Karin Wang, Vice President of Programs & Communications, Asian Pacific American Legal Center

Our friends at the SPIN Academy are celebrating their 15th Anniversary by celebrating those closest to them – their alumni! We at LightBox Collaborative are happy to share with you some of their featured alumni and a way you can help train the next generation of progressive communicators.

Taking a cue from our posts on crowdfunding, SPIN Academy has launched an online scholarship fund to give alumni, colleagues, and friends of the SPIN Academy a way to share this amazing opportunity with others in the progressive community. For every $3,000 raised, one lucky applicant will become a full scholarship recipient and join the ranks of esteemed alumni, just like Karin Wang, currently featured on SPIN Academy’s website.

Below is a brief interview with Karin and what she’s up to now…

Karin Wang serves as Vice President of Programs & Communications at Asian Pacific American Legal Center. She attended SPIN Academy in 2007.

What was the most valuable thing you gained from the SPIN Academy?
An introduction to various activist communications issues. My background was as an attorney and advocate on the program side, and I was just starting to become more involved in communications for my organization at the time.

How did lessons and/or connections from SPIN Academy influence your professional trajectory?
Because of SPIN Academy as well as other communications work I subsequently became involved in, my work now is a balance of programs and communications. I love being able to help shape my organization’s communications strategy, which has such a profound influence on the impact of our program work.

What’s a current professional project or challenge that has you excited these days?
Trying to use social media in an impactful and strategic way to further the work of the organization, as well as to draw in new resources. Although there are isolated examples of how certain groups have used social media effectively, I don’t think it’s clear yet how most groups can achieve impact by connecting their on-the-ground work to the online world.

What’s your advice to someone just entering the world of strategic communications advocacy?
I think all program staff (advocates, lawyers, etc.) need to think about how communications impacts and affects their work/clients/issues, given how rapidly communications has changed over the past 10 years, even in the past couple of years. Strategic communications staff are instrumental to building this bridge, but such expertise doesn’t really exist in most nonprofits currently.

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Alexis Weiss is Program Director for SPIN Academy and looks forward to welcoming a new class of SPIN Academy participants August 27 – 30, 2013 in Petaluma, California.