Lisa Woolery, City of Tustin
Often, local governments have been forced to do more with less. However, as resources are strained, the opportunity exists for innovation, reform, and improvement.

In the City of Tustin, 2011 was a dynamic year. Challenges cropped up as the City dealt with lawsuits with the local school district, and a recall effort was waged against the Mayor. However, the City also restarted a massive redevelopment project for the Tustin Air Base and opened a new facility at the Tustin Metro stop. Helping with each challenge, success, or program there was the Public Information Officer, Lisa Woolery.

“I was really proud that our council let me break into social media,” said Woolery in an interview with PublicCEO. “It was at a time when our budgets were being cut and mine was cut in half and then cut in half again. I was stuck in a position on how to get my message out to Tustin when I didn’t have the budget to do it.”

Maintaining the Public Information Office when so many battles and issues are concurrently occurring requires skill, dedication, and creativity. Lisa Woolery not only managed her job, but she became a leader in social media and new media technologies such as Facebook and Twitter. She also produced efficient but information videos that communicate the City’s news and achievements.

“I looked at social media – Facebook and Twitter –and it worked out really well,” Woolery said. “I created a really nice community in social media that has helped us interact even better than before (the budget cuts). It lets me interact one on one and answer questions directly.”

At the time of this award, the City of Tustin’s Facebook community incorporates 3,404 friends, or about 5% of the city’s population. Tustin also has about 2,700 followers on Twitter.

Not only did she help her own City, she also delivered presentations and served on several panels discussing how social media can be an asset for cities. One of those presentations came at the California Contract Cities Association conference.

“I’ve done a couple of seminars on social media and the most important thing that I tell people about social media is that it’s about beings social,” said Woolery. “You have to be out there answering questions, answering comments. And it isn’t just about the government; it’s about the community and including the opening of new businesses or restaurants. It’s about going to the events to take pictures and share them.”

For her work keeping the media and residents informed in her city and across the state, PublicCEO is proud to recognize Lisa Woolery as the 2011 PublicCEO Public Information Officer of the Year.

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