Growing A National Community
Every day, our community of practice is growing stronger. Here’s three examples
First, you have a nation-wide board. In February, your IAP2 USA Board of Directors met in San Diego, joining us from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida to Portland, Oregon and everywhere in between. We are gaining strength by drawing together more regions across the country. That nation-wide perspective makes our insights and strategies more focused and informed. It was truly a joy to have (almost) all of our board members in the same place, rather than online where we do the majority of our work! There was a lot of great energy in the room.
Second, you are part of a national community. Our board’s reach across the country is also reflected in our membership which is nearing 1000. Our organization is experiencing tremendous growth and we are gaining a broad range of new members – from full-time P2 practitioners to decision-maker staff who engage with the public for a small percentage of their overall workload. Our membership is the community that you’re part of, and we are all uniting around the core values, ethics and skills that bring quality P2 to important decisions.
Third, we have launched a national conversation. To focus all of us on quality P2 as a community, we launched a new conversation in San Diego that will be replicated throughout the nation. This conversation is about whether we are facing a P2 crisis or opportunity at the national level. It’s about testing the current refrain that we are a divided country and positioning P2 as a uniting force, a value we share and have always shared. The end of this dialogue focused on how we, as practitioners, decision-makers, and participants can lead a positive and constructive way forward based on the Core Values. At this first of many dialogues, through use of the World Café and Card Storming techniques, the 50+ participants discussed current challenges to P2 work, their effects and how we can support quality P2 in our communities. We’re interested to learn how the local and regional dynamics can change the conversation.
We expect the conversation to continue in many locations including San Francisco, Portland, Chicago, Denver, Salt Lake City, Wyoming and more. Ideas will be shared across IAP2 USA’s network of over 2,000 members and friends, as well as at the North American Conference this September. So keep an eye on your chapter newsletters for an opportunity to engage in this conversation in your area and then be sure to join us in Denver in September.
I think it is safe to say that the national political context is influencing public participation and decision-making processes across the country. Involvement is happening in a number of ways that are hard to miss – the Women’s March on Washington, the recent Town Hall meetings with elected officials and new groups like @USIndivisible, @TheKindnessMovement, and @AltNationalParkService. Engagement abounds.
While it is exciting to see so many people engaging in democracy for the first time, much of this engagement is inspired by a decline in trust of government and an increase in resistance, fear and anger. If public participation is something we have in common and operates against what potentially divides us, its capacity to be a shared norm is surely being tested in this time of high conflict and uncertainty.
Truly, events at the national level are changing the ways people engage in our democracy at all levels. As individuals, we may be asking ourselves whether our country is irreparably divided; whether we are still able to make good decisions together; and what might our role be in this context as a P2 practitioner, process owner, and/or stakeholder.
IAP2’s Core Values are based on shared premises of Democracy. Fundamentally, we believe that decisions made together have the potential to be stronger and more informed, as well as have lasting benefits well beyond the decision itself in terms of restoring trust and relationships So how can we lead a positive, constructive way forward based on our Core Values and skills?
We’re beginning the conversation by hosting a World Café session at the upcoming San Diego Skills Symposium to explore these questions and define a way forward. Join IAP2 USA Board members, local experts, Symposium trainers and participants for a World Café exploring these questions Monday, February 27 at the IAP2 USA Skills Symposium, Bahia.
|Date: Monday, February 27th from 5:30 – 7:00
Location: Bahia Resort Hotel, Del Mar Room
Event flyer – Pass it on!
Your input will create action steps for IAP2 USA, practitioners, decision-makers and individuals. As a first-of-its kind session, what we learn here will inform decisions about how IAP2 USA can best have this conversation at a national level. Ideas will also be shared through IAP2 USA’s national network of nearly 1,000 members, and in outreach via local chapters and IAP2’s international network.
Make a difference right now and join us. Register here.
This event is made possible by the hard work and engagement of IAP2 USA Board members Cathy Smith, Kit Cole, Wendy Lowe and P2 practitioner Lewis Michaelson. I would like to thank them and our sponsors: The Davenport Institute at Pepperdine University, Cityworks, Kit Cole Consulting, Katz & Associates, P2 Solutions and Somers-Jaramillo + Associates for supporting this important conversation.
Thank you sponsors!!!
2016 was a year of great progress for all of us in IAP2. I am proud to share some of the highlights with you!
Your membership in IAP2 has created a nation-wide community of P2 practitioners and managers across the USA. Now, there are members like you in nearly all 50 states and 200 cities in the USA. Because of you, IAP2 USA is well on its way to a creating a community 1,000 members strong. One of our most important roles is to be your home for good ideas, inspiration, skill building, and networking.
Programs and Services
As our membership grows, our focus is on offering programs and services to support you. New this year, we initiated web-based training to make skill building even more convenient and a Certification Program to reinforce the professional practice of public participation. We encourage you to check out these offerings and continue to hone your craft. We also launched a national student scholarship (for which applications are now open), a tiered Government Membership rate, and a government community of practice. More of these peer-based communities are being developed to link people in similar areas of P2. The second year of the Mentorship Program was a success and new applications will be accepted soon.
The year began and ended with strong national events: the skills symposium in February and the conference in September. The 2016 Skills Symposium was held in San Diego, and attracted people near and far who had one goal in common: to continually improve their skills. The year ended with the sold out 2016 North American Conference in Montreal with 240 attendees. Now, registration for next year’s San Diego symposium is open, offering 11 courses in February, and we are planning a great 2017 conference in Denver with more capacity to welcome our growing numbers.
We are building and strengthening alliances with similarly-minded organizations and developing ways to better reach P2 practitioners of all kinds. In 2016, we identified and prioritized a range of national, state and local partnerships, and added staff capacity to build and grow these partnerships in the new year.
A Strong Start for A New Year
These successes create a strong position to enter 2017, a year when the need for a strong community of P2 couldn’t be more relevant and needed. With this solid foundation and clear national need, we will welcome six new board members, launch a new communications campaign to increase brand recognition and value of our organization, and begin planning to update our strategic plan for 2018 – 2020.
Our objective is to strengthen P2 in every way: through recognition of IAP2 as a trusted and knowledgeable navigator of P2, through skill building of practitioners, and through building a national norm that values, trusts, and seeks out quality P2. While moving forward on these tracks, we’ll continue to offer the great webinars, programs and local networking opportunities we know you rely on.
With so many great new opportunities, we invite you to get involved through volunteering at the chapter or national level. Now is a great time to be a member and a volunteer so that we capitalize on the opportunities that are in front of us to make a difference to how our country and its communities advance in the coming years. We’re also looking for an intern to conduct research, create content for our website, blog & social media, implement member surveys, support marketing and strategic alliance efforts, and otherwise assist staff. If you or someone you know is interested, the deadline is January 11th for applying for the internship position.
We hope your holidays are exactly as you’d like them to be and we look forward to new successes together in the new year.
There was a lot of fear in the room at a recent community organizing meeting I attended – fear about our political system, the ramifications of the recent election, and more generally, a perceived lack of knowledge on how to engage. As the group discussed ways that people could affect real change in their local communities and more broadly, a woman asked how she could get more involved in decisions that affected her.
Despite having practiced P2 for more than a decade, it was still surprising for me to see just how many people had little to no understanding of the opportunities to influence decisions happening all around them. I was similarly surprised to learn about the large number of Americans (over 90 million eligible voters) who simply did not vote in this year’s election.
In recent weeks I’ve heard a great deal of concern about how the new political climate may cause a potential chilling effect on our practice and on people’s ability to express themselves. I believe the opposite to be true.
This is the time for Americans of all stripes to come together, participate and share their voices. This is a time for dialogue, a time to build understanding, and a time to engage in topics we are passionate about. As P2 practitioners, there is no better time to ensure we are engaging for diversity and inclusion. This is a time to reflect on our own experiences and improve our practice.
I encourage each of you to engage with your chapters and your peers to share stories, compare notes, and find ways to broaden the practice, to make it more accessible, and help all Americans share their voices.
Who cares about P2? It turns out there are a lot of us, and for many reasons. I had the pleasure of attending the (sold out!) 2016 IAP2 North American Conference in beautiful Montreal and meeting some really inspiring and impressive IAP2 members, partners, and friends – people who have or are building P2 programs and implementing processes for clients, for their own employers, within their own municipalities and for others. P2 continues to grow and gain traction across North America…and the “who” in “who cares” is diversifying.
As I reflect back on the people I met and sessions I attended, I can say that there is a growing sense of introspection about P2 as a practice, not just how to do “good P2,” but how we as practitioners promote, advocate for and influence the practice. The take-away of this conference for me was that as we strive to improve our practice, the practice is changing. Connections across municipalities, work divisions, and job titles are taking shape more rapidly and the impetus for decision-makers to look into P2 is growing stronger. Many people touch P2 in their work-roles, and a significant percentage are not full-time practitioners. We’re talking about communications professionals, PR managers/PIOs, planners, engineers, administrators, and more. How do we implement “good” P2 across this diverse level of need? And all this before we take into account the public affected by the decision-making process!
You’re talking about it, and so are we. Not surprisingly, this is a conversation your IAP2 USA board of directors has been as well. We know you and your organizations/clients are doing great things in P2…check out this year’s Core Values Award winners! So, how do we continue to support and advocate for best practices?
Last month I encouraged you to support our Core Values by making P2 valuable and accessible across the US. Today, I’d like to encourage you to take a more active role in shaping how we, as an organization, do that. Please consider running for the US Board of Directors or joining one of our committees. Volunteer some time to make this organization work for you.
This is an exciting time to be a member of IAP2 USA. The US affiliate recently surpassed in membership the total amount of international members that existed before our organizational restructuring in 2010. We now have over 850 members, and we’re continuing to grow. We’re branching out from an organization founded by P2 practitioners to an organization that serves a variety of people in roles that touch P2. This poses some great advantages for all of our members and gives us the opportunity to provide a more robust level of P2 in a variety of processes throughout our country.
We strive to promote best practices in P2. As more members join us from a variety of disciplines we can enhance our knowledge base by including additional applications, processes and projects that affect Americans in their daily lives. We have a wonderful opportunity to learn more from members and friends who are doing P2 across the spectrum of engagement. As members, it is our responsibility to ensure our Core Values are reflected in these opportunities to engage.
As we look forward to the 2016 North American Conference in Montreal and the 2017 skills symposium, I’d like to encourage you to consider promoting the benefits of IAP2 membership to your clients, colleagues and peers. Participation in these events can allow peripheral P2 practitioners to learn the value of IAP2 membership, network with practitioner – members, and enhance their tool boxes with new skills. My practice has certainly benefitted from participation in IAP2 events and trainings, as well as by networking with others at all levels of the field. Help us expand our knowledge base and reach by inviting others to learn more about what we stand for. Let’s truly support our Core Values by making P2 valuable and accessible across the country.
I look forward to meeting many of you in Montreal.
A few weeks ago, I spent a truly enjoyable evening with friends honoring the great work of the Human Rights Campaign in Utah. Just hours later, I woke to find that the worst mass shooting in US history had occurred in a gay nightclub, Pulse, in Orlando. As more information became available, I began to wonder how the specifics of this event could change the kind of conversations we’ve been having about terrorism, gun-control, religion and human rights in this country. So far, I’ve experienced a range of emotion – sadness, surprise, anger, outrage, confusion, a sense of loss for the victims and their families, hope for the future, and finally determination to make things better.
A hopeful moment in the dialogue surrounding this tragedy surprisingly came from Utah Republican Lieutenant Governor Spencer J. Cox who apologized to the gay community for “not treating them with the kindness, dignity, and respect – the love – that they deserved.” Statements like this give me hope that change is beginning. But, as a P2 practitioner, I believe that all people should be treated with kindness, dignity, and respect – period. Statements like the Lt. Governor’s are appreciated, but I believe what is really needed is a call to action; a call to conversation; a call for the public to participate in decisions affecting Americans.
The issues raised by this tragedy are many, complicated, and intertwined. It is clear to me that some things have to change. Mister (Fred) Rogers said, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’” Let us, as P2 practitioners, begin to help by getting involved in these difficult conversations, planning inclusive processes, and engaging Americans in difficult topics to open the way prevent future tragedies.
I’m asking each of you to find out what your communities are talking about related to this event and these issues, engage where you can, and share with the IAP2 USA community via our social media feeds, blog, and newsletter. If nothing is happening in your community, let’s help start the conversation. Let’s support our vision to make the U.S. a country where public participation is deeply embedded and widely applied …to improve the quality of our democracy.