September 2013 Minutes

UAA Executive Committee Meeting
Thursday, September 19, 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: Owen Cylke, Paula Goddard, Pam Mandel, Nancy Tumavick, Jerry Wood

Committee Co-Chairs Not Attending: Bill Anderson, Richard Blue, Ann Van Dusen

AGM Committee: George Laudato

Guest: Marilynn Schmidt, candidate to serve as Co-Chair of the Strengthening USAID Committee

Executive Assistant: Kristina Short

Meeting Chair: Nancy Pielemeier


1. Review and approval of the August 15, 2013 Executive Committee (EXCOM) Meeting Minutes: The August 15, 2013 EXCOM meeting Minutes were approved for posting on the UAA website.

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

a. Budget and preparations: George Hill provided committee members with an estimated cost of $2,000 for the 2013 AGM, based on 100 attendees. The estimate includes:

  • $3.75/head for breakfast, including coffee and juice ($375 for 100 attendees)
  • $13.75/head for lunch ($1,375 for 100 attendees)

The Woodrow Wilson Center (WWC) generously is providing the AGM venue at no cost to the UAA. Further, the UAA has experienced strong 2013 membership contributions. Hence, the Board approved covering the AGM costs for contributing members. Alumni who are not contributing members of the UAA will be asked to pay $20 to help defray AGM-related costs.

The maximum capacity of the WWC auditorium (without the addition of extra chairs) is 120. The morning “meet-and-greet” and coffee service will be held in the hallway before attendees enter the auditorium at 9 AM for the start of the formal program.

b. AGM panels: There will be two panel segments in the AGM agenda, with three panels running concurrently in each segment, for a total of 6 panels. Panel topics are still under discussion but likely to include: Economic Development and Private Enterprise; Education; Agriculture and Feed the Future, Democracy, Human Rights and Governance, Health and Program Development.

Panel Structure: Each panel will have 2-3 USAID participants in addition to an alumnus/a serving as moderator. USAID has identified a robust list of DLIs and new Civil Service employees. Where feasible, a comptroller, project development and/or legal advisor will be added to provide additional perspective within each of the panels.

During the week of September 22, Janet Ballantyne and Nancy Pielemeier will begin contacting panelists and moderators. EXCOM members were asked to send moderator suggestions to Alex and Nancy P. Preference will be given to alumni who have indicated a desire to be more engaged within the UAA.

Discussion emphasis: Panelists will be asked to address what motivated them to join USAID, what they have learned to-date, and how the UAA can be helpful (e.g., mentoring).

Plenary Speaker: Alex will confirm Administrator Shah’s commitment to be the keynote speaker. The plenary will include time for questions.

A preliminary agenda will be distributed shortly.

c. Arrangements for voting: The EXCOM discussed how to display candidates for the 2 and 1-year terms on the voting ballot. Jim Michel is running unopposed for an additional one-year term due to the need to stagger terms, as indicated in the revised by-laws. There are multiple candidates for the four 2-year terms. The Board approved including on the ballot a write-in option for both the 2-year and 1-year terms.

  • Online voting will run until October 20 and voting in-person the day of the AGM, ending at 10 AM so that votes may be tallied.
  • In the September Newsletter, the UAA will advertise 50 Years of USAID as an incentive for making $75+ contribution prior to voting.

d. Other logistical arrangements: The EXCOM reviewed additional logistic concerns for the AGM. The UAA will require:

  • 1 table for voting
  • 1 table for sign-ins/day of membership contributions, and attendee questions and concerns
  • Wi-Fi access to facilitate electronic payment of membership contributions
  • AV equipment: microphones; projection for PowerPoint and UAA logo
  • Signs at the building entrance and also to designate rooms for panels
  • Documents: Instruction sheet, agenda, “How to get involved” pamphlet/flyer for distribution
  • Photographer: Nancy Pielemeier will ask Gary Waxmonsky

Paula Goddard and Nancy Tumavick volunteered to alternate at the sign-in tables, along with Kristina Short. Linda Whitlock-Brown will be requested to assist. Ann Van Dusen will be requested to manage the voting table with assistance from the others, as needed.

The EXCOM was informed that the only appropriate spaces for the panel sessions are on two different floors. Hence, attendees and panelists will have to move between floors. There will be a break scheduled between the two panel segments to allow for movement.

The Report to Members, currently being finalized by Jim Michel, will be distributed to alumni with the AGM announcement and will be referred to in the opening remarks.

Next Steps:

  1. Nancy Tumavick will contact Linda Whitlock-Brown and Nancy Pielemeier will check with Ann Van Dusen regarding their availability the day of the AGM.
  2. Nancy Pielemeier will ask Gary Waxmonsky about his willingness to act as photographer for the AGM.
  3. George Laudato will ask the WWC about scheduling a walkthrough the week of the AGM.

3. Membership Issues:

a. Alumni Survey: The Membership Committee is developing a short survey for distribution after the AGM regarding alumni event participation and interests. The Committee will distribute a draft to the EXCOM and solicit feedback on distribution, timing, and content.

b. Report on membership: Executive Assistant Kristina Short provided a report for the period August 16 – September 19:

  • Alumni Registrations: Thirteen new alumni registered with the UAA, bringing the total number of registered alumni to 787 as of September 19, 2013.
  • Contributing Members: Of the 8 alumni who made membership contributions for the 2013 calendar year during this period, 3 are in the “Friends of the UAA” ($100+) category. The total number of Contributing Members as of September 19, 2013 is 215.

c. Request to alumni for geographic information: The request for geographic information sent to alumni in late August 2013 revealed strong representation in North Carolina, California, and Florida. Approximately 70 alumni responded with details on their USAID experience and interests in UAA programming, with additional updates continuing to be received.

d. Consideration of proposal for corporate memberships: The EXCOM expressed reservations about corporate membership, citing potential conflict of interest perceptions, which could affect the UAA’s expanding partnership with USAID. EXCOM consensus was to contact companies that enquire about corporate membership and ask them to encourage their employees to join as individuals.

4. Public Outreach:

The EXCOM was informed that alumnus Bob Jordan is interested in managing the UAA LinkedIn account. The Outreach Committee will follow-up with Bob when he returns to the US at the end of September. EXCOM members were in agreement on the necessity for active management of the LinkedIn account, to include event promotion and content posting.

5. Strengthening USAID:

a. E&E mentoring program – Phase Two: The Strengthening USAID Committee is moving forward with USAID on the second phase of the mentoring program, taking into consideration lessons learned from the just-concluded pilot phase. It will once again begin with the E&E Bureau. The new E&E liaison, replacing Anne Patterson, is Taisha Jones.

  • Pamela reported that four mentors from the pilot phase are continuing with their mentees as the latter move to new posts.
  • The 2nd phase is commencing with 13 new mentees, mostly comprised of new hires (< 3 years), with two mid-level employees (9 and 12 years, respectively). One concern raised by the Strengthening USAID Committee is that seven of the 13 mentees are from Kosovo.
  • The Committee is working to secure commitment from mentors, with 11 mentors confirmed. Mentor orientation is currently scheduled for Oct 17 and the Committee is working with USAID/HR on restructuring the mentee orientation program. Pamela will be speaking with Taisha Jones on September 20 regarding progress toward launch.

b. Phase Three: The Committee has been discussing with PPL the possible mentoring of Program Development Officers (PDOs) in the field and is engaged in ongoing discussions with the Africa and Asia Bureaus, with support from Carla Royalty in the PPL Bureau (home to PDOs). The Africa Bureau has expressed a desire to solicit applications and advertise the program in the field.

  • The expansion of the mentoring program into Phase 3 is tentatively scheduled for early 2014, pending discussions on whether a separate MOU is necessary.
  • Alex Shakow informed the EXCOM that he has provided the EPA alumni association with an outline of the UAA mentoring program for potential use by that group.

c. Committee co-chair recruitment: The EXCOM welcomed Marilynn Schmidt, who is willing to replace Pamela Mandel as Strengthening USAID Committee Co-Chair after a transition period lasting through the AGM. The EXCOM expressed its thanks to Pam for her leadership during the last several years.

6. Development Issues:

a. Co-Chairs’ plans and proposals: Owen Cylke provided the EXCOM with an overview of Committee plans. Committee Co-Chair Richard Blue has expressed a desire to focus on development practice, while Co-Chair Owen Cylke will focus on program development issues.

Owen proposed a survey to alumni who have expressed interest in Development Issues, including those who attended the urban seminars, the September events at the USAID Training Center, and those who were included on the previous Development Issues e-mail distribution list. This survey would aim to generate additional interest and solicit participation in the work of the Committee.

Owen and Richard also developed a Calendar matrix for tracking activity, scheduling, and development-focused public events within several categories, including notable speeches, discussions, thematic events, country-focused events and other development-oriented issues.

b. Report on the September 6 event at the USAID Training Center (TC), Crystal City: The Development Issues Committee was encouraged by interest shown by attendees at the September 6 “conversation” with David Eckerson and Jim Michel. Forty-four alumni attended (of the 50 who pre-registered). The USAID TC facility is excellent and transportation convenient. Alumni have expressed an interest in calling in or having other electronic access to these events. Alex elicited suggestions for future topics and speakers.

c. September 20 event: 40 alumni have currently registered for the event.

d. Report on urban initiatives: There have been two events held thus far in 2013, both of which had very good attendance. Documents from both events are now up on the Woodrow Wilson Center website and available for viewing. Discussions are underway for additional events.

Owen reported that Steve Klein has expressed a willingness to take the lead on developing an event focused on climate change.

7. Next meeting: The next EXCOM meeting will take place on October 17 at TetraTech from 10:30 AM to 12:30 PM. This will be the last regular meeting before the AGM and will focus on final preparations. It will also be the final regular meeting of the current Board.

The schedule for subsequent EXCOM meetings will be decided at the first meeting incorporating the newly elected Board Members.

8. Other business:

a. Status of September and October newsletters: Release of the online voting ballot is scheduled for Friday, September 20. A special newsletter will be distributed to registered alumni during last week of September. It will include a summary of the AGM themes, a preliminary AGM agenda, and the 2013 Report to Members.

b. Website: David Cohen reported that August was the second busiest month for UAA website traffic. David will be away from Oct 15 to Oct 29. Any material for web posting should be sent to him prior to Oct. 15.

c. Surveys: Jim Michel noted that surveys following the AGM were planned by several committees, in addition to the survey to obtain membership input for the UAA 2014-2016 Strategic Plan. He suggested that the various survey initiatives should be coordinated and, if possible, consolidated in a single request for members to respond to a survey.

d. Need for additional administrative assistance: Discussion was tabled until the new Board convenes.

e. TetraTech: Paula Goddard informed the EXCOM that TetraTech is moving to the Arlington Courthouse Metro station area in the middle of December and will be up and running on January 5. TetraTech will continue to invite the EXCOM to meet in its new location. The EXCOM is grateful to TetraTech for its on-going hospitality.