By Florentina Craciun, January 19, 2022
My last Director’s note ended with an open invitation to what was going to be a launch party for Northern Section events for 2022. While we were ready to shed 2021, it turns out 2022 has other plans for us. With the rise in Covid cases, we decided to postpone our “New Year, New Northern” bash and instead concentrate on how to keep you engaged and safe at the same time. So although my hopes were crushed and I feel confused, here we are, carrying on.
In this short note, I reflect on two things: what your Northern Section Board accomplished in 2021, and what we hope to accomplish in 2022.
What we accomplished
The Board kicked off 2021 with our traditional Board Retreat, but in a non-traditional manner on Zoom. We met over two days to lay out and accomplish Board goals for 2021. We decided to prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in all Section activities, while at the same time increasing our membership engagement, improving our communications with you, and expanding our partnerships with related organizations.
Toward meeting those goals, Board members participated in a DEI reflection where we discussed how each individual Board member understands DEI issues, as well as how DEI affects us personally. We learned that we all have unique stories with common threads, and that to grow inclusivity we need to address the root problems of:
- Access to education,
- Exposure to planning issues, and
- Increased representation.
To further engage members, we held several webinars, including our annual Ethics session — approximately 150 planners from all over the state attended. We also engaged with ABAG, MTA, AEP, SPUR, and other regional organizations to expand our programming. Work started and continues on an updated website and branding to make sure you can easily get information as you need it, when you need it. You can expect to see those updates in your inbox soon.
We also made several organizational changes. You know that we have the largest membership of the eight sections in APA California, and we have a large Board structured to serve you. We created “pods” so that Board members can easily cooperate on responsibilities such as professional support and communications. We streamlined our onboarding process to make sure that new Board members feel supported in carrying out their responsibilities. And we drafted and will soon launch a Board Mentorship program.
What we are planning for 2022
We are starting the year with a bang. We have a Job Panel coming up on January 28th for first-time job seekers to help them better understand the planning field. Our annual Board Retreat is coming up on Friday, February 4th, and Saturday, February 5th. We will plan for the year, setting goals for Northern Section and for ourselves. And we will be launching a four-part series to address the AICP CM credits as they relate to the mandatory requirements of Ethics, Law, Equity, and Sustainability and Resilience.
We are also working on resuming our AICP test training. For more than 30 years, and until Covid-19 dropped anchor here, Dr. Don Bradley, AICP, conducted well-attended in-person workshops to help you prepare for the AICP exam. We’re now planning for a future where we live with the continuing presence of Covid. If you are interested in working on how we can best prepare our upcoming planners for AICP entry, please contact me.
Your Northern Section Board comprises dedicated planners who want to make a difference in our professional lives. If you are interested in joining us, we have some opportunities. Don’t be shy, and we promise to make it fun. Just check out the opportunities here.
I will have more to share with you after our Board Retreat, so stay tuned for updates.
Here’s to a 2022 where we will all feel fulfilled!