Super stakeholders versus the usual suspects

Uber-coalitionist Jennifer Wilding remarked on a recent post in which I referenced “super stakeholders” by noting how most engagement specialists fear the appearance of “the usual suspects” – the people who show up at public meeting after public meeting, sometimes carrying an ideological ax to grind in each hand.

But just as often, some of these folks represent nothing more than a very informal dedication to public service defined as going and participating rather than by seeking public office, volunteering for AmeriCorps or the like.

Are we missing out on an under-utilized resource by preferencing getting new faces into a process? Those new voices are important, but how might we benefit if we created mutually sustainable opportunities for “the usual suspects” to become “para professionals” about an area or issue – and to be recognized for acquiring a mastery of a related skill or expertise?

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