July 2013 Minutes

UAA Executive Committee Meeting
Thursday, July 18, 2013
10:30 AM – 12:30 PM
TetraTech Office, Rosslyn
1611 N. Kent St., Suite 700, Arlington, VA


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

Committee Co-Chairs attending: Richard Blue, Owen Cylke, Paula Goddard, Pamela Mandel, Nancy Tumavick and Ann VanDusen

Committee Co-Chairs not attending: Bill Anderson and Jerry Wood

AGM Committee: None attending

Meeting Chair: Nancy Pielemeier

Executive Assistant: Kristina Short


1. Review and approval of the June 20, 2013 Executive Committee Meeting Minutes:

The minutes of the June 20, 2013 meeting of the Executive Committee were approved for posting on the UAA website.

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

a. Update on preparations for the AGM: This item was tabled for discussion at the August Executive Committee meeting.

b. Update from the Nominating Committee: The ad hoc Nominating Committee has requested short bios. from individuals interested in running for open Board positions. These short biographical statements, of comparable length and coverage, will be included in the August 2013 Newsletter, which will be distributed on/about August 19.

3. Review of the UAA Strategic Plan, 2014-16:

Jim Michel received feedback from the Strengthening USAID and Membership committees and is in the process of developing a revised plan for Executive Committee review in August for September posting on the UAA website.

The AGM will include an opportunity for brief discussion of 2013 accomplishments and 2014 goals. After the AGM, a survey will be distributed to all registered alumni for membership input. The Board subsequently will review and approve the revised plan by the end of 2013.

Next Steps: Jim will incorporate feedback he has received in a revised draft and will contact committee co-chairs on any pending 2013 recap and 2014 goals.

4. Public Outreach:

a. UAA/AFSA/ADST July 11, 2013 Book Event “Fifty Years in USAID”: The event at AFSA, chaired by Janet Ballantyne and including several contributors as panelists (all UAA contributing members), was well attended by a highly receptive audience.

There are additional copies of the book not being utilized elsewhere. The UAA will continue to distribute these to additional contributing members, use them as gifts for guest speakers at the UAA/DACOR Development Dialogues and for other appropriate uses.

Janet Ballantyne has been approached about drafting a second volume of Fifty Years in USAID to be ‘published” online only. Committee members discussed how the book could be a potential tool for the USAID/UAA mentoring program and the possibility of hosting a digital copy of the book (both the current one and any future edition) on the UAA website.

Several members of the Executive Committee expressed interest in developing a project analogous to the ADST Oral History program to engage UAA alumni in recording and sharing their USAID experience. Suggestions included:

  • Undertaking an oral history project,
  • Formalizing alumni discussions organized around a theme or issue, such as USAID experience in crisis situations,
  • Cataloguing books and articles written by USAID alumni.

Committee members also agreed on the desirability of identifying a role for the UAA in support of USAID-related manuscripts currently in draft (e.g., the history of USAID in Ecuador and Bolivia, among others).

Next steps: Ann VanDusen will discuss with the Public Outreach Committee and try to pull together a proposal that incorporates ideas for collecting, cataloging and finding ways of utilizing for research and other appropriate uses documents relevant to the UAA community.

b. Outreach to like-minded organizations: Ann VanDusen informed the Committee that Outreach Co-chair Bill Anderson is planning another conversation with the head of the National Peace Corps Assn. regarding future collaboration.

The Executive Committee agreed that the UAA Executive Committee’s primary focus at this time should be on expanding and organizing our own member database, so that we can have accurate and useful data on our membership (e.g., by locality, expertise, areas of interest, etc.). This will facilitate cross-publicizing events with likeminded organizations.

The Committee reiterated the concern about formal alliances with organizations that undertake lobbying due to the UAA’s status as a 501(c)(3), as well as our desire to keep our organization focused on our core objectives.

c. Future events: Several ideas were presented to better organize future events, including:

  • Preparing for planning purposes a notional 2014 calendar of UAA events and other events of wide interest to our alumni community. This will help avoid as much as possible scheduling conflicts, while giving our membership “heads up” on events of interest to them.
  • Integrating the calendar into the UAA website.
  • Including an item in future Executive Committee meeting agendas about upcoming events.

Committee members were supportive of possible co-sponsorship of events and in favor of cross-promoting events hosted by like-minded organizations. The UAA, under the guidance of the Public Outreach Committee, will continue reaching out to like-minded organizations to identify such opportunities. Nevertheless, at this time, the UAA will not pursue merging its mailing list with that of any another organization due to privacy concerns.

5. Strengthening USAID:

a. E&E/UAA pilot mentoring program assessment and next steps: An evaluation of the E&E pilot program was completed. UAA is appreciative of the excellent work done by the evaluation team, comprised of representatives from the UAA, E&E Bureau and USAID/HR. Important points noted from the assessment include:

  • The vast majority of participants, mentors and mentees, were very pleased with the process and the results. It was useful to have both DLIs and more senior officers as mentees in the program.
  • By putting a six-month renewable limit on mentoring relationships, mentors and mentees will be given a comfortable exit point should either or both desire that.
  • An expanded program will need to consider that the role of mentor requires knowledge of current USAID initiatives and terminology. This will give the mentor added credibility and make it more likely that the pairing with mentees will be productive.
  • The next MOU will need to clarify the distinction between mentoring and coaching. The UAA-supported program focuses on mentoring.
  • There is a further need to analyze why some missions were enthusiastic about the program (e.g., Armenia and Macedonia, with four mentees each), while others were far less enthusiastic.
  • There is a desire to find mechanisms that will allow for more interpersonal or face-to-face engagement between mentors and mentees earlier in the partnership.

Current plan: The Strengthening USAID Committee leadership will discuss the results of the evaluation and recommendations with USAID senior staff and E&E Bureau representatives. Additionally, the Committee will reach out to other bureaus to see if they want to participate in the program, as well as decide if the E&E Bureau wants to continue its participation. It was agreed that if the program is to be expanded, it should be gradually (i.e., rolling expansion) to ensure that the UAA can “deliver” the mentors that may be needed. The goal is to have the next mentorship program start in the Fall, complementing agency training programs.

Next Steps: The Strengthening USAID committee will set up meeting with USAID and will keep the Executive Committee informed.

b. Committee leadership changes and recruitment: Pam Mandel will be stepping down from her role as co-chair of the Committee. The Committee is searching for a replacement and Pam has agreed to remain in her position until a successor is in place.

6. Membership Issues:

a. Membership developments in June/July: Executive Assistant Kristina Short provided the Executive Committee with a report for the period June 20 – July 15:

  • Alumni Registrations: Six new alumni registered with the UAA, bringing the total number of registered alumni to 775 as of July 15, 2013.
  • Contributing Members: Nine alumni made their contribution for the 2013 calendar year during this period, two of whom fall into the ‘Friends of the UAA’ ($100+) category. The total number of Contributing Members as of July 15, 2013 is 200, an all-time high.

Alex Shakow circulated a draft message calling for updated addresses from registered alumni. Feedback on this draft should be sent to Alex and, once finalized, the message will be sent to the UAA mailing list.

Jim Michel and David Cohen will develop a membership database “privacy policy” for the Board to consider.
Committee members also discussed including membership updates and data (e.g., how many reside in a given state) in future Newsletters.

b. July 27 UAA Picnic: Paula Goddard, George Hill, and Nancy Tumavick have prepared a list of tasks, including purchasing, set-up, and transportation, and are soliciting volunteers to fulfill those tasks. Attendees will bring their own food, while the UAA will provide soft drinks and utensils.

  • George Hill will purchase cups and utensils
  • Diane Ponasik and Anne Dammarell volunteered to assist with transporting items
  • Frank will contact LAC Bureau alumni for special appeal to participate in the picnic.

Next Steps: Paula Goddard will contact Executive Committee members to help identify additional volunteers

c. Alumni Mini-Bios in Newsletter: The Committee supported the idea of including mini-profiles of alumni in future Newsletters. Nancy Pielemeier and Owen Cylke volunteered to prepare profiles for the August Newsletter.

7. Development Issues:

a. Committee leadership changes: Curt Farrar stepped down from his position as Co-Chair of the Development Issues Committee. The UAA Executive Committee expressed its deep appreciation of Curt Farrar’s leadership of the Committee over the last several years. Owen Cylke and Richard Blue have agreed to serve as Co-Chairs of the Committee and were unanimously approved by the UAA Board.

Next step: Kristina will check on who among the Executive Committee, including its newest members, need to sign the UAA Conflict of Interest policy and inform the Board by the next meeting.

b. Development Dialogue: Andrew Steer will speak at the July 25 UAA/DACOR Development Dialogue. The event will be held at DACOR from Noon to 2 PM.

c. Upcoming events at the USAID Training Center: Several Executive Committee members visited the USAID training center in Crystal City and reported that it is an excellent space, easily accessible by Metro. The Executive Committee is highly appreciative of USAID for letting the UAA use it for appropriate events. The UAA will look into scheduling events at this location on a regular basis. Upcoming UAA events at the Center include a September 6 conversation with David Eckerson and Jim Michel, both former USAID Counselors, on the Counselor’s role and on the future of the Agency. On September 20 there will be a conversation with Christopher Holmes, USAID’s Global Water Coordinator, to discuss the new USAID water strategy. Alex Shakow will confirm dates for both events and these will be announced through our website and other means.

d. Meeting with PPL Staff: Jim Michel will reach out to Carla Royalty to set a meeting during August with the PPL leadership. In addition, the UAA will review its overall relationship and points-of-contact within USAID after the 2013 Annual General Meeting.

e. Open House at the E3 Bureau: Discussions during the event revealed that there are a number of USAID leaders and staff interested in sharing with USAID alumni their priorities and what they currently are doing.

8. Other business: Executive Assistant Kristina Short will provide Richard Blue and Owen Cylke with usaidalumni.org addresses, and David Cohen will update the UAA website Committee information to include both individuals.

9. Next meetings: The August meeting of the Executive Committee will take place on Thursday, August 15, between 10:30 AM and 12:30 PM at TetraTech, Arlington.

The subsequent Executive Committee meetings are scheduled for Thursday, Sep. 19 and Thurs., Oct. 17 (just prior to the Oct. 25 AGM).