POSITION. Outreach and Engagement Coordinator, CA Department of Conservation
How long have you been in P2, and where have you worked?
That depends on exactly how one wants to define public participation/ engagement. I worked at the Sacramento Mediation Center starting in 1995; then I did Americans with Disability Act mediation at a non-profit during grad school in Virginia. It was rewarding work. I started doing public policy related engagement in 2000 when I got a job at the Bay Area based non-profit Community Focus. This was my first experience bringing together diverse stakeholders to work on local projects they chose and implemented. Our approach was strengths based – and that model really resonated with me. I liked helping stakeholders to figure out how they could successfully contribute to a project. For one stakeholder it could be getting the mayor to participate; for another it was baking snacks and or getting food donations.
I worked for the Center for Collaborative Policy for ten years and then the Institute for Local Government. Between those two jobs I spend a year in Hawai’i, where I did some consulting with a colleague I adore – Linda Colburn. We designed a stakeholder engagement process for dealing with freshwater issues and helped the Hawai’i Health Connector – the implementation agency for the Affordable Care Act in Hawai’i.
Overall, like anyone who has been in the field a while I’ve worked with colleagues and stakeholders who have both made work a joy and a major challenge!