December 2013 Minutes

Minutes of the UAA Executive Committee Meeting
Thursday, December 19, 2013
10:30 AM – 12:30 PM at TetraTech Office
1320 N. Courthouse Rd., Arlington, VA

Board Members Attending: Frank Almaguer, David Cohen, David Eckerson, Jim Michel, Nancy Pielemeier, Carol Peasley and Alex Shakow

Committee Co-Chairs Attending: Owen Cylke, George Hill and Nancy Tumavick

Committee Co-Chairs Not Attending: Bill Anderson, Paula Goddard, Marilynn Schmidt and Ann Van Dusen and Jerry Wood.

UAA Executive Assistant: Kristina Short

Meeting Chair: Carol Peasley

NOTE: This was the first EXCOM Meeting at TetraTech’s new offices in Arlington. The EXCOM once again extends its appreciation to TetraTech for its continuing hospitality.

1. Approval of November 21, 2013 Executive Committee Meeting Minutes:

The minutes from the November 21, 2013 EXCOM meeting were approved.

2. 2013 AGM Follow-up Items:

a. Lessons learned from the AGM survey:

EXCOM discussed feedback from the AGM survey distributed to 2013 AGM attendees. EXCOM agreed to include a summarized version of the survey results on the UAA Website and in the December 2013 Newsletter.

One recommendation for 2014 was to have written evaluation forms available at the AGM, which would then be followed by an electronic survey shortly after the AGM.

b. Selection of 2014 AGM Co-Chairs and Status of AGM Committee:

Janet Ballantyne has indicated that she will not be able to serve as Co-Chair of the AGM Committee in 2014. The EXCOM is waiting for a response from George Laudato on his availability to serve as co-chair in 2014.

EXCOM consensus was to have the AGM Committee as a freestanding management committee to allow for long-term planning for the AGM. The AGM Committee will work closely with other committees, as necessary, to ensure full EXCOM support and participation in planning for the AGM.

Next Steps: Nancy Pielemeier and Carol Peasley will work to identify co-chairs.

3. Strategic Planning and Budget:

a. 2014 – 2016 UAA Strategic Plan: In order to update and finalize the Plan, Jim Michel will need additional input from all standing committees, as well as feedback from the alumni survey to be distributed in January. The updated Strategic Plan should be ready for Board approval at the February 2014 meeting.

b. 2014 Budget: Based on 2013 contribution levels, 2014-projected UAA income is $19,500. As of December 2013 the UAA has $10,000 in its interest-earning account at LFCU and approximately $5,800 in its checking account (see Attachment B, Financial Report as of Nov. 30, 2013).

For planning purposes, the EXCOM will approve activities that can be financed within the projected availability of $25,300 ($19,500 income projection and $5,800 carried-over from 2013). The remaining $10,000 will provide the needed cushion to cover potential costs if, for example, the projected “free space” for the 2014 AGM does not materialize and if new and expanded membership activities are added or expanded in response to alumni requests.

c. Additional 2014 expenditures under consideration:

i. Audiovisual Expenses: The EXCOM discussed potential audiovisual expenses so as to provide non-local alumni with online access to events. David Eckerson informed the EXCOM that the USAID Training Center has the capability to record events; hence, AV equipment is not necessary as long as we use that facility for the “Friday Forums”. David Cohen will research additional options, including reaching out to Ben Barber, who provided AV services for the UAA 2011 AGM, and will report back.

The EXCOM agreed to include a question regarding audio-video access in the January 2014 membership survey to test alumni interest.

Next steps:

  1. David Cohen will obtain the video from the December “Friday Forum” discussion with USAID Counselor Susan Reichle and research how to post it on the website.
  2. Once available on the UAA website, Kristina will distribute an e-mail announcement regarding availability of the video; she will also track traffic and response.

ii. Membership Committee Expenses: The Membership Committee has projected additional expenditures for new events and regional gatherings, including:

  • A February 2014 social gathering focused on former PSCs, a group eligible for UAA membership that remains virtually untapped at this time.
  • A Spring 2014 reception: The cost of the 2013 spring reception was limited to catering only as the Pielemeiers offered their home for the event. The 2014 cost may include venue rental, as well as catering.
  • 2014 Annual Summer Picnic.
  • Mission Directors’ Roundtable (to be discussed at the January 2014 EXCOM meeting).

iii. Public Outreach Oral History and other projects: The Public Outreach Committee would like to undertake a pilot oral history activity with alumni ($5,000 for 5 or 6 oral histories). David Eckerson and Jim Michel will speak with Bambi Arellano, who is now at FSI, regarding the work of the Academy for Diplomatic Studies and Training (ADST) at FSI to see if more USAID Oral Histories could be compiled by ADST. EXCOM consensus was to return this item to the Public Outreach Committee for further discussion.

On the other hand, EXCOM considered two other Public Outreach proposals as feasible within the proposed budget levels: 50 hours of research assistant support to compile, in cooperation with the USAID Research Center, USAID-Alumni authored books and other substantive documents. Further, the UAA “LinkedIn Account” should be upgraded and actively managed to reach our alumni and others through this widely used social medium.

Next step: Frank will draft a new budget based on discussion and circulate to Executive Committee prior to the January EXCOM meeting.

4. Membership Survey:

The EXCOM discussed the January 2014 Membership Survey. The survey will be used both as outreach and as additional input for the 2014-16 Strategic Plan. Nancy Pielemeier is compiling input and preparing a working draft for Executive Committee review.

Several suggestions were put forth regarding survey organization and content:

  • Keep the survey simple and short so as to garner greater response.
  • Note in the invitation that the survey will only take a few minutes to complete and people don’t have to answer every question.
  • Include questions aimed at both those inside and outside the Beltway.
  • Keep survey separate from the “Call for 2014 Membership Contributions”, which will also inform alumni that they will be receiving a survey for input on UAA activities and goals.

Next Steps:

  1. Nancy Pielemeier and Carol Peasley will compile the final draft of the Survey to send to Kristina, who will format the survey in Constant Contact for review and distribution after January 10, 2014.
  2. Kristina will circulate the final draft of the survey during the first week of January.

5. Potential space rental/sublet:

EXCOM discussed results of preliminary inquiries into leasing space for UAA activities, which would constitute a significant increase in UAA expenditures. Frank Almaguer received an estimate of $8,000 per year for private space and conference room use at the Organization of American States’ office building in DC. He is waiting on an offer from PADF (also located in the same building) to see what that organization proposes.

Several committee members raised concerns regarding the rigidity of a potential lease and potential difficulties the UAA would encounter if income levels do not meet projections. At the same time, EXCOM understands that there may come a time when “free space” will no longer be available or fails to meet UAA’s growing demands.

This matter will continue to be reviewed in subsequent EXCOM meetings.

6. UAA Logo:

This item was carried over from the November 2013 EXCOM meeting. David Cohen presented a proposal, drafted by him and Ann Van Dusen, to establish an ad hoc committee to go through various logo options and narrow down final selections for EXCOM review.

Next Steps:

  1. David will send out a selection of concept art for EXCOM members to review and asked members to send suggestions for concepts/ideas to David and/or Ann Van Dusen.

7. UAA’s Role in support of USAID-related personnel (e.g., institutional contractors) in captivity:

This issue was subject to extensive e-mail discussion among EXCOM members prior to the meeting. This was in response to growing interest on the part of alumni arising from recent media attention to the plight of detainees in Cuba and Pakistan who presumably had been engaged in USAID-financed work prior to their captivity.

The EXCOM discussed options for the UAA in taking a position on these two sensitive cases. Everyone sympathizes with the plight of these individuals and their families. At the same time, EXCOM members voiced concerns that the UAA does not know all the facts about their respective situations. EXCOM consensus was that UAA EXCOM members could share the UAA’s concern for these individuals in their conversations with the USAID leadership. However, the EXCOM concluded that an UAA public position at this time may not be benefit the affected individuals nor lead to a faster resolution of the cases.

8. Follow-up with designated USAID staff liaisons:

This item was carried over from the November 2013 Executive Committee meeting.

The EXCOM discussed institutionalizing meetings with senior USAID leadership several times during the year. Jim Michel volunteered to develop an agenda for the first USAID-UAA meeting of 2014. Once an agenda is agreed-on, David Eckerson volunteered to contact Susan Reichle and Bambi Arellano to schedule a meeting.

Several items were suggested for inclusion in the agenda, including:

  • Naming of USAID Liaisons
  • New strategies for USAID-UAA cooperation
  • Report on the new UAA Strategic Plan
  • Expanding the retiree/alumni base

9. Operating Committee Updates:

a. Development Issues: The Development Issues Committee will continue to explore options for the possibility of “web streaming” events at the USAID Training Center. The Committee will also pursue how UAA can provide feedback on USAID’s new LGBT policy.

b. Membership: The 2014 contribution solicitation message will be sent on January 6, 2014, with the membership survey (discussed in # 4 above) to follow after January 10.

c. Public Outreach: There were no updates from the Public Outreach Committee.

d. Strengthening USAID: The EXCOM was updated on Phase 2 of the Mentoring Program. The Strengthening USAID Committee has two upcoming phone conferences (with Global Health and LAC) and aims to start Phase 2 no later than February 2014.

10. Next EXCOM Meeting:

The next meeting of the UAA Executive Committee will be held on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at TetraTech’s office at 1320 N. Courthouse Road, Arlington, VA.

Attachment A: Membership Report for Nov. 21 – Dec. 16, 2013
Attachment B: Financial Report for November 2013