Indiana Evaluation Association Week: Lead the Experts? Jump Right In by Kyle Hannon

Kyle Hannon

Hi! I am Kyle Hannon of Filibuster Press and Secretary of the Indiana Evaluation Association (IEA). If you didn’t see value in the national network of evaluation professionals, or the local network you belong to, you wouldn’t be reading this right now. All of these organizations have officers, usually volunteers, who determine what programs are coming, what communications will be shared with others, what the next program will cost. Will they serve Coke or Pepsi? Maybe you should offer to help make these decisions by volunteering.

I joined the Indiana Evaluators Association a few years ago, as I was starting my publishing and consulting company, to learn more about the consulting industry. One of the first sessions I attended was how to start a company. Great timing.

The next year, a pandemic broke out. Bad timing.

Yet, IEA met the challenge. They quickly changed their conferences and meetings to a virtual format. They even salvaged the valuable networking sessions. I belong to a few other groups that moved to the boxes-in-a-frame format, and I was able to help them by sharing things that IEA was doing. Because IEA is comprised of people who had to adjust their professional output, they had tips and techniques to make the programs as interactive and meaningful as possible. I learned you can even use virtual sticky notes on a virtual display.

Though I didn’t have many technological insights to offer, I volunteered to help with a couple committees. One day I will meet the other committee members in person, but last year, we met from our own offices. At the end of the year, I was asked to join the Board of Directors for IEA and serve as secretary. I happily accepted, though it is a little intimidating to work with colleagues who transitioned so quickly in the face of the pandemic to offer quality programs and services.

As we, the Board, are looking at the coming year, when the pandemic is not going to vanish, we will have decisions to make. Fortunately, there are resources for leading during the pandemic and other crises. Harvard Business Publishing offers several articles talking about things like compassion and leading through uncertainty. Historian and leadership coach Dan Miller, of Historical Solutions, offers a fascinating look at leadership during a pandemic, based on the last time we did this, during the Spanish Flu 100 years ago.

Our Board will have some interesting decisions to make. What kinds of programs are needed? How comfortable will members be with an in-person format. Can we host events safely? In some ways, this the worst time to join a Board and help an organization stay relevant. In other ways, this is the BEST time to join a Board and do everything I can to help others in my profession.

Take a look at your own organization. It might be the best time for you to help too.

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The American Evaluation Association is hosting Indiana Evaluation Association (IEA) Affiliate Week. The contributions all this week to AEA365 come from IEA 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. The views and opinions expressed on the AEA365 blog are solely those of the original authors and other contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the American Evaluation Association, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

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