Reflections on My Year as AEA President by Leslie Goodyear

Hi AEA – I’m Leslie Goodyear, and I’m AEA president for just a few more days. On January 1, 2019, I’ll be handing the presidential gavel to Tessie Catsambas who has some great things in store for AEA. But before I take on my new title as past-president, I thought I’d share a few reflections on my year and hopes for the future of AEA.

2018 has gone by in a flash! It seems like just yesterday that we were bringing Anisha Lewis on board as our new Executive Director, hosting the first Town Hall Forum, and starting planning for AEA 2018. We’ve had more than a few accomplishments this year, including the updated Ethical Guiding Principles, the new Evaluator Competencies, revised Association Governing Policies, the new Ideas and Issues Portal, more attendees than ever at the Summer Institute, a successful conference in Cleveland, and some big wins for the Evaluation Policy Task Force (see Nick Hart’s Twitter feed for more exciting information). And, at our last board meeting in 2018, we voted in a new Anti-Harassment/Discrimination policy; this is something I felt strongly that we needed in order to provide members with a professional experience free from harassment and discrimination. (We’ll be releasing a statement on the new policy soon!) Phew – we’ve accomplished a lot this year!

Highlights of my time as president included working closely with our fabulous AEA staff; visiting and meeting with nine Local Affiliates; representing AEA at the Canadian and European evaluation conferences; working with the AEA board to move policy governance forward and vision a future in which our association grows in influence; playing “talk show host” to the eight Town Hall Forums; and meeting so many wonderful new and returning AEA members at the Eval2018 conference in Cleveland.

As I said in my November AEA newsletter piece, I have one nudge and a wish for AEA:

My nudge? Whether we’re expressing strongly-held opinions in late-night emails, on EvalTalk, on Twitter, in conversations at the conference, at local, national and international meetings, or even to AEA staff and leadership, let’s keep it respectful. Seriously. We all work hard in our day jobs, and we all have lives outside of our evaluator-lives. Our membership in AEA helps us to connect, learn, share, and grow professionally and personally. We all want AEA to best the best it can be – whatever that means to each of us – and we need to work together to make that a reality. So let’s keep our conversations online civil and respectful, and our suggestions constructive.

My wish? That as an association – a membership association – AEA offers members a place to call their “professional home,” and that we create, together, the theoretical, practical, technical, analytical, social, and relational foundation that allows us to nurture our evaluation super powers and use them to speak truth to power, bring the wonders of evaluation to even more people, and to make the world a better place.

Join me in making this wish a reality! Make it your New Year’s resolution to get involved in AEA!

Happy New Year! May 2019 bring health, happiness, and wonderful gifts in your personal and professional lives.

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