June 2013 Minutes

Minutes of the UAA Executive Committee Meeting
Thursday, June 20, 2013, 10:30-12:30
TetraTech Offices, Arlington, VA

Board Members Attending: David Cohen, George Hill, Jim Michel, Nancy Pielemeier, Alex Shakow

Board Members Not Attending: Frank Almaguer, Margaret Carpenter

Committee Co-Chairs Attending: Curt Farrar, Paula Goddard, Pamela Mandel, Nancy Tumavick, Jerry Wood, Ann Van Dusen

Committee Co-Chairs Not Attending: Bill Anderson, Larry Smucker

AGM Organizing Committee Attendee: George Laudato

Executive Assistant: Kristina Short

Meeting Chair: Alex Shakow


1. Review and approval of the May 16, 2013, Executive Committee Meeting Minutes: The May 16, 2013 Minutes were unanimously approved for posting on the UAA website.


2. Discussion of planning for the 2013 AGM: George Laudato reported that he has secured space at the Woodrow Wilson Center on October 25, 2013, from 8-3pm. The theme of the meeting will be new employees sharing their stories, including lessons learned and experiences, and marketed as ‘Come meet the present and future of USAID.’

USAID Administrator Shah will give the keynote address. Janet Ballantyne is working to formalize the agenda and the AGM organizing committee provided a tentative outline for review.

Proposed Agenda

8:30-9 – Coffee

9:05-9:45 – Formal welcome, report from the co-chairs, financial report, solicitation of ideas for UAA strategic direction to be brought forth at the end of plenary session.

9:50-10:30 – Breakout sessions with new hires (perhaps themed sessions)

10:30-11 – Coffee and conversation

11:05-12 – Plenary – What we have heard, implications for the UAA, recommendations for Dr. Shah from new employees

12:15-1 – Lunch

1-2 – Keynote speech and Q&A with the Administrator

2-2:10 – Election results


  1. The Executive Committee noted that this agenda does not allow for separate Committee meetings, which have been important elements of the AGM in the past. Suggestions included: i) having Committees meet between 11:30-12:15 or ii) having committee chairs anchor a table during the morning coffee break with handouts and a list of current members. George Laudato will find out about breakout space from the Wilson Center.
  2. As the WWC is not charging us for space and thus the costs of the AGM will be considerably less this year, should the registration fee be lower? In general the Executive Committee favored a reduced cost, but agreed that attendees would need to be informed why that was possible this year and might not be repeated in future years. George Laudato and George Hill will contact the Wilson Center regarding catering options and cost, and report back at the July meeting.
  3. Should there be a discussion on finances, and not simply a report? Given the UAA’S robust revenue picture (to date, the UAA has received 191 contributions in 2013), the message to Committees should be to pick up the pace. Some Committees are not on track against their strategic planning goals.
  4. One member proposed that the meeting begin at 10:30, in order to accommodate alumni who do not take public transportation and/or prefer a later start. The Executive Committee voted 8 to 3 to keep the currently planned timing for the AGM.
  5. Should we undertake a survey of membership, as we have in the past, in advance of the AGM? The consensus was that a survey following the AGM would allow the UAA Board (l) to report on the meeting and (2) to probe for input on future directions.


3. Nomination Committee Report: Ann Van Dusen reported that three Board members (Frank Almaguer, George Hill, Alex Shakow) currently completing their first term have expressed interest in running for a second term. One Board member (Jim Michel) has expressed interest in running for a one-year term to help balance the Board rotation schedule. In addition, Dave Eckerson, Margaret Neuse, Carol Peasley and Diane Ponasik have also indicated their willingness to run for the Board.

The nomination committee recommends that the extension of Jim Michel’s term be subject to a simple approval by voting members, and that the election for the 4 open positions be among those willing to serve for two years. It was suggested that the ballot also include information about the two Board members (David Cohen, Nancy Pielemeier) who are continuing on the Board.

The Executive Committee discussion included whether the slate of candidates was sufficiently diverse – both in terms of roles in USAID and in terms of FS/GS/SES/AD. It also raised the possibility that in future years the Board have positions set aside for particular categories of individuals – e.g., a seat for a non-direct-hire alumnus, or a seat for someone from outside the Washington area. It was agreed that this should be a topic for the next UAA Board to resolve.

Following UAA tradition, the slate of candidates and their bios will be published in the August newsletter, and on-line voting will commence in late September and conclude a day or two before the AGM. Eligible alumni will also be able to vote at the AGM.


4. Membership Issues

a. Assessment of June 2 social event: Close to 90 people attended the very successful event. The “personal” invitation from Alex and Nancy probably encouraged many to attend, as did the location in a private residence. The committee agreed that personalized invitations should be used whenever possible for future events. The event was much more expensive than planned, but Nancy and others noted there are ways to reduce costs in the future, as long as Board members are willing to pitch in and help.

b. May 16 – June 19 Membership Developments: Executive Assistant Kristina Short provided the Executive Committee with a report for the period:

Alumni Registrations: Ten new alumni registered with the UAA, bringing the total number of registered alumni to 769 as of June 19, 2013.

Contributing Members: Of the 20 alumni who made their contributions for the 2013 calendar year during this period, 8 are “Friends of the UAA” ($100+) category. The total number of Contributing Members as of June 19, 2013 is 191.

c. July 27 picnic: The 2nd Annual UAA Summer Picnic will be held at Fort Hunt Park, located a few miles outside Mt. Vernon in Alexandria, VA. The site can hold up to 350 people, and Paula Goddard and Nancy Tumavick are hoping to make this a BIG event, and one that appeals to all alumni, especially those who did not attend the June 2nd cocktail party. The picnic will be a modified potluck. The Membership Committee again called for ideas on activities that will help attract more alumni and asked committee members to reach out to alumni through listservs. Suggestions for activities should be sent to Paula Goddard, George Hill and Nancy Tumavick. Paula Goddard will draw up a list of items and tasks, and ask for volunteers.


5. Public Outreach: Ann Van Dusen reported on the most recent work of the Public Outreach Committee, including:

a. David Cohen and Ann have managed to resurrect the UAA’s Linked In account, which now has over 100 contacts. She indicated that this account will probably be of most use to the Membership Committee, and either that committee or Kristina should probably manage the site.

b. The Committee suggests that the UAA co-chairs might want to meet with Chuck Cooper, the relatively new AA for LPA. She offered to contact Cooper on their behalf.

c. Bill Anderson is holding meetings with the National Peace Corps Association, USGLC and SID/W to explore areas for partnership. Please let him know of other “like-minded” organizations we should pursue.

d. The Committee will try to arrange for several speaking engagements for alumni still on the Speakers Bureau list, as a way of reviving or at least testing the viability of a UAA Speakers Bureau.

e. Finally, Ann raised the broader issue of establishing terms for Committee chairs, or at least mechanisms for Board review of Committee leadership.


6. Strengthening USAID: The evaluation of the mentoring pilot program with E&E is underway, led by Richard Blue. Pam Mandel indicated that they have received a draft of the evaluation report and have provided the evaluation team with feedback. There were some errors that the evaluation team will correct and delivery of the final version is anticipated by Friday, June 21. The Committee will prepare an executive summary of the evaluation for the July UAA meeting.
Jerry Wood flagged a couple of pending issues, including:

a. Should the program be expanded to the entire Agency or, perhaps, to another willing Bureau?

b. Should the next round be launched in the fall, and will the UAA be able to find sufficient mentors to continue/expand the program?

c. A designated coordinator within the participating Bureau(s) is essential to make the mentoring successful. It will also be important to provide feedback on the pilot to Dave Eckerson and Susan Reichle


7. Development Issues:

a. Development Dialogues: Andrew Steer will be the next UAA-DACOR speaker at noon on July 25 at DACOR. Steer’s topic is “How Green is the World Growing? What to Watch for in 2013 and Beyond”. Executive Committee members were urged to attend. Given USAID’s recent issuance of a draft biodiversity strategy, Alex will ensure that USAID policy staff are aware of this event.

b. Status report on urban initiative: The next seminar in the urbanization series is on July 29, 2013, 1-3:30 PM, at the Wilson Center. The title is Asia: Urban Spaces, the Local Environment and Global Sustainability.

The Executive Committee also briefly discussed the ongoing need to establish better coordination with USAID’s policy staff to ensure UAA has access to emerging policy/strategy documents if UAA views are sought. A meeting is expected in the near future with the Committee’s designated liaison with PPL (Myra Emata-Stokes) to discuss this and related topics. Steve Feldstein, Director of PPL’s Office of Policy has expressed interest in keeping in closer contact on emerging policy initiatives.


8. Search for venues for small meetings with guest speakers:

The UAA continues to search for familiar and accessible venues where regular informal alumni gatherings could be held. Several Executive Committee members were to visit the USAID Training Center in Crystal City after this meeting. USAID has kindly indicated its willingness to make space there available for such sessions. Carol Lancaster and Ann Van Dusen have also suggested space might be available at Georgetown University.

The 2013 Urbanization series has revealed the many benefits of partnerships with other organizations, including the use of their meeting rooms. Committee members noted other possible organizations for co-sponsoring events, including SID, CSIS, Meridian House and AFSA. Pam will talk to Carol Dabbs about possible space in Fairlington while Nancy Pielemeier will contact the Public Welfare Foundation.


9. Future meetings: The next meeting of the Executive Committee will take place on July 18at TetraTech from 10:30 to 12:30.


10. Other business: Jim Michel asked that committee co-chairs review their sections of the UAA strategic plan prior to the next ExComm meeting and revise as necessary, noting:

i. actions completed and expected to be completed in 2013;
ii. any proposed changes to stated goals for 2014-2016; and
iii. plans for actions during 2014-2016 with their projected 2014 budget.

Michel asked that these updates be sent to him by July 12, so that they can be discussed at the July meeting. Jim will compile these responses and distribute for discussion at the July Executive Committee meeting. The goal is to put the report on 2013 actions and draft revised Strategic Plan out to the membership prior to the AGM.

AFSA Book Series Event – July 11th, 2:00-3:30: Janet Ballantyne is organizing a panel on Fifty Years in USAID: Stories from the Front Lines for this event co-sponsored by UAA and ADST (the book’s publisher). Four of the book’s contributors – Ann Van Dusen, Owen Cylke, Jack Sullivan, and Alex Shakow – will be on the panel led by Janet.