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AZENet Week: Who are we? What’s our why? By Deven Wisner & Allison Titcomb

Hey there! Deven Wisner here, President of the Arizona Evaluation Network (AZENet), Managing Partner at Viable Insights, and educator at the University of Arizona. I’m excited to co-kick off this week with Allison Titcomb, honorary lifetime member of AZENet and long-time co-facilitator of the Local Area Collaborative (also supported by the wonderful Leah Neubauer and Aisha Rios!). 

If you know Allison, you could come up with a long list of reasons to be excited to work with her. For me, it’s no different. But in this instance, I feel particularly emotional and thankful, as Allison was my first introduction to my local evaluation home — AZENet. I think that transitions us particularly well into my prompt for our members and network, which is who are you and what is your why for AZENet? I’ll let Allison take it from here!

Greetings from Tucson, Arizona! My name is Allison Titcomb and I am Vice President of Community Development for the United Way of Tucson & Southern Arizona. I am also a consultant/owner of ALTA Consulting, LLC. I have been doing evaluation and program planning and facilitation for over 35 years and, as Deven mentioned, have been a member of AZENet for a long time (AEA, too!)!

So, why did I join AZENet? Although I learned a lot about methods in my PhD program in educational psychology, as a solopreneur, extrovert and social learner, I valued in-person, engaged and experiential learning. I have found that my involvement with AEA and AZENET to be more than just the formal professional development opportunities at the conferences. Book clubs, happy hours and other chances to reflect-in-action and to really get to know other evaluators have brought me many insights and opportunities to change my perspective. 

My approach has tended towards evaluation use, systems change and facilitation, so collaboration and flexible thinking have been key. These facets have been honed by my active participation in the AZENet Board and TIG leadership — just as much as the conferences and webinars. Connecting with a broad network of other evaluators has truly been the most valuable part of my professional affiliations.

Lesson Learned: I encourage any new and seasoned evaluators to get involved! Hop on a committee, join your Local Affiliate Board, or seek out opportunities within your TIG. 

Rad Resources:

  • Not sure of your closest AEA Local Affiliate? Check out the Local Affiliate listing!
  • Are you in the Southwest and in search of an Evaluation home? Or, maybe you just love virtual events with great people — check out AZENet’s website and get on the mailing list!

Hot Tip: Julie Holland, on an episode of Science Friday, reminds us that we’re designed and hard wired for social connection & collaboration.

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Arizona Evaluation Network (AZENet) Affiliate Week. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from our AZENet members. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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