By Kathryn Stokes, NAGC Board President
The National Association of Government Communicators is a unique organization because it embraces all levels of government communications and all categories of communication professions. But since I have been on the board, one perception I have consistently heard, is that NAGC is a federal-centric organization.
As a state employee, I have not personally felt that NAGC has a federal slant. I admit that I’ve only been a member for about nine years, which is almost as long as I’ve been a government employee. Since my first Communication School in Albuquerque, I have felt accepted and I have found the NAGC to be a great organization with amazing members who are always willing to help me whenever I needed guidance.
The federal-centric perception prompted me to review our members to discern our government-level distribution. Currently, 57 percent of NAGC members are state, local, tribal or regional government communicators. Our federal members account for 37 percent of our membership, and the rest are a combination of retirees, non-government employees and student members.
In response to the membership distribution, we sent out a survey in February to determine locations for future communication schools. We were interested to see if our state-local membership distribution impacted desired school locations. The short answer was, not much.
NAGC consists of communication directors and managers, public information officers, outreach and engagement officers, digital strategists, graphic designers and a plethora of other titles that describe what we do.
I cannot say why the NAGC is perceived as a federal organization, except that it was started by federal government employees. But as government operations changed, and as communication has changed and evolved, our membership base has shifted away from federal employees. I have seen incredible camaraderie among the government communicators clustered in the greater District of Columbia area. As a state government communicator, I can understand the desire to connect with local peers.
My goal as president of NAGC is to make our organization a community of peers, no matter where we are located or for which government entity we work. I welcome any suggestion for how to successfully accomplish this goal, not matter if the suggestion comes from federal, state, local, tribal or any other government communicator.