December 2011 Minutes

Minutes of the UAA Board and Executive Committee Meeting
Thursday, December 15, 2011
10:30 AM – 12:15 PM
TetraTech Offices
Arlington, VA

Board members in attendance:  Frank Almaguer, Margaret Carpenter, George Hill, John Lovaas, Jim Michel, Alexander Shakow and Ann Van Dusen.

Committee co-chairs in attendance:  David Cohen, Curt Farrar, Paula Goddard, Brad Langmaid, Pamela Mandel, Larry Smucker and Nancy Tumavick.

UAA Executive Assistant: Kristina Short

Meeting Chair:  Ann Van Dusen

 

1) Approval of the Minutes of the November 17th Meeting:  The minutes, with minor editorial changes, were approved to be posted on the UAA website.


2) 50th USAID Anniversary Alumni Reflections Book Update: 
Nancy confirmed that USAID is engaged in discussions with the Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training (ADST) regarding ownership and distribution of the book. USAID anticipates that it will finalize this arrangement with ADST in the coming weeks, with publication and distribution expected in the spring of 2012.

In reviewing prior Board discussions on possible UAA participation, the majority of the Board concluded that the level of responsibility expected of the UAA would have been more than the Board felt was appropriate to accept at this time. Nevertheless, there was disappointment that USAID/UAA agreement could not be reached. One member noted that he was not convinced that the concern about risks of “ownership” outweighed the benefits of this opportunity to serve the UAA membership.

The Board reiterated its desire to continue to cooperate with both USAID and the ADST on this issue.  Janet Ballantyne of USAID has informed the UAA Board that the ADST wishes to work closely with the UAA on this. An unspecified quantity of books may be made available for distribution to USAID alumni through the UAA.

Next steps: The Board, led by Margaret and Nancy, will continue to monitor this matter with USAID technical and legal staff.
3) Discussion on the UAA’s Draft Conflict-of-Interest Policy:

Jim Michel described ambiguities and possible unintended implications in the language of the draft UAA ethics policy. He undertook to work on a revised text for Board consideration.  Given the concern that UAA-USAID cooperation not give rise to conflicts (real or perceived) from either side, he suggested that a starting point might be to consult with Jim Peters, USAID Ethics Counsel.  The revised policy should seek to eliminate any perception that UAA Board members might be seeking personal benefit in the conduct of UAA business.

The Board and Executive Committee discussed points to be considered in updating the draft policy, including:

  • What types of collaboration between USAID and the UAA should be anticipated?
  • How might the UAA policy affect individual interaction with USAID on matters unrelated to the UAA?
  • How would the UAA policy (once approved) be implemented and enforced?

The Board and Executive Committee agreed on the need for a revised draft and provided guidance that the text should focus on UAA leadership (not the general membership) and should provide reassurance to USAID and to the UAA membership that the Board and the Executive Committee are acting ethically on all matters.

Next steps: Jim Michel will consult with USAID/GC and prepare an updated draft of the UAA Conflict of Interest Policy to be distributed to the UAA Board for its review and ultimate approval.
4) Report of Meeting with USAID Senior Staff:  On December 11, 2011, Jim Michel, Frank Almaguer, David Cohen and Curt Farrar met at the RRB (and at the UAA Board’s request) with USAID senior staff Bambi Arellano (USAID Counselor), Deborah Kennedy (Director of HR), Roberta Mahoney (Acting AA for the E&E Bureau), Chris Milligan (PPL) and Terry Brown (PPL). The hour-long discussion made clear that both sides are interested in developing mutually supportive and systematized relationships that would further shared interests while avoiding any appearance of conflict of interest on either side.

The meeting participants focused on three major lines of possible collaboration:

Policy and Learning Agenda (points of contact: Terry Brown for USAID     and Curt Farrar/ Larry Smucker for the UAA):

The UAA, led by its Development Issues committee, could engage, at PPL’s invitation, in a few areas of policy development where UAA membership expertise and experience could be tapped as USAID formulates Agency development policies.  This would involve, for example, participating in discussions on the formulation of technical policy papers that USAID expects to develop in the coming months.
UAA would participate only at the broad policy setting level and not at the implementation level.

Leadership Gap Mentoring (points of contact: Deborah Kennedy for USAID and David Cohen/ Pamela Mandel for the UAA):

Newly promoted deputies and relatively new Mission Directors could benefit from senior-level mentorships.  HR and the UAA, through its USAID Strengthening Committee, would collaborate to help make the mentorship/coaching connections.
Further, UAA participation in on going-leadership and DLI training will be continued and perhaps systematized.

“One-Off” Events and Outreach Opportunities (points of contact: Bambi Arellano for USAID and Jim Michel for the UAA):

Possibilities for UAA involvement include reviewing essays submitted for the USAID-DEVEX essay contest and providing peer review of evaluations currently being undertaken at USAID. The UAA website and newsletter can be utilized more extensively to bring new collaborative opportunities to the attention of the wider UAA membership.

Next Steps:

  • The meeting participants for both USAID and the UAA agreed that it would be useful, as the next step, to agree on a small number of areas in which the USAID/UAA collaboration could be formalized
  • Frank will draft a letter of thanks and discussion of the follow-up process to be sent after the New Year’s to the USAID Counselor, with copies to the meeting participants. A draft will be circulated to the Board and Executive Committee shortly.
  • The Board will communicate with Deborah Kennedy after the start of the New Year regarding the April 2012 leadership seminar and how the UAA may best be of assistance.


5) Should UAA join the Foreign Affairs Council?:
  The Board and the Executive Committee discussed the possibility of the UAA joining the recently created Foreign Affairs Council (FAC), which could contribute a development perspective to the foreign affairs community and interest groups linked to the US Government.  It was noted that the UAA already is a member of the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network (MFAN).  There was agreement on the need for some preliminary research into organizations and their makeup prior to any decision on which of them should be engaged.  The Board and Executive Committee were in favor of placing links to relevant organizations on the UAA website for the use of our members at their discretion.

Next Steps:
a) Board and Executive Committee members will send names of organizations of potential UAA membership interest to the UAA Executive Assistant, who will compile a master list for circulation and discussion at an upcoming Board meeting.
b) The Board and Executive committee will decide at the January 19, 2012 Board meeting which committee will take the lead.


6) Budget and 2012 Contributions:
  The UAA retains a balance of approximately $12,000, after covering Annual General Meeting (AGM)-related costs. The Board discussed sending a reminder to UAA members to think of the UAA when making their end-of-year charitable donations, as well as holding a membership drive in early 2012.

Board and committee members discussed the need to highlight what is supported by donations, including the potential advancement of the social side of UAA.

George Hill will pick up the UAA brochure from the printer on 12/15/2011 and can mail copies to those who need them.

Next Steps:
a) George and Ann will draft a message for Kristina to send out to the UAA membership, reminding members to think of the UAA as they make end-of-year charitable donations.
b) Margaret will draft a proposal regarding membership contribution levels for the January 19, 2012 Board and Executive Committee meeting.
c) Frank will flag areas on the website that highlight the UAA purpose for further review and discussion to ensure consistency in the wording used in the various UAA documents.


7) Report from Committees:

Membership Services: The committee has discussed membership dues, attracting new members, and the development of a membership strategy including:

  • Overseas and countries of service groupings
  • Domestic location groupings
  • Technical area groupings
  • Newsletter profiles
  • Social events
  • Expansion of membership beyond direct hires

Next Steps: A call for updated member information, including zip code and technical and geographic background, will be incorporated into the 2012 membership drive. Prior to any request for additional information, the UAA will draft a privacy policy and statement of intent.

Strengthening USAID: On December 1, 2011, representatives from the Strengthening USAID and Development Issues committees met with USAID staff. Topics of discussion included career mapping and senior technical groups to mirror the SMG.

Next Steps: Pamela Mandel will follow up with Rosemary Depp, a potential alumni profile for the UAA newsletter. Pam will also follow up with DLI coaches and report back to the Board at the January 19, 2012 meeting.

Communication and Events:  Discussion focused on the relationship between UAA and DACOR. The Board discussed future UAA promotion of DACOR events, the involvement of a UAA liaison in arranging speakers for DACOR Development Dialogues, and adding a reference to the UAA in the title of the joint events presently known as the “DACOR Development Dialogues”.  One suggestion was to support the renaming of the DACOR Development Dialogues to “UAA Development Dialogues at DACOR”.

Additional topics for future discussion by the committee include the potential for periodic meetings of development practitioners.

Development Issues:  The Committee may decide to establish sub-committees focused on particular development themes of interest to both the UAA membership and USAID.  There is sufficient interest in this Committee, as well as membership (over 20 individuals), to make this feasible.

Public Outreach: Current focus for the Public Outreach Committee is on the Speakers’ Bureau. Wider focus will include the use of social media to connect with and expand membership.

Next Steps: UAA Executive Assistant Kristina Short will provide all Board Liaisons and Committee Co-Chairs with the current composition distribution lists (XXXXX@usaidalumni.org) for review and, if necessary, revision.


8) Next Board Meeting:
Thurs., Jan. 19, 2012 at 10:30 AM at TetraTech.

 

Drafted by Kristina Short on 12/19/2011
Draft reviewed and distributed to the Board by Frank Almaguer on 12/21/2011
Second draft prepared and distributed to the Board by FA on 12/23/11
Final draft distributed by FA on 1/9/2012
Final draft approved by UAA Board 1/19/2012

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