At the February IAP2 USA Board Meeting not only did we get a new slate of officers and board members, but we also got confirmation that the Board of Directors is pleased with the work of the 2018 Ambassador Program pilot and wants to continue it through 2019.
The Ambassador Program accomplished great things in 2018, including sharing information and materials to promote what good P2 is and what it looks like; building strategic alliances with allied organizations such as local chapters of the American Planning Association, professional organizations, and universities; and, building institutional support for good P2 by presenting to local governments, reinstituting the IAP2 Mentorship program, and continuing to grow local IAP2 chapters. To further support the work of the Ambassadors, the Board has dedicated one of its own members, Jay Vincent, to serve as the program lead with support of IAP2 staff. The Board is also looking at ways to provide more resources to the program.
It’s that time of year… work planning and professional development planning. Maybe you’re thinking that becoming a Certified Public Participation Professional (CP3) is in the cards for you in 2019. Here are some insights and tips from people who went through the process in 2017.
This is a relatively new professional designation, aimed at certifying those individuals with in-depth experience and expertise in planning, implementing, reporting on and evaluating public engagement processes. Public engagement has become increasingly sophisticated over the past decade, and IAP2 has worked hard to develop a rigorous process that accredits and recognizes the evolution of the profession.
For five tips from people who have gone through the certification process, read on.
Fully understand the whole process
If you are thinking of becoming a CP3, don’t just skim over the accreditation process – really read it. Understand the three phases, review the application form in depth, and understand what is required to be successful. Ask questions, seek clarification, and reach out to those who have achieved the CP3 designation. You should embark on the process with a feeling of complete certainty about how it works.
Be honest with where you are at and what you are willing to give
Once you know the process, aim to know yourself, your experience and skills, and if you feel ready. The expectations are high that applicants will have a wide range of experience with a variety of techniques and with the entire engagement planning, implementation and follow-up process. If you don’t have everything that is required, develop a plan to become qualified before you begin. There have been past candidates who have augmented their professional experience with volunteer experience and have worked to become well versed in a variety of techniques and processes.
Set aside big chunks of time
The CP3 process will be harder, longer and more frustrating if you don’t have big chunks of time set aside to work on it. Giving it an hour here and there, putting it down for a few weeks and then working on it sporadically will likely create frustration and result in a lesser product. Look at your work plan for the coming year and identify whether you can block off dedicated time to work on the deliverables for the entire process.
Part of reflecting on whether you have the time is also to ask yourself: Is my organization/employer supportive of me pursuing this designation, and can I carve out time in my workplan?
Know the IAP2 core competencies like the back of your hand
It’s no secret how you will be evaluated – it’s all about the core competencies. Know them inside and out. Print them out, highlight them, read them regularly. Bottom line: know them, and how your skills and experience directly relate to each of them. The assessors want you to be successful, but they need content on which to evaluate you.
It’s a series of tests… and that’s stressful
While #4 is absolutely true, you need to know that this is nothing like the five-day Foundations course. You do not get a pass just for showing up. You really, really need to demonstrate the core competencies. It is an evaluation process – and the reality is that’s stressful. If you have a very demanding year ahead, with huge projects and other complicated things on the go, maybe now is not the time.
If you can make it work, then plan how you are going to manage the stress of being evaluated. How are you going to make the process as productive and positive as possible? A few tips include:
Give yourself plenty of time
Know the core competencies
Take an incremental approach to planning your application
Ask questions and check-in regularly with IAP2 USA
Start documenting all your experiences NOW, before you even apply, so you have a file full of your awesomeness ready to go!
So, with that, good luck, and remember: Part of every destination is the journey. Here’s to a happy, engaging and professionally fulfilling year to come.
Post-election, pre-holidays. It’s the season of participation and dialogue and the IAP2 Ambassadors have been leading the charge for both at a number of events around the country the last two months. Frankie Burton, with Katz and Associates in San Francisco, is one of them. Why does she do it?
Knowing and showing that you provide quality P2 is key in today’s marketplace. Certification is your way to do so. If you have taken the IAP2 Foundations course (formerly the Certificate training), have experience delivering good P2, and are ready to have your work assessed by a panel of your professional peers, then it is time to get certified.
Why get certified? Certification moves your career forward. With certification, your services and the profession has greater value to clients:
Gives you an edge over your competition
Demonstrates to clients and colleagues the value you bring as a Certified Professional
Builds the credibility and profile of our profession and IAP2 so that clients are more willing to invest in the services
Validates and documents that you have the skills and abilities to be a Certified Professional
Validates the efforts you have made in your career to provide value to clients
Shows that you meet internationally recognized standards
Demonstrates a willingness to invest in your own development and commitment to the field to reinforce a culture of quality
We are so thrilled to announce that we’ve received 18 applications from members interested in joining the pilot year of new IAP2 Ambassador Program. Applicants come from across the U.S. and represent the transportation, environmental, planning, marketing and communication, and public involvement fields. Their years of experience range anywhere from 1 to 40! They share a deep understanding of the value IAP2 brings to decision making and a passion for including the public in the decisions that affect them. We are a little star struck and think you will be too. We’ll be announcing the Ambassadors next month. Stay tuned! For more information on this Program please check out the website.
A few years ago, a colleague and I presented about public participation to a group of public sector communication professionals. To kick things off, we referenced IAP2 Core Value One, “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” and asked how many attendees agreed that the public does indeed have this right. Five people raised their hands. Out of 60.
Growing Good P2 one Connection at a Time By: Stacee Adams
The shortest distance between two people is often a story, and IAP2 USA is launching a new Ambassador Program to recruit storytellers and others interested in creating new relationships that further the reach of “good P2”. The Ambassador Program is being piloted in 2018 by the Communications Committee with the goals of recruiting a core of ambassadors from across the U.S. to raise awareness of what good P2 is and what it looks like; support strategic alliance building; and work with cities and project owners to sign Core Values pledges. The pilot launches this month with a national recruitment for participants. Ambassadors will be incentivized with resources including a toolkit, professional development, training, networking and recognition in IAP2 promotional materials and at the North American Conference. Requirements to participate include joining quarterly conference calls, tracking IAP2 marketing activities and securing Core Values pledges. Are you interested in being an Ambassador and have a story about IAP2 and its impact in your work? If so, send us an email about your interest in joining the program. We’ll be collecting responses through April 15.