April 2012 Minutes

UAA Executive Committee Meeting
Thursday, April 19, 2012
10:30 AM – 12:00 PM
TetraTech Offices, Arlington, Virginia


Board Members in Attendance: Frank Almaguer, Margaret Carpenter, George Hill, Jim Michel, Ann Van Dusen

Board Members Absent:  Alex Shakow, David Sprague

Committee Co-Chairs in Attendance:  David Cohen, Curt Farrar, Brad Langmaid, Pamela Mandel, Larry Smucker

Also in attendance:  Robert Hudec

UAA Executive Assistant:  Kristina Short


1.  Review and approval of the March 2012 Executive Committee meeting minutes

The Board unanimously approved the minutes from the March 15, 2012 Executive Committee meeting to be posted on the website.

2.  Who is a Member? 

The Executive Committee reviewed the language used to distinguish USAID alumni, UAA members, and contributing UAA members with the aim of clarifying the distinctions. Jim Michel proposed moving forward with two categories:

  • Alumni: Anyone who served 2+ years at USAID and left in good standing.
  • Contributing Members: Those who make a financial contribution to the UAA.

Contributing members will be noted in the UAA Alumni Directory (e.g., by using bold-face type).

In accordance with the UAA Bylaws, individuals who retire from and, later, return to USAID will still considered alumni by the UAA and may retain UAA membership even though prohibited from serving as UAA Board Members or Officers during their re-employment with USAID.

3.  Proposed Membership Events 

Margaret Carpenter presented the membership strategy recommended by the Membership Committee, particularly with respect to social events to help recruit USAID alumni to become contributing members.  These events are also intended to help USAID alumni reconnect through the UAA.

The 2012 plan includes:

  • 4-5 events in the Washington, DC area
  • Small UAA subsidies for pilot projects in states with large alumni groupings (e.g. North Carolina).

Executive Committee members agreed that the UAA will help subsidize future events, as well as ask for contributions when appropriate to help defray costs.

The next UAA event will by a reception at DACOR-Bacon House on May 17th from 6:00 to 8:00 PM, immediately following that afternoon’s Executive Committee meeting at DACOR.  Alumni will be encouraged to meet and talk with Board and Executive Committee members.

4.  Approval of the 2012 Budget

George Hill laid out an approximate minimum of expenditures for the 2012 budget, based on projected costs:

$   6,000 (intern)
$   1,600 (web)
$      400 (misc)
$   2,000 (contingency funds)
$  10,000

In addition, the Membership and Public Outreach Committees submitted the following budget items for consideration:

Membership Committee:  $2,000 to help cover the cost of hosting social events in the Spring, Summer, and Fall of 2012, and to subsidize pilot events in states where large alumni groups exist.

Public Outreach Committee:  $1,200 for eight months to cover the cost of a Research Assistant (estimated $15/hour for 10 hours/month) to assist in coordinating and promoting outreach events.

The Executive Committee granted preliminary approval to both requests. The remaining committee co-chairs were asked to send budget items to George Hill prior to the May 17, 2012 meeting, at which the 2012 budget will be finalized, including an estimate of 2012 income.

Executive Committee members were updated on audit preparations. The results of the audit will be placed on the UAA Website and included in the June Newsletter.

5Publishing “Moving On” Information 

Ann Van Dusen updated the Executive Committee on discussions with USAID regarding personnel movements, previously published in “Frontlines”.  Beginning immediately, “Frontlines” will provide the UAA with information on USAID staff movements on a monthly basis to be published in the UAA Newsletter.  USAID will also internally distribute the UAA Newsletter to give its employees that information.

The UAA will send out a news update in May with the information on recent staff movements. Moving forward, this information will be published in the bimonthly Newsletter, as well as on the UAA Website.

6.  Proposed Pilot Mentoring Project with E&E Bureau Mentoring

Strengthening USAID Committee Co-chairs David Cohen and Pamela Mandel informed the Executive Committee of an E&E Bureau pilot mentorship program for less-experienced FSOs, with USAID alumni serving as mentors.

The Memorandum of Understanding with USAID, to be signed in the next few weeks, proposes having the UAA serve as facilitator to find USAID alumni who would be interested in serving as mentors 3-6 hours per week.

The pilot program was discussed as a mechanism to judge the sustainability and applicability of experience gained with the E&E Bureau as a basis for scaling up alumni mentoring of USAID staff. Executive Committee members emphasized that such a program will require centralized management within UAA to contact and follow-up with potential mentors.

Several questions and areas of concern were raised during discussion, including:

  • How long will mentors serve?
  • What incidental costs may arise?
  • What is the regional distribution of alumni expertise?
  • How might changes in the USAID policy framework over the years diminish the    familiarity of USAID alumni with current needs of the staff to be mentored?

David Cohen and Pamela Mandel will update the Executive Committee following the Strengthening USAID committee meeting and clarifying discussions with USAID.

Curt Farrar suggested the Franklin Fellows Program as holding potential for future UAA involvement, and will provide additional information at the May 17, 2012 Executive Committee meeting.

7Report on Meetings with USAID Regarding USAID Policies and Strategies

Development Issues Committee Co-chairs Curt Farrar and Larry Smucker met with Sohini Chatterjee, USAID’s point person for work on Development Issues, and six additional USAID staff members. There was enthusiasm among USAID attendees of having access to the experience of USAID alumni. An immediate result was the announcement of USAID’s public meeting on its evolving Urban Affairs policy that the UAA published in its April 2012 Newsletter.  Sohini will follow-up with more details and opportunities for UAA involvement.

Urban Issues: The Urban Issues initiative was discussed as an opportunity to pilot a model for supporting USAID/PPL policy development initiatives in the future.

The Executive Committee will work to identify an individual to act as UAA point person on Urban Affairs. This expert would report back and work with the Development Issues Committee. Executive Committee members were encouraged to send names of individuals who might fit the position to Curt and Larry.

In order to gauge the level alumni interest in future involvement with USAID initiatives, the UAA will send out a request for information to alumni in our data base. Those who express interest will be asked to provide details such as:

  • Interest in mentoring, reviewing policy, or speaking
  • Subject matter expertise
  • Regional expertise

UAA/DACOR Development Dialogues: The Executive Committee agreed on the need for regularly scheduled events. Owen Cylke expressed interest in handling this endeavor and will work with Gary Merritt, who has expressed his willingness to assist with the administrative end.  Frank informed the Executive Committee that Fred Schieck has expressed interest in being involved with the Dialogues, and will report back after following up with Fred. An initial opportunity might be to schedule a speaker from USAID on Urban Affairs.

8.  Preliminary Discussion Regarding 2012 AGM 

The Executive Committee conducted preliminary discussions regarding the 2012 AGM, focusing primarily on potential venues. Locations suggested include:

  • The Wilson Center
  • Elliott School for International Affairs (GWU)
  • American University
  • Public sector venues
  • USIP
  • Meadowlark Gardens (Vienna, VA)

The topics of speakers and Board voting were raised and will be discussed more in-depth during future meetings.

9.  May Executive Committee Meeting

The next Executive Committee meeting will be held from 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm on May 17, 2012 at DACOR- Bacon House and will focus on medium-term planning for UAA strategic objectives and implementing actions. This meeting will be followed by a meet-the-Board reception, to which all USAID alumni are invited.

For planning purposes, the next several Executive Committee meetings will take place on:

  • Thurs., June 21
  • Thurs., July 19
  • Thurs., Aug. 16
  • Thurs., Sep. 20