May 2012 Minutes

Minutes of the UAA Executive Committee Meeting
Thursday, May 17, 2012
4:00 PM – 6:00 PM
DACOR/ Bacon House
1801 F Street, NW
Washington, DC  20006

Board Members in Attendance:  Frank Almaguer, Margaret Carpenter, George Hill, Jim Michel, Alex Shakow, David Sprague

Board Members Absent: Ann Van Dusen

Committee Co-Chairs Present: Curt Farrar, Paula Goddard, Pamela Mandel, Larry Smucker

Committee Co-Chairs Absent: David Cohen, Brad Langmaid, Nancy Tumavick

UAA Executive Assistant: Kristina Short

Meeting Chair: Alex Shakow


1.  Approval of the April Minutes: 

The Minutes from the April Executive Committee meeting were approved, including minor editorial revisions to be included in the Minutes to be posted on the UAA Website.


2.  USAID’s E&E Bureau/UAA Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Mentoring: 

The Committee discussed ongoing UAA efforts to formalize a pilot staff mentoring program with USAID’s Europe and Eurasia (E&E) Bureau and the role to be played by UAA alumni.

There was general agreement that the mentoring proposal fits well with the UAA stated objective to “harness the experience and expertise of the USAID alumni community for the purpose of providing sound and timely professional counsel and public education in support of US foreign assistance…..”  Further, the proposal is responsive to the UAA objective of providing assistance in strengthening USAID as a viable institution.  It further responds to the Administrator’s “USAID Forward” program, which has as one of its goals providing mentorship support for 200 USAID Foreign Service Officers.  The E&E/UAA program would support on a pilot basis the mentoring of 10-15 E&E Bureau FSOs over a period of four months.

This proposed E&E/UAA plot project represents a major initiative for the UAA, with significant obligations for the UAA to identify potential USAID alumni mentors and to conduct jointly with the E&E Bureau the subsequent evaluation of this pilot initiative.

Executive Committee members agreed that the Strengthening USAID Committee will continue to take the lead in finalizing the MOU with the E&E Bureau and in reaching out to potential USAID alumni candidates to serve as mentors.  The UAA will play an active role in screening candidates. USAID, however, will make the final selection. Workplans and agreements will then be drawn up by the E&E Bureau between specific mentors and mentorees.

In discussing UAA’s role in finding mentors, Committee members agreed that:

  • Potential candidates should include those who have served in supervisory roles and bring relevant management and technical expertise.
  • Finding candidates with appropriate, field-specific experience is of critical importance as the UAA wants to ensure a productive and helpful relationship between selected mentors and mentorees.
  • The ability to obtain and utilize Skype for mentoring overseas mentorees while mentors are State-side should be required of all candidates.

Next Steps: 

  1. Kristina will develop a database from the information received in the April General Interest Survey. This will serve as a reference document for individual area and topical expertise, as future opportunities for engagement arise.
  2. Pamela M., David C. and Frank A. will meet with USAID’s E&E Officer Andrew Maybrook on Tuesday, May 22nd, to discuss expectations of both sides and the particulars of what E&E will be looking for in mentor candidates.  They will report back to the Executive Committee, including plans for final MOU signing.


3. Discussion of the Medium-Term Strategic Plan for the UAA:

The proposed UAA medium-term Strategic Plan for the UAA will build upon the four operational goals in the approved UAA Strategy and Business Plan for 2012 and is intended to give continuity to the work of the UAA and its Board.

The proposed three-year Strategic Plan  will be a product of input from the Committee Co-Chairs, who will transmit these to an ad hoc group composed of Board members Jim Michel, George Hill and David Sprague. They will synthesize the input from the standing committee co-chairs into a draft Strategic Plan for Executive Committee review and input.  Once approved by the Board, the proposed Plan will be shared with UAA members prior to the next AGM for further input and discussion at the AGM.

This proposed medium-term Strategic Plan will incorporate the broader goals and on-going responsibility of the Executive Committee for:

  1. ascertaining and maintaining on a regular basis alumni interests and priorities for the work of the UAA and
  2. developing and maintaining continuing relationships with USAID and other “affinity” organizations.

The proposed Strategic Plan will be a rolling document, with goals that the UAA Executive Committee will be considering over a three-year horizon. These goals will be reviewed on a quarterly basis and will provide the framework for yearly plans.

One question raised was how best to measure progress toward achieving goals. It was suggested that each committee develop projections for the coming year for each of their action items. These projections can then be revised as needed.

The Executive Committee and all of the standing committees will be involved in developing methods for determining USAID alumni interest for programming of UAA activities.

The issue of developing and maintaining relationships with other organizations, including USAID, will be discussed separately.

Looking Forward:

  • Based on feedback from the four UAA committees, the work of the ad hoc group and the deliberations of the Executive Committee, the Three-Year Strategic Plan will be distributed to the wider UAA membership in July for feedback.
  • The UAA Executive Committee will communicate how it intends to implement this plan to the wider membership and will report on this year’s accomplishments at the 2012 AGM. This will include discussion of what the UAA Executive Committee has learned from the past few years and how that acquired experience should factor into the development of future goals.

Next steps: 

  1. Prior to the June Executive Committee meeting, committee co-chairs will provide Jim Michel, George Hill and David Sprague with feedback and specific action plan recommendations for the 2012-2013 year, as well as report on accomplishments during 2011-2012.
  2. Alex will provide the Executive Committee further information on organizations that UAA may want to engage as future partners in pursuing UAA goals and objectives.


4. Discussion of dates and options for the October 2012 Annual General Meeting (AGM): 

Several venues were discussed as potential alternatives to the Clarendon Ballroom, including Meadowlark Botanic Gardens, the Wilson Center, and NRECA.

Additional options proposed in the course of discussion included:

  • USIP (to be contacted by Pam Mandel)
  • Artisphere (to be contacted by Kristina Short)
  • Freedom Forum at Newseum (to be contacted by Margaret Carpenter)

Next Steps: 

  1. All still pending venue information should be sent to Kristina by Wednesday, May 23rd. A spreadsheet comparing available options, logistics, and costs will be circulated by Friday, May 25th.
  2. Ann will speak to Susan Reichle, Assistant Administrator at PPL and keep the ExecComm in the loop regarding the Administrator’s October schedule.


5. Committee Reports: 

Development Issues:

The Committee continues its work on determining best ways to assist the Office of Urban Affairs at USAID.

Curt will meet with Michael Donovan to gain better idea of what USAID is looking for in a liaison with the UAA and where Urban Affairs is looking to go with this effort. One area of interest includes the relationship between urban issues and sustainability and demography.

Larry and/or Curt will follow-up with Owen Cylke to follow up on his expressed willingness to serve as liaison with USAID on urban policy.  Others who might contribute on this theme include:

– Mike Farbman

– David Painter

– Mike Lippe (active consultant on Urban Affairs)

– Amy Nolan


The May meeting of the Membership Committee included input from a retired FSN on how the UAA can best reach out to the FSN community. This input will be utilized by the Committee as it continues to develop strategies to attract FSN interest in the Association.

The Membership Committee continued to explore ways to support alumni activities in states where there appears to be a critical mass of USAID alumni, as well as UAA members willing to take the lead. The long-term goal is to encourage the development of informal UAA chapters around the country.

Philip Church continues to work on outreach to countries where there are a number of retirees.


The UAA filed its annual return with the IRS.

Discussion between George Hill and Loc Eckersley revealed that the cost of an audit would, at this time, outweigh the benefits for UAA. The less costly alternative of an appraisal was proposed, which would reflect an audit firm’s review of internal finances and controls. The UAA would then post the letter from the accounting firm on the website.


6. Next Meeting: The June meeting of the Executive Committee is scheduled for:

10:30 AM – 12:30 PM
June 21, 2012
TetraTech Offices
Arlington, Virginia

Subsequent meetings will be held on Thurs.., July 19, Thurs., Aug. 16 and Thurs., Sep. 20.

The meeting adjourned at 6 PM and it was followed by a reception/open house for USAID alumni at the DACOR/ Bacon House garden.