August 2013 Minutes

UAA Executive Committee Meeting
Thursday, August 15, 2013
10:30 AM – 12:30 PM
TetraTech Office, Rosslyn Room
Arlington, VA


Board Members Attending: Frank Almaguer, Margaret Carpenter, David Cohen, George Hill, Jim Michel, Nancy Pielemeier, Alex Shakow

Committee Co-Chairs Attending: Richard Blue, Pam Mandel, Nancy Tumavick, Jerry Wood

Committee Co-Chairs Not Attending: Bill Anderson, Owen Cylke, Paula Goddard, Ann Van Dusen

Meeting Chair: Alex Shakow

UAA Executive Assistant: Kristina Short


1. Review and approval of the July 18, 2013 Executive Committee (EXCOM) Meeting Minutes:

The July EXCOM Meeting Minutes were approved for posting on the UAA website. EXCOM members were asked to report regularly on progress made on the “Next Steps” described in prior months’ Minutes.

2. Annual General Meeting (AGM) on October 25, 2013:

a. Update on AGM preparations: The EXCOM discussed the draft agenda developed by George Laudato and Janet Ballantyne and which was circulated prior to the meeting.

Several EXCOM members expressed support for using the 9 – 10 AM time block to 1) highlight UAA activities and successes in the past year (e.g., increased contributions and registrations, expanded engagement with USAID, etc.), 2) review goals and objectives for the coming years and 3) urge alumni to provide input. Additionally, AGM participants will be encouraged to contact Board Members and Committee Co-Chairs throughout the day if they wish to be more involved in UAA activities.

The upcoming AGM will conclude at about 2:15 PM. During the last 15 minutes, election results will be announced, as well as a re-cap of upcoming activities and projects will be presented. EXCOM members favor distributing a flyer at the end of the day listing upcoming UAA activities and contact information for each standing committee.

b. AGM Panels: Discussion Panels at the AGM will focus on the reinvigoration of USAID. Each Panel will comprise of two (and possibly three) recent hires at USAID and an UAA moderator to allow for dialogue between alumni, moderator and participants. There will be a total of six panels, with two segments of three panels each, allowing AGM participants to attend two panel discussions. Panels would represent various development themes of current USAID interest (e.g., energy/ environment, health/ population, agriculture/ rural development/ Feed the Future), as well as possibly a program panel. The aim of these panels will be to show the new face of USAID to UAA members and introduce participants to promising new officers who will fill the experience gap.

Suggestions from EXCOM members included:

  • Holding a panel on capacity building that would highlight the E&E/UAA mentoring program, potentially including DLIs from the recently concluded mentoring pilot.
  • Drawing moderators from those not already involved in the EXCOM.
  • Hearing from USAID staff about agency initiatives in a variety of subject areas, particularly those where UAA input may be requested.
  • Hearing from new staff about their career development expectations to help inform future mentoring activities, as well as to give participants a perspective on how new officers view their career objectives.

Next Step: By August 31, all Committee members should circulate their thoughts on AGM programming via e-mail. The draft agenda will be reworked based on that feedback.

c.Nominating Committee update: Prior to the August meeting, Ann Van Dusen circulated a list of the seven
candidates running to fill four vacancies for the 2013-2015 Board. The Board confirmed the eligibility of each of these candidates. The August 19 UAA Newsletter will include information about the AGM and provide a link to candidates’ bios. There will be a reminder that other nominations or self-nominations may be made.

A special AGM edition of the UAA Newsletter will be distributed in mid-September and will include meeting details, candidate bios, and information on when voting will open. The Report to Members will also be included so as to provide participating alumni with sufficient time to review prior to the AGM.

d. Retaining the engagement of interested alumni: The EXCOM discussed how to retain engaged alumni who are not elected to the Board, including the potential expansion of the Board and/or Executive Committee.

One suggestion was to restrict Board members to a single term or to increase the number of standing committees, as there is no limit on co-chairs or number of committees. Another suggestion was the formation of an Advisory Board that the EXCOM would draw from for special projects. This group could include those not elected as well as those rotating off the Board and would be a vehicle for active alumni to remain involved. EXCOM members agreed to leave this idea on the table for the 2013-2015 Board to consider.

Next Step: Margaret will send candidate bios to David Cohen for posting on the UAA website.

3. Report to UAA Members on Activities and Goals:

Jim Michel reviewed the draft 2013 Report to Members on UAA Activities and Goals, which will be used to inform alumni of UAA progress during the past year and plans for the future. The EXCOM will solicit feedback from the UAA membership after the AGM. That feedback will then be incorporated into a revised Strategic Plan for the 2013 – 2014 Board to consider and endorse.

Still to be included is a review of plans for the future expansion of the UAA website. David Cohen will draft a statement and send it to Jim for incorporation in the final Draft Report before it is presented at the AGM.

Next Step: Jim will circulate final draft for feedback prior to distributing to UAA members in the September AGM Newsletter. All suggestions and revisions should be sent to Jim ASAP for incorporation in the final draft document.

4. Approval of UAA Privacy Statement:

The UAA Privacy Statement was approved and will be posted in the UAA website and included in the August Newsletter.

The upcoming call for alumni geographic information, to be sent to all registered alumni prior to the August Newsletter, will also include a link to the UAA’s privacy policy.

Next Step: Jim Michel will send David Cohen the policy for posting on the UAA website

5. Strengthening USAID:

a. E&E mentoring program:

On August 8, a meeting was held between UAA representatives and representatives from PPL, LAC, Asia, Africa, and E&E Bureaus to discuss the results of the recently-concluded pilot effort and the possible expansion of the E&E mentoring program to an additional bureau(s). LAC and Africa later indicated that they are unlikely to participate at this time. The most enthusiastic bureau was PPL, although the prospect of doing mentoring in DC requires additional discussion. PPL is the “home” of Program Officers and is interested in including them in the mentoring program irrespective of bureau of current assignment. The Strengthening USAID Committee is weighing the option of starting small and broadening the scope over time to meet bureaus’ needs. A follow-up conference call will take place within the next week.

The criteria for future bureau participation will include: strong AA support, a point person for coordination at the bureau level, and a focus on officers serving overseas.

The expanded mentoring program will be demand-driven and participating individuals must be volunteers from among participating missions. UAA will choose mentors that match the interests of mentees as closely as possible. It was reiterated that the focus of this program is on mentoring, not coaching. Career development will be emphasized over technical knowledge exchange.

The Strengthening USAID Committee goal is to get the new phase of the USAID/UAA mentoring program agreed on prior to the departure on an overseas assignment of Ann Patterson, who was the E&E mentoring program coordinator and has extensive knowledge of the program’s strengths and weaknesses.

b. Committee Co-Chair recruitment: The Committee has contacted a few individuals and will continue to explore available options for filling an up-coming Co-Chair vacancy.

6. Membership Issues:

a. Report on membership developments in July/August: Executive Assistant Kristina Short provided the EXCOM with a report for the period July 16 – August 15:

  • Alumni Registrations: Three new alumni registered with the UAA, bringing the total number of registered alumni to 775 as of August 15, 2013.
  • Contributing Members: Of the seven alumni who made their contributions for 2013 during this period, two are “Friends of the UAA” ($100+) category. The total number of Contributing Members as of August 15, 2013 is 207.

Next steps: Kristina will send Frank comparative data on 2012 and 2013 alumni registration and contributions.

b. Recruitment efforts/expanding outreach to other eligible non-members: Efforts continue to establish regional groups, with North Carolina the most likely location for a pilot regional program.

c. Assessment of the July 27 picnic: The Membership Committee reported that the UAA Picnic did not get the participation expected. Nevertheless, it was a major success. The EXCOM registered its thanks to all the individuals involved in the organization and management of the picnic, and others who volunteered their time.

Next Steps: Nancy Tumavick will follow up with non-registered alumni and non-contributing alumni who attended the event.

d. Consideration of a proposal for corporate memberships: Discussion of this item was rescheduled for the
September EXCOM meeting, at which point the EXCOM will consider whether and how corporate membership fits into the objectives and by-laws of the UAA.

7.Development Issues:

a. Report on the August 13 Development Issues (D-I) Meeting with USAID/PPL: The D-I Committee reported a positive exchange with PPL. USAID intends to follow in the future an approach similar to what was started with the Urban Issues and Biodiversity strategy papers. Draft strategy concept papers will be made available to the public and a public forum for feedback and discussion will be scheduled. Interest was expressed in the UAA hosting a workshop on the forthcoming USAID draft policy guidance on “local solutions.” In addition, the UAA has been included on PPL mailing lists.

PPL plans to issue the draft policy guidance on local solutions in the coming weeks. They will identify groups and individuals who could participate in a dialogue on the subject in October.

Other potential areas of UAA contribution to USAID/PPL include:

  • Providing comments on evaluations of existing USAID policies and
  • Providing insights for webinars on program and project development.

The mentoring project was discussed. PPL offered to discuss and coordinate with regional bureaus that are candidates for the next round, with the possibility in mind that the program might be expanded to regional bureaus with an understanding that the participating regional bureaus will seek to include program officers in the mentoring, in collaboration with PPL.

b. UAA/DACOR Development Dialogues: The Committee reported that Geoff Lamb, a senior Gates Foundation official, will speak on November 18 at the DACOR luncheon seminar.

c. Status report on urban initiatives: The July 29 Asia-focused seminar at the Woodrow Wilson Center was very successful, with 80-90 people in attendance. Additional seminars will be held in the future.

d. September 6 and 20 Discussion Forums at the USAID Training Center in Crystal City: The September 6 event will feature a discussion between Dave Eckerson and Jim Michel on USAID issues. The September 20 event will feature Chris Holmes on the USAID water policy. Both events will be held from 10 AM – 12 Noon. Pre-registration is required.

The D-I Committee will use these events to gauge interest and demand among registered alumni for similar programs in the future.

8. Public Outreach:

Alex Shakow met at their request with two leaders of the EPA Alumni organization. They expressed interest in collaborating with the UAA on future projects. Additionally, Owen Cylke is looking into partnering UAA with EPA and the World Bank on environmental issues.

9. Future meetings:

The September and October Executive Committee Meetings will be held from 10:30AM to 12:30 PM on Thursday, September 19 and Thursday, October 17, respectively, at TetraTech.