Ashley Trim

Ashley Trim

Executive Director | Davenport Institute for Public Engagement and Civic Leadership 

Ashley Trim is the executive director of the Davenport Institute for Public Engagement and Civic Leadership. She is a national writer and speaker on public engagement and transparency issues. She also coordinates Davenport’s grant programs, training seminars and events and oversees the Institute’s research and engagement projects. Trim co-designed and serves as an instructor for the Professional Certificate in Advanced Public Engagement for Local Government and teaches a graduate course in Public Engagement at the Pepperdine School of Public Policy. Trim spearheads Davenport Institute collaborative partnerships with various organizations committed to improving engagement between citizens and government. Trim has a BA in government from Patrick Henry College and an MPP from the Pepperdine School of Public Policy.

Why do you believe innovations in participatory democracy are important?

Representative democracy at all levels is in crisis. We need better ways of engaging the full diversity of residents in decisions that shape our communities, states and our nation. Good governance requires an awareness of culture and identity and cannot be a merely expert-driven process. Our traditional processes and reliance on expertise are not robust enough to address our needs. We need innovative approaches to collaboration and policy making.

What do you hope to see at the 2018 Innovations in Participatory Democracy Conference?

I want to see an honest conversation about the promises (and challenges) of innovation. We need to move beyond pursuing the next flashy process to really considering the context and nuance of the places we are working if innovation is going to be sustainable.