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Will and Alison Promoted at Public Agenda

NCDD member Public Agenda announced today that Will Friedman has been promoted to Chief Operating Officer. In addition, Alison Kadlec has been named Vice President of Public Engagement and Director of Public Agenda’s Center for Advances in Public Engagement (CAPE), which researches, develops and disseminates new insights and practices to build the field of civic engagement and citizen-centered politics.  Congratulations, Will and Alison!

In his new role, Friedman will be responsible for leading the planning, implementation and administration of Public Agenda’s new business development efforts and day-to-day operations. A main focus will be on executing growth strategies for the organization to more closely align its core competencies in public onion research and public engagement. He will remain Director of Public Engagement Programs and continue to expand and oversee Public Agenda’s burgeoning portfolio of community-based public engagement projects.

Kadlec will be responsible for managing CAPE, where she will lead the development of research and evaluation to inform the work of practitioners in advancing civic problem solving. She will also act as Friedman’s deputy in running the overall operations of the public engagement department, including new business development and will serve as project director for several of Public Agenda’s major engagement initiatives.

“With these senior management promotions, Public Agenda is concentrating its resources on to help communities and the nation address critical challenges. Friedman and Kadlec’s strong leadership skills, deep experience in the field of civic engagement and vast knowledge of the deliberative democracy movement are unique assets which will build the organization’s intellectual and institutional strengths,” said Public Agenda’s President Ruth Wooden.

Will Friedman joined Public Agenda in 1994 and founded the organizations’ public engagement department in 1996. In that capacity, he has overseen a steady and expanding stream of work aimed at helping communities and states tackle tough issues in more inclusive, deliberative and collaborative ways. In 2006 he established Public Agenda’s Center for Advances in Public Engagement. Previously, Friedman was senior vice president for policy studies at the Work in America Institute, where he directed research and special projects on workplace issues. He holds a Ph.D. in political science with specializations in political psychology, American politics and foreign policy. His recent publications include “Deliberative Democracy and the Problem of Scope” and “Reframing Framing.” He is currently co-editing a book with Public Agenda’s co-founder, Dan Yankelovich, tentatively titled, Dialogue, Deliberation and Public Judgment: Making Democracy Work in a Complex World, to be published by Vanderbilt Press in 2009.

Since joining Public Agenda in 2005, Alison Kadlec has played an integral role in many public engagement and research projects, including a major initiative in the Kansas City region on math, science and technology education and workforce development. As CAPE’s founding Associate Director, and now as its Director, she has played a leading role in Public Agenda’s civic engagement research and field-building efforts. She holds a Ph.D. in Political Science with a focus in democratic theory and is the author of the recent book, “John Dewey’s Critical Pragmatism.” She and Will Friedman also recently coauthored the essay, “Deliberative Democracy and the Problem of Power,” and she is contributing a chapter to the forthcoming book Dialogue, Deliberation and Public Judgment: Making Democracy Work in a Complex World.

About Public Agenda

Public Agenda, www.publicagenda.org, is a nonprofit, nonpartisan public opinion research and civic engagement organization whose mission is to close the gaps between leaders and the public. Public Agenda is well respected for its influential public opinion polls, balanced citizen education materials and community-based engagement initiatives.

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Sandy Heierbacher
Sandy Heierbacher co-founded the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD) with Andy Fluke in 2002, with the 60 volunteers and 50 organizations who worked together to plan NCDD’s first national conference. She served as NCDD's Executive Director between 2002 and 2018. Click here for a list of articles and resources authored by Sandy.

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