Annual Report 2013 | American Foreign Service Association
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AFSA Annual Report 2013



AFSA hosted 10 new member lunches in 2013, which signed

up 527 new AFSA members (an 80.9-percent join rate). We

also held four events in our Federal Benefits Speaker Series

in 2013: a seminar on the Thrift Savings Plan and presenta-

tions on geriatric care, divorce in the Foreign Service and

Social Security. All seminars are recorded and available

online at

Each year AFSA co-hosts the Job Search Program

Reception at FSI with DACOR. This year’s receptions for

the March, August and October classes resulted in 55 new

retiree members. AFSA also hosted its first-ever happy hour,

drawing more than 150 members and guests. Rock Bottom

Brewery donated beer, wine, non-alcoholic beverages and

hors d’oeuvres were served.


During 2013 we assisted more than 1,000 active-duty mem-

bers on issues ranging from renewing membership or joining

AFSA to updating addresses, certifying post representatives

and many more. AFSA retiree counselors counseled more

than 400 members on their benefits and other concerns.


The markers were introduced in 2011 as a way of honor-

ing members of the Foreign Service. AFSA sold 78 Foreign

Service Commemorative Markers during 2013.



Telling Our Story

In 2013, AFSA was pleased to consolidate its outreach

efforts in a new communications department under the

guidance of Kristen Fernekes, who became AFSA’s new

communications director in August. The new department

encompasses AFSA’s website, social media, events, Foreign

Service Books,

The Foreign Service Journal




Speakers Bureau, Road Scholar, editing, marketing and

development, and press. The new department also works

closely with member services and advocacy to enhance

outreach to members and stakeholders.

We have already seen a marked increase in efficiency

and use of content across all our communications chan-

nels, benefiting AFSA members and enhancing the public’s

understanding of the important work the Foreign Service



After the excitement of launching the rebranded


Service Journal

in October 2012, the past year was largely

devoted to exploring the full potential of the magazine’s new

design, both in print and online. Reflecting an increased

emphasis on social media, by year’s end the


Facebook page had received nearly 5,300 likes. An upgraded


mobile app is under development, and the



of AFSA’s website saw several upgrades during the year to

make content more accessible and easier to share. We have

ramped up efforts to identify ancillary audiences for specific

articles using suggestions from members of the FSJ Editorial

Board and others.



, the union’s newsletter, is the platform for

AFSA’s constituency vice presidents, who used their

columns to highlight the difficulties, joys, frustrations and

issues each foreign affairs agency and its employees face. It

also presented timely articles on outreach efforts, cover-

age of the many events we offer our members and features

on Foreign Service life. The column, “Active After Active-

Duty,” gave retirees an outlet for their stories, while a new

column, “AFSA on the Hill,” provided readers with a look at

the efforts made by our advocacy department.


On the Foreign Service Books front, we have exciting news

to report. By the end of 2013, author and former FSO Harry

Kopp had completed drafts of the first seven (out of nine)

chapters of the first-ever history of AFSA. We expect to

publish the book in the fall of 2014 as part of AFSA’s 90th-

anniversary celebrations.

Sales for the 2011 third edition of

Inside a U.S. Embassy:

Diplomacy at Work

remained strong, totaling approximately

10,000 copies in 2013, including hard copies and digital

editions. An audiobook edition will be introduced in 2014.

Expansion of the use of

Inside a U.S. Embassy

by the U.S.

military continued, as well, with its adoption as part of a

pilot interagency course at the U.S. European Command in

Stuttgart, Germany. At EUCOM’s invitation, Editor/Pub-

lisher Shawn Dorman presented “Embassy 101” as part of

the course in July.

Inside a U.S. Embassy

was also excerpted as a reference for

an April issue of

The Mini Page

educational newspaper for

Ed Zurndorfer’s presentation to members on Social Security draws a

record crowd to AFSA.

FS Books Publisher Shawn Dorman visits European Command in

Germany where

Inside a U.S. Embassy

is used in the “Embassy

101”course for members of the military.