Kit Cole, Lauren Cobb, Jennifer Trotter, and Scott Woodhill have been spearheading the effort in Southern California to form the Greater Los Angeles Chapter of IAP2 USA. Since the first meeting in June 2014, the emerging chapter has been growing steadily and they now have more than 160 professionals on the invite list.
Three things have made important contributions to the Greater Los Angeles Chapter’s growth:
- Killer Speakers and Topics – EVERY SINGLE TIME! Because it’s tough to travel around Los Angeles, Greater LA team has found they need a great speaker with a great topic to motivate attendance. A great speaker puts their own twist on P2, and helps promote the event to their audience as well. For example, the Greater LA Chapter’s first meeting was held in a Southern California Edison (SCE) conference room with Genoveva Arellano of Arellano Associates presenting about her agency’s P2 work on a statewide transportation project. Her topic was amazing – how a Latina with a Harvard degree has cornered the market on P2 around transportation projects in Southern California. Another event featured Darrel Cole from Parsons Brinkerhoff presenting his team’s use of social media for better P2. Both speakers – and topics – were a big draw.
- A Super Organized Person in Chapter Leadership – A detail-oriented person who writes and sends invitations, manages RSVPs and maintains the email list of everyone and anyone who expresses interest in public engagement. Ideally, the email list comes to span not only public engagement practitioners but others like:
- local government people
- communications officers from engineering firms
- management from utility, transportation, and other public/private partnership agencies
- non-profit civic engagement think tank representatives
- Get Personal – Use personal invitations and leverage your relationships! The event invite email comes from a personal email address – not an event invite service. Most importantly, for the first few meetings, members of the leadership team got on the phone and personally called people who they thought would be interested in attending.
Want to discuss your ideas for starting a chapter or work through your roadblocks? Email Kit (email@example.com) or Lauren (firstname.lastname@example.org) or contact email@example.com to be connected to the IAP2 USA Chapter Liaison Committee.
Greetings from Wisconsin!
If you’ve ever lived in the upper Midwest and/or northern climes in the U.S., you’ve either heard or said that there are really only two seasons – winter and road construction. The good news is that it can’t keep me from the good news, so here goes:
After a period of inactivity, the Georgia chapter of IAP2 is in a period of “renewal.” The first big step back toward being an active chapter is due to a dedicated and energetic group of folks who’ve organized a kick-off mixer scheduled for August 5. If you’re anywhere near the neighborhood, or if you’ve been thinking of taking a trip before summer is over, I encourage you to consider attending! Click here for more information.
There’s also a lot of new energy and enthusiasm about IAP2 USA in southern California! If you’re interested in learning more – or in participating in upcoming events – please contact Kit Cole at firstname.lastname@example.org or call or text 818-822-6378. Or attend one of their upcoming events such as an informal get-together at the O Hotel or “Turbo Charge Your Efforts with Social Media”.
If you’ve been wondering when IAP2 USA would develop and offer a professional certification program, wonder no longer.
The pilot for the new professional certification program will launch in September this year, offering a 2-level certification award: Certified Public Participation Professional and Master Certified Public Participation Professional. Credentials are awarded upon completion and evaluation of a 3-step assessment of candidates, based on 5 core competencies that were identified through the membership consultation process.
The Certification Task Force (Yeah!) held a special webinar about the process earlier this month; 70 people from the U.S. and Canada participated and learned a lot, including how to apply. Applications are now closed but, we will continue to report out on the process – so look for more information soon.
I know that some of you have been putting off your registration for the 2015 IAP2 North American Conference. (For once, I did not procrastinate.) I encourage you to register as soon as possible for the best rate – the “Early Bird” registration rate is still available through the end of this month.
Click the link for the IAP2 North American Conference Schedule at a Glance. This will be a jam packed Conference with more than 50 sessions, sessions in the field, dynamic keynote speakers, an IAP2 Core Values Award Gala and more. You will need to sign up for the sessions in the field so take a look and get registered.
Speaking of the Core Values Awards, and procrastinating, it is not too early to start thinking about which of your projects might qualify for one of our field’s most prestigious and meaningful awards in 2016. For more information on the Core Values Awards click here and start planning now!
As you’re thinking ahead, keep the 2016 Skills Symposium in mind. Planning for this event is just getting underway, and there are several volunteer opportunities available. If you’d like to help shape this event, please contact Anne Carroll, chair of the Training committee.
Finally, as always, there are ongoing opportunities to help IAP2 USA serve members, advance the practice of public participation, learn and share knowledge and expertise. One important way you can do that is through service on our volunteer board. More information will be share over the coming months; in the meantime, please consider the possibilities.
I hope your summer is still wonderful. Oh, and I’ll see you in Portland in September.
Member spotlight: Michael Huynh
Michael Huynh is a Public Involvement Manager at Southern California Edison (SCE), where he manages a team of P2 professionals responsible for developing and implementing public engagement strategies for the utility’s major electric infrastructure projects. He has been working in public relations, outreach and government affairs for the past decade, and has been involved in numerous projects in the transportation, real estate and energy industries.
Michael took some time from his busy schedule to provide some additional details to IAP2 members about his life, work career and involvement in public engagement.
Tell us some more about yourself.
I grew up in a Los Angeles suburb, majored in international relations in college, and studied abroad in France, Vietnam and Belgium. I got my first professional job at a public affairs firm,and the rest is history!
How long have you been a member of IAP2?
I first heard about IAP2 when I joined Southern California Edison in 2007 and have been a member ever since.
What attracted you to IAP2?
After practicing public outreach for several years, I was very surprised to learn that there was an actual organization dedicated to public participation. I was really drawn to IAP2 after going through the certificate program, because the values and concepts I learned from there have helped me better understand and appreciate my role in designing and implementing public participation programs.
In your day-to-day public participation or community outreach work, what gives you the most satisfaction? What are the biggest challenges?
What I enjoy most in my work is being able to develop a public participation program for a project and seeing it through from beginning to end. Every project is different. They each come with their own unique set of stakeholders, challenges and public participation goals. So that’s also the biggest challenge. It’s easy to just fall into a trap of just replicating a P2 program that worked successfully in the past. I also find it a challenge to come up with — or take a risk with — using new and innovative P2 methods.
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 am looking forward to the numerous opportunities for professional development, from the monthly webinars to the training courses that are offered. I am also looking forward to the next conference to learn about how we can improve our public participation processes and meet other P2 practitioners.
Just like in a few other places in the United States, there is currently some interest in creating or re-launching the Southern California chapter. Can you briefly describe where you are in that process?
We were very surprised that there is not currently an IAP2 chapter in Southern California. We are talking to professionals in the public relations, public affairs and public participation fields to see if there is a strong interest to start a chapter. Since Southern California is such a large area, we are thinking of starting small and focusing on the San Gabriel Valley region (where our company is headquartered).
What level of interest are you seeing within the utility industry – or with customers – in doing more public participation? Why do you think there’s more desire by utilities to engage customers in this way?
I think there is definitely a strong interest amongst utilities to do more public outreach and public participation to their customers, communities, and other stakeholders that they serve. As the public desires to have more two-way communication either through traditional means or social media, there is an increasing need for utilities to be more responsive to and engage their stakeholders in a way that makes them feel “heard.”
What is your most memorable, or favorite, public participation effort or campaign?
I’m not sure if I have a memorable or favorite campaign. But I have definitely enjoyed working on many P2 projects in many different communities through the southwestern United States and have been able to visit some pretty cool places if it had not been for my work.
Cascade Chapter PI Network focuses on “collaborative governance”
About 40 attended Cascade Chapter’s PI Network on March 20 at the offices of Harper Houf Peterson Righellis Inc. in Portland, Ore. The professional development and networking event was shared with the Puget Sound chapter by live broadcast to the Seattle offices of EnviroIssues.
Sam Imperati presented “Collaborative Governance: turning conflict into resolution” about the evolution of public involvement to the mediation of high stakes, high conflict disputes when everyone is watching. Sam is the executive director of the Institute for Conflict Management and collaborative governance guru.
Attendees learned theories of collaborative governance and practical techniques used to bring diverse stakeholders to resolution — not just “settlement,” where they walk away unhappy — to help groups make wiser decisions at the intersection of logic and emotion.
Immediately after Sam’s presentation, IAP2 USA Board member Tim Bonnemann demonstrated Zilino, a new online engagement tool for hosting deliberative online forums that enables public participation practitioners to design and manage well structured, well facilitated online dialogues and consultations. A social followed at the Buffalo Gap.
Intermountain Chapter Conference builds on Salt Lake success
Following the success of the 2013 IAP2 North American Conference that was held last September in Salt Lake City, the Intermountain Chapter wanted to continue the momentum. On March 28, the Intermountain Chapter hosted a one day conference in St. George, Utah, for practitioners in the region to explore one fundamental technique of public participation: the public meeting.
The topic of the conference was “Re-Imagining the Public Meeting.” The Intermountain Chapter conference focused on discussing ways to get the public to engage and ways that practitioners can provide a more convenient and enriched open house experience for all stakeholders.
Three speakers were invited to present at the one day conference:
- Jessica Pickul from JLA Public Involvement, based out of Portland, Oregon, presented information about online engagement and non-traditional participation approaches that can improve the quality of public meetings.
- Timothy Tait from the Arizona Department of Transportation discussed leadership behaviors that improve public involvement programs.
- Kristy Dalton shared insights on how to successfully use new technologies and social media to energize public participation.
The conference concluded with a discussion circle that allowed attendees to open up a dialogue about the difficulties, accomplishments and future of the public meeting.
The IAP2 Intermountain Chapter would like to thank the speakers and attendees for helping make the conference a success. The conference helped reiterate that the opportunity to come together and discuss public engagement continues to be a valuable experience for the practitioners in the Intermountain Chapter.