As I said in my 2018 New Year’s greeting, I am excited to engage with Washington Evaluators (WE) members and the larger DC evaluation community over the next year as we continue to highlight evaluation’s critical role to inform decision-making in all sectors and levels of government. In particular, I look forward to working with WE’s 2018 Board of Directors and committee/task force chairs on the many initiatives that support the promotion of evaluation as a profession and that seek to improve evaluation practices and increase routine use of evaluation and evidence.
As is WE’s tradition, I want to take this opportunity to share my priorities over this next year as WE’s 2018 President:
Promoting the Field of Evaluation Locally and Nationally – AEA and its affiliates recognize that evaluation is an essential function of government. Given WE’s proximity to a large federal workforce and three state governments, WE will partner with agencies to continue the focus on the Commission on Evidence-based Policymaking’s recommendations to improve evidence-building capacity in government and non-government agencies. We will periodically shed light on EvalAction 2017 by sharing ideas on ways to stay engaged in discussing the value of evaluation in government. And we are laying the groundwork to expand WE’s successful Evaluation Without Borders initiative for WE members to meaningfully connect and give back to the Washington, DC community.
Supporting WE Operations Through Our Members: Organizational Sponsors – Our members are the lifeblood of Washington Evaluators. As such, we will actively seek opportunities to meaningfully engage our members, starting with our newest membership category—Organizational Sponsors. A priority of WE is to ensure our members find value in their membership, so we will partner with different sectors of our membership to create professional development and networking events for members to learn from and interact with one another.
Strengthening the Sustainability of the Evaluation Community – The board is working with the points of contact for its major initiatives targeted at new and young professionals in the evaluation discipline. We are working with our New Professionals Scholarship, University Ambassadors, and Student Conference Taskforce chairs to grow efforts devoted to support the next generation of professional evaluators, and look for synergies among these initiatives. For starters, WE members can look forward to a brown bag event to meet and hear from the three recipients of WE’s 2017 New Professionals Scholarship.
Volunteer Engagement & Recognition – A central focus will be a continuation of the rich menu of opportunities for WE members to make an impact through professional development, mentoring, access to job listings and evaluation-related events, and leadership opportunities locally and nationally with AEA, etc. We will continue the tradition started by Past President Nick Hart of recognizing individuals for contributions to WE and to the DC evaluation community at large, and will develop and grow organizational leadership pipelines on WE committees and taskforces.
American Evaluation Associates Affiliates – Last, but certainly not least, as one of 30+ AEA affiliates, through WE’s representative to the AEA-Local Affiliates Collaborative (AEA-LAC) we will work with other affiliates to develop and implement actions that affiliates and the parent organization, AEA, can take to mutually support one another.
In the immediate future, we will be updating our Action Plan to make available to you this Spring. We hope it will be a reflection of WE’s efforts to be of service to our members and fellow evaluators by providing avenues to attend events, network with colleagues in the field, address critical topics like building evidence-capacity, and share expertise by volunteering. We look forward to this next year with you, and invite you to stay in touch by dropping us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.