President’s Message: Be PART of Something Good

Catherine SmithCatherine Smith, IAP2 USA President

It was a Saturday afternoon in early May and I was at my first Presidential Library, the FDR Library in Hyde Park in the Hudson River Valley. It’s true–the light of the Hudson River Valley is  special, but there’s another type of light entirely to stand in front of a President’s desk, even one that hasn’t been occupied for longer than my own lifespan. It’s quiet and invigorating all at the same time.

It was the type of moment that puts a focus on the work we do and its relationship to helping democracy work at every level. True, the democracy isn’t perfect, has flaws, sometimes frustrates us or seems far too fragile. But the reality is, it’s endured. And, it’s endured because of some important values—values that our organization shares.

One such value is the value that people impacted by a decision should be involved in that decision. You may be working on that right now—identifying the stakeholders that might be impacted by a decision you’re working on. It could be a current transit rider or a future one about the first and last mile of their trip…

  • Or a parent of a student about the management of a school district
  • Or someone seeking housing alternatives, so they aren’t on the street at night
  • Or a shopkeeper trying to stay in business during a public works project
  • Or a customer at the receiving end of a rate increase for essential water and energy services

All of us are stakeholders in how our communities and country works. And I can say that I’m proud of each of us in the ways we are trying every day to find the stakeholders we need to find, engage them in ways that work for them, and help people make good decisions together.

Perhaps that’s why “participation” starts with the first four letters that spell “PART” You’re part of something good, really good. You’re part of a set of values that make a difference in people’s lives.

And there’s never been a time when we have more ways for you to take part in all the good that we’re creating. If you’re looking to take part in more ways to create good, here’s a few:

  • Chapters: We have both established and emerging chapters across the country. In February, we welcomed Texas’ Lone Star Chapter into the fold to add to the nine other existing chapters of: Cascade, Colorado, Grand Canyon, Greater Los Angeles, Intermountain, Midwest, NorCal, Orange County and Puget Sound. Emerging chapters are beginning to take hold in North Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee and the Sacramento Region. We can put you in touch with our chapter leads or you can visit for more information. If you’re interested in forming a chapter, we also have a great handbook to walk you through the steps.
  • Trainer Selection Panel: IAP2 International has opened its call for applicants for its train-the-trainer program. IAP2USA is looking for two or three more volunteers to participate on the selection panel that will review applications from trainers-to-be from around the world. This is a great opportunity to work with counterparts from our international community to ensure that we have a steady inflow of trainers to expand training opportunities across more areas of the country, deeper into particular market sectors, and into new sectors we haven’t yet reached. Email: for more information.
  • Trainers-to-Be: Hand-in-hand with the trainer selection panel are the applicants themselves. If you’ve thought that being a trainer may be in your future, there is an open call from IAP2 International for you to be considered for the “train the trainers” program. We’re excited that this program is now an open, rolling, opportunity for applicants to apply and at the potential for trainings to reach more people across our country as IAP2 USA expands its presence. Click here for more information.
  • 2019 IAP2 North American Conference: In September, our North American Conference will be held in Charlotte, North Carolina. This is the first time the conference will be held on the USA’s east coast, representing another sign of our growing presence across the nation. We look forward to bringing the p2 community together there. We have speakers coming in from around the world and will have several networking events. Click here to learn more and sign up.
  • Committees: We have exceptional committees that are doing amazing work together. If you want to be part of helping the organization expand its presence, expand its philanthropy or expand its services, come take part in one of our committees. They are: Chapter Relations, Communications, Core Values Awards, Membership Services, Training.

Every time I see the word “participation” now, I see the first four letters–“part”—and  all its variations: be part, take part, and mostly—know that you’re part of something good.

Thanks for all your work every day to represent the best of p2.


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