Kevin Strauss awarded the 2024 Communicator of the Year Award at CAPIO’s EPIC Awards Dinner

The California Association of Public Information Officials recognized Kevin Strauss, Communications Manager for the Santa Clarita Valley Water Agency (SCV Water) with one of CAPIO’s highest honors – the 2024 Communicator of the Year – during the 2024 awards dinner on May 14 in Indian Wells.

Kevin has quickly become an influential leader in the communications industry. Kevin has supercharged his communications efforts, which have gained recognition from both his colleagues and the community.


Maurice Chaney selected as the 2024 Paul B. Clark recipient

Maurice Chaney, an award-winning strategic communications professional with over 24 years of combined experience in the public and private sectors, was awarded the 2024 Paul B. Clark Achievement Award by CAPIO on May 15 in Indian Wells during the CAPIO Annual Conference and Awards Dinner.

In his current role, Maurice is the Public Information Officer for the City of Roseville. He manages public relations and outreach and oversees a hands-on learning center for Environmental Utilities, a suite of community-owned utilities for a community of nearly 160,000.


Feb. 24 is Government Communications Day
Download your toolkit here to promote your day

Help us spread the word about Government Communications Day on February 24, 2024.  

Government Communications Day is a day to highlight all the good work YOU do as a public communicator. This year the day is going national as we have partnered with 3CMA and other state organizations in celebrating this special day.

  • When your agency is working on getting rate increases approved, guess who’s working on a public outreach and education campaign – you are.
  • When you

February is CAPIO’s membership “love month”
CAPIO President kicks off membership month with a personal video message

February is CAPIO’s membership “love month”

February is CAPIO Membership Love Month, which means that we want to celebrate CAPIO and its 1000 (and growing) members.  Because, together, we are elevating the government communications profession in California and beyond.  

Public Information Officer, Santa Barbara County Public Works Department, and CAPIO President, Lael Wageneck, APR, shares a personal message with the membership as we kick off membership month.


Call for Nominations for CAPIO’s Individual Awards
Deadline: March 16

Nominations are now open for CAPIO’s annual special awards!  New this year, CAPIO has added a Rising Star award celebrating the achievements of an individual who has 5 years or less experience in the field of government communications.  This award joins our special awards line up including the Communicator of the Year Award, Frank Potter Cowan Crisis Communications Leader of the Year Award, and the prestigious Paul B. Clark Award.


CAPIO Conference exhibitor and sponsorship opportunities now available!
Get your company name in front of California's PIOs from across the state at CAPIO 2024

Exhibit and sponsorship opportunities are now available for the 2024 CAPIO Annual Conference being held May 13 – 16 in Indian Wells, California at the Renaissance Esmeralda Resort & Spa. 

Exhibit table space costs $2,500 and includes one conference attendee pass (valued at $675-$825) If you are looking for more visibility before and after the conference, sign up to be an annual partner with prices ranging from $3,500-$7,500 and would include your exhibit space and much more! 


CAPIO welcomes new VP Awards

CAPIO is pleased to welcome our newest board member Steven Baird, who is joining the CAPIO Board of Directors in the role of Vice President of Awards.

Steven Baird is Public Affairs Associate II for the Las Virgenes Municipal Water District Las Virgenes Municipal Water District.  He enjoys leveraging emerging technologies, platforms and tactics to tell the unique story of the Las Virgenes Municipal Water District to create positive change in the public.  Steven has served on the CAPIO conference awards committee for the last three years and is excited to bring his knowledge and expertise to the 2024 Conference this May in Indian Wells.  Steven Baird is replacing former VP Awards, Jillian Keller, who is moving out of California due to a job change for her husband.  We want to thank her for all her work coordinating our 2023 Awards Programs!


Interested in getting involved with the conference committee?
We'd love to have you!

Planning for the 2024 CAPIO Annual Conference is underway, but we could use a few more volunteers to help support the event!  The conference sub-committees focus on speakers, publicity, sponsors, awards and hospitality – something for everyone!  

If you’re interested in getting involved, email us at with your area of interest!  Volunteer opportunities help your professional development, connect you with colleagues, and are a great way to take a step toward potential involvement on the CAPIO Board of Directors.


What is the Working Genius assessment tool?
Learn more at CAPIO's September Leadership Summit!

A new management and leadership tool being talked about is the 6 Types of  “Working Genius” assessment. 

The 6 Types of Working Genius is a model that helps people discover their natural gifts and thrive in their work and life.  When people are able to better understand the types of work that bring them more energy and fulfillment and the work that leads to frustration and failure, they can be more self-aware, more productive, and more successful.


2023 Annual CAPIO Conference and Awards Highlights

CAPIO’s 2023 Annual Conference held in Monterey, California brought together nearly 500 communicators and sponsors from across California, the U.S. and even internationally to learn, share and network.

Highlights included our two keynote speakers Cathy L. Milhoan, Assistant Director, Office of Public Affairs, FBI and Former U.S. Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta. 


Introducing CAPIO’s 2023-2024 Board of Directors

CAPIO is pleased to announce the 2023-2024 Board of Directors who oversee and guide the strategic direction for the association.   As the state’s leading government communications association, the California Association of Public Information Officials serves our 1000-member network of public communicators through training, networking and professional development opportunities.  Read on to learn more about our board members.


New and unique offerings at CAPIO 360
Monterey conference insights

In less than two months we will be seeing each other in Monterey!  CAPIO 360 is your chance to reconnect with peers, learn from others and build your professional network as we convene May 1 - 4 at the Hyatt Regency, Monterey.  Each year we try to incorporate some fresh new offerings in addition to perennial favorites and great educational content.  Read on to learn more about the CAPIO conference happenings!


February is CAPIO’s membership “love month”

February is CAPIO Membership Love Month, which means that we want to celebrate CAPIO and its 900 (and growing) members.  Because, together, we are elevating the government communications profession in California and beyond.  

Each Wednesday this month we will post new challenges. Get involved and you could win a free CAPIO webinar or something from our mystery bag.  At the end, we will pull one grand prize winner for a $150 Amazon gift card!  

This is open to all members.

See rules below for more info. 


CAPIO President kicks off membership month with a personal video message
Erin Morales, Government and Public Affairs Supervisor, Cucamonga Valley Water District

CAPIO President kicks off membership month with a personal video message

During the month of February we will be highlighting our members and having fun discussions on social media with with a chance to win prizes!  Enjoy this video from CAPIO President Erin Morales as she shares a personal message to the membership about the value of CAPIO. 

Watch your email and your Facebook & Instagram feeds to connect with your fellow CAPIANS and your chance to win!


So you want to start a government agency podcast?
Tune in to CAPIO Chirp's Episode 7

Did you know that podcast listening has grown by almost 30 percent in the past three years? And with that growth comes an opportunity for public agencies to better engage with their communities. But what does it take to develop a government podcast and how do you attract listeners?

In this episode of CAPIO Chirp, we talk with the City of Agoura Hills and the Cucamonga Valley Water District about what it takes to launch a successful podcast.

It’s a podcast about podcasting!

  Listen now: So you want to start a government agency podcast? 


CAPIO Board Welcomes Mid-Term Appointees
Board members appointed to fill vacancies

CAPIO is pleased to announce the appointment of board members assuming three positions due to mid-term shifts.  While this is a rare occurrence, it can happen due to any number of things including promotions, job transitions or new responsibilities that conflict with a position.  Because we will be holding an election in just four months, the Board has appointed Board members to assist in finishing out the current terms through the end of April.  These positions will then be up for election.


2022 Frank Potter Cowan Crisis Communications Leader
Jennifer Carey

Jennifer Carey

Respected for her leadership, collaboration, and forward-thinking during the Huntington Beach oil spill, Jennifer Carey has established herself as a respected and trusted figure within the city of Huntington Beach. As the Public Information Officer for the Huntington Beach Police Department, and now Public Affairs Manager for the City of Huntington Beach, Jennifer is relied upon to relay timely and sensitive information to the City’s nearly 200,000 residents.

While over a million beachgoers were enjoying the sights and sounds of jets flying overhead as part of the Pacific Airshow in October 2021, Jennifer was working alongside Huntington Beach public safety staff to assess the magnitude of a potential oil spill happening just miles off the Huntington Beach coast. Jennifer took control of the situation and quickly asserted herself as a leader and initiated a game plan for communicating with residents and stakeholders. Utilizing her regional and national contacts, Jennifer swiftly pulled together information and resources to quickly and proactively communicate details on the evolving situation.

Jennifer quickly became the go-to for oil spill information not only for the press and Huntington Beach residents, but for other cities and agencies across the nation.


2022 Communicator of the Year Award Recipient
Olivia Applegate

Honored for her exceptional leadership and excellence in strategic communications, Olivia has raised the bar in public communications.

Most recently, Olivia has transformed the San Bernardino County Employees’ Retirement Association’s communications program that serves over 44,000 members and 16 employers throughout California.

With great drive and vision, Olivia led SBCERA through an organizational rebrand, website redesign, member engagement survey designed to help drive member experience efforts, and an employer survey designed to establish mutual priorities and help build consensus on strategic initiatives, electronic newsletter campaigns, and others. Olivia also led her team through an ambitious strategic communications plan, which has served as a guide to define, shape, and communicate SBCERA’s mission, vision, and strategic priorities.


2022 Paul B. Clark Recipient
Jennifer M. Cabral, MPA

Jennifer M. Cabral, APR

Jennifer M. Cabral has been the voice of the Orange County Sanitation District (OC San) for over 20 years. She oversees the Public Affairs Office and Board Services, a joint staff of 15 people, managing marketing communications, community relations, public affairs, legislative and government affairs, branding, stakeholder relationships, event planning, media relations, and board relations for the third largest wastewater treatment facility west of the Mississippi River.

Jennifer has become the sounding board for OC San’s executive management team and has gained a seat at the decision-makers’ table. Her value to the agency is demonstrated by the trust, confidence, and respect she has earned from her staff, peers, management, and Board of Directors.


Congratulations New APRs
Brie Anne Coleman, APR and Julie Prayter, APR

Two CAPIO Members took a big step this year in their professional development and achieved their APR credentials this year: Brie Anne Coleman, APR and Julie Prayter, APR.  Congratulations Brie Anne and Julie!  

CAPIO is one of only nine public relations organizations to offer its members the internationally recognized Accreditation in Public Relations (APR).

The APR recognizes timeless communications principles with contemporary strategies and tactics. The process of earning your APR takes your skills to the next level by exposing you to today’s cutting-edge strategies and practices, assessing your skills to identify strengths and opportunities for growth, and demonstrating your personal and professional commitment to excellence.  If you’re interested in learning more, join us at the APR informational session at the CAPIO Conference on Tuesday morning at 8:30, or if you’re not attending, learn more online.


Mentors needed for this year’s mentoring program!
The William Nash mentoring program fosters two-way learning

Make a difference this year as a mentor supporting a younger professional in the field by signing up for our mentoring program!  CAPIO’s Mentoring Program was developed to help foster the growth of our members through two-way learning. In 2021 the mentoring program was renamed in honor of William Nash, longtime CAPIO member, leader and mentor. This is a great opportunity to expand your leadership skills, share your experiences and insights, and learn from the experiences of your mentee.  Learn more

Be a Mentor / Apply Here

Apply / Request a Mentor

CAPIO matches 15 mentor/mentee pairs annually.   *Mentee spots filling up quickly – sign up today!


CAPIO special recognition awards – nomincation deadline extended through July 12
Paul B. Clark, Communicator of the Year, Frank Potter Cowan Crisis Communications Leader Awards

Photo of award winners

CAPIO is now welcoming nominations for our three individual honors. The Paul B. Clark award - recognizing s a 20+ year career of excellence in communications.  The Communicator of the Year award – recognizing a recipient for a stellar year of work in 2021.  And the Frank Potter Cowan Crisis Communications Leader award - recognizing a team or an individual demonstrating exceptional leadership during a crisis. Nominations are reviewed according to a rubric under each category.


CAPIO announces the 2022-2023 Board 

CAPIO is pleased to announce the 2022-2023 Board of Directors.   As the state’s leading government communications association, the California Association of Public Information Officials leans on volunteer leaders to guide the association strategically to serve our 800-member network of public communicators.  Read on to learn more about our board members.


What EPIC programs did you work on in 2020 or 2021?
EPIC awards program earlybird deadline is Friday, May 13

Recognizing work from 2021 and 2022

CAPIO’s EPIC Awards program recognizes and honors outstanding professional work and accomplishments in the public communications field.  We continue to see government communications professionals raise the standard of excellence and creativity in our profession.  Your work inspires us and we look forward to celebrating your EPIC work at the CAPIO Exellence in Public Information and Communications (EPIC) Awards events during the CAPIO Annual Conference.  Read on to learn about the categories and how to apply. 


April is APR Month

Did you know that CAPIO is one of the nine public relations organizations to offer its members the internationally recognized Accreditation in Public Relations (APR)? The APR recognizes timeless communications principles with contemporary strategies and tactics.

If you’re curious about what obtaining your APR could mean for your career, listen to our latest podcast follow these steps in April to learn more.


CAPIO marks February 24 as Government Communications Day
Let’s celebrate!

by CAPIO President, Maurice Chaney 

Our role as government communications professionals is to inform, educate, and engage our communities.

Because, in the end, robust communication in government creates trust and inspires customers to take action and be involved.

We are in the fortunate role of being able to craft a narrative that showcases different perspectives on various topics – from community development and health and safety to education, infrastructure, and general government operations.

  • We create relationships and calls to action.
  • We build awareness and understanding through storytelling.
  • We engage and foster engagement on civic issues.
  • We use all channels and include everyone in critical decisions.

It’s essential to have strong communications in government because it is a foundational element of living in a democracy where citizens have the freedom to make their voices heard.

Because of the role of the government communicator, every February 24, starting with February 24, 2022, we honor the incredible men and women who’ve dedicated their careers to ensure local, state, and federal government agencies have effective, impactful, and successful communication strategies that resonate and are relevant.

We want to flood our social media by highlighting fantastic government communicators. So, use #GovernmentCommunicationsDay in your posts or send us an email of you or your team so we can add it to our channels!


2022-2024 Board of Directors nominations

Would you like to be more involved with CAPIO?  Be a Board Member!  Volunteers are needed to serve on CAPIO’s 2022-2024 Board of Directors.  Your expertise and experience is needed to help guide CAPIO into another great year!


Lessons Learned from a Long-Term Crisis

by Sheri Benninghoven, APR and Scott Summerfield, Principals, SAE Communications

CAPIO members were deeply involved in pandemic response and emerged better prepared for whatever may be around the corner, according to the results of a membership survey conducted this summer.


2021 Paul B. Clark Recipient
Bill Nash, in memorium

Bill Nash served as the first Public Information Officer for the county of Ventura’s County Executive Office, where he supported the board of supervisors, the County Executive Officer and 25 County agencies in their public information efforts. He was also responsible for managing the Joint Information Center for the County’s Office of Emergency Services during major emergencies like the Thomas Fire, Woolsey Fire, Borderline Shooting and Camarillo Springs Mudslide.


2021 Communicator of the Year Award Recipient
Thomas Christensen

Honored for his commitment and excellence in communications, the County of San Diego’s Communication Specialist, Tom Christensen, has made it his top priority to build social media campaigns that educate, inspire, and create change throughout the County of San Diego. Tom oversees more than 100 individual County department social media accounts as an administrator or content creator. His leadership has resulted in the County obtaining some of the highest follower counts for counties in the nation as well as some of the highest engagement numbers.


A new podcast has left the nest
Burning Communications

Earlier this month, during Fire Prevention Week, CAPIO is launching a three-part series about the role of communicators before, during, and after some of California’s greatest threat incidents – wildfires. Listen as we connect with Placer County Fire Chief Brian Estes for an overview of current wildfires, critical preparation, and the role that communicators play before and during these devastating incidents.  Part I and Part II are available now.


Poster contest winners announced!



Congratulations to Vito Labellarte and Westamerica Communications on their entry which garnered top honors in our poster contest!  Conference participants will be able to pick up a copy of this award-winning poster at the 2021 CAPIO Annual Conference!


Crowdsource videos, images and memories requested!
50 years:  Honoring the past, celebrating our future

It was 1971 when CAPIO was formed, since then things have changed on how we send information and get our message to the right audiences. And, along those years, you have seen what you do change, too. Remember sitting at the fax machine to send out press releases? Purchasing Bacons Books so you had the latest reporter listings? Or, clipping the newspapers of stories about your agency to place in a three ring binder? And what about driving around dropping off VHS tapes filled with b-roll. 


CAPIO interviews Pat West, retired Long Beach City Manager and former PIO
Insights from a City Manager on the value of communications and the PIO

CAPIO interviews Pat West, retired Long Beach City Manager and former PIO

This year marks CAPIO’s 50th year since being established. In that time, a lot has changed with the way in which we communicate. However, in many ways, the baseline of what we do remains – and that is informing, educating, and engaging our communities to encourage them to participate in the democratic process, share their perspective and create an emotional response that leads to action.

In light of CAPIO’s half a century milestone, we are chatting with folks who work specially in the communications area of government or who are part of the government sector in general.


2021 CAPIO Conference Theme Announced!
The Gold Standard - Celebrating 50 Years of CAPIO

CAPIO’s conference committee is pleased to announce this year’s conference theme – The Gold Standard – Celebrating 50 Years of CAPIO.

The theme fits not only our golden anniversary but the location as we will be in the heart of Olympic Valley where the 1960 Olympics were held.  The conference will be held at the beautiful Resort at Squaw Creek hotel November 2 – 5, 2021.  


CAPIO 50th Art Challenge
Calling all creatives!

Calling all creatives, we need your astute design expertise to help capture the essence of government communications over the past 50 years! Show us your design skills!

While the heart of public relations, government sector communications, and outreach has gone unchanged, the way we communicate, what we communicate, and how consumers of information obtain messages have dramatically transformed. 


CAPIO celebrates 50 years:  Honoring the past, celebrating our future
by Maurice Chaney, CAPIO 2020-2021 President

For half a century, the California Association of Public Information Officials (CAPIO) has been the linkage between good government, the professionals that help to inform, educate, and engage, and the communities we serve. With communication, we made and continue to make miracles happen.

“If you just communicate, you can get by. But if you communicate skillfully, you can work miracles.”

― Jim Rohn


CAPIO EPIC Awards on pause
by Teresa Collins, CAPIO V.P. Awards

It has been an EPIC year for California’s Public Information Officials. We have been navigating a pandemic while delivering top-notch communications across our state. We had to skip our 2020 conference but will be back this fall in Squaw Valley as we celebrate CAPIO’s 50th Birthday!


CAPIO Communicator of the Year and utility PIO offers how she and her team are getting through a tough year
Perspective from Tiffany Baca, Public Affairs Manager, Municipal Water District of Orange County

By Brie Anne Coleman, Placer County Water Agency

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to upend the world, utility providers are also experiencing increasing uncertainty that will be challenging to navigate. While utilities are resilient, having experienced and weathered crises in the past, the unique and unprecedented nature of this pandemic and its consequences are creating an entirely new experience. 


In Memory of CAPIO Past President Frank Potter Cowan
CAPIO Past President (1984)

by Maurice Chaney, CAPIO 2020 – 2021 President

California PIOs lost an icon when former CAPIO President (1984) and long-time CAPIO supporter, Frank Potter Cowan, passed away August 17, 2020.

Frank was instrumental in developing training courses for communicators who are faced with an unexpected emergency. In 1984, he developed the California Specialized Training Institute, CSTI, which is offered through the State of California Office of Emergency Services. 


Learn more and connect at CAPIO’s virtual Regional Meetings
Sign up today!

Want to learn about CAPIO’s plans for the coming year or about opportunities to get involved?  CAPIO is hosting virtual regional meetings in July.  Limited to the first 100 participants, these “face-to-face” meetings are your chance to see others in your region, hear from CAPIO leadership and provide your thoughts about how CAPIO can continue to bring the best in offerings to your area.


A Year in Review
2019-2020 Snapshot

CAPIO continues to soar to new heights and this past year was no different.

Check out the latest Year in Review that shows all that we’ve been able to accomplish over the past 12 months. 

The initiatives we set in our five year strategic plan are paying off as we continue to provide even more offerings to members. 

This Year in Review is a reflection of all of our members. Without you, we couldn’t offer the amazing programming, enrichment and networking opportunities. So, thank you! 


CAPIO President’s Message on Current Events
"With open, productive conversations, we can work towards taking action and creating change—together. "


We are all at a loss for words that captures the heavy nature of all that’s going on in our nation. 

However, what holds true is this: We stand against injustice. We stand against racism.  We stand against violence. 

We stand proudly and resolutely for continued and sustained change in our country and hope for equality. 


Join CAPIO’s new Facebook Member Group!

The power of virtually connecting is more important now than ever.  In light of this, we have established a members only private Facebook group where we can commiserate, share best practices, vent and enjoy a group of people who understand who we are as government communications professionals.  As we emerge into the re-opening phase throughout the state, this will give you an opportunity to share your successes and challenges that your agency has during this time.


Welcome New Board Members for 2020-2021

CAPIO is pleased to announce the newly elected board members who will join the continuing board members for the 2020-2021 year.  CAPIO’s Board of Directors is elected by the membership each spring. Board terms are two years, with approximately half of the positions rotating each year.
Join us in welcoming:

2020-2021 President – Maurice Chaney
President Elect | Treasurer – Erin Morales
VP Conference – Tom Christensen
Education and Development Chair– Christine Brainerd, APR
Website Chair – Michelle Adams
Southern CA Regional and Membership Director – Grace Cardenas
Social Media Chair – Christina Byrne

The new board members will join the continuing Board Members for the 2020-2021 year:

Past President – Amy Williams
VP Awards – Teresa Collins
Communications Chair – Sarah Macdonald
Central CA Regional and Membership Director - Thomas Reeves
Northern CA Membership Chair – Pam Allen
Northern CA Regional Director – Rhea Salvaldor

Thank you to everyone who ran for a board position – we are grateful to have so many members interested in getting more involved!


Message from 2020-2021 CAPIO President
Maurice Chaney, PIO, City of Roseville Environmental Utilities

Message from 2020-2021 CAPIO President

Traditionally the CAPIO Board transition occurs at our Annual Conference each spring.  This year, we are transitioning during a virtual board meeting to transition between current president, Amy Williams, and incoming president, Maurice Chaney.

In order to celebrate this moment, we asked Maurice Chaney to share a few words with the membership. Click video on the left to view or view on Vimeo


Earn your APR in 2020 – Study Sessions Start Soon

Make 2020 your APR year!

It’s time to take your career to the next level by earning the Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) credential. CAPIO is here to help every step of the way.  The success rate for CAPIO members who take the APR panel presentation and exam is 100%!


Introducing CAPIO’s new job board
Easier to navigate, free postings for members easier than ever

CAPIO is pleased to roll out our new job board which is easier to navigate, searchable and gives you the ability to select a 30, 60 or 90 day recruitment posting.

As always, members can log in and post jobs for free.  HR departments from member companies can also send job posting requests to directly as well.  

Non-member postings are $100 for a 30 day posting or $150 for a 60 day posting.

View our new CAPIO Job Board


Frequent messaging is key in a crisis
CAPIO member Kerry Shearer “The Livestream Expert,” Kerry Shearer Enterprises LLC

Kerry Shearer

In any big disaster, such as the fires, earthquakes, and debris flows we’ve experienced in California in just the past few years, the public turns to social media to find out what’s going on.

For crisis communicators, it’s critical to be on your social platforms with frequent messaging. That positions your agency (or JIC) as the go-to resource for information about the incident.

Most agencies are pros at shooting out text-based social posts and staging big news conferences, but there is more than can be done for effective disaster communications response.


Interested in getting involved?
Join a committee!

Planning for the 2023 CAPIO Annual Conference is underway, but we could use a few more volunteers to help support the event!  The conference sub-committees focus on speakers, publicity, sponsors, awards and hospitality – something for everyone!  

If you’re interested in getting involved, email us at with your area of interest!  Volunteer opportunities help your professional development, connect you with colleagues, and are a great way to take a step toward potential involvement on the CAPIO Board of Directors.

Return to CAPIO Corner  


PRA requests, personal devices, and your role as agency communicator
by Scott Summerfield, Principal, SAE Communications and David Newdorf, Attorney, Newdorf Legal

California Public Records Act (PRA) requests – once the almost-exclusive domain of the media – have exploded in recent years, with many agencies adding staff to cope with demands of these often-complicated queries.  Requests come from the public far more frequently now, and while they’re certainly a legitimate window into how government does business, they can also be a point of angst and frustration for the requestor, the PIO, and legal counsel if not handled efficiently.


Planning for CAPIO’s future
by Amy Williams, CAPIO’s President

“Plans are nothing; planning is everything.”
Dwight D. Eisenhower, former U.S. President

Since 2015, the CAPIO Board meets at an annual board planning session to focus on priority initiatives based on membership feedback. Many might recall that a key outcome in 2017’s retreat was the development of a five-year strategic plan to help strategically chart CAPIO’s course and guide future decisions.


New Brand Unveiled at Annual Conference
CAPIO's Taking Members to New Heights


CAPIO was excited to unveil its new brand at our conference in April. As we all know, the world around us is changing. The demand for information is at an all-time high, and attention spans are at an all-time low. We’re in an era where meaningful community engagement has to be carefully balanced with powerful outside pressures. Communication is moving faster than ever, meaning what’s worked for us in the past won’t continue to work in the future.


Celebrate Your Accomplishments – The Importance (and Value) of Telling Your Story

By Krista Noonan, director of communications, CalSTRS

Government communicators are often expected to wear many hats. PIOs are called upon to, for example, facilitate long-range strategic visioning and planning, event logistics, as well as work their magic to manage last minute, “get it out yesterday” type of projects.

The ability to flex and adapt is what makes you, as a PIO, successful as you fulfill your organization’s mission to communicate transparently with your stakeholders and constituents.


2019 Starts Strong with Emergency Communications Academy

More than 100 communications professionals from multi-jurisdictions statewide came together for the first annual Cal OES and CAPIO Emergency Communications Academy, January 7-8 in Sacramento.  Kicking off the two-day conference was Kelly Huston, with the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services and Christine Brainerd, CAPIO President and City of Folsom’s Communications Director. 

News Member Spotlight

A Helping Hand – PIOs on Mutual Aid

In November PIOs from across the state joined Butte County PIOs in the aftermath of the devastating #CampFire. PIOs from across California came to support.  From the JIC we share stories from Paul Hosley from West Sacramento along with Adriane Mertens and Misti Harris from Santa Rosa who knew firsthand how the community and their fellow PIOs were feeling in the midst of the disaster and the recovery.  Additionally, we share a story from Brandon Vaccaro who assists CAL FIRE Incident Management Teams on large-scale incidents.


My APR Journey

Connie Cochran, APR, is the community relations officer at the City of Stockton in northern California. Publicity Committee Conference Article

I learned about the Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) a few years ago at the CAPIO Conference in San Diego.  Unfortunately, I did not know about it earlier in my career, because it is the single most career enriching experience that I have ever had.


Keys to the APR: Flashcards, Exercise, and GnR

Headshot of author, Lael Wageneck

I started my career as a filmmaker and storyteller because I like exploring relationships between people and explaining how things work. After working in the public sector for a few years, many of the myths that I had learned about public relations (that it was all about marketing or that it was “spin”) were dispelled. I learned that PR was about helping my organization foster better relationships with the community. Since I wanted to do a better job of fostering those relationships, I decided to pursue the APR.


It Takes a Pro – Tips and Advice to Help You Earn Your APR

Why APR?

I chose to earn my Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) to grow my leadership function in my agency, contribute to the professional field of public relations and improve my confidence and strength in public relations program development. Being accredited helps me contribute more to our team and elevates the value of what we do in the industry of government communications. 


Communicating During a Cyberattack: The Next Public Information Frontier

by Scott Summerfield, Principal, SAE Communications

California is in the midst of one of its most crisis-filled periods on record, and it seems as if we’re perpetually managing fires, mudslides, drought, and more – at the same time we’re focused on community resiliency.  But one “crisis of confidence” lurks within every local government agency and has the potential to cripple operations and destroy public confidence – cyberattack. 


Seven Steps to APR Success

Headshot of author, Robin Rocky

By Robin Rockey, APR

APR — Those three little letters communicate a powerful message about the public relations practitioners who earn them. The brief, yet mighty designation signals that a practitioner is committed to the practice of public relations at the highest level and is motivated by a quest for lifelong learning.


Long Beach Water’s Turf Removal Program Case Study
Using Behavioral Research to Guide Communications Decisions

Article by Andrea Antony, CivicSpark Water Fellow for Long Beach Water 

Long Beach Water has been successfully helping its customers replace thirsty turf with beautiful, water-wise landscapes through its award-winning, Lawn-to-Garden (L2G) incentive program for eight years. So far, over three million square feet of turf has been replaced and 3,500 California-friendly gardens have been planted. Now, the agency is looking to increase participation through a new framework known as community-based social marketing (CBSM).