IAP2’s Change Journey: a message from Kylie Cochrane, Federation Presiding Member

To all IAP2 members, trainers and staff,

As you may be aware, IAP2 has been going through an important and ambitious change-journey over the last twelve months.

This time last year the IAP2 Federation Board launched a process of re-design to help us articulate and create the organisation that we want to be – a sustainable and dynamic international association for engagement professionals. This process was led by a diverse working group of members and trainers. This work started in Denver, at the time of the 2017 North American Conference. Out of these two days came the ‘change committee’ – a group of volunteers tasked with scoping the change and shaping the future of IAP2.

With the input of your 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. You were invited to give feedback on the strategic priority areas and recommendations via an online engagement platform. Your input was fed into high-level discussions with representatives from each regional board earlier this month in Victoria, Canada. We now have seven endorsed strategic priority areas and 36 endorsed recommendations (see attached – I’ve deliberately kept the track changes so you can see what was discussed/ changed).

I’m really excited about these strategic priority areas and recommendations. They will ensure that the future IAP2 will place significant focus on advocating for and growing engagement practice around the world – both in terms of expanding engagement in new regions, as well as ensuring that IAP2 remains at the cutting edge of new engagement developments including innovations in tools, techniques and technologies. The recommendations propose that training can be developed and delivered anywhere around the world – and a global committee be tasked with ensuring high quality and consistency for all IAP2 products. Better international connections will be achieved through communities of practice and sharing of lessons learned across the IAP2 global community. In summary, these strategic priority areas will enable us to become the future-focused international professional organisation that we want to be.

However, there is a lot of work to be done over the next 6-12 months. This is where you come in. We need your expertise and experience to help us consider and explore the detail required to reshape IAP2.  

We have divided the work into four key committees and we are looking for committee volunteers from IAP2’s global body of members, trainers and staff. Team leaders have been identified for each committee. Their first task will be to develop a work plan and, along with their respective committees, to nominate a chair and co-chair between now and the end of October 2018. Work will continue until at least March 2019 as each committee develops a detailed implementation plan for the agreed recommendations.

Please consider volunteering for only one committee as we anticipate the workload will be a few hours per week for several months. Thank you also to those of you who have already volunteered to be involved in committees. But we need loads more volunteers – so if you are interested please get in touch. The team leaders and committee members so far are:

  1. Advocacy and emerging practice
    • Team leads – Tim Hart THart@SRK.co.za and John Poynton poynton100@gmail.com
    • Committee members so far – Aldi Alizar, Bruce Gilbert, Lerato Ratsoenyane, Lucy Cole-Edelstein, Margie Harvey, Martin de los Rios, Steven Mamphekgo, Thato Shale
  2. Brand and member value
    • Team leads – Cathy Smith Catherine.Smith@cityworks.biz and Catherine Rockandel cat@growpartnerships.com
    • Committee members so far – Anton Febian Taufik, Ellen Ernst, Kate Vallence, Lisa Carlson, Marion Short, Myles Alexander, Rachel Edginton, Rob Gravestocks, Tanya Burdett
  3. Training and professional development
  4. Governance

A few of you have asked who are the decision makers. For this stage of the change process there will be decision makers on several levels – at the committee level and at the regional board level. Specifically, the scope of each committee will be decided by members of that committee. The scope will be endorsed by the steering committee which will be made up of chairs and co-chairs of each committee, key IAP2 staff and myself. The international board will continue to oversee the overall change journey and regional boards will continue to be the overall decision makers. You will note we are using new language to describe our organisational model. Instead of using the words federation and affiliates, we are now using the words international and regional.

I would like to thank the members of the change committee who have driven the first 12 months of our change journey. The change committee will now be disbanded but their work (and all of these individuals) will continue through the four committees and/or the steering committee. Please join me in thanking Aldi Alizar, Amelia Shaw, Bruce Gilbert, Doug Sarno, Ellen Ernst, Jay Vincent, John Poynton, Kate Vallance, Mandi Davidson, Martin de los Rios, Marty Rozelle, Richard Delaney, Sarah Rivest and Tim Hart.

For those of you who are yet to get involved and/ or who have views on this change process, I strongly encourage you to get involved asap. This change process is deliberately designed to be inclusive and flexible however it does have a distinct timeframe and end date. So if you have a view and/ or want to get involved, now is the time.

If you have any questions, concerns and/ or would like to volunteer, please do not hesitate to contact me, committee team leads or your regional or international board representatives.

Thank you for your ongoing passion and dedication to expanding and professionalising P2/ engagement.


Kylie Cochrane 
International Chair

International Association of Public Participation

M +61 404048369

President’s Message – Sept.-Oct. 2018

Sarah Rivest, IAP2 Canada President

Hello et bonjour friends and mes collègues!

At our board meeting after the Victoria conference I was acclaimed as President, and truthfully I feel I have some big shoes to fill! Bruce’s leadership will continue as the International Board  Representative and also as Past President, and I’d like to thank Bruce for all of the work he has led over the past three years as IAP2 Canada President. Under his guidance the symposium is up and running, the budget has stayed balanced, and membership has increased. These are just three of the accomplishments I can think of, but there are many more. We toast to you, Bruce!

In August we asked our members to contribute to the proposed IAP2 International strategic directions, and thank you if you took a moment to provide feedback. One of the significant changes you may have noticed included shifting the development and management of IAP2 training to the Affiliates (IAP2 Canada is one of the six Affiliates that form the IAP2 Federation). Representatives from the regional boards attended meetings prior to, and after the conference and we discussed and voted on the strategic directions with our colleagues from the United States, Australasia, Indonesia, South Africa, and Italy. (Read the letter from IAP2 Federation Presiding Member, Kylie Cochrane, here.)

The recommendations were approved with some minor changes, and now comes the fun part! All members who are interested are invited to join the working groups for the 2020 strategic planning for IAP2 International, and we encourage you to participate! At our board meeting we acclaimed Catherine Rockandel and Bruce Gilbert as the IAP2 Canada representatives on the Federation Board for at least the next year.

We were proud to welcome the largest attendance for a North American conference in Victoria with 390 engaged and enthusiastic participants. From the opening reception at a beautiful venue, to the closing plenary with spoken word poetry and choreographed performances, there were many happy reunions of friends near and far, and many new connections were made.

For those that were able to join us, the conference materials will be available here. A huge congratulations to the conference steering committee, and to co-chairs Lisa Moilanen and Catherine Rockandel. I think we can all agree that the sessions were thought provoking and I certainly learned a few new tools. A highlight for me was the partnership with IAP2 Canada and the Dazzling Notice Awards, and if you have three minutes please enjoy the video from one of the winners, The Region of Waterloo, Ontario and Dillon Consulting for Biosolids Strategy. The video had the whole room laughing!

Board Picture Two
(l-r) Caroline Chaumont, Rose Bilou, Sarah Rivest, Nicole O. Melanson, Hugo Mimee, Michelle Snow, Mark Weir, Kyle Empringham, Drew Ferrari, Kevin Thorvaldson, Amelia Shaw, Catherine Rockandel, Mike Waters, Bruce Gilbert.

As the new President of IAP2 Canada, I am truly delighted to be representing members from coast to coast. Our 2018-19 Canadian board had our first face to face meeting and these smiling faces will continue to support the good work that has already started on the 2018-2020 strategic plan. We have some new and returning faces on the Executive Committee, and it’s my pleasure to introduce you to:


Hugo Mimee (Montreal, Quebec) – Vice President

MICHELLE SNOW-2Michelle Snow (St. John’s, Newfoundland) – Treasurer


Rose Bilou (Edmonton, Alberta) – Secretary

California Trip 2009 110 - CopyAmelia Shaw – Executive Manager

I’m looking forward to the year ahead, and if you would like to get in touch please email me at sarahjrivest@gmail.com

Chapter News – September-October 2018

BC Chapter is hosting a “Deep Dive” in Victoria, Oct. 3: “Bring it on!”, with Stephani Roy McCallum. More information here.

The BC Chapter Annual General Meeting is set for Nov. 22 at the Vancouver Public Library Central Branch. Belinda Boyd will be introduced as the new Chapter President, and the Chapter is also looking for new directors. Find out more here.

Wild Rose Chapter is looking for a volunteer social media coordinator. Check out the job description here.

Wild Rose is also re-starting its Coffee Klatsches in Calgary, Oct. 9 and Nov. 15. Coffee klatsches are an opportunity to grab a cup of coffee and meet up with other IAP2 WR members to network with P2 practitioners, build a community of practice and discuss P2 issues, questions and ideas.  This is an informal meet-up; however, if you are interested in attending this event, please RSVP. Check the details in the Coming Events section.

On the Prairies

On September 11 and 12, IAP2 Canada Prairies Chapter hosted Stephani Roy McCallum, Founder of Dialogue Partners and Chief Storm Rider at the Courageous Leadership Project to deliver Strategies for Public Opposition & Outrage in Public Participation.

Eighteen participants representing a diverse range of organizations in government and industry learned how to work more effectively with communities and groups who are angry, frustrated and outraged. The workshop had a variety of activities with a mix of video, lecture, group exercises.  Steph also shared her real world experience form over decades of high stakes, high conflict situations.

IAP2 Prairies Chapter is happy we could bring this highly sought after course to Regina and we are looking at inviting Steph back in 2019 for Brave Conversations a workshop for P2 practitioners want to develop their facilitation skills.

Steph also led a Deep Dive event in Regina on on “The Messy, Scary Challenges of Public Participation”. Over 20 people turned out, to explore challenging P2 situations. Participants shared some examples of messy P2 experiences and discussed how to deal with these situations with courage and compassion.

Meet a Member – Sarah Rivest


POSITION Communications & Marketing Coordinator, Global Excel Management, Sherbrooke QC

How long have you been in P2, and where have you worked?

In 2008 I started working at VANOC (the organizing committee for the 2010 Winter Olympics and Paralympics in Vancouver and Whistler) on the  Community Relations team. I helped with a lot of open houses, discussions and training sessions that I consider part of the P2 process. At the time, we called it “community relations” or “stakeholder engagement”, and I found that I enjoyed chatting with people and solving problems, and I liked the transparency of the process. I was in a junior position – making sure there was enough coffee, extension cords and supporting the subject matter experts – that sort of thing – and not necessarily designing the process, but I felt in the future that’s what I wanted to do. I looked into training and didn’t see anything that suited me at the time, so I kept it in the back of my mind that I wanted to do more stakeholder engagement.

When I joined the Calgary Stampede and was working in Park Development, my Vice President encouraged me to seek out professional development opportunities. I knew they were offering IAP2 training in Calgary, so I took what is now called the Foundations course in 2014 with Richard Delaney. Anne Harding, who was IAP2 Canada president at the time, came to one of the coffee breaks to talk about IAP2 Canada, and I said to myself, this is something I need to be involved with. Nominations were coming up to be deputy board members, so I applied as a deputy board member in 2015.

What “big wins” have you had?

Certainly, seeing how the process worked in Vancouver and Whistler was big for me. When I go back to Whistler, I still run into people who volunteered at the Games and are still happy with the way things went. There were even some curmudgeons we managed to turn into champions.

When I worked for the Stampede, I worked on a complete program redevelopment with our Treaty 7 tipi owners and volunteers. The process focused on Indigenous engagement and volunteer engagement, and was decision-by-committee: it was a three-year process from when I started in my role, but was over thirty years in the making. We had to move the location of 26 tipis, plus a stage, plus other programs and back-of-house support. In terms of distance, it was maybe a kilometre from one part of the park to another, but it was not as easy as saying, “We’re going to take this and move it from here to here”: because it’s on grass in a park setting, and because there’s a lot of history involved, the consultation was very important.

Part of that history was a lack of consultation when they moved the original spot back in the 70s, so we had to try to overcome this history of not having the best P2.

It had to be an inclusive process, but we didn’t want the “inclusive” aspect to get in the way of reaching a timely decision. We had expectations and timelines, so we didn’t go in and ask, “What do you want?”, because open-ended questions can get into big-picture answers. We had to look at all of the services, support and historical significance of where we were and where we were going and where we had been. The Stampede has worked with Treaty 7 tipi owners and participants since 1912, so the intent was that at no point was it ever going to be “inform” (on the IAP2 Spectrum).

Time management was key. Fortunately, we had strong leadership and advocates from Stampede senior leadership, volunteers and tipi owners that got things done.

We succeeded, in that the new location opened in 2016 with a lot better services and much better visibility. The stakeholders designed it as an ongoing process because it’s hard to see how the programs would best work in the new space, so each year after the move the programs will get better and better.

Just after the move,  I relocated to Quebec (with husband Claude Rivest, a video-journalist with CBC in Sherbrooke), and I was so deep into P2 in so many ways that I had to take a step back and look at what I learned from it in order to be a better P2 practitioner in the future.

I took some time off and moved into my background, which was in communications and community relations, and then I dove head-first into being an IAP2 Canada Board member and trying to learn from others about their P2 experiences.

What does it mean to be president?

There’s a quote that came up in the past year for me: “Be the change you wish to be in the world” … and for me, IAP2 Canada is at a pivotal point right now, with what our members want and what our professional development needs are as practitioners and how we can best shape what good P2 looks like for the future. I want to be a strong leader for those on the board and  also for the organization, to think strategically and plan not just for the next year, but five, ten, twenty years down the road.

You don’t call yourself a practitioner, then?

No. I have no skin in the game when it comes to bidding on contracts or training, but I have an enormous interest in making sure that those who do, succeed. I’m the conduit: I want to create the way for it to work, and work well. I consider myself a friend of P2 in that I consider the work that P2 practitioners and trainers do is important and I want to be involved in that work in the future. But I still want to learn from these experts and I have a long way to go.

In my work at VANOC and the Calgary Stampede, volunteer engagement and volunteer management were really important. IAP2 Canada has a lot of volunteers across boards, events, and committees, so how do we have a positive experience for them? I knew I wanted to volunteer with an organization that believes in the greater good and helping people to make better decisions, and before I found IAP2, little did I know that there was a membership-driven association that does that 24/7.

Also, living in Quebec, I bring specific skills and specifics that are very western-Canadian focused. I have a lot to learn about Quebec before I can jump in and be an expert. P2 here is run so much differently. They’ve just brought in Bill 122, which re-shapes the context for citizen engagement at the local level. Then there’s the (Federal) Not-For Profit Act, which gives a lot of power to our members. Learning about it made me more enthusiastic about supporting the bigger picture for IAP2 Canada and really turned me into an IAP2 Canada cheerleader!

You’re a policy wonk!

Totally! P2 and policy? Together? That’s just dreamy!

The president is only as strong as the members he or she supports and the courage to do the good work comes from the support the members give us. I take representation very seriously: I’m not just supporting Sarah the Board Member, I’m supporting members coast to coast: those who are starting their journey in P2, those who are experts in P2 or those who are trainers in P2.

If you had anything to say to someone just getting into the P2 business …

Listen. The most important thing is to listen and ask questions to members who are already in P2. No question is too minor or stupid.

Webinar Rewind – July 2018 “Denver Encore: Participatory Systems Change”

Addressing many of today’s most pressing problems requires both engaging broad public audiences and working within complex systems of institutions, actors and drivers.  In our July webinar, Prof. Martin Carcasson of the Center for Public Deliberation at Colorado State University, Prof. David Kahane of University of Alberta, and Robin Prest of the Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue at Simon Fraser University describe how the emerging field of “Participatory Systems Change” can create better outcomes for complex or “wicked” problems. These methods are better able to account for the values of citizens, identify leverage points for intervention, and build collaboration among multiple actors.

This approach requires rethinking key aspects of engagement, including: sponsorship; issue framing; sequencing; the nature of democratic exchange; the method of analysis; and strategies for mass communications.

Read the SFU Participatory Systems Change Primer here. And IAP2 Canada members can watch the video of the webinar here.

Webinar Rewind – June 2018: Denver Encore – “Beyond Inclusion”

In recent years, ads promoting the City of Portland, Oregon, have portrayed the city as “weird” — steampunk, maple/bacon doughnuts, all manner of craft beers, etc., etc. But the city and environs also have a less-than-boastable history of white supremacy. According to the Momentum Alliance — a youth-led group that works for social justice — this historical situation has continued into the 21st Century with policies and procedures that put communities of colour at a disadvantage.

Metro, the regional government overseeing the three counties and 23 cities surrounding the Rose City, teamed up with Momentum Alliance to create a more racially equitable region, starting with changing the agency itself and its relationships with the communities it serves. Through a series of meetings and projects, changes have taken place — and not just cosmetic, outward-appearance changes or plans on a shelf, but changes in the attitudes of individual staff members.

But the process was hardly smooth. It involved some tough conversations, revelations and above all, trust-building. IAP2 Canada members, you can hear for yourselves how this remarkable process came together, and how much further they need to go.

MEET A MEMBER – Michelle Snow

Director of Public Engagement, Executive Council, Government of Newfoundland and Labrador

MICHELLE SNOW-2How long have you been in P2, and where have you worked?

I have been in this position since 2010 and my work has centered almost entirely on the design and delivery of P2 projects within and across the provincial government.  Our clients are predominantly government departments and agencies who have a need to engage with stakeholders or the public on a specific policy or program.

During those eight years we’ve been under three different departments. It started out with the Rural Secretariat, when (IAP2 Canada President) Bruce Gilbert hired me. He had joined the team over a year before and had placed a real emphasis on Public Participation.

After a while, it became a stand-alone Office of Public Engagement, and then in 2016 we became part of the newly created Communications and Public Engagement Branch of Executive Council.
What turned you on to P2 in the first place?

My formal background is in project and event management and a lot of my previous work involved facilitation, community consultations, managing multi-stakeholder collaborations and partnership development. I didn’t set out looking for a career in P2, in fact I may not have even been aware of the full scope of P2 practice at the time, but my move to this position was a very logical step and has expanded and refined my knowledge and skills tremendously.

After graduating from (Memorial) University (of Newfoundland) I got a job in community economic development, which involved a lot of facilitation and collaboration – all under the umbrella of community development. That led me to the Rural Secretariat, where we did community development work, looking for opportunities for partnership and citizen input on our plans. It was Public Participation, but that terminology wasn’t part of our language.

Have you had any “big wins”?

I have been directly involved with several hundred projects with thousands of participants over the past eight years.  They have varied in size and scope, covered a wide range of topics and targeted a diverse range of participants and input. There have been small victories with each project but I think the biggest “win” has been establishing the reputation of the team as a professional and skilled group who can add significant value to a department’s decision making process by designing and delivering a sound engagement process. It can be easy to dismiss consultation as a “tick the box” exercise. Our team has always tried to ensure each project adheres to P2 principles and in doing so I believe we have enhanced the overall policy development cycle.

It was a long, hard, slow struggle to convince our clients that there was value for them in working with us. Our strategy was to be helpful and useful: a group of people with skills, knowledge, time and resources that could help our colleagues.

It wasn’t unusual to hear a client say, “We know what they’ll say already so why should we bother going through all this trouble?” Now, though, we have champions throughout government, who make the public engagement team their first call when they have a need to engage with citizens.

A few years ago, there was a department that needed to consult stakeholders on a report they had commissioned. They reached out to us and we worked with them to design and deliver an extensive engagement process. It was a contentious issue and emotions were high in many of the sessions.

At the end of the project, we were sitting in the pub at one of the hotels, and the client lead came over to me and said, “When you came into that first meeting, you were all bubbly and I thought, ‘Will she just get out of my way?’  But I was told no – we had to work with you, so I came along for the ride. I have to tell you: you really won me over.”

Fast-forward to a month ago, and another phase in the same project. He was told they had to do another consultation, and I don’t think he gave it a second’s thought: his first call was to our team this time.

If you had anything to say to someone just getting into the P2 business …

Like most other areas of professional practice, P2 isn’t a specific recipe that you can meticulously follow and get the perfect soufflé every time.  A successful engagement is built on a solid foundation of P2 principles, the wisdom of your (or other’s) experiences, and a splash of instinct. I’ve learned my most valuable lessons by making mistakes and then debriefing on them so as not to repeat them. And always plan for the scenario that you think is least likely to happen. Because eventually it will happen.