Message from the President: Leah Jaramillo

A big round of applause for IAP2 USA’s conference committee and staff for executing an outstanding North American Conference in Denver earlier this month! Thanks to those of you who were there and contributed to IAP2 USA’s goal of Pursuing the Greater Good – P2 For a Changing World. In addition to nearly 40 sessions, this conference introduced the pathway concept – where participants took a deep dive into special topics and worked together to develop some output.  Results include an Encyclopedia of Positive Questions – using an appreciative inquiry approach to reframe questions; planned international extension of the IAP2 USA National Dialogue on Conflict’s impact on P2 and an associated white paper, website and resource bank to help practitioners manage conflict and division in our processes. I truly appreciate those of you who waded into the deep end with us.

The Core Values Awards Gala was truly inspirational and the IAP2 USA and Canada award winners truly exemplified what we stand for as a practice and organization. From engaging kids against domestic violence in the Yukon to working with a community to provide a health center that meets multiple needs in Denver, these award winners are truly making a difference in their communities by implementing public participation processes that are strategic, engaging stakeholders across the spectrum of participation and inspire us all.  Thanks to our judges and applicants for truly embodying the spirit of IAP2!

Those who inspire us were also recognized at this, the 25th, North American Conference with the announcement and award of the new IAP2 USA Greater Good Award, which recognizes those advancing the practice through leadership, mentorship and service. This year’s honorees were Dr. James Creighton, a true legend in the field, who not only contributed to the founding of the organization, but also literally wrote the book (The Participation Handbook) to guide best practices in our field. In the spirit of looking forward, I was also pleased to honor Grayce Liu, General Manager of the Los Angeles Department of Neighborhood Empowerment, with the Greater Good Award. Due to her dedication to the field, Grayce was unable to attend our conference because she was leading an engagement conference with over 800 representatives of the Los Angeles Neighborhood Council.

At mealtimes, I was literally unable to quiet the crowd – a true representation of our power to network under any circumstance! We were blessed to have a large contingent of international IAP2 leaders attend the conference and it was fulfilling to see members of all stripes talking, learning and laughing together. Thanks to our Colorado Chapter for orchestrating a lot of fun activities with practical applications – from the appreciative inquiry opening activity to the fieldtrips, quote wall and Twitter contest – that kept attendees engaged throughout the week. 

But perhaps the best part for me was hearing these two phrases – “I’ve finally found my people!” and “How can I get involved?” This is really what IAP2 is all about – working together to advance the practice, to network and lift each other up. I hope you’ll continue to join us in this endeavor by getting involved in our national initiatives, local chapters, training, events and next year’s North American Conference in Victoria, British Columbia.

 

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