Dear Washington Evaluators,
Happy New Year! As I begin my year as Washington Evaluators President, I would like to start by thanking Patricia Shaffer, WE’s 2020 President, as well as the 2020 Board of Directors and our committee members for an incredible year. 2020 was a challenge for us as it was for so many others. And yet, our board did an amazing job of pivoting us to a new online reality while still maintaining programming, communications, member services and community engagement activities. Please join me in thanking them for their hard work and commitment to our members.
As we look to 2021, we are still facing a great deal of uncertainty. We don’t know what the future holds. But the thing about uncertainty is that it is also an opportunity for innovation and exploration. So my goals for Washington Evaluators focus on supporting one another while also exploring our purpose and vision for the years ahead.
In this moment, Washington Evaluators is at a cross-roads. With the development of our new strategic plan in the coming months, we are being called to think critically about the past, re-commit to the values and activities that we want to carry forward, and find new ways of engaging and creating value for our membership and our community.
My greatest hope is that we will emerge from 2021 with a clear sense of purpose, a vision for the future and the confidence that this vision serves the needs of our membership and our community. To support these goals, we will focus on the following opportunities:
- Developing the 2021-2024 strategic plan - In the early part of 2021, the WE board will develop a new strategic plan to guide the affiliate for 2021-2024. This gives us an incredible opportunity both to build on the strengths of our past, and to integrate feedback from our membership around their hopes and needs related to programming, outreach, community engagement and more.
- Putting our Antiracism principles into practice – In 2021, with support from external consultants who are helping to gather feedback from members and applying a critical lens to our work, we look forward to furthering our commitments set forth in the Embodying Antiracism Principles and Practices in Evaluation statement.
- Rising to the challenges and opportunities of our current reality – While we may not know what the future holds, we can be fairly certain that a lot of what we do in 2021 will happen online. This means we will be called to find new and compelling ways of engaging in programming, outreach, networking, mentorship, capacity building, volunteerism, partnerships and more.
- Expanding and strengthening the ties of our networks – As we challenge ourselves to think in new ways and create a bold vision for the future, let’s also find more opportunities for engagement with others, for deep conversations, for reflection, and for building connections. I look forward to having a good time with all of you and am sure we can all use a bit of laughter and levity in the coming year!
As we look ahead, we are fortunate to have at the helm of WE an incredible board for 2021 (see flipgrid introductions here). Together, we are all excited to serve you, our members, and we are optimistic for the future. But we cannot do it alone. As in previous years, we will need your support to achieve our goals. You can help to create our vision for the future and build the community we want to be a part of. Here are just a few ways that you can help:
- Encourage your organization to become a sponsor. For only $100 a year, your organization will be entitled to a number of memberships for staff. Perhaps one could be for you?
- Encourage your colleagues to become members. It’s always more fun when you bring your friends along!
- Keep an eye on the events page and engage in the upcoming strategic planning meetings and making sure the strategic plan of 2021-2024 is something we can all be proud of.
- Let us know where you see opportunities for more progress on the embodiment of antiracism in our programming and practices. We want to hear your thoughts!
- Send us your ideas for programs or networking events that you would love to attend. Chances are if it’s something you are interested in, then others would be interested too!
- Send us links to articles, books or online resources you think our membership would be interested in.
- Share job opportunities that might be appropriate for our membership. You next great hire could be a WE community member!
- Spread the word about our expanded scholarship program for 2021. We want to reach more people this year than ever before.
Have any other ideas for how to help? Your 2021 Board and I are always available and interested in your ideas and involvement. Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
! Together we can make 2021 a year of positivity and growth for Washington Evaluators membership and our extended community.