10 Benefits of Connecting with AEA Affiliates

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Ann Emery's 5-minute Ignite presentation at the American Evaluation Association's annual conference. Presented October 2012 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

This presentation shares the top 10 benefits of connecting with local and regional affiliates of the American Evaluation Association (AEA).

To learn more, please visit www.emeryevaluation.com

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  • Hi, I’m Ann Emery from Innovation Network. I have 4 whole years of evaluation experience, so as you can guess, I’m thrilled to be presenting in the same session as Michael Quinn Patton and Susan Kistler. (Shake head NO!)
  • To get up to speed as fast as possible,I’ve worked with the Eastern Evaluation Research Society and the Washington Evaluators, some of the amazing affiliates across the country. Today I’m sharing the top 10 benefits of connecting with AEA affiliates.
  • You can connect with your affiliate in a variety of ways, like coordinating the proposal review process, building the conference program, sending announcements to the listserv, and updating the website. These little tasks can have some big pay-offs.
  • First of all, unfortunately the AEA conference only lasts a few days, but affiliate events give you an opportunity to discuss major issues and themes in evaluation throughout the rest of the year. Here’s an electronic discussion, with over 37 emails, where I watched board members debate the theme for an upcoming affiliate conference.
  • Second, if your affiliate hosts its own annual conference, you can do the behind-the-scenes work on the conference program, which gives you a good handle of who’s presenting on what topics. This is a great way to familiarize yourself with evaluators, their work, and their organizations.
  • Third, managing an affiliate’s proposal review process gives you a behind-the-scenes look at conference submissions. When you’re the one who collects and sorts through all the scores fromreviewers, you can read each and every comment and incorporate what you’ve learned into your own submissions.
  • Fourth, a lot of affiliates need help updating their websites. A couple years ago, I’d never heard of Drupal and could barely use HTML, but now I can pretty much build a website independently. In today’s economy, I’ll take all the skills I can get for my resume!
  • Fifth, you can help print the conference program – which means you learn how to get bids, negotiate rates, and coordinate with a graphic designer, and most importantly, how to stay calm under pressure when everything with your printing order goes wrong!
  • Sixth, you can learn a lot from attending affiliate board meetings, like how to facilitate large group discussions, and, more importantly, how to manage multiple opposing viewpoints - crucial skills that benefit every evaluator.
  • Seventh, you can manage your affiliate’s email listserv. Think about it. This means that when organizations want to advertise for open positions, they send job announcements directly to you, which means you can apply for those positions before any other candidates.
  • Oh yeah, and did I mention, you can get PAID to do this?? While most of your work might be pro bono volunteer work, some affiliates also have paid positions, like website consultants or conference planners.
  • You can also get free conference registration, free hotel reservations, free travel, and free meals, which is a great perk for you and an even better perk for your boss because getting part of all of your affiliate’s conference trip paid for makes your boss’ life a whole lot easier.
  • And finally, the best benefits of getting involved with affiliates is meeting brilliant evaluators. This is especially helpful for newer evaluators like me because it helps us learn about the variety of career paths that are available to us.
  • Hopefully, at this point in the presentation, you’re thinking to yourself, “Hey, this sound pretty cool!” Maybe you want to add a few skills to your resume or gain an edge in networking. So how do you get involved with your affiliate?
  • First of all, consider attending a board meeting. The Eastern Evaluation Research Society holds board meetings after each conference and all conference participants are invited. For more experienced evaluators, this is also your first step in getting considered for a position on the Board.
  • If you’re not ready to join a Board, you can take on small leadership roles by attending Committee Meetings.I’m not sure about other affiliates, but the Washington Evaluators meetings are held at a great bar in DC, so their meetings are also the perfect way to meet people and unwind after work.
  • Or, another option is to volunteer for tasks here and there as you have time. I first got involved with the Washington Evaluators by simply volunteering to launch their LinkedIn group. It’s okay to start small and stay within your comfort zone.
  • If you’re new to the field, look for special opportunities for graduate students or new evaluators. For example, the Eastern Evaluation Research Society reserves tables at meals just for students and newcomers. Affiliates often plan special activities just for us.
  • Or, if you prefer casual networking, you can also social media to find happy hours and tweetups - like this one, a happy hour taking place tonight that’s being jointly planned by 4 affiliates.
  • Thank you! I hope you feel energized to connect with your affiliate. If you’d like to talk more, or if you have any questions, you can connect with me through email, Twitter, or through my blog. Thanks!
  • 10 Benefits of Connecting with AEA Affiliates

    1. 1. ProposalsProgramListservWebsite 3
    2. 2. this soundspretty cool…
    3. 3. Board Meetings
    4. 4. Committee Meetings
    5. 5. Volunteer
    6. 6. Special Opportunities
    7. 7. Social Media
    8. 8. annkemery@gmail.com@annkemeryemeryevaluation.com

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