“Strong” is a word we hear often. Sometimes, it’s a word that mobilizes communities that are recovering from disaster; other times, it’s simply a concept that just make sense. When I open my favorite book, the thesaurus, the index for the “strong” shows that it relates to words like these: energetic, great, influential, robust, substantial, tough. Good words.
Wow! Victoria…what a place! We were blessed with beautiful sunny weather and a crowd of friendly hosts. Even on the day it rained, our lucky whale watching field trip attendees were surprised and excited to see multiple whales on what the boat crew deemed, “perhaps they best sightings they’d ever had.” The meetings and sessions held indoors were no less exciting (or perhaps just mildly so)!
Many thanks are due to our Canadian hosts and the 2018 Conference committee for their hard work and warm welcome. Additional thanks go to the record-breaking 390 conference attendees and the speakers who really made this a fantastic conference. I enjoyed the breadth of offerings this year and attended sessions ranging from a panel of municipal P2 practitioners tackling a broad range of engagement issues and topics to a panel of energy sector practitioners discussing very specific processes and goals. Most intriguing for me this year was a workshop designed to test a proposed Indigenous Engagement Spectrum against the IAP2 Spectrum, which prompted a wonderful conversation – both practical and philosophical in nature. There were excellent keynote speakers and amazing insights from practitioners everywhere I turned.
In the days leading up to the conference, the IAP2 USA Board held its face-to-face meeting and discussed organizational sustainability, the new Ambassador Program, the 2019 IAP2 NAC Conference in Charlotte, NC and looked to the future as we prepare for board nomination period opening on October 17. We are excited to continue growing the organization (membership has nearly tripled in the last 5 years!) and looking forward to continuing to provide excellent member services like the webinars; conferences, trainings and symposia; and connecting more closely with members and chapters across the US as well as our international colleagues.
Any organization as widespread as ours must continually assess the way we work together to meet member needs and advocate for good practice. This process has been ongoing since 2017 and with the input of the regional boards and the international board, the change committee came up with seven strategic priority areas and a series of recommendations that will enable us to reshape our international collaborative network that lives and abides by the IAP2 core values. Earlier this year, members were asked to give feedback on those and that input fed into high-level discussions with representatives from each regional board in Victoria the day the conference began.
We now have seven endorsed strategic priority areas and 36 endorsed recommendations. There is plenty of work to be done around these priority areas and recommendations and we’ll need your help to continue supporting and shaping the organization to be what we want it to be. This will be an incredible opportunity for members looking to get engaged with their international peers and to look at the organization in a more global perspective. Read the letter from Federation Presiding Member Kylie Cochrane to find out more.
More locally – a number of US chapters will hold elections this fall, and six seats are opening up on the US Board. We are looking for P2 folks from areas of practice, all regions of the country and with all levels of expertise. The Board should reflect the US membership, so consider this your personal invitation to participate, whether you have 3 years’ or 30 years’ experience in the field, whether there is an established chapter in your area or not. We recognize that member needs are always in flux and hope to continue leading by example. Self-nominations are accepted, so please consider the special skills and competencies you might have to offer. Nominations open October 17.
And, if you missed out on this year’s conference, we hope to see you at next month’s webinar – “Building P2 Into Your Organization” (October 9), improving your toolbox at the 2019 Skills Symposium, February 25 – March 1 in Austin, TX and enjoying a big dose of southern hospitality in Charlotte, NC next September.
Another annual general meeting is in the books. These meetings are always a nice way to review the progress we’ve made as an organization and an industry in the past year, as well as to answer questions and receive feedback from members. IAP2 USA continues to grow, (with membership now over 1,200), offer new programs and services and host wonderful events. In case you missed them, we had an outstanding skills symposium in San Diego last February and a stellar conference in Denver in September. In between, we launched four new online trainings and have had a series of fun and informative webinars, not to mention all the chapter meet-ups, events and conferences.
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.
As we reflect on the things we are thankful for, IAP2 USA would like to thank its members for regularly providing input and feedback on the services and programs we provide. You are taking the surveys, filling out evaluations, sharing social media posts and emailing suggestions. So, thank you for being engaged and communicating with us regularly!
The feedback you have provided through the membership survey, conference and program evaluations and via individual comments have been reviewed and incorporated into the updated IAP2 USA Strategic Plan (2018-2020). We are pleased to report that significant progress has been made since the creation of the 2015-2017 Strategic Plan and we continue to advocate for best practices in public participation, for the professionalization of the field and remain the organization of choice for good P2.
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!