Meet your APA Board Member: Joan Isaacson, Professional Development

Hi! I’m Joan Isaacson. After consulting in planning for 25+ years and taking advantage of the bounty of APA, I’m paying the real dues and now serving as the Professional Development Chair for the San Diego Section. I’ve always been appreciative of our community’s dedicated APA volunteers, many who spend countless hours in service, year after year. When the board opportunity arose, I had to say yes – yes to taking my turn at service to a profession that has given so much, to me and yes to supporting APA’s legacy of exceptional professional development.

I’m currently Vice President at Kearns & West, a small firm focused on public involvement and stakeholder facilitation, with offices on both coasts. My projects vary widely, from community planning to coastal restoration, renewable energy, haz mat cleanup, water in all forms, transportation, and renewable energy. They are usually high controversy/high conflict/high stakes, and helping local government implement participatory processes to achieve better outcomes gives me tremendous satisfaction. I also conduct communications training for FEMA staff around the country. I’m hoping that the diversity in my project types and geographies will help in formulating professional development programs that are relevant, inspiring, and substantive. Success will also require paying close attention to members’ needs, and I’m committed to seeking your input.

As an empty nester with a daughter on the east coast, I travel a lot for work, family, and fun these days, which makes me appreciate home and San Diego even more. Even after being gone only a few days, my instincts are to reconnect – husband, friends, our two elderly cats, yard and garden, cooking, runs, hiking, and music. But then I’m quickly ready for the next adventure.

If you have ideas for professional development programs, please send an email to me at jisaacson@kearnswest.com. Or better yet, join me for a cup of coffee. Our office is in the heart of North Park, where there’s good coffee on every block (ok, beer too!).