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Outreach Education Workshop in Polk County

September 22nd the SOE van was seen pulling out of the parking lot, headed for another workshop sponsored by Polk County Supervisor of Elections office.  The Outreach Services department put together an awesome program that was attended by four Charlotte County staff members.  Sharing innovative concepts and networking with peers from coast-to-coast and north to south were among the benefits enjoyed by all in attendance.

Sandy Wharton, Office Manager and Qualifying Officer, Randy Ann Bechtel, School Outreach Coordinator, Vinnie Treppiedi, Community Outreach Coordinator and Diane Verdon, Poll Worker Coordinator, represented Charlotte County well.  They were joined by approximately forty people, representatives from Alachua, Brevard, Broward, Citrus, Clay, Collier, Highlands, Lee, Pasco, Pinellas, Sarasota and Sumter counties.  Additionally, there were Supervisors of Elections from Polk, Hon. Lori Edwards, Sarasota, Hon. Kathy Dent and Highlands, Hon. Joe Campbell, counties present.
SOE Staff in Polk County 

 SOE Staff attends Outreach Education Workshop
Vinnie Treppiedi, Sandy Wharton, Diane Verdon,
Randy Ann Bechtel - represent Charlotte County SOE

Topics covered included, Using Social Networking to Share News with the Public.  Guest speakers, Mona Burtz and Jon O'Dowd, from MJInnovative Solutions spoke to the group about the emerging technology being used to inform voters of happenings and time sensitive information in an elections office.  "The marriage of marketing and techonology...help our clients harness the power of these new options..."  Facebook, You Tube, Twitter and other social media sites are being used by several counties across the state.  At this time Hon. Paul A. Stamoulis has opted to observe the trends, and feels that energies toward effective communication with Charlotte County residents are better placed elsewhere.

Representatives from AXIS Data Solutions spoke about Providing Quality Voter Education on a Reduced Budget.  Laura, David and Alicia provided some useful tips that can be implemented to assist voters with disabilities, partnerships with local colleges that can assist with marketing and voter education materials and organizations that might be helpful and worthy of exploration. Their discussion led to some good bantering throughout the room.  A plethora of ideas came out of the brainstorming that will be further researched in the coming months.

Karen Wheeler, HR Director for Western Florida - Race Trac, Inc., spoke about the Fish Philosophy.  Bring fun into the workplace to enhance customer services and provide a work environment that is conducive to productivity.  This will overflow back into the community.  Choose your attitude – we are all in touch with the difference it makes when you have a smile on your face and treat others as you yourself would like to be treated.  Adding some of the simple tools learned, it is hoped, will increase both customer satisfaction in the community and employee satisfaction in the workplace.

After all of the presentations and interactive workshop modalities there was a round table discussion regarding Best Practices.  Randy Ann, Diane and Vinnie pulled together an assortment of brochures, applications and other materials used in various Charlotte County outreach activities.  Discussions of the school outreach program, the senior outreach program, the Vote in Honor of a Vet program and the Adopt-A-Precinct Partnership program were discussed.  Ideas were shared amongst the counties represented.  Examples presented and feedback provided were found to be invaluable tools that will help improve all of our outreach endeavors.

The Charlotte County SOE van returned with four very enthusiastic staff members that have shared their energies and knowledge with the rest of the staff.  Over the coming months research will continue, and innovations will be implemented all in an effort to continue to serve the residents of Charlotte County in the best possible manner as it relates to the roll of the Supervisor of Elections office.   Kudos and thanks go to Polk County for arranging yet another worthy workshop.