Chapter News and Events

IAP2 Certificate in Public Participation

We are very excited to announce our annual Puget Sound Chapter Foundations Training is set for the week of February 26, 2024!

The training on IAP2 USA's Certificate in Public Participation (P2) consists of 3 core courses - Fundamentals of Public Participation, Designing Public Participation, and Applying Methods. Based on IAP2's internationally recognized Global Learning Pathway, this professional development certificate program builds on the foundations of public participation training and best practices from around the globe to provide participants with over 30 hours of effective training in public participation and engagement.

In combination, these three courses give practitioners:

  •       the best practices of public participation,
  •       how to center equity in that practice, and
  •       the capacity to design, deliver and evaluate their engagement efforts.

More information about each of the courses can be found on IAP2 USA’s website.

To register for the February 2024 training, click here.

Puget Sound Annual Celebration

We look forward to celebrating a successful year of public engagement with you on Thursday, December 14! Will you join us for a night of bowling, painting, dancing, or skating? We are planning our annual celebration and want to make sure that most folks can attend, so please fill out this survey to help us choose a fun celebratory activity and space! Please fill out this survey by Friday, October 13.

Puget Sound Chapter

We’re here to provide resources for professionals who work in the field of public participation and those who are interested to learn more about it. Our chapter typically hosts quarterly events and a week-long IAP2 Foundations Training in Seattle. If you would like to receive notifications and updates on event opportunities and trainings, send us an email to join our chapter email list:  

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Meet the Board

Robyn Austin, President

A bio is coming soon.

Josh Stepherson, Vice President

A bio is coming soon.

Dennis Sandstrom, Treasurer

Dennis Sandstrom is the Northwest Strategic Communications Manager at HDR, leading teams throughout the Pacific Northwest and Hawaii that are engaging communities on important neighborhood and statewide improvement projects. Dennis has been working in the public participation field for over 15 years, implementing outreach and communications on projects of scales. He has been an IAP2 Puget Sound Board Member for 10 years, serving various roles including treasurer and vice president. Outside of work, Dennis spends his time helping coach his twin boys in baseball and soccer, and making (some) progress on home-improvement projects. 

Jenny Thacker, Secretary

A bio is coming soon.

Gracie Geremia, Board Member

Gracie Geremia is Lyft’s community engagement lead for the Pacific Northwest and Hawaii, leading Lyft’s regional partnerships and relationships with community-based organizations, drivers, and passengers. Gracie previously worked as an engagement consultant, helping government agencies build inclusive and equitable engagement plans. Her passion for transportation equity stems from her experiences working at nonprofits and as a case manager connecting individuals to essential services and resources. She has a Masters in Public Administration from the University of Washington’s Evans School of Public Policy and has experience working with nonprofits, government entities, and businesses.

Mary MacKie, Board Member

Mary MacKie is a Communications Initiatives Program Manager at Puget Sound Energy (PSE), an electric and gas utility serving Western WA. She manages communications and public engagement for some of PSE’s major projects. Outside of work, Mary enjoys being a part of the Washington Ice Emeralds, a synchronized skating team. 

Lauren Wheeler, Board Member

Lauren Wheeler is a Senior Associate at PRR. She works as a communications consultant to provide integrated communications solutions that help people make informed decisions and build stronger, more inclusive communities. Her work is focused in public relations, community outreach, and project management in the transportation, aviation, and environmental sectors. She is an expert at translating complex topics into simple language that is easy to digest and builds support from members of the public. When not at work, Lauren likes to listen to live music, hike tall mountains, and be a space heater for her little dog. She has served as an IAP2 Puget Sound board member for over 5 years.

Natalie Graves, Board Member

Natalie Graves is a Senior Associate at Stepherson & Associates Communications. As a public involvement and community engagement consultant, Natalie supports her clients to achieve their engagement goals across a broad range of projects – transportation, wastewater, parks, master plans, and environmental cleanup initiatives. She enjoys translating highly technical information into accessible and easy-to-understand content for all audiences and has designed numerous equitable engagement programs to thoughtfully engage marginalized communities. Natalie has a master’s degree in Marine Affairs from the University of Washington. She lives in Gig Harbor with her husband and three young kiddos.

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