The Foreign Service Journal - March 2018

64 MARCH 2018 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL AFSA NEWS AFSA Outreach: 2017 in Review In early 2017, the AFSA Governing Board made the strategic decision to allo- cate $100,000 from AFSA’s reserves toward increased outreach efforts. During the previous year’s structured conversations with members, AFSA leadership consistently heard members express a strong desire for the associa- tion to do more in that space. To guide our work, AFSA stood up the 50-state out- reach initiative, whose goal was to engage in outreach efforts in every state. Below is an overview of what AFSA achieved in this area, in great part thanks to increased resources. Retiree Outreach One of the first decisions was to do what our retirees were asking AFSA to do: Provide more support and resources to retirees who wanted to be effective advocates for the Foreign Service in their home communities across the country. To that effect, AFSA created the position of retiree outreach coordinator and hired Foreign Service spouse Christine Miele to fill that role. (See Christine’s complete biography on p. 58 of the October 2017 issue of The Foreign Service Journal.) Christine has worked tirelessly to connect with our retirees since coming on board. She has supported retiree associations, worked to start new ones, conducted an ongoing retiree mem- bership recruitment drive for AFSA, and worked with colleagues to produce talk- ing points for retirees to use when advocating for the For- eign Service. Christine also organized a first-of-its-kind webinar for retiree asso- ciation chairs, during which they heard from AFSA Presi- dent Ambassador Barbara Stephenson and Retiree Vice President John Naland. This capacity has not existed at AFSA previously. AFSA leadership also met with Foreign Service retirees in Texas, Florida and the upper Midwest. AFSA organized retir- ees to engage in a “letter to the editor” campaign surrounding For- eign Service Day activities on May 5; as a result, readers of more than 50 newspa- pers around the country learned more about the service and sacri- fice of America’s diplomats. Speakers Bureau AFSA’s Speakers Bureau remains vital to AFSA’s outreach efforts, and the increased resources allowed it to grow in 2017. Membership in the bureau grew from 375 to 450, a 20 percent increase. Speakers Bureau events took place in 26 states, up 63 percent from the previous year, and the total number of events rose from 108 to 170, a 58 percent increase. In addition, new and updated talking points and briefing materials allowed speakers to provide up-to-date informa- tion on what diplomats do and why it matters.We estimate that through the Speakers Bureau alone, AFSA speak- ers connected with 6,500- 7,000 Americans from coast to coast. By year’s end, the bureau had members in 44 states. Strategic and Outreach Partnerships Thanks to an ongoing partner- ship with the Una Chapman Cox Foundation, AFSA has built strong partnerships with national organizations whose goals and programs align with ours. This list includes the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition, Global Ties, theWorld Affairs Council, the U.S. Institute of Peace and 4-H. Through these partnerships—whether during conferences, speaking opportunities or coordinated campaigns—AFSA gained access to new audiences and was able to amplify its mes- AFSA President Ambassador Barbara Stephenson and board retiree representative Phil Shull with Minnesota Deputy Commissioner of Agriculture Matt Wohlman at Farm Fest in Minnesota, August 2017. AFSA/CATHERINEKANNENBERG