How long have you been in P2, and where have you worked?
I have been in the P2 field for five years. In 2011, I joined Acertys, a Montreal-based consulting firm that specialises in community relations and public consultation processes. Very recently, our team joined the engagement strategies practice at Hill + Knowlton Strategies (H+K), a strategic communications consulting firm. This milestone is not only a new step in my career as a P2 practitioner but also an indicator of some of the current trends within the practice.
What turned you on to P2 in the first place?
My academic background is not directly related to P2, as I have degrees in psychology and commerce. My first contact with P2 was more a matter of chance when, in 2008, I started working for Borealis, a company specializing in the management of social and environmental data for large infrastructure projects. Borealis’ work is closely related to the P2 processes aiming to obtain and keep these projects’ social licence to operate.
Have you had a “Golden Learning Moment”?
Practically every week, as I work with a highly competent team, but I am mostly amazed by the range of tools, processes and possibilities offered by technology in the P2 field. However, after a few setbacks, I have also learned the importance of being able to keep things simple for participants, as we are all overwhelmed daily by the vast amounts of information and choices that technology offers us.
What “big wins” have you had?
I would say that the P2 practice is more about “small” wins over time, but I would cite some of my experiences as a co-facilitator in conflict resolution processes as success stories. In these processes, you can really see the power of dialogue and the results that can come from it over a short period of time. As an example, I was involved in a mediation project in which two organizations with two different missions had failed for more than a decade to come to an agreement for sharing their existing and future facilities. We worked with the two parties by taking a step back and exploring new options in a very practical and “thinking outside the box” way. After only a few sessions, we reached a successful agreement.
If you had anything to say to someone just getting into the P2 business …
P2 is a very broad field with many possibilities. Do not hesitate to try and experiment with various type of roles, responsibilities and/or projects, in order to find what best suits your strengths and values.