Congratulations Theresa Gunn, IAP2 USA’s newest Master Certified Public Participation Professional (MCP3)!
Congratulations Theresa Gunn on becoming IAP2 USA’s newest Master Certified Public Participation Professional (MCP3).
Theresa has been with IAP2 since 1994 and has worn many hats. She has contributed in many ways within IAP2 and has been essential in molding IAP2 USA into the organization it is today. Her leadership service includes, but is not limited to:
- Serving on the inaugural IAP2 USA Board of Directors from 2011-2012 where she oversaw the nascence of IAP2 USA
- Serving on the first IAP2 Federation Board of Directors following the March 2010 decision to move to an Affiliate model, serving first as Treasurer, 2011-2012, and then as Deputy Presiding Member in 2013.
- Theresa has chaired the Membership Services Committee, 2014-to-date, where she continues her work championing professional development for public participation practitioners.
Theresa is a huge proponent of the Professional Certification Program. It was a priority for her as a Federation board member where she was able to shepherd the process that gave IAP2 USA permission to develop the program.
“IAP2 USA is a global leader in establishing the gold standard for public participation. Professional Certification will ensure organizations relying on certified practitioners are going to get the best of the best, and community residents who are participating in these process will be assured these are transparent, open processes founded on research-based best practices.”
We congratulate Theresa Gunn on her successful completion of the Professional Certification Program and designation as a Master Certified Public Participation Professional (MCP3). We are grateful for her continuing support and admire how she embodies the IAP2 Core Values.
To learn more about Theresa Gunn, see our 2016 Member Spotlight.
Traci Ethridge, Assistant Director of Corporate Communications & Marketing for the City of Charlotte, North Carolina, first learned about IAP2 from colleagues who had attended the IAP2 Foundations in Public Participation program. “I was part of a working group tasked with examining how the city was engaging with the community and developing an overall strategy moving forward. We wanted to make sure that we were bridging the gap between the community and local government. Our organization has success around a lot of projects and initiatives and we wanted to implement a standard practice such as the IAP2 Spectrum.” The Spectrum will become the foundation to community engagement planning and a key piece in shaping the city’s overall strategy.
The City of Charlotte was one of the first municipalities to take advantage of the IAP2 USA Government Membership program when it was introduced in January 2015. “We definitely saw it as an investment in the direction we were moving and wanted to make IAP2 resources accessible throughout our organization. As we continue to engage the community in initiatives like the Community Investment Plan, we recognize that various projects can be in different places on the Spectrum. The important thing is that the community engagement plans begin with a high level overview of the Spectrum and the understanding that we are connecting with the community throughout the life cycle of the project.”
Beginning in the fall of 2014, the city conducted a series of community meetings to begin planning efforts for the Cross Charlotte Trail (XCLT). “The team decided to organize pop-up meetings to engage with the community and this method proved to be very successful. They attended neighborhood meetings, participated in weekly bike rides and connected with people at local festivals and events at locations along the proposed trail route.” This spring the trail project was awarded the Region of Excellence Award by the Centralina Council of Governments.
For the City of Charlotte, community engagement isn’t just about planning capital improvement projects. It’s about reaching people, listening and even tackling tough, sensitive issues impacting the community. The work being done by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD) is a great example. An initiative called Cops & Barbers provided a forum for open, honest dialogue on police and race relations in the African American community. It is an opportunity to meet people where they are and where they routinely go (the barber shop) and start a conversation between officers and people of all ages in the community. Last year, CMPD partnered with the North Carolina Local Barbershop Association to coordinate town hall meetings throughout Charlotte. The program was recognized by the White House Task Force on 21st Century Policing. A simple, yet impactful idea turned into a form of community engagement that brings diverse groups together.
“It is exciting to see the connection grow between our organization and the community we serve. We have a unique opportunity to effectively engage with our community through many platforms and cover a variety of topics that matter to those who live, work and play in our city. I look forward to seeking out ways to incorporate more of the IAP2 Spectrum into all aspects of our engagement.”
Traci volunteered to serve on the IAP2 USA Communications Committee in 2016, and has gotten involved in the organization’s communications planning initiative. “IAP2 USA is committed to helping organizations figure out where they are on the Spectrum and helping them be successful with their community engagement initiatives. I’ve learned so much from other committee members and from members in other cities who are trying new things and engaging in different ways. IAP2 USA is a perfect fit for what we’re doing here at the City of Charlotte.”
And she’s excited about bringing community engagement to the next level at the city. “There are people who do some form of community engagement in every department. Whether it’s employees out in the field, project managers, city leaders or elected officials, there is interaction with the public on a daily basis. As an organization, we want to engage, build relationships and actively collaborate with the community.”
Traci is hoping to reconvene the working group to look at embedding P2 in the city’s overall strategy for planning and delivering city services. “We’re seeing the positive impacts when we listen to what matters to the community and bring back what we’ve learned. Now I want to look more holistically at how we put all of the pieces together to establish community engagement at the core of everything we do.”
Traci recognizes the city can’t use a one-size-fits-all approach, but is asking questions around “What does engagement look like from an overall standpoint? Are we hitting the target to engage effectively? Are we being intentional about looking for ways to engage the community?” While these questions will be answered over time, she sees the IAP2 Spectrum as the foundation to build a lasting strategy for engagement.
As that famous P2 consultant, Amy Grant, once sang, “It takes a little time to turn the Titanic around”. The co-presenters in our January Learning Webinar both had to turn some pretty heavy ships around in promoting a culture of engagement where there had been none before.
The City of Victoria and the St. Vrain Valley School District (Colorado) were named Organizations of the Year for Canada and the USA, respectively, at the 2015 IAP2 Core Values Awards last fall in Portland. Both have had to overcome internal trepidation and external cynicism to achieve that status, and the results can be seen in ways ranging from increased involvement in engagement processes to support for public-spending initiatives.
St. Vrain Valley Schools also had to let go of “control” over issues in order to improve its public engagement. Laura McDonald, a mother of two girls in the system, got involved when she realized that a $10 – 14 million budget shortfall declared before her children started school had not been addressed by the time they were of school age. She heard all the doom-and-gloom talk about the shortfall, but more ominously, also about the skepticism.
According to the District’s Communications Director, Damon Brown, conflict-driven media, polarization and a history of “announce and defend” decision-making led to a wide mistrust of decision-makers; that led to a mill levy override, which would have provided for teachers’ salaries and instructional programs, being voted down in 2005. In 2008, 85 teachers were laid off and the District had no supplementary funding.
Shortly after that, a new superintendent came on the scene. Dr. Don Haddad seized on the concepts of P2 – particularly the Core Values – and launched an aggressive campaign of his own to engage with the people. In a relatively short time, he and other district staff members built trust relationships. “Leadership St. Vrain”* was launched, bringing parents and members of the community not directly involved with the school system into the mix, educating them on the “Know-How” (the business of education) and “Know-Who” (the key decision-makers) of the district.
In the process, the District, its administrators and teachers – many of whom are seasoned educators with a measure of bias against letting non-experts help make decisions – released ownership of the problems they faced.
The result: A $189-million bond measure and a $16.5-million mill levy override both passed in 2008. Another $14.8-million mill levy override passed in 2012.
The increased P2 capacity is credited with other results, especially academic achievement. Damon Brown says there has been an upward trend in standardized test scores, increases in the graduation rate and the number of scholarships awarded; and a decline in the dropout rate.
Not incidentally, St. Vrain Valley Schools was also named 2015 Organization of the Year by the entire IAP2 Federation.
Turning that big ship around, Damon Brown points out, takes more than legislation: It takes a change in thinking and habits. Both St. Vrain Valley Schools and the City of Victoria have not only accomplished that on the inside of their organizations, but the results are palpable on the outside.
Katie Hamilton, City of Victoria Director of Citizen Engagement, arrived at City Hall 10 years ago to find there was no policy or template governing public participation and that any “engagement” was an after-thought. Public input did not guide the projects, and citizens were often surprised when a major project was announced. There were customer-service barriers and, despite Victoria’s growing reputation as a high-tech center, the website was out-dated. What’s more, discussions tended to focus on the cost of something, rather than its value.
That led to the public becoming skeptical to the point of hostility when decisions were made or projects were announced. But over the past decade, city staff have grown to “embrace the clunky” – that is, step into the difficult discussions, become the facilitator for these conversations and let go of “control” over issues. City departments are also working closer together as a unit, rather than in silos, independent of one another. “Great ideas sessions” are regular occurrences.
Some of the tactics include “going to where the people are”. Information and input facilities regarding parks issues were set up in the parks themselves; a pop-up open house was set up on a bicycle trailer, going to fairs, markets, furniture stores, coffee shops, new mothers’ clubs, you name it. In City budget mail-outs at tax time, infographics have replaced pie charts to indicate how one’s money is spent.
Can you measure a shift in culture? Here’s one indicator: Attendance at City budget meetings has gone from a group of 30 highly-interested people to over 1,500, with amenities like food provided by local growers creating a lighter atmosphere.
* Winner, IAP2 USA Research Project of the Year, 2014 Core Values Awards
A Celebration of Excellence in Public Participation:
THE IAP2 USA CORE VALUES AWARDS
BE RECOGNIZED FOR YOUR WORK IN P2!
As a P2 practitioner you work hard to ensure that you are developing and delivering great P2 projects. The IAP2 Core Values Awards want to celebrate your efforts and share your best practices with others. Awards are presented in three categories:
Project of the Year
Research Project of the Year
Organization of the Year
Winners also go on to compete against projects from around the world in the IAP2 Federation Core Values Awards.
The application process can take a while and there is a reason for this – we need you to tell us your story – we want to learn from your experiences. BUT we are here to help – you will find a lot of helpful hints in the IAP2 Core Values Awards Application Kit and you can also learn from previous winners (Check out the Core Values Awards webpage).
If you are thinking about applying but still want a little more information, join us for the IAP2 USA Core Values Awards webinars, where we will review the process, provide some insights from the USA judges and answer any questions that you might have. The webinars will take place on Friday, May 1st, 8:30 – 9:30 (Pacific) – register here and Friday, May 15, 11:00 – noon (Pacific) – register here.
Applications are being received through June 1, so apply now!
Core Value Awards Update– Review Underway
The 2014 Core Value Awards are in full swing, with submittals under review and announcements of winners to be made in Winnipeg at the IAP2 North America Conference Core Values Awards Gala, September 30, 2014. Three categories of awards are under review: project of the year; organization of the year; and research.
Our judging panel includes seasoned practitioners with many years of experience and research expertise. They bring great wisdom and insight to this volunteer work. We are appreciative of the hours of service by: Dr. Jim Creighton, Mike Huggins, Lewis Michelson, Joel Mills, and Dr. Marty Rozelle,
The tradition of Core Value Awards is an opportunity to highlight the leading work in the field. Applicants assess their efforts along each of the seven IAP2 core values, indicating how their project, organization or research meets these standards. As noted by IAP2 International, the Core Values were developed to “identify those aspects of public participation which cross national, cultural, and religious boundaries.”
Winners of the IAP2-USA awards are entered into the competition for the IAP2 International awards.
Core Values for the Practice of Public Participation
- Public participation is based on the belief that those who are aﬀected by a decision have a right to be involved in the decision-making process.
- Public participation includes the promise that the public’s contribution will inﬂuence the decision.
- Public participation promotes sustainable decisions by recognizing and communicating the needs and interests of all participants, including decision makers.
- Public participation seeks out and facilitates the involvement of those potentially aﬀected by or interested in a decision.
- Public participation seeks input from participants in designing how they participate.
- Public participation provides participants with the information they need to participate in a meaningful way.
Public participation communicates to participants how their input affected the decision.
HELP IAP2 DEVELOP A PROFESSIONAL CERTIFICATION PROGRAM!
What do you think the “core competencies” of a P2 practitioner should be?
As part of the work being done by IAP2 USA, IAP2 Canada and IAP2 Southern Africa to develop a framework for a professional certification program, we’ve launched a survey, in which P2 practitioners can make suggestions for incorporation into the core competencies that will provide the basis for this new credentialing program.
The goal is to create a way for well qualified and experienced P2 practitioners to be recognized as professionals who meet established standards – similar to credentialing methods for other professionals like lawyers and architects.
If you haven’t taken part in the information webinars we held last month, we invite you to sign up for one of two more webinars coming up next week. These webinars will be on:
To get more information on the Certification Program, please visit the Certification Webpage.
GET RECOGNIZED FOR YOUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS
The deadline for the Core Values Awards application is end of dayWednesday, June 4th. For more information please visit the Core Values Awards webpage.