The Council’s fall board meeting in Laguna Beach, Calif., was doubly special for Corey Henry. “I was already excited because this would be the first meeting that I’d be seated as a member of the board, which was a great honor in itself,” says Henry, vice president, communications, for the American Frozen Food Institute (AFFI). But learning that the Council’s Executive Committee had selected him as its 2011 Volunteer of the Year made it “a double honor,” he says.
At AFFI, where he supervised the launch of the Friends of Frozen Food grassroots program, Henry is responsible for directing media outreach. Headquartered in McLean, Va., AFFI is a 500-member organization representing the $70 billion frozen-food industry.
Before joining AFFI in July 2010, Henry was vice president of grassroots advocacy for the National Mining Association (NMA), where he managed online grassroots and voter mobilization platforms. There, he oversaw NMA’s expanded online advocacy program. This included its Facebook page, which was an especially effective tool for community building in the aftermath of the April 2010 explosion at the Upper Big Branch coal mine in West Virginia, a subject on which Henry spoke at the Council’s National Grassroots Conference in January 2011.
A Natural Leader
“Corey’s presentation at the conference is a great example of why he’s a leader in both the Public Affairs Council and the industry,” says Rikki Amos, the Council’s associate director of political involvement programs, who oversees the Grassroots Conference.
“Faced with a very difficult situation in the mine explosion, he crafted an appropriate outreach strategy for the public, elected officials and advocates,” Amos says. “He was willing to discuss both the positives and the negatives in an effort to help fellow advocacy professionals improve their communications, and that’s key.”
Henry has been an active member of the Council since 2009. He was involved both in his days at NMA and, now, at AFFI. He has participated in a total of 14 Council programs — twice as a well-received speaker.
He is also an active participant in the Council’s Grassroots Conference Advisory Board and its Political Involvement Network.
The Benefits of Shared Experience
Henry cites two key benefits of Council membership.
“First, as an individual, participating helps you deepen your professional skill set,” he says. “I’ve become a better communicator, for example.
“Second, it enables you to meet your peers — people who are working on the same issues or facing the same challenges. You get to dialog with your peers and learn from their experiences.”
Organizations benefit, too, from an individual’s participation. “For AFFI, Council membership is a way to stay on top of the trends and techniques for developing and executing cutting-edge grassroots programs and for running your political action committee,” Henry says. “I’m fortunate because AFFI sees these benefits and is very supportive.”
“Whatever you hope to get out of the Council, no matter how much or how little time and energy you have for it, you will get that much back and more,” Henry says. “If you just want to dip your toe in, you’ll see value in that, and it will just make you want to get more involved. There’s an immediate dividend.”
And the value builds over time. “What surprises me about the Council is its growth,” he says. “Whenever you participate in a program or go to a conference, there are always new faces, new associations and new companies, and new products and programs.”
A native of Canada with degrees in political science from the University of Saskatchewan and journalism from the University of Regina, Henry came to Washington, D.C., in 2001 as a reporter for Inside U.S. Trade, which covers U.S. and international trade policy.
Before joining NMA, Henry served as director of public affairs for The Fertilizer Institute.
The Council has named a Volunteer of the Year annually since 2008, based on an individual’s outstanding contribution not only to the association but to the public affairs profession.
Previous winners are:
- Molly Nichelson, senior specialist, grassroots outreach, American College of Cardiology (2010)
- Shannon Bearinger, senior business information analyst, Nationwide Insurance (2009)
- Ellie Shaw, director of federal government affairs, American Express (2008)
For more information about the award, visit pac.org/volunteer.