Member Profile: Sarah Rubin

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!

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.

Just 6 WEEKS LEFT to save at #iap2nac!

2019 North American Conferece Banner

Don’t let the early bird fly the coop!
Register by June 30 for discounted rates
at the 2019 IAP2 North American Conference

Field trips! Workshops! Awards! Themes of race, equity, inclusion; tips, tools and techniques; transportation and infrastructure, to name a few! Networking with like-minded folks! There is something for everyone at the 2019 IAP2 North American Conference, Sept. 4 – 6 in Charlotte, NC!

But if you like saving money (who doesn’t?), then you don’t want to drag your feet: the early-bird discount ends June 30 — six short weeks away!

Just look at what’s on offer this year:

Moving beyond a dark past is no small task. Our host city, Charlotte, has been grappling with a legacy of racial and economic segregation, especially as it put together its first comprehensive plan since 1975. Race, Equity, Design Thinking, & Engagement to Move Our City Forward describes how the plan wove equity into the whole process, developing measurable outcomes to achieve equitable development and quality of life in the city. You’ll get an inside look into the process and see how you can adapt the techniques this group used to your own processes.

University Network for Collaborative Governance (UNCG) is Seeking Proposals for their 2019 Annual Conference

University Network for Collaborative Governance (UNCG) is now seeking proposals from university researchers, teachers, professional staff and project directors in the fields of civic engagement, multi-stakeholder collaboration, collaborative public management, dispute resolution, and negotiation.

Proposals are welcome focusing on:

  • Research and Scholarship
  • Engaged Scholarship (action research, practitioner-academic joint work, etc.)
  • Teaching, Training and Evaluations (for traditional on-campus students, or for non-degree professionals in training settings)
  • Practice/Engagement Projects and Models

Proposals are due: May 29, 2019 1 PM Pacific Coast Time

To learn more, download the Proposal Packet or check out their website to learn more about their conference.

The conference is open to all people interested and connected to a college or university. UNCG has student and working professional memberships.

About UNCG:
The University Network for Collaborative Governance (UNCG) consists of college and university centers, institutes and programs that engage in service, scholarship and teaching to build the capacity for collaborative governance. UNCG champions collaborative governance by supporting and strengthening a network of faculty members and professionals from college and university centers, institutes, and programs that engage in collaborative governance practice, scholarship, and teaching.

New ideas – new methods – on view at the 2019 NAC!

2019 North American Conferece Banner

Got time to learn something new?
It can happen at #iap2nac!

Is there really nothing new under the sun? Sure there is — at the 2019 IAP2 North American Conference, September 4 – 6 in Charlotte, North Carolina! You’ll find sessions, workshops, field trips and lots of networking that can expand your scope and your network in the public participation field! Register today!

Check out some of these “must have” sessions:

For a breakaway from the everyday, Experience 5 Unusual Participatory Techniques in 90 Minutes offers some techniques you might not hear about often, or haven’t had a chance to try. Campfire Session? Silent Disco? Photovoice? You and others in the room will get to choose five from a list, and spend 15 minutes experiencing each, then discuss the pros and cons of each. No lecture – no teaching – just fun and interaction!

Successful engagement doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming. Take10CLT: Making Cities More Successful in Just Ten Minutes looks at the way our host city, Charlotte, took it to the streets. Employees were encouraged to take ten minutes a week and engage one resident on the question, “How can we make our city better?”. Part 2 of the project specifically covered housing, policing and jobs. Learn how some 10,000 conversations were generated and how you can make a Take10 initiative work in your city.

So you’ve planned and implemented a comprehensive, diverse, and meaningful public engagement process. You have received lots of great input, and now, you get to demonstrate you and your client are responsive, transparent and accountable. That can be an overwhelming task, but in Writing Engaging Engagement Summaries, you can learn how to organize and analyze the feedback your process received, and turn that information into something both interesting to read and useful for client and stakeholder alike.

There’s so much more (visit the Schedule-at-a-Glance here), PLUS Day One workshops in P2 for Decision-Makers; Race, Equity and Inclusion; Digital Engagement and Transportation. Watch for more details on those coming soon!

Register before June 30 to get the early-bird price discount, and make sure you book your room at the Sheraton Charlotte Hotel by August 4 to get the special conference rate — $149/night. Are you a student, AmeriCorps member, staff member at a non-profit or new community advocate? Find out more here about our Scholarship Program!

If your business is engaged with engagement, we have numerous and varied sponsorship opportunities, including the new Conference app! Show your commitment to P2, reach new customers or get up-close-and-personal with existing ones! Download the sponsorship package here.

And remember, your registration is also your ticket to the annual Core Values Awards Gala, Thursday, Sept. 5 at the NASCAR Hall of Fame!

We’ll see you in Charlotte!

All the best,
IAP2 USA / IAP2 Canada

Engaging Youth – register now for the IAP2 May Learning Webinar May 14


“Children are the future,” the cliché reminds us, but many times, young people are not considered in public engagement processes. Our May 14 Learning Webinar (11am PDT / 2pm, EDT) is another Victoria Encore: “Youth Shaping Cities”.

Veronika Bylicki of CityHive will reprise this session from the 2018 IAP2 North American Conference, which posits that even though people are becoming increasingly empowered to chart the future course for their cities, youth tend to be overlooked, undervalued, and engaged often simply as an afterthought.

This session critically examines the underpinning theory and systemic barriers that continue to exclude youth participation, resulting in civic disengagement, lack of trust, and significant missed opportunities.

This is another session that attendees told us would make a good webinar for any P2 practitioner. Come and learn about examples, best practices, techniques, and tools. Here is a chance to consider how to re-imagine and redesign youth engagement practices.

Remember the two-stage process: follow the link in your confirmation email and fill in the form to get your login information.

May 3rd – deadline to APPLY FOR CORE VALUES AWARDS!

IAP2 Core Values Awards - Group photo

Time for your work to take a bow!

Good public participation is hardly noticed: it lurks in the shadows, making sure people are reached, voices are heard and input is addressed.

You work hard to make sure of it, so the IAP2 USA Core Values Awards provides the annual opportunity to give you the credit you and your workmates deserve. If you have created, or been part of a team that has brought about a stellar P2 process — one that exemplifies the IAP2 Core Values and stands out for its innovative approach — now is the time to apply!

We’re looking to honor the Organization of the Year and Research Project of the Year; the Project of the Year will be chosen from the winners of the awards for:

  • Creativity and Innovation
  • Respect for Diversity, Inclusion and Culture and
  • General Project Category

But don’t delay! The deadline to submit your application is May 3, 2019 (end of day, Pacific time) and the winners will be honored at the annual Core Values Awards Gala, September 5, 2019 in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Download the Applicant’s Kit (with application form) here, check out the winners from past years here, and start making your plans to join us in Charlotte!

2019 Midwest Chapter Conference UPDATE

Hello IAP2 USA Midwest Chapter members,Our annual spring conference is coming up next month, and the list of sessions is now available! Learn more below, and please plan to join us in St. Louis for this dynamic regional conference, where you can connect with and learn from fellow public participation professionals. The affordable conference fee provides access to informative sessions, networking and social events, food, drinks, and more over two great days!

Questions about travel or hotel accommodations? Contact Heather Lasher Todd, The conference will be held in the Grand Center Arts District in St. Louis, MO.

Register here:

Please help make this important event for our chapter a success by spreading the word to your networks, and sharing this flyer and registration link on social media!

 Meet us in St. Louis May 16 – 17 – Register Now!

Webinar Rewind: Visual Engagement

One of the challenges a public entity faces when designing a public engagement process is engaging the public enough to get them to take part. This is especially true when the project or policy in question affects practically everybody, but the subject matter is quite mundane. Making the publicity visually appealing is one way to do it, and in 2018, IAP2 Canada joined with the Dazzling Notice Awards to offer the Core Values Award for Visual Engagement.

In March, we met the co-winners of the award, the District of Squamish, BC, and the Region of Waterloo, Ontario. Squamish’s Official Community Plan was due for review, and the District, working with MODUS Planning, Design and Engagement, decided the way to do it was to combine strong branding and graphics with creative outreach efforts to reach Squamish’s active and young-at-heart demographic. One aspect to this was a video that was produced using District planners who were not only writing the plan, but also very much the face of the public engagement. The videos included out-takes — scenes where the speaker fluffed their lines or cracked up when the camera was rolling. It was felt this made the videos — and the process itself — more accessible to residents.


squamish 2

There were pop-up engagement displays in unlikely places like popular biking trails or on the Sea-to-Sky gondola; “selfie sticks” — not the kind for holding a cell phone camera, but comic-strip-type “talk balloons” that showed what a person cared about so they could take and share selfies; “OCPizza Parties”, where people would gather in homes to discuss what was important to them in the Official Community Plan.

Waterloo’s challenge involved toilet talk — in particular, what happens to the stuff we flush. The initial attempt to set up a biosolids facility was an epic fail, as people came out in droves to protest what had been an “announce-and-defend” strategy. Engineer Kaoru Yajima says he feared for his safety at one townhall meeting due to the public outrage.


So the Region re-grouped and, working with Dillon Consulting, came up with an outreach plan that mixed humour with plain-language technical information. Bob McDonald, noted science journalist, made a personal appearance and a video to discuss the Story of Poop and underscore the need for the community to participate in the process. Other public communications focused on making the biosolids strategy — particularly attracting public interest on concepts such as the physical treatment of it and where it ultimately goes — as un-daunting as possible.

IAP2 members can watch the entire webinar and access the PowerPoint decks and other information here.

Webinar Rewind: Large-Scale P2 for Large-Scale Projects

The February IAP2 Learning Webinar featured the two Project of the Year winners from Canada and the USA, both of which took on large projects with stakeholder bases to match.

In the USA, Williams Energy set out to build an energy pipeline that would run through ten counties in Eastern Pennsylvania. Taking a cue from other hotly-contested pipeline projects and proposals in North America, Williams set out to engage, proactively, anyone who had an interest in the pipeline and its impact. Indian tribes, farmers, environmental organizations, conservation groups and ordinary residents were all engaged. The original routing for the Atlantic Sunrise pipeline was changed over a dozen times, to accommodate the various concerns; the Williams Foundation contributed to remediation projects to mitigate the impact on wildlife. In all, Williams and Outreach Experts were recognized repeatedly by public figures for this “extra-mile” approach to planning.

Canada’s Federal Department of Justice launched a plan to overhaul Canada’s criminal justice system, one where a disproportionate number of inmates, compared to the general population, are Indigenous; and where there are actually more people in jail awaiting trial than there are people who have been convicted. Something had to give and Canada’s Minister of Justice launched a process to involve Canadians in a national conversation about transforming the criminal justice system.

Janique Venne from Justice Canada described how the last review of the system took place in 1982, and that, when the current government took office, the mandate from then Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould was to “… ensure that we are increasing the safety of our communities, getting value for money, addressing gaps and ensuring that current provisions are aligned with the objectives of the criminal justice system.”


That meant dialogue that brought in anyone affected by the current and potential future system: convicts, victims, Indigenous people, support workers and others with a series of online and face-to-face discussions.

Ellis Westwood, from Hill+Knowlton Strategies who worked with Janique as a P2 consultant, explained that “by using a Deliberative online Choicebook™ methodology, we helped participants share their stories and learn more about the justice system and deliberate about potential ideas for change.”

IAP2 members can watch the entire webinar and access the PowerPoint decks and other information here.