I hope the turn of the year found you, like me, reflecting and celebrating another year of life, learning, and going beyond limitations. It’s time to re-calibrate and get motivated for 2020—and the best way to do that is look back on 2019’s accomplishments.
With that in mind, here’s a rundown of all the areas where Stratiscope made an impact in 2019. My team and I are proud of these accomplishments:
We led California Clean Air Day 2019, a project we created for the Coalition for Clean Air to heighten the awareness of air pollution across the state. This was the event’s second year, with more 650,000 people participating and taking more than one million actions to clean the air, among other results.
We worked with cities across the region to implement the Southern California Association of Government’s (SCAG) Traffic Safety initiative. This involved the Stratiscope team designing and facilitating workshops for city planners, engineers, and other officials, helping them understand tools and options that can reduce traffic deaths and injuries.
We launched our podcast, Community Intelligence, talking to leaders from LA and across the country about how to work with, in, and for communities. Topics cover homelessness, disasters, civics, nonprofits, and more. Our guests ranging from non-profit leaders to CEOs to the California Secretary of State.
Working with the more than 80 service providers in the Hollywood community, we conducted a service audit to identify who is providing what services and where gaps might exist. This information empowered the various agencies to coordinate more effectively and focus on filling gaps rather than creating redundant services.
Stratiscope worked in City of Westminster to gather community intelligence through our External Groundtruthing™ system. This process identified leaders, issues, and opportunities in a city that has limited civic engagement and social infrastructure. We are currently implementing a custom playbook that shows where and how the City can increase community engagement and civic participation.
I was asked to develop and co-lead two week-long workshops for Caltech graduate students and post-docs on science activation: How they can effectively use their science to inform policy. I led the exercises and instruction relating to connecting with policy makers, including setting up meetings with elected officials and hosting a panel of their staff for the scientists.
We have worked with the Structural Engineers Association of Southern California since 2013. And in 2019, we helped them craft a new strategic framework to support their relevance in 2020, mapping out for the board a clear path to greater membership engagement and community stature. Our plan included the creation and facilitation of a Safer Cities Policy Breakfast, gathering representatives from more than a dozen California state elected offices to collaborate on policy issues for safer structures.
2019 was my fifth year as executive director of the San Fernando Valley Council of Governments. In this capacity, I continued to advance transportation priorities in this five-city region of LA with more than 2 million residents, while creating a new strategic framework to take the organization to the next level. We also continued the Valley Mobility Academy, a 5-session interactive transportation leadership course for city staff and community leaders tackling mobility issues in the Valley region.
Stratiscope continues to provide strategic support in running the Dr. Lucy Jones Center for Science and Society, which conducted two significant initiatives:
Stratiscope conceived and moderated a Future of Resilience Panel at Westfield Century City. Along with Dr. Jones, panelists included LA Mayor Eric Garcetti, LA County Fire Chief Daryl Osby, and LA Economic Development Corp CEO Bill Allen.
We helped launch a Community Resilience pilot project in Huntington Park working with the City, the Mexican Consul General in LA, LA County Fire, and local nonprofits to build a community resilience framework for non-profit organizations—an effort never previously undertaken with this level of the community.
We led community immersions across LA for LA Metro, USC, the City of LA, and many others through private walking, transit, and chartered bus tours. This initiative included the launch of our monthly LA Leaders Lunches, which take invited LA leaders into our city’s diverse communities in order to better understand their issues.
In 2019, we launched our Community Intelligence Officer (ComIO) training to train people on our Stratiscope process of effectively engaging community members. This training is especially valuable for elected official staff, government agencies, and corporate community relations professionals. We offered this training both in-house and on-site at organizations like LA Metro Community Relations Education team.
We launched an effort in the San Gabriel Valley to connect community members and civic leaders through civic engagement around issues of housing and economic development.
We were asked to help design and facilitate the City of Glendale’s first Mayor’s Non-Profit Summit for over 200 local non-profit leaders.
Each month, Stratiscope hosted a City Impact Lab Breakfast that featured a speaker who shared their tactics for making an impact in LA. The attendees then participate in a facilitated engagement “experiment” based on the speaker’s advice, increasing the interpersonal connections and delving into key local issues. 2019 was the fifth year of the City Impact Lab program; speakers and recaps can be found here.
In January 2019, we hosted the 4th annual Impact-Makers to Watch Awards at LA City Hall. Some 300 dignitaries, leaders, and citizens gathered to recognize two dozen leaders working for change in LA in the coming years.
Stratiscope’s Vice President, Angela Babcock, completed the inaugural Coro Lead LA leadership program designed for thought leaders and innovators tackling some of the region’s most complex issues.
This summer, we hosted a tour of the San Andreas Fault, the largest and fastest-moving fault in California, featuring Dr. Lucy Jones. We traveled along the fault and learned why Southern California is so deeply tied to this fault and how the fault affects our cities.
We launched our Community Brand Accelerator and completed our first cohort of LA leaders, who saw greater refinement in their community purpose. Additionally, these men and women achieved higher visibility among targeted audiences through media engagement, speaking opportunities, and partnership development, including mentions in the Wall Street Journal, invited op-eds, conference keynotes, and awards.
Stratiscope was asked by non-profits, government agencies, and companies to facilitate strategic sessions, planning meetings, and even tense topic conversations to help those groups move forward together on sometimes complex and controversial issues. Among these organizations were CAUSE, LA Headquarters Association, Providence High School, and Southern California Edison.
We also helped co-create and facilitate two sessions with the International Code Council on moving their key stakeholders of engineers, code officials, state agencies, and others towards a shared understanding of functional recovery for buildings after an earthquake, with the first meeting being in the State Capitol in Sacramento and the second being at their Annual Code meeting in Las Vegas.
I appeared on various media outlets talking about community and resilience, including nine minutes on KABC in Los Angeles after the Ridgecrest Earthquake in July.
We led a special “Ask a #StratiscopeExpert” social media event after the Ridgecrest earthquake, featuring an insurance professional, a structural engineer, and renowned seismologist Dr. Lucy Jones. Thousands viewed the conversation live online.
Over the course of 2019, I was invited to speak on various topics including community engagement and activation, civic literacy, corporate community relations, community crisis response, and more at national conferences, local summits, and even the United Nations in New York. There, I spoke about how businesses can support communities and help the UN reach their Sustainable Development Goals.
Stratiscope continued this year to advise and provide community engagement services for the Hollywood Bowl, Apple, Citi, Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, Century City Chamber of Commerce, Burbank Community YMCA, the Walt Disney Company, Bright Star Schools, First Republic Bank, and others.
Let’s make a lasting impact on LA together in 2020!
Whether by attending a City Impact Lab breakfast or committing to ComIO training, you and your organization can engage meaningfully with the communities you serve—and experience the long-term benefits of those relationships. If you’re interested in learning more, or have community engagement ideas or success stories to share, please let us know.
See you in the community in 2020!