Member Spotlight: Jeanna and Tim Hall
Meet the drive behind the 2015 North American Conference!
Jeanna and Tim Hall, Portland residents and retired IAP2 practitioners co-chaired the 2015 North American Conference committee of over 20 volunteers who made the conference the great success that is was.
350+ attendees, and
115+ presenters and panelists, from
8 countries (Australia, Canada, Indonesia, New Zealand, Romania, Singapore, South Africa, United Kingdom, and the United States)
55+ sessions in
2 ½ jam packed days
Jeanna joined IAP2 in the mid-1990s when she was a Public Involvement Planner for Metro. “It was a perfect fit for what I was doing. In 2002, I changed jobs, working for Clean Water Services, a regional water resources management utility” she said. “I became involved in the Cascade chapter, and I became a chapter officer and served on the national board of directors – all professional development opportunities that I wouldn’t have grown from had I not become active in the organization.”
Tim met Jeanna and was introduced to IAP2 at a Cascade chapter-hosted reception at an EPA PI conference in Portland in 2002. Since then, he too has been active in the chapter, serving on its executive committee and helping to plan the chapter PI Network events. Tim signed up his staff as IAP2 members and over the years encouraged City of Portland PI staff to join. He and Jeanna were married in 2008.
As a couple, they’re still learning as P2 evolves. “Denis Hayes’ presentation was very informative and Nancy Luna Jimenez’ presentation was an eye-opener for a lot of people on how public involvement needs to include all voices,” said Tim. “The profession still has a long way to go, but launching the discussion with the pre-conference workshop on diversity was a great way to begin a conversation that was woven throughout the conference.”
“The quality of the presentations was very high. There are so many talented professionals out there, and it’s exciting to bring them together,” said Jeanna, who was amazed to meet participants from Singapore and Romania. “My heritage is Romanian, so I was thrilled to sit with the woman from Romania at the Core Values Awards dinner.”
Keys to Success
IAP2 was founded in Portland as IAP3 at the first conference in 1990 by a gathering of public participation practitioners from the U.S., Canada and Australia. The name later changed to be more inclusive of community organizers, elected officials, and thought leaders who were not necessarily P2 practitioners.
“Having some of the original founders serving on the organizing committee gave us momentum, and having the conference in Portland, which has such a strong ethic of public participation, provided a good foundation of local people,” said Jeanna. “We had an excellent group of volunteers who wanted to help put this conference together.”
And engage they did! “The conference team really did the work, participating in the monthly calls, following up on the tasks they’d committed to between meetings. People did a great job of taking charge of the different pieces so it wasn’t just a couple of people doing everything,” noted Jeanna.
“Our conference team discussed some of the highlights in a recent debriefing. Sheri Wantland guarded the budget and managed our expenses. Francesca Patricolo coordinated the the Silent Auction, and was excited to raise over $1,900 to launch the national student scholarship program. Mike Dahlstrom spearheaded the social media for attendees to share their experience throughout the conference, and he looks forward to doing more in the future.”
Tips for 2016
- We realized that some volunteers did not fully know what tasks they were to do. Developing roles for volunteers and having an “all volunteer” meeting before the conference starts would bring those people together and provide an opportunity to answer questions and cement commitments.
- Look closely at the conference facility and how space availability would affect visibility and logistics for sponsors and vendors.
- Audio-visual services were a challenge. The hotel’s AV contractor was not well enough prepared to handle the number of presentations. They didn’t have some equipment, which volunteers ran out to purchase to meet the needs of presenters.
- Consider reducing the number of presentations from an average of seven per session to perhaps five or six.
Are you new to IAP2? Words of Wisdom from Jeanna and Tim
The conference was a great opportunity to make connections, but it’s just the beginning. If you live where there is not a chapter, think about starting one. If that’s not an option, connect with the organization as a whole by getting involved with a committee. Committees are a big part of what happens with the national organization, and the more people we have working to grow the profession the more we can do.
“We hope IAP2 USA continues to do things that help people improve the practice, that we continue to grow and be of value to our members. The conference is a great way to do it, but there are many other things we are doing. We’d like to see chapters in every city, like Los Angeles.” – Jeanna and Tim Hall