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PACE Seminar Teaches Persuasive Communication

by Jake Hellenkamp

WP_001572When the PACE (People’s Academy for Community Engagement) Program ended last year, our staff wanted to keep the graduates involved, but also open up opportunities for the public to learn more about community engagement. So the PACE seminar program was born. Since most every graduate felt they had experienced situations where their ideas faced opposition and advocating was tough, the first seminar, “Effective Communication,” was held for a ready group of residents, PACE graduates, and members of community groups. Our guest facilitator was Thomas Pitchford, who runs a consulting firm that specializes in campaign finance and strategy and has been involved with many local campaign efforts.

Mr. Pitchford highlighted the fundamentals of clear, concise, and persuasive communication and shared examples of the good, the bad, and the ugly in political messaging. He also emphasized the importance of conducting research on both sides of an issue and engaging others through collecting and sharing stories. 

To practice what they learned, attendees split up into groups, crafted their own messages around current hot-button community issues, and presented them to the rest of the audience. Fun and lively, this interactive seminar was the first of several that DON is planning to offer this year.

If you would like to receive updates about future PACE events, contact Wendy Watson at