August 2012 Minutes

Minutes of the UAA Executive Committee
Thursday, August 16, 2012
10:30 am – 12:30 pm
TetraTech Offices, Arlington, VA


Board Members attending:  Frank Almaguer, Margaret Carpenter, George Hill, Jim Michel, Alex Shakow, David Sprague, Ann VanDusen

Board Members absent:  none

Committee Co-Chairs in attendance: David Cohen, Paula Goddard

Co-Chairs absent:  Curt Farrar, Brad Langmaid, Pam Mandel, Larry Smucker, Nancy Tumavick

UAA Executive Assistant: Kristina Short


1. Approval of July minutes:

The Executive Committee approved the July 19, 2012 meeting minutes to be posted on the UAA website.

2. Report on the meeting with David Eckerson, new USAID Counselor, and collaboration with USAID:

David Cohen, Jim Michel, Alex Shakow, and Ann VanDusen had a positive meeting with David Eckerson on Tuesday, August 7, during which they shared with Eckerson the goals and objectives of the UAA, recent activities, as well as challenges in implementing joint UAA-USAID initiatives.

Eckerson expressed strong support for the proposed UAA-E&E Bureau mentoring project. Subsequent to the meeting, he contacted Roberta Mahoney, DAA in the E&E Bureau, to help get this initiative underway. He also agreed to assist in getting UAA brochures to HR for inclusion in retirement packets, as well as to help set up distribution of these brochures through HR on a systematic basis.

a.  Follow-up actions on the UAA-E&E mentoring project:

Since the meeting with the Counselor, Roberta Mahoney has followed up with David Cohen regarding the MOU to be signed. The Executive Committee agreed that it is important to have the MOU signed and operational before the AGM so that information can be provided to attendees on expectations, criteria for mentors, contact information, etc. and to build a roster of potential mentors.

The Strengthening USAID Committee has the task of implementing the UAA portion of this project, including the identification and orientation of mentors.  Issues to consider include the likelihood that participation in the program as a mentor will require a bigger investment of time than is typically required for volunteer positions.

Next Steps:

1) Advertise the program among USAID alumni and call for additional information from registered alumni through the Newsletter and/or separate news release(s) on interest in participating, as well as on regional and technical expertise that potential mentors can contribute.  This will allow the proper matching of mentors and mentorees.

2) Add technical skill to the alumni registration form on the website so that alumni may register their skill sets for current and future mentoring, as well as for other future activities with USAID.

3) David Cohen will send Roberta Mahoney an e-mail to let her know that UAA will be highlighting this program at the AGM and wishes to move forward on signing the MOU as soon as feasible.  (NOTE: The MOU was signed on Wednesday, September 5 by the AA/E&E Bureau and the UAA Co-chairs.)

b.  Follow-up actions on membership issues (next steps):

The Membership Committee, with David Cohen, will draft a paragraph for David Eckerson to distribute to Executive Officers (EXOs) through the USAID intranet.  The objective is to attract FSNs, as well as ensure that all missions are aware of the UAA and its activities.

c.  Follow-up actions on USAID staff movements:

Ann will work with HR to get future staff movements data sent to She will also find out how to get the word out to USAID employees and alumni not registered with the UAA regarding updates to the Staff Movements webpage on the UAA website.

d.  Follow-up actions on Points of Contact with USAID:

Ann will confirm with David Eckerson on points of contact at the appropriate USAID Bureaus/ Departments.  The UAA will seek to ensure proactive engagement between UAA committees and appropriate USAID functional contacts.

3. Annual General Meeting (AGM):

a.  Catering and logistics:

Linda Whitlock-Brown will be available the day of the AGM to assist with check-in, but will be out of the country in the weeks leading up to the AGM. UAA Executive Assistant Kristina Short will work with George Hill to confirm catering and any logistic questions that may arise.

It was agreed that only coffee, tea and juice would be served in the morning. Lunch will consist of sandwiches, salads, and dessert.

b.  Nominations and elections:    

Frank Almaguer, Margaret Carpenter and Jim Michel are responsible for identifying potential candidates and for counting and certifying the votes at the AGM.

Kristina Short will set up an e-mail address to which nominations can be sent and will ensure that all messages are forwarded to Frank, Margaret, and Jim.

Election results for the two open Board seats will be announced in the afternoon at the AGM.

c.  Program:

  1. Keynote:  An invitation was sent to USAID Administrator Shah, but he will not be in DC on the day of the AGM. Dr. Shah volunteered to send a videotaped message. The Executive Committee agreed to request Deputy Administrator Don Steinberg to make the keynote address during the lunch.
  2. Panel on current USAID issues: A team from USAID will be invited to make a presentation and participate in a Q&A on USAID current policy priorities, budget issues, and management initiatives.
  3. Other ideas discussed:
    a. Panel of other alumni associations (e.g., DACOR, AFSA, Peace Corps) to talk about alumni services.
    b. Panel of DLIs to talk about their experiences with USAID.
    c. Panel of external development experts to talk about current development issues (e.g., MGAN, CGD, CSIS, etc.)
    d. Panel of alumni to reflect on current USAID development issues (e.g., Feed the Future, water, urbanization, health).
    e. Panel of alumni who went back to USAID after retiring and who can reflect on the evolution of the organization.
    f. Results of a survey to be sent to alumni via e-mail; specifics of will be determined at a later date.
    g. Panel on Alumni Reflections, similar to the one led by Janet Ballantyne at the 2011 AGM.

4.  Tentative AGM Program: 

8:00-9:00: Coffee

9:00 – 9:45: Report to the membership on what the UAA Board has accomplished (e.g., Strategic Plan) and report on the budget, finances and audit.

9:45 – 10:30: USAID Panel/Dialogue (“USAID Forward”)

  • David Cohen will contact Susan Reichle and David Eckerson regarding alumni conversation with USAID management

10:30 – 11:00: Break

11:00 – 12:00: Committee breakout sessions

12:00 – 1:30: Lunch and keynote address with Qs&As

  • Ann will invite Don Steinberg to give the keynote address and discuss with him the content, which may include: changing landscape of development; frontiers in development innovation; and relevance of USAID in a changing development and political environment.

1:30 – 2:30: Panel on alumni reflections

  • Margaret will contact Janet Ballantyne to help develop ideas

2:30 – 3:00:  Results of the election and report on breakout sessions

3:00 – 4:00: Dessert and networking

Next Steps:

1) Kristina will include the broad outline in the next newsletter.

2) Kristina will send Margaret, Jim and Frank the list of attendees at the DACOR reception and summer picnic, as well as the list of individuals who attended the 2011 AGM

4. UAA Strategic Plan: 

Jim Michel distributed a draft report on UAA progress in meeting current year objectives and in identifying future plans and objectives.  He called for input from all committees regarding goals and specific actions taken (or to be taken) to meet UAA objectives. Input from the Membership and Development Issues committees has been received.

The Executive Committee discussed combining some goals (or some points within goals) for greater coherence.  The role of the Public Outreach Committee was discussed, with committee members agreeing that Public Outreach should play the lead role in developing and maintaining relations with external affinity groups.

Next steps:

Committee co-chairs will provide more specificity to Jim to help him finalize the report, building as well on Executive Committee input, for circulation in draft to the registered alumni prior to the AGM.

5. Collaborations with USAID on emerging policies (urban, water, etc.)

Urban development is the only technical area to-date where USAID has sought UAA input.  Work is now proceeding in this area with useful exchanges between Owen Cylke (on behalf of the UAA) and Mike Donovan for USAID. The experience of USAID in this area is being assembled in a report for USAID by a team led by Chuck Billand. Cylke has met with Billand and will meet again shortly. The intention is to use this report (which is expected this fall) as the basis for a number of workshops that UAA might sponsor or co-sponsor to assist USAID in bringing to bear the most knowledgeable people – including USAID alumni.   David Eckerson told the UAA participants at the August 7 meeting that UAA assistance could be useful in helping USAID to finalize its policy in other areas, particularly in water.

The Development Issues Committee will take a proactive approach with the PPL Bureau. The Executive Committee discussed the possibility that Larry Garber might be taking over some outreach responsibilities and the possibility of the UAA collaborating with PPL for the “Experience Summit”.  This possibility will be discussed in more depth once points-of-contact are established with PPL.

Next steps:

The Executive Committee will provide the Development Issues Committee with an update on USAID points-of-contacts. For now, Counselor Eckerson remains the principal USAID contact for UAA issues.  (See Section 2, point d. above.)

6. Future role of the Public Outreach Committee: 

The Executive Committee discussed the role of the Public Outreach Committee and was in agreement that committee duties should include external relations as well as coordinating speaking engagements.

7. Report from Kristina on marketing tools via Constant Contact

Marketing tools are available but not included in the software package currently used by the UAA. The use of a software package that includes invitations and RSVP tracking is another $20 a month.

8.  August/September Newsletter items:

  • New UAA members, including the identification of those a) registered and those b) registered and contributing.
  • New in the USAID Alumni website (including new USAID staff movements)
  • AGM program outline and Board nominations
  • Report on the July picnic
  • Alumni profile (Bob Lester)
  • September Social Event reminder (movie)
  • Photo and caption from the Vermont-based alumni picnic

9.  Next Executive Committee Meeting:

Thursday, September 20, 2012 at 10:30 am – 12:30 pm at the TetraTech Offices in Arlington, Virginia.