February 2013 Minutes

Minutes of the UAA Executive Committee Meeting
Thursday, February 21, 2013
10:30 AM – 12:30 PM
TetraTech Offices, Arlington, Virginia


Board Members Attending: Frank Almaguer, Margaret Carpenter, David Cohen, George Hill, Alex Shakow

Board Members Not attending:  Jim Michel, Nancy Pielemeier

Committee Co-Chairs Attending: Curt Farrar

Committee Co-Chairs Not Attending: Paula Goddard, Pam Mandel, Nancy Tumavick, Ann Van Dusen, Jerry Wood

Executive Assistant: Kristina Short

Meeting Chair: Alex Shakow


1. Approval of the January 2013 Executive Committee Meeting Minutes: The January 19, 2013 Executive Committee meeting minutes were unanimously approved to be posted on the UAA website.

 2. 2013 Annual General Meeting (AGM): Janet Ballantyne has agreed lead an ad-hoc 2013 AGM Subcommittee, assisted by George Laudato. George Hill will provide them with an overview of previous AGM planning and will serve as liaison between the AGM Subcommittee and the Executive Committee.

The Executive Committee briefly discussed the tasks to be considered:

  • Agree on an AGM agenda and key issues to be raised at the AGM beginning in March or April;
  • Agree on a date for the AGM, at which point a timeline can be developed;
  • Search for adequate and conveniently located space within the UAA budget.
  • Margaret suggested the Public Welfare space, which can be utilized free-of-cost. The venue is located 12th and U (two blocks from U Street Metro Station) with some lot parking available, but not enough for everyone. There is also metered street parking.

The Executive Committee agreed that a brainstorming session is necessary to compile collective knowledge and will reach out to Linda Whitlock-Brown regarding past meetings.

Two AGM items up for future discussion are:

  • The structure of four standing committee discussions within the AGM and
  • The inclusion and structure of UAA-specific discussion at the AGM.

Kristina will provide a summary of tasks undertaken for the 2011 and 2012 AGM meetings that the Executive Committee and ad hoc committee should consider.

The Executive Committee agreed to include the AGM subcommittee on the website as a new item.  A brief note regarding the establishment of the subcommittee will also be noted as a news item in the March/April Newsletter, as will a request for alumni to send in any suggestions they may have.


3. Treasurer’s Report: George Hill reported that, as of 2/20/2013, the UAA bank account has a balance of $19,252.31. This is the highest balance ever. In the last seven weeks, the UAA has taken in approximately $9,800 against $1,700 in expenditures, including intern salary, Constant Contact (e-mail distribution and member database) service, and web hosting fees.


4. Brochure Revision: The Executive Committee discussed the inclusion of recent UAA activities in the revised brochure and agreed on including general items that best demonstrate the work of the UAA. The Committee approved sending the brochure to print. Previously, the UAA spent approximately $450 for 1,000 brochures.

Next Steps: 

  • David Cohen will send a clean version of the brochure to Alex Shakow for printing:
  • Alex will obtain a second estimate on printing cost for 1,000 brochures.


5. Membership Issues:

a. Friends of the UAA: The Executive Committee unanimously supported including a special “thank you” on the website and in the next Newsletter to individuals who have joined or renewed their contributing membership as “Friends of the UAA”. The March Newsletter will include a reminder that, for those who contribute at the $75 level or higher, there are still a few copies left of Janet’s book (“50 Years in USAID”).

b. The April Newsletter: The April newsletter will also include a reminder for those who have retired but are now back on the USAID payroll that they’re still eligible for UAA membership.

c. Several committee members discussed the benefits of reaching out to recent retirees in “think tanks” and consulting firms in the Washington, DC area, a strategy that has resulted in at least several new registered alumni.

d. Margaret Carpenter provided Committee members with a brief summary of the most recent Membership Committee meeting at USAID:

  • It included a number of FSNs currently working at USAID under the SIV (special visa) program.
  • The FSNs are putting together a manual for “soft landings” in the US, the immediate purpose of which is to assist those FSNs coming in from Russia in the near future.
  • FSN Sharif Muafi (Egypt), who began working with the Membership Committee last year, was suggested as an excellent candidate for the March alumni profile in the UAA Newsletter.

Next Steps:

  • Margaret will work with Nancy Tumavick to get a synopsis of FSN efforts for the website and the Newsletter.
  • Margaret will contact Diane Ponasik to write an alumni profile of Sharif.

e. January 15 – February 15 Membership Report: Executive Assistant Kristina Short provided the Executive Committee with a report for the period:

  • Alumni Registrations: 5 new alumni registered with the UAA, bringing the total number of registered alumni to 745 as of February 15, 2013.
  • Contributing Members: 88 alumni made their contribution for the 2013 calendar year during the January 15 – February 15 period, 32 of whom fall into the ‘Friends of the UAA’ ($100+) category. The total number of Contributing Members as of February 15, 2013 is 118.

Next Steps: Kristina will distribute comparative data for 2012 and 2013 detailing the number of contributing members, the number of ‘Friends of the UAA,’ and the total number of registered alumni.

f. Results of contribution reminder message and “Fifty Years in USAID” distribution: Alex reported that 61 copies of ”Fifty Years in USAID” have been mailed. The Executive Committee agreed that the UAA would distribute a total of 80 copies, a revision upwards from the initial 75 authorized.

g. Retirement Seminars – UAA representation: The UAA contact at USAID/HR (thanks to David Eckerson and David Cohen) is Catherine McCormick, with whom Nancy Tumavick has been in contact. The first of three Retirement Seminars in 2013 will be held on March 29th.

Next Step: Margaret Carpenter and Nancy will obtain two UAA placards that can be used at the Seminars for a table and podium, respectively.

h. Upcoming events: There was discussion regarding several possible types of events for the future, including hybrid events (e.g., professional development, life after USAID, talks/panels, and happy hours). The Committee agreed on a need to have some events that are primarily social and will make a special effort to invite for an upcoming event eligible individuals from the FSN community and those who have been active in the urban policy area.

i. Recruitment efforts underway: Nancy Tumavick has had good response from USAID alumni working in consulting firms and think tanks. The Executive Committee encouraged all members to approach firms that may have recent retirees/former USAID staff, and inform them of the UAA. Additional suggestions for recruitment efforts included targeted ads in the Foreign Service Journal, AFSA Newsletter and DACOR monthly bulletin

Next Step: Frank will work with the Foreign Service Journal staff to place an article and an ad in the April or May FSJ edition.

j. Next social event: The Membership Committee will aim for an April or May social event at DACOR to take place after the once-per-year Board Meeting, as required by UAA-DACOR understandings. (Note: DACOR provides the official address for the UAA and DC ordinances on DC registered associations require that these meet in DC at least once per year.)  The cost to attendees and the level of UAA subsidy for refreshments will be revisited once the DACOR cost structure is known.

Next Step: Alex will talk to DACOR program manager and report back to the Committee.


6. Development Issues: 

a. The Executive Committee reiterated its desire to have 2012 Board candidates as involved as possible, and emphasized that roles exist for these individuals in committee work. Nancy Pielemeier has written to 2012 Board candidates David Mein and William Nance; Curt Farrar has been in contact with Richard Blue.

Curt reported that there are roughly a half-dozen core members of the Development Issues Committee, but that other committee members remain involved on an irregular and/or infrequent basis. The Executive Committee was informed that many of those involved in the urban project have joined or reaffirmed their membership in the UAA (i.e., Eric Chetwynd, Steve Giddings, Peter Amato, Bob Dubinsky and Peter Kimm).

Peter Amato has been in touch with David Cohen regarding the development of a Development Issues website.

b. UAA/DACOR Development Dialogues: Alex, Frank, Jim Michel and Fred Schiek, along with Gary Merritt, will form the core “ad hoc” group to work on the Development Dialogues for 2013, including identification of speakers and scheduling these in coordination with DACOR.  The next Development Dialogue is scheduled for May 7th. Andrew Steer, President of the World Resource Council, will speak.

DACOR provided the UAA with two alternate dates later in the year that can be used for events, if needed. Executive Committee members expressed a desire to think beyond DACOR and look at other venues, such as the Woodrow Wilson Center, suitable for hosting small discussion groups.

c. Meeting with Bureau of Economic Growth, Education and Environment: Owen Cylke and Alex Shakow attended the Bureau for Economic Growth, Education and Environment (E3) open meeting. The Executive Committee continues to express interest in working with E3, potentially on water policy.

Committee members questioned how the UAA could find out about these events on a regular basis.

d. Meeting with Melissa Brown, USAID officer, regarding future collaborations with urban issues:  The Executive Committee was informed about a series of four seminars scheduled for 2013.  Sessions have now occurred with the participation of USAID, the Atlantic Council, the Woodrow Wilson Center, and CSIS. Partnerships around the DC area will be established for follow-up on seminars.

Next steps:  Curt, Jim, Alex and Melissa Brown, the designated contact point in PPL are working on the details of scheduling and are currently waiting for her to confirm.


7. Public Outreach: Discussion of Public Outreach Committee efforts was tabled, as no committee representatives were in attendance. One co-chair position remains open.


8. Strengthening USAID:

  1.  The E&E mentor program began January 24, 2013 with a mentoring training session (for mentees and mentors). Mentorships have been underway for the past four weeks and a one-page questionnaire will be distributed to mentors during the week of February 23rd to check on progress.
  2.  Project Design Mentoring:  The Executive Committee discussed the possible development of a project design mentoring program proposed by Terry Brown. The focus would be in helping to re-establish capacity within USAID to design and develop project proposals. The Committee tentatively agreed that this is a promising area.  At the same time, Committee members noted the need to clearly distinguish the work of UAA volunteers and the work done by paid consultants.  Further, UAA is already managing one pilot mentoring project and this will take as much or more time.  Coming up with appropriate volunteers may also be a challenge. The Strengthening USAID Committee easily found interested alumni for the E&E mentoring pilot, which is a relatively clear-cut activity in a specific geographic area.  The capacity-building concept is broader and may require a more complex volunteer recruitment effort to find alumni with the appropriate regional/country knowledge and the project design technical expertise.  As many as ten alumni may be needed for the pilot effort.

Next step: David Cohen will reach out to Pam Mandel and Jerry Wood. David will also follow-up with Terry Brown regarding program specifics.


9.  Other items:

Kristina Short will look into the existing USAID Alumni Association LinkedIn group (which is not sanctioned by the UAA Board) and report back.


10.   Next Executive Committee meeting:

The next meeting of the Executive Committee will take place on Thursday, March 21 at the TetraTech offices, 10:30 AM – 12:30 PM.