I have a career-long commitment to volunteering as a Red Cross volunteer (CPR instructor, blood donor), a Board member with Washington Evaluators, and a frequent volunteer with AEA. Giving back is a gift to me because I learn so much and get to expand my leadership skills.
I have been a volunteer for the AEA annual conference nearly every year it has been held, and am a member of the AEA Conference Working Group. While the AEA staff do a remarkable amount of work to pull the AEA conference together, it is the membership that pull the conference together. Most frequently I have volunteered to review conference proposals as part of the Topical Interest Group (TIG) review process, which establish the conference strands.
Lesson Learned: It was through my role as a TIG Chair that I had the honor of knowing and learning from Bob Ingle, who was the AEA Annual Conference Chair for the first 10 years of the AEA conference. As Jean King so eloquently described him, “Bob Ingle knew how to put on a conference.” (See her post, Memorial Week: Jean King on Remembering Bob Ingle (1926-1998), Pioneer in establishing the annual AEA conference”). What did I learn about volunteering for AEA and the AEA Conference from Bob Ingle? A lot, and I was not alone. AEA named its Service Award after Bob Ingle!
In 2002 and 2013 I had the honor of serving as AEA Conference Local Arrangements Working Group (LAWG) Co-chair. What I learned was that the most important role of the LAWG co-chairs is to recruit other volunteers. In 2013 my fellow LAWG Co-chair Valerie Caracelli (a Robert Ingle Service Award winner) and I worked with a group of over 70 volunteers from Washington Evaluators to provide local information about DC and help with conference planning and logistics.
Rad Resource: The 2017 LAWG Co-chairs, Giovanni Dazzo and Jonathan Jones, have been working with a large number of volunteers on several initiatives for the Conference. Stop by the “Ask Me About DC” table to say hi to a friendly volunteer or two who can give you all sorts of interesting information about the DC area.
For Evaluation 2017 I had the honor of working with Kathy Newcomer, our 2017 AEA President, and a diverse group of volunteers on Kathy’s Conference Program Committee. A group of 17 of us worked with Kathy to develop the conference theme and subthemes, coordinate with the TIGs, assemble the Presidential Strand, identify plenary session speakers, and help Kathy in a variety of other ways. Susan Tucker (AEA’s Treasurer, another important volunteer position), Donna Podems (a former AEA Board Member), and I served as the Conference Program Co-chairs.
Hot Tip: Want to be an AEA volunteer? Check the AEA Volunteer Opportunities page, and find something in which you are interested. You too can make a difference in AEA, and in the evaluation profession.
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