Join Us in Welcoming Our New Member Advocate!

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In so many ways, Strong Towns members are the backbone of the Strong Towns movement. Our more than 3,000 members account for 40% of the Strong Towns budget. Literally everything we do as an organization—from our articles and podcasts, to our events, courses, and community building work—is made possible by members. Not only that, but a survey conducted in 2020 found that, among the Strong Towns audience, members were more likely than non-members to consider running for office, volunteer, meet with public officials, share the Strong Towns message with others, and join with others to take action. Members are helping to grow the movement, and they are putting the Strong Towns approach to work where they live.

Just as Strong Towns members support the movement, we want to support our members. We want to come alongside them and give them what they need to be successful. That’s why we recently hired a Member Advocate. The job description included these lines: “We love our members! We want someone on our team who is going to wake up each day loving our members along with us, recognizing how amazing they are, working to grow and expand their numbers, and obsessively advocating on their behalf.”

We are fortunate to have found the perfect fit for this role—and he’s someone many of you may have heard of. Norm Van Eeden Petersman is an energetic enthusiast for Strong Towns. Norm has been a Strong Towns member since 2018. He’s a past contributor. He is the co-founder of Deltans for People-Oriented Places (DelPOP), a Strong Towns Local Conversation in Delta, British Columbia. And he’s the co-founder of the Strong Towns Toastmasters group. 

Norm is also the first resident of Canada on the Strong Towns team! Our content manager Jay Stange is also a Canadian citizen, though he lives in the U.S.

Before joining Strong Towns, Norm spent 10 years as a pastor. He has also worked in local and federal politics. When he’s not advocating on behalf of Strong Towns members, Norm builds pedestrian-oriented Lego villages with his son, and he helps his wife train their guide dog and two cats. You can connect with Norm on Twitter at @normvep or on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/normvep.

In his new role, Norm will help connect members to the people and resources they need to be successful. He will tell the stories of our members, their challenges and their accomplishments. Norm will help Strong Towns use member feedback to inform and guide the organization’s efforts. He will also help coordinate member meetups, especially in conjunction with Strong Towns events.

Do you have questions about membership in the Strong Towns movement? Are you ready to share your story about applying Strong Towns insights to your community? You can email Norm directly at norm@strongtowns.org.

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