be a critical part of this very important goal, and I’m excited to be of service!