Public Engagement During a Pandemic

PublicInput Moderates Panel at IAP2 Annual Conference

This week PublicInput’s Graham Stone moderated a panel discussion with Ashley Traynum-Carson (City of Asheville, NC), Camden Yehle (Yehle & Associates), and  Emily Woodell (KGBTexas) at the  10th Annual International Association for Public Participation’s (IAP2) North American Conference.   

During the session, the panelists shared their experiences and insight related to conducting public engagement during the pandemic.  

Here are some highlights from the session:

In-person meetings have traditionally been the primary forum for engaging the public, but 2020 made them impossible.  However, a silver lining appeared when governments across the world began adopting virtual tactics.   

Whether it be focused public engagement tactics or conducting regular business (like city council meetings), the data shows that increased accessibility, and meeting residents where they are, has been more effective in engaging the broader community. 

Government organizations from across the country reported the benefits of virtual tactics in their communities: be it rural areas, among older adult populations, or with hot button issues like police reform. 

Check out the featured IAP2 North American conference panelists case studies that show how adapting in an “all virtual” year increased equity, and ‘future-proofed’ representative public participation. 

Ashley Traynum-Carson is a public administrator with 10 years of experience working with both government and nonprofit institutions. She began her career in public administration as a Capital City Fellow with DC government, quickly developing a passion for innovation in the public sector. 

Camden Yehle has worked in government communications for nearly 10 years, 8 of which as a public involvement specialist, specializing in transportation projects and currently working with Alaska DOT. 

Emily Woodell is a Communications professional, specializing in full service communications for government organizations and initiatives, first at VOX Global in Washington, DC and now with KGBTexas Communication, working with large metros, including Harris County Flood Control District. 

Graham Stone is Co-Founder and Vice President of Government Relationships at PublicInput. In his role, Stone supports planners and communicators in the ongoing, evolving challenges of building stronger relationships with residents in every corner of the community. 

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