Applying Principals of Community Organizing to Better Connect with Communities

Session 1C | Wednesday | 9:45 – 11:00 AM PT

About the Session

Community Organizing is the practice of building grassroots, collective power to bring about change. Organizers engage people in thinking about the world as it is and imagining the world as it could be and then challenging people to take action. Organizers do this by building relationships, identifying and developing leaders, and equipping them with the tools and knowledge to lead campaigns for community change. Using a mix of short exercises and case studies, participants will learn how to apply key principles of community organizing to better engage with diverse communities. The need to build trusting and authentic relationships with the community is key.

This session will introduce people to the concept of “public relationships” and a framework for having intentional conversations that lead to more authentic relationships. Examples of strategies used through Bellevue’s neighborhood area planning efforts and the Comprehensive Plan Periodic Update will be utilized alongside active audience participation. Participants will get to consider what it means to truly meet the community where they’re at in order to co-create events that are welcoming, and inclusive, and build enthusiasm for ongoing participation. Finally, participants will explore the role of leadership development in public participation and bringing new voices to the planning process. A series of exercises will make this a hands-on and collaborative process, allowing participants to take away concrete tools that can be used on their own projects.

About the Moderator

Brooke Brod
City of Bellevue

Brooke Brod serves as the Community Engagement Lead for the Planning Division at the City of Bellevue. In her role, she creates opportunities for community members to have their voices heard on issues ranging from affordable housing to neighborhood planning, to environmental stewardship. Brooke brings over 10 years of experience working in political campaigns, non-profit advocacy, and community organizing where she has helped to recruit and develop hundreds of volunteer leaders. She worked on President Barack Obama's campaigns in 2008 and 2012. In between she served as National Organizing Director for Stand for Children that helped low-income, immigrant, and other historically underserved families advocate at the state and local level for better education funding and policies She is dedicated to ensuring diverse and traditionally marginalized voices have a seat at the decision-making table and has created innovative leadership development and engagement initiatives to elevate perspectives that are not typically heard from.

About the Speaker

Katherine Nesse, PhD
City of Bellevue

Dr. Nesse was a professor of urban and regional planning for 7 years and led the Urban Studies program at Seattle Pacific University before returning to the public sector in 2019. She has a passion for public service and enjoys sharing that passion with the community. Her research and expertise are in data-informed long-range planning. In her free time, she collects and plays planning-themed tabletop games (yes, you can come to Planning Game Night at her house!).

Elizabeth de Regt, AICP, AIA, LEED, AP, ND
City of Bellevue


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