NACIO September 2020 Newsletter

18 Sep 2020 10:55 AM | Anonymous
President's Letter

Hello members!

Despite the pandemic, it seems (at least for me) that things are already gearing up for Fall! It continues to amaze me how quickly we have all adapted, for better or worse, to this new normal. Instead of our usual line-up of Fall events, our Park and Rec staff are planning virtual events, we have more marketing campaigns than I can count and we’re constantly launching new platforms/apps to better serve our residents during this time. And all of this is amidst the constant communication about COVID-19.

I was talking on the phone with a coworker earlier this week about a project we’re coordinating, and our conversation quickly turned to catching up with each other. Since working exclusively from home since March, that is one of the things I miss the most – just turning around in my cubicle pod to ask my colleagues a question, brainstorming ideas and collaborating on projects and just taking a moment to check-in with them personally. 

Now we have our “check-ins” with each other by staying on our Microsoft Teams meetings a few minutes after the meeting is over or by text message. We even had an after-work Facetime cocktail hour to celebrate all of our August birthdays a couple of weeks ago!

But I don’t just miss my coworkers, I miss YOU, my communications colleagues. I know you’re still there if I need you, but I miss seeing you in person, sharing your energy and insight and the unspoken understanding of what it’s like to be a local government communicator. Let’s do something about it!

A few of our members presented the idea of a virtual networking and catch-up with colleagues session! Our first NACIO virtual meet-up is September 24 at 3:30pm EST – click here to register, its (FREE)! Bring your questions, your “help me please” topics, and anything else you can think of. I can’t wait to SEE and hear from all of you soon!

Hang in there,

Rebecca Carter

NACIO President, 2019-2021

New Treasurer Announcement

Congratulations to Connie Odom, Public Affairs Manager, Williamson County, Texas for accepting the role of treasurer for NACIO. Connie has served on the NACIO Board for several years as the Region 3 Director. In her time on the Board she has helped keep her colleagues in Region 3 up to date on NACIO business and been a champion of the TCU Certified Public Communicator Program and our organization’s annual scholarship. Thank you, Connie, for taking on this role and continuing your service to NACIO and your communications colleagues.

Open NACIO Board Positions

We have several opportunities available to be more involved in NACIO! The NACIO Board of Directors comprises local government communicators who are dedicated to promoting the value of professional PIOs and communicators to county governments. Our board members champion the importance of exceptional board leadership and believe that every organization needs a strong and effective board to fully realize its potential for good. In addition to the standard roles and responsibilities of a board member, our board members are active advocates and ambassadors for the organization and are fully engaged in identifying and securing the financial resources and partnerships necessary for NACIO to advance its mission.

Current open positions include:

  • Region 1 Director – Regional Directors are appointed by the President and serve as a representative of and liaison to the NACIO members in their area. Region 1 Area includes: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia. To serve as the Region 1 Director, you must live in the Region 1 area. Regional Directors also support various projects and other efforts as directed.  
  • Region 2 Director- Regional Directors are appointed by the President and serve as a representative of and liaison to the NACIO members in their area. Region 2 Area includes: Alabama, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia. To serve as the Region 2 Director, you must live in the Region 1 area. Regional Directors also support various projects and other efforts as directed. 
  • Region 3 Director - Regional Directors are appointed by the President and serve as a representative of and liaison to the NACIO members in their area. Region 3 Area includes: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wyoming

If you are interested in serving on the NACIO Board, please email Rebecca Carter at

Join Our Members-Only Facebook Group

NACIO is on Facebook! We have an open page, but as a benefit of your membership, you can also join the private, members group. It’s a great way to connect with other County communicators, discuss current topics, ask for help, share information and resources, etc.  To find our group, search “National Association of County Information Officers” and request to join.

REMINDER: Submit Your COVID-19 Resources

Don’t forget to submit your information for the online resource portal that will be used as a clearinghouse for COVID-19 related communications materials. Our hope is that this portal will prove to be a valuable resource for counties with communications staffs of all sizes – from a team of one to five or more. Materials ranging from news releases to infographics, website layouts, videos, internal communication plans and everything in between are welcome. Please clearly name/label your materials so we can categorize them correctly on the portal. Submit your materials to

Member Profile: Heather Shirm

Manager, Digital Marketing and Communications

Palm Beach County

Heather Shirm is the 2020 recipient of the NACIO scholarship to the Certified Public Communicator (CPC) program at Texas Christian University. The CPC program is the only certification program in the country designed specifically for communications professionals working for public sector agencies.

Heather has been with the Palm Beach County for 14 years in communications, starting as a web design coordinator. She was promoted in April 2011 to her current position. Heather holds a bachelor’s degree in communication and a master’s in public administration. Through the CPC program, she is working on a department-wide strategic plan that will serve as a template for other county departments within communications divisions.

Due to COVID-19, the CPC program was adjusted from in-person classes to on-line classes. However, Heather reported that the content was very relevant for the times.

Q: What information or topics did you find most useful during the CPC week?

A: I really enjoyed the Leadership, Social Media Tips, and Self Care topics during the CPC week. They were very focused on how to navigate COVID communications activities while helping to avoid fatigue and burnout.

Q: How has the CPC course helped you in your position?

A: The CPC course has helped me to enhance my skillset as a public communicator and to create a concrete vision for my department.  The pace of change we are experiencing as a society is unprecedented, and it really helps to know I will have structured, living plan to refer to when things feel overwhelming or change course completely. I’m hopeful the certification will also assist me with future promotions and leadership positions in county government.

For general questions and information, please reach out to us via:   Email  |    Facebook   |   Twitter or contact any of our Board members directly.

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