June 2011 Minutes

UAA Executive Committee Meeting Minutes

June 14, 2011


Executive Committee:  Paula Goddard (Co-Chair), Ann Van Dusen (Co-Chair), George Hill (Treasurer), Curt Farrar, John Lovaas, Jim Michel, Pam Mandel

Administrative Assistant: Meredith Gaffney

1. May Executive Meeting Minutes

The May meeting minutes have been circulated, with comments incorporated.  The minutes were approved, and will be posted on the website and into the googledoc archiving system.

2. May/June Newsletter

The most recent newsletter was meant to be May, but will now be May/June.  Subsequent newsletters will be bi-monthly as well, so that there is enough substance for each newsletter.  Emails to members on topics of interest will be sent in between the bi-monthly newsletters.  The next edition will be July/August and will be drafted by Meredith Gaffney, with topical input and ideas from the Executive Committee.

It was also discussed that there should be standard sections in each issue of the newsletter, with other additional sections as needed.  The newsletter needs to appeal to those beyond the beltway as well as those inside.  It was also suggested that we engage the membership to submit materials for the newsletter as part of our larger effort to engage membership more actively.  The sections that were agreed upon to be regular sections in each issue were:

–       Alumni Spotlight.  This is a new section that briefly highlights an alumnus who is doing something interesting or different.  Ann will provide the info for the May/June issue (Kelly and Nancy Frame Kammerer) and George will provide the info for the July/August issue (Bastiann Schouten and Priscilla del Bosque).  There will also be a call in the May/June newsletter for members to submit information about themselves or suggestions.

–       Regional Events.  This is a new section to encourage and promote regional UAA events.  There will be an announcement about this section in the May/June newsletter, encouraging people to organize regional events and tell us about them when they do.   Ann will also check to see if she can announce the Vermont regional event in the newsletter.

–       DACOR News.  Meredith will check in with DACOR monthly to see if there is any news to be included.

–       New Membership.  A list of new members since the last newsletter will be included each issue.  Listing those who have made a member contribution was also discussed.  Pam noted that listing was effective in encouraging others to contribute, while also serving as another way to show who’s in the UAA.  It was decided that there would not be a list of those who contributed, only of new members.

–       In the News.  This is a section to share current news and debates related to USAID and development.

The idea of having a “Transitions” or Obituary section in the newsletter was also discussed, but it was decided that this information would be shared through the website, rather than through the newsletters.  If UAA learns of the death of a member, we will share that on the website.

Finally, regarding the newsletter, the group again emphasized the need to include information relevant to those outside the DC area.   It was suggested that at the bottom of each email there could be a link to the website which highlights a larger list of upcoming events, especially outside the DC area (through the Chicago Council, for example).  This will be discussed again as the website improvements are installed.

3. Annual General Meeting Agenda

Several issues for the AGM were discussed.  Linda has confirmed that she is available this year to be the liaison between the Clarendon Ballroom and the UAA.  It was decided at the last ExecComm meeting that we don’t need a focal person to organize the entire day.  Gary and Carol will have key roles however, so it was stressed that Linda, Gary and Carol are all needed at the July Executive Committee meeting.

Other issues discussed included:

–       Foreign Service Nationals (FSNs): although FSNs are currently eligible to become members of the UAA, it was felt that we need to do more to encourage them to join.  Although the membership contribution is not a fee or a barrier to membership, Dave Cohen had suggested that the  FSN membership contribution be 50% of the standard suggested contribution.

–       Dues/Membership Contributions:  The Executive Committee needs to come up with a proposal for membership contributions, and have an up/down vote.  Currently, there is no consensus among the Executive Committee for whether the suggested contribution should remain the same or become lower to try and attract more contributions.  A survey could be conducted ahead of time to get input from the members, as that seems to have been appreciated in the past.

–       Business Meeting: It was decided that there should be a business meeting in the afternoon of the AGM to discuss the issue of lowering the suggestion contribution to expand voting membership.

–       Committee Meetings: There will be committee meetings at the AGM, but they need to be advertised (what the Committee is about, what will be discussed at the AGM) ahead of time.  Each Committee is to submit a committee meeting agenda that will be advertised with the full agenda.  This is due by the July 21 Executive Committee meeting.  Another issue that was discussed was the poor acoustics for these meetings last year.  Spots around the Ballroom and downstairs if necessary should be assigned for committees ahead of time, and as far away from each other as possible – eg., one group to meet up front near the door and one group down in the lounge.

–       Legacy Video: The idea of making a legacy video was again discussed, with all agreeing this would be a nice feature.   At the last Executive Committee Ben Barber agreed to lead this, so an update from him is needed.  Information such as where the camera will be setup, who has a camera, who will run the camera, who will edit the videos, etc, still need to be answered.

–       Janet Ballentyne’s Book: Those who have read the book said that many of the stories are great, but that so far the book is lacking material on impacts of USAID programs.   Discussed who could write something. Curt will write to Janet to about the need for this kind of section, and George will write to Alex Shakow to see if he would be willing to write something.   Regarding the book panel at the AGM—Janet will be asked to select 3-4 people to be on the panel.

–       AGM Panel of USAID Senior Staff: This was done last year, and, it was agreed that we should have this panel again.   It was suggested that Terry Brown, Cindy Clapp-Wincek and Mike Casella would be good panelists.  Paula or Ann will approach Terry first, to get his input.

–       Elections: Need 2 people who are not running again to be the election committee—John and Ann volunteered and were agreed upon.

–       Report to Members: Paula and Ann will do this session at the AGM and will include a summary of UAA in the last year to kick-off  the day, talk about the 50th Anniversary, and mention of the 501(c)3.

A recap of the decisions of the AGM:

–       Linda will be the point person for the Clarendon Ballroom.

–       Will need to find out if USAID will have press.

–       The Legacy Video is a good idea, but in Ben Barber’s court.

–       Janet will moderate the panel on her book.

–       Will get ideas from Terry on the afternoon panel of USAID Senior Staff.

–       John & Ann will be the Elections Committee.

–       Committees will have agendas for their break out sessions ahead of time, will spread out so it’s easier to hear, and will submit a report of their discussion and decisions for the website or newsletter following the AGM.

–       There will be an open discussion on the issue of membership contributions/dues, but the Executive Committee needs to come up with a proposal to put forth to the AGM for adoption.

4. Beyond the Beltway

All agreed that we need to reach out to members outside of DC.  The issues were broken down as follows:

–       Regional Meetings: as noted above, there will be a call in the newsletter for members to take initiative to set-up regional meetings.  We can help by providing contact info for members in a given region.

–       Getting committee members outside of DC.  Committees all want active participation outside of DC, and it was agreed that with sufficient interest, this is possible via email, skype, etc.   Can call for new committee members in a newsletter or leading up to/at the AGM.

–       Social Dimension: Many members join to catch up with former colleagues. Having more participation in the Committees could help, as could regional groups.

–       Membership Committee: also wants to make an effort to expand beyond the beltway, but we need to be mindful that when we call out for input and responses from members, we need to have someone on the other end.

5. Treasurer’s Report

We have $14K+ in the account, and have just paid Meredith and Sean.  We agreed to upgrade our server so the monthly fee is changing from $12/month to $35/month.  The membership contributions have leveled off.  It was discussed whether members can offer 2012 contributions at the AGM in October.  There were some concerns about tracking and reporting income, but the problems did not seem insurmountable.  We will revisit this issue at the next meeting..

5. Committee Reports:

Strengthening USAID: (Pam reported) Committee hasn’t met since the May Executive Meeting.  Based on earlier discussions though, suggest that they come up with a matrix that captures information (USAID experience, expertise) about members so that when the DLI program looks for an expert, they can find USAID alumni.   Still need to decide what is the best way to gather and store this information.  Suggested that the committee talk to Terry to see if it would be useful, but Pam noted that the desire for this came from a conversation with Nancy McKay, and that others besides DLI might have an interest in this type of resource.   Ann notes that the UAA would only be a conduit, and could not vet alumni qualifications.  Pam will convert her draft matrix into a computer format, and send around the to the Executive Committee for testing.

Development Issues(Curt reported) Committee hasn’t met since last Executive Committee meeting, though they’ve had a good deal of correspondence.  Issues they are looking at include:

  • How to deal with receiving suggestions on the website.
  • Larry is the new co-chair of the committee, and they are looking for new members.
  • Larry noted that there are many issues that could be focused on, for example, nutrition and food prices.
  • George suggested that there could be a set of issues on the health sector.
  • To stimulate discussion, the committee could  sponsor a blog on the UAA  website. Members could also submit posts for the blog through the committee.
  • Committee is also trying to come up with a list of links to keep up members up to date on the latest development thinking.
  • Jim and George are still trying to set-up a meeting with USAID on evaluation issues. Jim will try to set-up meeting with Cindy.

Public Outreach: (Ann reported) There is now a flyer for the Speakers Bureau in order to help market the program.  The Committee is interested in posting both the flyer and the list of speakers and topics on the UAA website.   At the next meeting, committee would like to discuss how to rev this up.  The committee was also going to work with USAID on the 50thAnniversary, but USAID’s decision to fly below radar stopped those discussions.  The committee is also looking at national organizations with local chapters (eg Rotary) to try to build the Speakers Bureau outside of Washington.   It was also suggested that we reach out to those who have spoken in the past and have them send us a written summary of the event.  Agreed that we haven’t yet marketed this aggressively, but that it is another good way to get members involved.

Membership Committee: We need new Chairs for the committee.  Discussed whether the committee should be separated from website issues, and whether the website should be the responsibility of the intern.  This will depend partially on the outcome of the “new” website and the strength of the content management system.

6. Final Business

– The next meeting will be July 21st, 10:30am – 12:00pm at Carole Peasley’s office at CEDPA (1120 20th street, Suite 720).  Since the different locations are convenient for different people, we may alternate location of monthly meeting.

– Pam suggested that we think about a logo for UAA, as well as UAA merchandise, such as tote bags.  This will be on the agenda for next month.

Drafted by Meredith Gaffney