February 2014 Minutes

Minutes of the UAA Executive Committee Meeting
Thursday, February 20, 2014
10:30 AM – 12:30 PM
TetraTech Offices
1320 N. Courthouse Road, Arlington, Virginia

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

Board Member Not Attending: Nancy Pielemeier

Committee Co-Chairs Attending: Owen Cylke, George Hill, Marilynn Schmidt, Nancy Tumavick and Jerry Wood

Committee Co-Chairs Not Attending: Bill Anderson, Paula Goddard and Ann VanDusen

UAA Executive Assistant: Kristina Short

Meeting Chair: Carol Peasley

1. Approval of the January Executive Committee (EXCOM) Meeting Minutes:

The Minutes of the January 16 meeting of the EXCOM were reviewed and approved.

2. January 2014 Membership Report:

UAA Executive Assistant Kristina Short updated the EXCOM on recent membership developments. The January 2014 membership summary, with 2013 membership data for comparison, is found at Attachment C of these Minutes.

Alumni Registrations: Eleven new alumni registered with the UAA during this period, bringing the total number of registered alumni to 815 as of January 31, 2014.

Contributing Members: Of the 76 alumni who made contributions for the 2014 calendar year during this period, 22 are in the “Friends of the UAA” ($100+) category. The total number of 2014 Contributing Members as of January 31 is 76.

3. Strategic Planning and Budget:

a. Member Survey Results: 126 alumni responded to the 2014 Membership Survey as of February 20. A number of alumni indicated their willingness to become more involved in the UAA and its committees. Paula Goddard, on behalf of the Membership Committee, is compiling suggestions from the Membership Survey for distribution to the EXCOM.

Committee Co-Chairs were requested to review the survey results and pull those items that require committee follow-up, ensuring that all who volunteered to serve on committees or UAA projects (e.g., the mentoring program) have been contacted.


  1. Carol Peasley volunteered to summarize the survey results for posting on the website and inclusion in the next UAA Newsletter.
  2. Kristina will send updated survey results to Carol, as well as the Executive Committee.

b. 2014-2016 Strategic Plan: Jim Michel solicited EXCOM input on several items prior to finalizing the 2014-2016 Strategic Plan for Board approval:

  • The EXCOM discussed the possibility of encouraging USAID to contribute to the Oral History Project carried out by the Academy for Diplomatic Studies and Training (ADST) in support of additional oral histories from USAID alumni. A prior USAID grant led to the recording of 92 USAID alumni histories. The UAA would be willing to make a nominal contribution to the ADST (~$1,000) in support of the USAID contribution and help to offset the cost of transcription. In addition, the UAA would be willing to provide a volunteer interviewer in support of this effort.
  • In addition, UAA will solicit input from USAID on the issues/regions on which they would prefer to focus, should additional interviews be undertaken.
  • Development Issues events and activities will be included in the Strategic Plan as finalized.
  • An annual Alumni Award, currently under consideration by the Membership Committee and led by Margaret Carpenter, was added under Goal 4.

Jim motioned for the Board to approve the Strategic Plan with Frank Almaguer seconding. The Plan was unanimously approved. The EXCOM expressed its thanks to Jim for his on-going efforts to compile feedback from committee co-chairs and draft the Strategic Plan.

c. Updates on OAS/PADF Sub-Lease: Frank informed that discussions regarding space at the OAS building on F Street are ongoing and awaiting the naming of a new head of Management at the OAS to finalize an offer.

d. Budget: The 2014 UAA Budget was approved by the Board with the understanding that it will be revised, as needed, throughout the year. The approved 2014 Budget is found at Attachment A of these Minutes.

e. January 2014 Financial Report: The report is found at Attachment B of these Minutes.

4. March Meeting of the UAA with USAID Senior Staff:

Jim Michael circulated a draft agenda and talking points.

David Eckerson volunteered to draft a message to Susan Reichle with key items the UAA participants wish to discuss and will circulate this document prior to the meeting. The UAA will provide USAID participants with a copy of the UAA Strategic Plan.

The EXCOM discussed several items to highlight at the upcoming meeting, including:

  • Expansion of the mentoring program in 2014: 13 current mentors, with 18 lined up for March. The program has moved beyond the E&E Bureau to include Asia, Global Health, PPL and possibly LAC.
  • The Urban Series developed by Owen Cylke and the Development Issues Committee.
  • The desire for increased UAA involvement in policy reviews and recognition of UAA as an institution that can help USAID reach target audiences and capture, on a pro bono basis, expertise reflected in our alumni community.
  • The importance of the Oral History Project, touching on the history of USAID and USAID’s contributions to development over several generations.

The UAA participants will also seek from the USAID participants information on the upcoming Mission Directors’ Conference to ensure no conflict with the planned Spring Reception and, potentially, to include select mission directors in an UAA event while they are in DC.

Follow up actions:

  1. David Eckerson will circulate a draft of the pre-meeting e-mail to Susan Reichle.
  2. David Cohen will not be able to attend the meeting, but will provide an update on the mentoring program to the attendees.
  3. David Eckerson will organize a prep meeting, as suggested by Nancy Pielemeier.

5. 2014 AGM:

Carol Peasley, Nancy Pielemeier, George Laudato and David Eckerson held a productive meeting on January 28 to discuss plans for the 2014 AGM. There was strong support for focusing the next AGM on the themes of innovation and science and technology.

The Woodrow Wilson Center is willing to host once again the AGM and will be getting back to Nancy Pielemeier with date availability. Carol P. will share potential AGM dates with David Eckerson to help secure early on the Administrator’s participation.

6. Annual Award(s) to Alumni:

The EXCOM agreed with a proposal of the Membership Committee, as drafted by Margaret Carpenter and its awards sub-committee, to establish an UAA award(s) for alumni who distinguish themselves in their post-USAID careers:

  • There was wide-agreement on presenting the alumni award(s) at AGM so as to allow ample time for evaluation of nominees against substantive criteria and to elevate the status and publicity for the award(s).
  • The awards sub-committee recommended and the EXCOM agreed to present two awards: one focused on alumni contributions to international development and a second one for domestic contributions in social areas or the arts.
  • The EXCOM agreed that the UAA would reimburse awardees for travel expenses for non-local recipients, up to $500.

7. Operating Committee Updates:

a. Development Issues: The committee decided to organize based on two areas: i.) events focused on alumni and ii.) events focused toward USAID.

  1. Events focused on alumni: The principal “product” is the “Friday Morning Forum” at the USAID Training Center in Crystal City. Several Friday events are already scheduled.
  2. UAA/DACOR Development Dialogues targeting a mixed audience (USAID alumni, members of DACOR from other foreign affairs agencies and interested USAID staff): The next Development Dialogue is on February 26 with Maria Otero. Tim Wirth, founder of UN Foundation, has agreed to speak, hopefully in May or June. Charles Kenny has agreed to speak on May 13. The Committee is working with Admiral Stavridis to confirm a date on which he could speak on the interaction between development and defense. The Committee is also working with Gary Merritt to host a speaker to discuss development and the media. All suggestions for speakers should be sent to Owen Cylke, Jim Michel and/or Alex Shakow of the Development Issues Committee.
  3. Thematic Topics: The audience includes the DC area development community, UAA alumni, as well as USAID staff. The Urban Team Sub-committee is working with the Woodrow Wilson Center and the Atlantic Council to develop several workshops.
  4. Thought Pieces: There have been discussions between the Committee and the Woodrow Wilson Center on holding events focused on the “Three D’s” (Development, Diplomacy and Defense). A panel discussion on the “Development Agenda: Then and Now,” with three or four former USAID chief economists could serve as stimulus for papers from alumni on this subject.
  5. Broader Engagement with the USAID S&T Bureau: President Obama will be hosting an African Summit in Summer 2014. The Committee will look into holding an event during or leading up to this event and the potential for linking this event to themes pursued by the Committee and by the S&T Bureau (e.g., Power Africa).

b. Membership:

  • Nancy Tumavick reported that four North Carolina alumni came together on January 24. Sharon Epstein has volunteered to organize future events for NC alumni.
  • Steve Orr provided a more complete list of USAID retirees in Florida and Don Soules has volunteered to contact this group about joining the UAA, as well as organizing a regional event.
  • David Eckerson has volunteered to hold a brown bag lunch for recent USAID retirees. The Committee recommends that UAA do the brown bag lunch in lieu of attending the Retirement Seminar Reception, which has not proven to be a source of new UAA members.
  • The Committee expressed the need to develop a methodology to follow-up with those who attend events to ensure that they register with the UAA and, if registered, have made their annual contribution.
  • Upcoming events include: 2014 Spring Reception in May, the 3rd Annual Summer Picnic and an ad-hoc Happy Hour.
  • The Membership Committee does not have a recommendation regarding Lifetime UAA memberships at this time, but would like to review a proposal with more information from the Finance Committee. The administration of lifetime membership could necessitate hiring a professional manager for the funds raised. Discussion of this item was tabled for a later date.
  • The EXCOM agreed that the UAA should publicize events hosted and/or organized by alumni, if the UAA is cited as a co-sponsor of the event.

c. Public Outreach: The EXCOM will reach out to Ann Van Dusen and Nilka Varela regarding progress on the UAA Logo discussion.

d. Strengthening USAID: The Committee will complete in the very near future matchings for the next round of mentoring, which will see 18 new pairs join the 13 current pairs: 6 from Global Health; 4 from PPL/Asia; and 8 from LAC. The Committee is working with the USAID Learning Center to set up the next orientation in March.

A survey of current mentors/mentees was completed in late January, with positive responses received from all but two pairs. The Committee will be meeting with USAID to jointly resolve issues. Paul Deuster is in the process of compiling feedback from the Membership Survey into a document that can be presented to USAID.

8. Next EXCOM Meetings:

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the EXCOM will take place on Thursday, March 20, 2014 from 10:30 AM to 12:30 PM at the TetraTech offices in Arlington, VA.

As a reminder, subsequent regularly scheduled meetings, from 10:30 AM to 12:30 PM:

  • Thurs., April 17
  • Thurs., May 15
  • Thurs., June 19

A. 2014 UAA Budget as of 02/20/2014
B. Financial Report for the UAA for Jan. 2014
C. UAA Membership and Contribution Summary as of 01/31/2014