My perspective

by leahjaramillo,

As a young P2 practitioner, I was so pleased to take the IAP2 Foundations training and learn about best practices in the field. This amazing experience encouraged me to become a member, get engaged in the Intermountain Chapter and begin taking additional trainings. I felt like I had found "my people."

Several years later I attended the IAP2 conference in San Diego. I was excited to attend my first professional (non-academic) conference, to learn and grow and network with my peers and mentors. There I learned about the planned change to the Federation model. It was very disappointing and alienating to me as a young member to encounter the organizational drama and disarray associated with that change. Instead of being able to network with other practitioners and learn from those who had been in the organization for longer than I, I found my potential mentors distracted and my peers disengaged or in the process of "checking out."

After the conference and through the ensuing the membership engagement process, I saw a lot of our members drop out. Our chapter activities dropped off in part because our leadership was burned out. I had a hard decision to make. Do I leave the organization where I feel at home? or do I throw my energy into it and try to help? Clearly I went with the latter...in no small part due to the mentorship I experienced from my trainer and mentor Wendy Lowe.

Wendy encouraged me to run for chapter leadership and then Salt Lake City was selected for the 2013 North American conference. I volunteered to co-chair the conference to try to reinvigorate our chapter and find a way to create the experience I had hoped to have in San Diego. This leadership opportunity turned into another as I was recruited to the US board of directors and then into an executive committee position. I am now serving my 4th of 5 years on the board and my second year as US President.

I've learned a lot during my tenure on the board, more so than can be shared here, but I'll share a few key points.

1) the people who volunteer for IAP2 leadership roles truly care about the democratic values expressed in the Core Values

2) the experience represented across IAP2 leadership is valuable and insightful

3) IAP2 members deeply care about the organization and their role in it.

4) IAP2 USA membership is changing from primarily practitioners to include a much larger percentage of people who only touch P2 as part of their overall responsibilities.

IAP2 USA and its board have worked incredibly hard to rebound from the organizational change. We have  recovered from our original decline in membership and continue to grow rapidly. We are developing new programs, trainings and services. We are working our volunteers for every ounce of energy they have and still find deficits in our bandwidth. Our hard-working staff are amazing and manage to outperform our expectations, but we could certainly use more revenue to support them and more staff to augment their abilities. Our board, committees, staff and volunteers endeavor to develop member services, programs and training to adapt to the needs of our changing member demographics and expand our reach into new areas of the US. 

I hope that these meetings and whatever the resulting process may be will help the organization find a steady footing and be able to focus on building the greater good together. I also hope that we can acknowledge the history of the organization, acknowledge points of contention and then move forward together to support our members, expand our reach and improve access to decision-making around the world.

I look forward to meeting you all. Cheers,

Leah Jaramillo - IAP2 USA President

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