Member Profile – May/June 2018: Shawn Bravender, CP3

shawnbravenderPOSITION Community Engagement Lead, Edmonton Office, ISL Engineering

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

I’ve been in P2 about 8 years solid, and then before that, I was a planner, where most of what I did was P2 – so I’ve been involved with public participation for a total of just over  17 years. I worked for the City of Twin Falls, Idaho, then went to Stantec, and then a couple of years ago, I went to ISL.

What turned you on to P2 in the first place?

I just gravitated towards it through the planning stream. I’m most interested in long-range projects, and those are the ones tend to have support for more meaningful P2– so I get to “play with the public”.  Just working with people, collaboratively coming up with solutions and facing challenges. Usually at the start of a project, there’s a lot of negative emotion but by the time the project is finished, people are generally happy and it’s fun to be a part of that.

At ISL, I get to work on a lot of municipal policies such as development plans, transportation master plans, parks and recreation planning, and active modes planning – where I get to work with the public. I also have been privileged to work with the Alberta Government on Regional and sub regional plans such as the recent Caribou Range plan.

Have you had any “big wins”?

Yes. Those come when you’re working with clients over the years that were reluctant at first to do engagement. They felt confined by the idea of having the public actually participate in their projects; but I was able to bring them to see the benefits of public participation projects that were more collaborative with communities.

When you were working as a planner, did P2 seem to be a novel concept?

Not that long ago, public participation  was a novel concept for many, but to me, that was the only way to do it. I’ve always been passionate about P2 and the role it can play. In fact, the Province of Alberta has recently updated the Municipal Government Act, including a requirement for every municipality to have a public participation policy. In Alberta, there’s certainly a lot of growth in the awareness of the need. That’s a big change from ten or fifteen years ago: back then, only the really progressive municipalities were doing meaningful engagement.

Have you had any “golden learning moment”?

I found myself in the middle of a discussion that was increasing in intensity and I realized that it wasn’t going where it needed to. But I was able to shift gears in the conversation to validate their experience and watch the emotions subside. People need to be heard and validated, not run through a process and patronized.

What are your interests?

I have a large family that I’m very proud of and I do a lot of volunteer work with youth groups. As well anything to do with cycling excites me. I was involved in 2007 when Edmonton did its cycling plan update, and in 2012, I was project manager for cycling infrastructure engagement for several different neighbourhoods. I worked on the Lethbridge cycling master plan, the Medicine Leisure Trail Master Plan, and led the engagement for the first phase of Calgary’s city centre cycle track, to name a few.

Why do you suppose there’s so much animosity towards increasing cycling infrastructure?

Change, for one thing; and it’s also perceived to serve a very small percentage of the public. Now, if you just count cyclists, you could say that. But good cycling infrastructure not only supports cyclists, it reduces motor vehicle traffic,  improves transit, and increases pedestrian activity. There are a lot of spinoff benefits to the greater community.  Studies have proven again and again that the best communities … the ones with the highest quality of life, have advanced cycling infrastructure.

You are one of only eight P2 practitioners to have the CP3 designation – Certified Public Participation Professional. What does that mean for you?

I find it’s invaluable. It’s the opportunity to have credentials that match the experience and knowledge and to showcase that to clients. As well, it’s exciting to be on the leading edge of CP3 for the IAP2 community across the country. I believe in the value of having the CP3 certification and to be on the front end of it. It’s also a huge benefit for the team I work with, because it enhances our ability, as an engineering firm, to win contracts and show that we’re on the leading edge of P2. My employer – Connstance Gourley – knows those benefits. She started engagement back in 2004, adding staff and training. She’s made the atmosphere and the culture here at ISL conducive to P2 – and made it well worth my making the move when I did, including corporate support for my CP3 efforts.

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

Come in with your eyes wide-open and your mind set to “learn”. Both from the professionals and from the public and stakeholders.


IAP2 Canada Board Elections ; Élection des membres du conseil d’administration de l’AIP2 Canada

PICTURE THIS: Whom do you see on the IAP2 Canada Board?

It’s a huge sign of the growth of IAP2 Canada: so many people, wanting to get involved in its plans – present and future! The election period will run from now through June 5, so, IAP2 Canada members, watch your inbox for an invitation from Election Buddy.

So who is in the race? Fourteen people have thrown their hats in the ring to serve on the Board from 2018-2021 — but there are only six seats available. So it’s up to you to choose, and we are pleased to introduce you to …

IMAGINEZ UN PEU : Qui verriez-vous pour siéger au conseil d’administration de l’AIP2 Canada?

Avec tant de personnes qui souhaitent s’impliquer dans ses projets, actuels et futurs, c’est un signe incontestable de la croissance que connaît l’AIP2 Canada! La période de mise en nomination commence dès maintenant et prendra fin le 5 juin, et nous invitons tous les membres de l’AIP2 Canada à surveiller l’invitation qu’ils recevront par courriel de la part d’Election Buddy.

Alors, qui est en lice? Quatorze personnes se sont lancées dans la course pour siéger au conseil de 2018 à 2021 – mais seulement six sièges sont disponibles. C’est donc à vous de faire un choix, et nous sommes très heureux de vous présenter…

Rose Bilou
Rose Bilou – Alberta
Suncor, Senior Advisor, Stakeholder & Aboriginal Relations
Kristen Farrell
Kristen Farrell – Ontario
Canadian Tire Financial Services

Chrystal Fuller – Nova Scotia
Principal – Brighter Community Planning and Consulting and Consulting
Drew Ferrari
Drew Ferrari – BC
TransLink- Senior Advisor, Government & Public Affairs
Bruce Gilbert
Bruce Gilbert – Newfoundland
Chief of Staff, NL NDP Caucus
Rose Bilou
Susan Harrison – Ontario
Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO), Supervisor, Regional & Community Engagement
Eileen McCord
Eileen McCord – Alberta
Sr Advisor, Stakeholder Relations, Communica Public Affairs
Catherine Rockandel
Catherine Rockandel – BC
Rockandel & Associates, public engagement specialist & process facilitator
Dominic Savio
Dominic Savio – Saskatchewan
SaskPower – Director
Michelle Snow
Michelle Snow – Newfoundland
Director, Public Engagement, Government of Newfoundland Labrador
Shiona Sommerville
Shiona Sommerville – USA-Mass
Program on Negotiation, Harvard Law School, Project Manager
Anila Sunnak
Anila Sunnak – Ontario
The Canadian Partnership Against Cancer
Mark Szabo
Mark Szabo – Alberta
Szabo+Partners, Principal
Ellis Westwood
Ellis Westwood – Ontario
Senior Director and Deputy Group Leaders, Public Engagement, Hill+Knowlton Strategies

Webinar Rewind – May 2018: “Our Community Could Blow Up – Do We Have Time for some Quick Consultation?” (Denver Encore)

Robbie Burns’ famous prayer was for protection from “things that go ‘bump’ in the night”, but in October 2012, near Shreveport, Louisiana, it was no “bump”. It was a colossal explosion, and no one immediately knew the cause. When the cause – and the planned solution – were discovered, it touched off a different kind of fireworks.

The cause was millions of pounds of M6 explosive – the propellent used to fire large guns, like tank guns and heavy artillery – which had been stored at Camp Minden National Guard Base. It was too old to be any use – and highly unstable. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other responsible agencies planned to burn the explosives in the open – considered “best practice”. The community had other thoughts on the matter and in the social and political melee that followed, Kristi Parker Celico and Doug Sarno, MCP3, were called in to facilitate public consultation sessions to find an alternative.

Except they didn’t have the luxury of time.

BOOMThe military repeatedly reminded everyone that another major explosion could happen at any moment.

So how did Kristi and Doug manage to marshal the military, the environmental experts, the community members, the activists and the various government agencies (none of whom wanted the responsibility) and come up with a solution? The May webinar – a reprise of their presentation at the 2017 IAP2 North American Conference – is revealing, inspiring and at times hilarious (in its own macabre way) as we learn how two experienced professionals took charge of the situation and quickly but methodically brought in a solution before something else went “ka-BOOM!” in the night.

IAP2 members can watch the webinar here. (The IAP2 Webinar Archive is a benefit exclusive to members of IAP2 Canada.)

Webinar Rewind: April 2018

Core Values Award Winners – project categories Part 2

CANADA: LAWS (Liard Aboriginal Women’s Society) and Beringia Community Planning, Indigenous Engagement Award for “Youth4Safety”

Tackling the problem of violence against Indigenous women and girls in a small northern community, and making sure as many voices as possible were heard in developing a long-range, multi-modal transportation plan, were the last two Core Values Award winners featured in our monthly webinars.

In addressing a problem of sexualized violence against Aboriginal women and girls, an initiative named Youth4Safety spearheaded by the Liard Aboriginal Women’s Society (LAWS) and supported by Beringia Community Planning won the IAP2 Canada Award for Indigenous Engagement. The groups determined to make the plan local to the community, so it was relevant at all points, and to empower youth, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal.


There are numerous barriers when it comes to engaging young people. Lack of interest is one, as is an inability of decision-makers to see the value in engaging young people; perhaps an even bigger barrier is the lack of meaningful roles for youth. The Youth4Safety project set out to overcome all of those.

Beringia’s Sarah Gillett says decision-makers often underestimate the ability of young people to contribute to a process; but in this case, they were given the key role. The project presented educational tools to help youth deal with sexualized violence, but the project also drew on the local culture and the experiences of the young people, themselves, all while ensuring the safety needed for youth to participate. They were empowered to apply what they learned in designing an awareness campaign and then share their work with the broader community.

No fewer than 16 agencies collaborated on the project, including LAWS, the RCMP, local tribal justice departments, the local high school and drug and alcohol counselling services. A unique feature of the process was that it was based in local Kaska culture, focusing on peer support, a system designed by youth for youth, and dene à nezen, which is a Kaska term to describe “dignity and respect”.

While the long term impact of their work is still to be understood, an evaluation of Youth4Safety has identified the following results to date:

For the participating youth:

  •         An ability to describe the issues relating to sexualized violence (such as gender, social responses, racism, mental health)
  •         An increased willingness and comfort talking about sexualized violence
  • An ability to identify concrete actions they can take to respond to violence against women and girls
  • An increase in concrete skills they can use to get involved in taking action on issues of sexualized violence (such as campaigning, communication, using the media)
  • Increased sense of connection among Youth – provided a network Youth trust to approach with sexualized violence issues, potential to provide support for Youth victims of sexualized violence
  • Increased confidence and self-efficacy – being a part of this team gave Youth an opportunity to build their confidence and recognize their ability to build a safer community
  • Building a stronger support network – more aware of resources, community organizations, and a network of people who care about sexualized violence against women and can help

For the broader community:

  •         Increased knowledge about violence against women and girls, the extent of the issue and the impact on Youth
  •         Increased appreciation for the knowledge Youth have on the topic of sexualized violence and the role they can play in raising awareness on this issue


USA: Tennessee Department of Transportation – General Project Award for “Long Range Transportation Plan”

Every five years, the Tennessee Department of Transportation has to produce a 25-year long-range transportation plan, and with 6.5 million people — a third of whom live in rural areas — to serve, the challenge is to make sure public money is spent in the best way possible. Complicating matters is the sudden in-migration of people: ever since Nashville was designated an “It” city by the New York Times, 100 people move there per day.

By 2013, transportation infrastructure projects had fallen behind to the tune of $6 billion, so the problem was clear: how to come up with a plan that Tennesseans could stand behind. Tanisha Hall — TDOT’s Director of Long-Range Planning — and her staff had to reach urban and rural areas with the same message, be consistent with the outreach efforts, build input that would directly influence the decisions, and define and target traditionally underserved sectors of the population.

The tools and techniques included regional summits, focus groups and “Book-a-Planner” Outreach, where staff would take the message to local groups. They took the message to places where people traditionally met, such as Rotary and Chamber of Commerce meetings, giving people the straight goods on the challenges TDOT was facing; they questioned the people interactively on what their transportation priorities were.

Tanisha explains that they learned quite a few valuable lessons about engagement: make sure that an engagement plan is an integral part of the plan; be flexible; think through the entire process ahead of time and identify potential obstacles; and make it enjoyable.

Tanisha & Gov Haslam

So successful was the outreach, that towards the end of the process, Governor Bill Haslam (centre, above; looking toward Tanisha) used Tanisha’s engagement process at some of the events, which led to the legislature passing a gas tax increase to fund transportation infrastructure and TDOT won the IAP2 USA Core Values Award — General Project.

CHAPTER NEWS – March 2018


BC DEEP DIVE-1The BC Chapter hosted its first event of 2018 in Victoria on February 7. Drew Snider presented and led an interactive “Deep Dive” discussion about media relations & P2 with an engaged bunch of members and non-members.

Being able to tell the story you want about engagement through the media is important. Helping reporters and editors understand what “good” and “proper” public consultation looks like can help preserve the integrity of the process, even when vocal opponents try to discredit it. Discussion touched on ways of doing that — including the ever-popular “elevator pitch”.

We are pleased to welcome the Canadian Trainers Collective to Vancouver for Foundations training in March and the Courageous Leadership Project training in Vancouver in April. For details on the dates and to register please visit:


P2 Talks: Changing Engagement for a Changing City

Jane PurvisThe Wild Rose chapter is pleased to have hosted two successful joint presentations of Jane Purvis’ presentation IAP2: ‘Changing Engagement for a Changing City’ in both Calgary and Edmonton along with the Alberta Professional Planners Institute (APPI). Both events were well attended by a diverse audience from both IAP2 and APPI.  The luncheons provided the audience an opportunity to hear Jane discuss the City of Edmonton’s recently concluded 3-year-long Council-sponsored Initiative on Public Engagement that resulted in significant changes to Edmonton’s engagement policy and approach. (See the special report by Tannis Topolnisky in this newsletter.) Thank you to everyone that was able to attend and remember to check out our website for upcoming professional development and networking events.

Anne Harding is Wild Rose’s newest CP3

ANNE HARDING-2We are pleased to celebrate Anne Harding as one of Canada’s newest Certified Public Participation Professionals (CP3). Jessica Delaney and Yvonne Morrison were also granted the certification, along with Anne. Anne is the Owner of Forum Relations, a Calgary based consulting company dedicated to sustainable decision-making through effective community engagement. Along with being the most immediate Past-President of IAP2 Canada, she also works as Stakeholder & Aboriginal Relations Senior Advisor at Suncor Energy. With Anne’s certification, the Wild Rose Chapter now has the most CP3’s in the country- a fact we are very proud of!

Save the date: April 27, 2018

IAP2 WR AGM, Networking and Core Value Awards Learning Opportunity

City of Calgary 2 (1)
City of Calgary’s Engagement team bolstered by ISL Engineering

What can be more exciting than an AGM you ask?  How about an opportunity to learn from two of last year’s core value award winners?  Join us to hear about The City of Calgary’s Crowchild Trail Extension project and the Calgary Board of Education’s 2016 Transportation Study which goes beyond presenting and includes some skill building.

Calgary School Board (1)
Karen Drummond (l) and Carrie Edwards flank Richard Delaney of Delaney + Associates

In between these two interactive sessions will be the AGM and a networking lunch. This is a great way to find out about what the chapter has been up to for the last year and possibilities for the upcoming year.  We would love for you to join us!

Date: Friday April 27, 2018

Location: Fort Calgary (750 – 9th Ave SE)

Keep your eyes out for more details as they emerge.  In the meantime, book yourself out for April 27!


OGDiscussions on Open Government come to the Queen City in April. The Prairies Chapter is hosting the latest in the Open Dialogue series, an opportunity for all Canadians to weigh in on Ottawa’s efforts towards increased transparency, public engagement and improved access.

What do “open government” and “open dialogue” mean to you? What issues would benefit most from increased dialogue and collaboration between government and citizens? The Treasury Board Secretariat will provide an overview of the initiatives so far and facilitate the conversation, April 9 in Regina. Register here — it’s free, but there’s a limit of 40.


The IAP2 Prairies Chapter held two successful AGMs on February 6, one in Winnipeg and a joint AGM between Regina and Saskatoon. The Chapter shared highlights of the past year and provided an opportunity for people interested in public engagement to learn more about IAP2 and membership benefits. After the AGM, both locations hosted a learning opportunity for attendees.

In Winnipeg, Morgan Vespa from the City of Winnipeg’s Office of Public Engagement facilitated a discussion regarding what the Office has achieved and the future of engagement in the City of Winnipeg. Regina hosted Samantha Mark, Prairie Wild Consulting Co., who shared case studies of their diverse work, the approach used in engagement and facilitation, and lessons learned.

The IAP2 Prairies Chapter is offering P2 training in the near future:

IAP2 Fundamentals in Public Participation

Planning module

March 27-29, 2018 – Regina, SK

Techniques module

April 18-19, 2018 – Regina, SK

IAP2 Strategies for Public Opposition & Outrage in Public Participation

(formerly called IAP2 Emotion, Outrage & Public Participation)

May 8 & 9, 2018 – Winnipeg, MB

May 15 & 16, 2018 – Regina, SK

For more information and to register please visit:


Great Lakes Chapter members gathered in Burlington on Feb 22 and talked about “the tools we use”, highlighting tools and techniques used that are innovative and in most cases, FUN!

Group PhotoThe group heard about:

Mentimeter which is a free software tool that helps to create fun and interactive presentations where participants use their mobile devices to participate.

Feedback Frame in actionFeedback Frames which is a tool that can be used for large group decision making using secret rating with instant visuals (see the photo for one in use at the meeting).  This method of engagement is based on the concept of dotmocracy but allows for anonymous voting.

RetroViewerWe went back in time and used RetroViewers – you remember these, we called them ViewMasters.  These were used to show residents what a current parcel of land looked like and what it COULD look like after re-development of the site.  A fun and interactive to show people concepts.

Online Town Hall was demonstrated.  This is a great way to have people participate without having to actually come out to a townhall meeting.

Interested and want more info?  Visit:

Keep on eye out for the IAP2 Great Lakes Newsletter for our next social P2 event. Have an idea for our next social get together? Let us know at

Webinar Rewind – March 2018: Core Values Award Winners – project categories-1

Dealing with the prospect of closing schools is a touchy subject in the best of conditions, but throw in language and other cultural differences, and things get even trickier.

Rockandel bio pict_sm (1)That was the challenge faced by the Richmond BC School District when faced with the need to do seismic upgrading on their buildings, in a zone identified as prone to liquefaction in case of an earthquake. The potential hit to the budget meant a real potential for closing some schools. This meant taking it to the people, which led to a Core Values Award for the District and Catherine Rockandel of Rockandel and Associates.

The Award — for “Respect for Diversity, Inclusion and Culture” — recognized the work done to reach out to families in a place where sixty percent of households do not have English as a first language. Languages in Richmond include Mandarin, Cantonese, Taiwanese, Tagalog, Punjabi and some Japanese. Moreover, many of the immigrants come from cultures which mistrust governments and officialdom in general.

What tools and techniques did they use to encourage people to take part and trust that their voices are being heard and taken seriously? How did they reach a conclusion in which no schools were closed?


Although climate change is on the minds of pretty much everybody, one group has been routinely left out of the policy conversation: rural residents. Farmers, ranchers and others who live outside our big cities have found that policy designed by urban and suburban interests often fails to address the distinctive realities and challenges they experience.

The Saint Paul, Minnesota-based Jefferson Center joined with the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy to create the “Rural Climate Dialogues”, in which people in three rural Minnesota communities hosted Citizen Juries to deliberate on the topic of climate and extreme weather, and create solutions that worked for them.

Camille Morse Nicholson headshotCamille Morse Nicholson, Program Coordinator at the Jefferson Center, outlined some of the different techniques required to build community support in advance of the dialogue, facilitate the jury’s work, and support the communities in their follow-up. Although a divisive debate is a possibility with such a politically-loaded topic, one participant remarked, “there was no political/ideological divisiveness: everything was done with respect and in good order.”

The dialogues continue with a focus on the future of energy in rural Minnesota, and the project has already won the Core Values Award for “Creativity and Innovation.”

Meet a Member – March 2018: Samantha Mark

Samantha MarkPOSITION Senior Manager of Regional and Community Planning, Prairie Wild Consulting Co.

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

I have been practicing P2 since graduating from the Regional and Urban Planning Program at the University of Saskatchewan in 2010. I began my career with the former West Central Enterprise Region as an Economic Development Officer and Community Planning Consultant.

I had two major roles with the Enterprise Region. The first was to conduct engagement through one-on-one interviews with business owners for a Business Retention and Expansion project within west central Saskatchewan. Secondly, under Prairie Wild’s supervision, I was the co-lead in the West Central Planning Initiative, a collaboration of five districts engaged in community based planning and main street revitalization.

In 2011, the West Central Enterprise Region ceased to exist due to Provincial budget cuts and I became a full time member of Prairie Wild, continuing to lead the West Central Planning Initiative and a number of other projects related to comprehensive regional and community planning and community-based research across Saskatchewan.

What turned you on to P2 in the first place?

As community planners, we are bound ethically to serve the public good. P2 elevates the planning practice to ensure we challenge ourselves as professional practitioners that we are going above and beyond the minimum requirements to ensure local wisdom and experience is captured throughout the process and is reflected in the Plans and related tools/documents we create.

It is an exciting feeling to facilitate participatory sessions with various stakeholders – community members, boards, Councils, committees, organizations, and others, and see the appreciation from people that they had the opportunity to share their input. Utilizing the P2 process helps to build important capacity in the community from start to creation to implementation.

Prairie Wild Consulting Co. was founded by the Directors to enhance community engagement in planning and research processes. The Directors have contributed to engagement literature through research and work with the Canadian Index of Wellbeing – democratic engagement domain. All of our processes include extensive community engagement. We strongly encourage reaching out to community members and stakeholders at the very beginning of a process as we know this helps to build capacity and ownership.

There are many positive successes we have seen as a result of engaging stakeholders throughout the process. This includes:

  • Increasing number of people engaged, 600+, where this type of engagement has not been heard of before;
  • Increasing number of people volunteering on local boards and committees;
  • Community members who have been engaged in our processes run for an elected official position and are successful;
  • There are new collaborations formed between people and organizations that have not worked with each other before,
  • Creation of new events and initiatives; and,
  • Using engagement methods and engaging others including those who may be underrepresented through related processes.

In some instances, communities and organizations prefer a more streamlined process that only involves specific stakeholders. We recognize that engagement and the work we do is based on a state of readiness. It is important to respect where a community or organization is at in regards to their state of readiness and to be flexible through the engagement process. We ensure we remain true to the firm’s values by working with clients who are ready to engage community members and stakeholders to achieve the entire P2 Spectrum.

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

Build up your toolkit – there are a number of engagement and public participation resources available. It is helpful to learn and use a variety of approaches in order to be able to draw on them depending on the type of engagement you are doing and if certain events present themselves during the process.

As shared in the previous question, it is important to understand state of readiness with people, a community, or an organization. Some people will feel comfortable participating at different stages and in different ways. Respecting this as part of the process help to further build capacity and trust.

Always remember to engage a wide variety of people and in different ways – drawing from your toolkit. Often times there are people who are underrepresented and it is important to think about ways to engage those who may not always have a voice (youth, seniors, various cultural backgrounds, others).

Reach out to those who have experience and wisdom in the P2 field. This could take shape in the form of having a mentor or mentors and staying connected through the P2 network. Having mentors and a network is helpful in terms of support, idea generation, and learning from each other.