Nov. 5: What Every PIO Needs to Know–Lessons from Oso

Communicators can be thrust, ready or not, into the thick of local, regional, or national emergencies.

The incredible images of the massive SR530 Landslide in Snohomish County are etched into our memories, and a gnawing question still lingers in many PIOs’ minds: would we be ready to respond if that happened in my community?

Come to the next Olympia Communicators Group meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 5, to learn more about what it was like working in the landslide Joint Information Center, and learn what every PIO should know before disaster strikes in your community.

The program is still developing, but we will have at least one PIO who worked on the OSO Landslide.


Jan. 8: When to Hire a PR Firm

The January OCG meeting is Wednesday, January 8, Noon-1:00, at the Association of Washington School Principals. Our guest speaker is Paul Behrendt, senior vice president of Strategies 360, a regional public relations firm headquartered in Seattle (with an office in Olympia).

Paul will speak about when it makes sense to hire a Strategic Positioning and Public Relations firm. Some of the topics he will cover include:

  • Does a comprehensive professional Strategic Positioning, Communications and Public Relations firm make sense for you?
  • When does it make sense to contract with a professional PR firm?
  • When do you consider exporting services that you don’t have the capacity for in-house?
  • Does it makes sense to make a career change to join a large multi-state firm?

We look forward to seeing you on January 8.

Oct. 2: Linda Robson on the New Washington Emergency Public Information Network (WEPIN)

Our next meeting features Linda Robson, PIO with Thurston County, with a presentation on the new Washington Emergency Public Information Network–WEPIN.

According to Linda, “At some point in your communications career you’ll be faced with communicating to the public about an emergency situation. To help prepare you for that day, communications professionals from several county emergency management departments and the state have formed WEPIN, and we invite you to join the network.”

WEPIN’s mission is to build a network of communications professionals around the state to support a statewide Joint Information System (JIS) that enables public communicators to collaborate on important safety messages, create information-sharing tools and processes, hone necessary skills, build relationships, and share best practices.

WEPIN is not just for emergency management PIOs. Whether you work for a state agency, local government, non-profit or private industry, joining WEPIN gives you the opportunity to get to know your colleagues throughout the state and hone your communications skills BEFORE the next disaster strikes.  Their site is