FROM THE BOARD – Catherine Smith

The saying that days are long and years are fast is true! 2018 is on its way out and before it’s all the way out the door, there’s some significant milestones to highlight because of members like you. All of them fit under the theme that we are growing stronger every day as an organization, a community, and a cause.

Our membership is growing stronger. In the last three years we’ve nearly tripled our membership. We’re now nearing 1500 members across the country. Our friends in IAP2 Australasia have over 7000, so we’ve got nothing but what looks like a positive road ahead to grow a tight knit, active and influential membership right here in the USA.

Our chapters are growing stronger: Because our members like each other, they want to do good work together. Which means we have right now—count ‘em—ten emerging chapters across the country. I want to thank our members who are leading the efforts to form new chapters in:

  • The regions of Sacramento, Orange County, San Francisco Bay area in California, New York City, and Washington DC
  • The states of Texas, New York, Hawaii, Georgia, Tennessee and North Carolina.

They are joining already established chapters of Cascade, Puget Sound Intermountain, Greater LA, and Midwest. Engaging in the chapters is one of the best experiences to have as a professional. If you’re interested in connecting with the leaders near you or in growing a chapter in your area, contact us and we’ll help you connect and research your next steps or visit our webpage.

The annual conference is next year and we encourage everyone to join in to meet our leaders in North Carolina.

Our brand value is growing stronger: This fall we launched a pilot-testing phase of our Ambassador Program through our Communications Committee. With more than a thousand members doing good work together all year, we know we have tens of thousands of people we are helping and countless stories to tell. Our twenty volunteer ambassadors are now out there telling those stores and representing a variety of professional angles – practitioner, trainer, public agency staff, and former client– and they are located across the country from Massachusetts to Georgia to Nebraska, Colorado, Oregon and California. They are sharing the story of what makes good public participation at conferences, lunches, one-to-one meetings, panels, and through a new social media series about our core values. In February next year, the Board will do an initial evaluation of the pilot program and make refinements so that we learn while doing and continually improve our approach.

Our international ties are stronger: We also have several Board Members who are actively participating in a global process with the IAP2 International Federation about strengthening roles, relationships and resources for established regions like the USA and for emerging regions like Indonesia. It’s exciting and part of the value the organization provides giving you a community is both at home and around the world.

Our skills are growing stronger: We provide not only a community, but also opportunities to strengthen what it means to be a practitioner of good public participation. We now have an annual symposium, in addition to the annual conference. Every month, we offer online webinars and working with IAP2 Canada we are providing the Taster Training series. And, our certification program is setting the bar for quality. In June, we welcomed three new Certified Public Participation Practitioners, including myself, and right now another round of applicants is going through this rigorous screening.

Before we know it, it will be December 31st and we’ll welcome a new year with the people in our lives. But for just this moment, we want to take a pause and applaud the good work we’re doing together. We’re not always there to see if for one another, but we know this community stands for a set of a core values that each of us is pursuing across the nation. You are making a difference every day and we’re glad you are part of this community we call our professional home.

REMINDER – Nominations for IAP2 USA Board – One Week Left!

Are you passionate about P2? Of course you are, or you wouldn’t be reading this!

Do you want to help promote civil public discourse across America?

Are you skilled in areas such as finances, communications and strategic marketing, fundraising and governance (among others)?

Then YOU have a place on the IAP2 USA Board!

The deadline is approaching — November 7 — to nominate yourself. There are six spaces to fill, and if we get more than six applicants, there will be an election.

So don’t delay! Find out more and download the nomination package and the application form today!

All the best,

President’s Message – Leah Jaramillo

Greetings from Austin!

I am writing to you from the AUX tarmac after nearly a week of training and fun at the IAP2 USA Board face to face meeting. Following the 2018 Skills Symposium, your board of directors welcomed two new members – Traci Etheridge and Gwen Happ – and buckled down to address priorities for 2018. Among them are: maintaining our existing member services; ensuring our services, costs and fees align; focusing on chapter support and planning for the future. It was a whirlwind of work, but we are excited to be here and ready to get down to the details. On a personal note, I was honored to be confirmed to my third term as board President and appreciate the support of each of our directors and staff in helping to move the organization forward. 

Meet your 2018-2020 Board Candidates

Members, we have some incredible candidates for you to choose from and we hope that you will take the time to get to know them a little bit better before you vote. The following is a quick snapshot of the 2018-2020 Board candidates – please click on their information links to learn more. Deadline for member voting is Monday, December 4th via Election Buddy.

We want to apologize for any confusion with the Election Buddy invitation you received yesterday– unfortunately, this was sent out with a draft ballot. We have now closed the Wednesday election process – none of those votes will count. Today we sent you a new invite. Please use the new ballot to vote for your preferred candidates. If you have any further questions please contact Anneliese at

Meet your board candidates…

President’s Message

Nominations are now open for several positions on the IAP2 USA Board of Directors. Have you considered submitting? If you haven’t, you definitely should. Why? Because you’ll have the opportunity to:

  • work with your peers to advance the practice
  • make a real impact on P2 practice in the US
  • get involved in issues you care about
  • learn what is happening with P2 nationally and internationally
  • and perhaps best of all, work with some of the best, brightest, and most fun people in the field.

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!

The “Good” Word

catherine-smithBy: Cathy Smith

IAP2 USA Board Member and Chair of the Communications Committee

Think back to Spring 2016. Where were you? Well, if you were an IAP2 USA board member, you were in a hotel conference room making a key decision – to develop a strategic communications plan for our community. We decided to “un-jargon” our own language to make it easy for our clients, participants and the community-at-large to grasp the benefits of quality  involvement and to motivate all of us to continually enhance our skills.

Over the course of 2016, your Communications Committee led itself through a thorough planning process. We identified audiences and partners, evaluated our unique place in the marketplace of services and organizations,  dove into the underlying concepts of what the organization needs to say now and into the future, and developed messaging that is clear and direct.

Our core message has two parts – both centered on the concept of “good” skills and outcomes:

“Pursuing the greater good: good decisions made together.”