Annual Report 2015 | American Foreign Service Association
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5

As I took the final steps to close out an eventful year for AFSA in 2015,

I was fortunate to find an elusive moment of reflection—the one that

every executive director wishes for, but which, unfortunately, often

slips through one’s grasp in the midst of a busy season. That

reflection turned into a moment of gratitude. It is inspiring to see

AFSA’s development in working to build a stronger Foreign Service,

supported by visionary board leadership that truly cares about the

association, volunteers who serve on important committees and a

talented and committed staff.

In 2015, AFSA made substantial progress and enjoyed genuine

success on a variety of fronts. We closed the year knowing that a

sturdy bridge had been built to 2016. This report highlights many of

these achievements and demonstrates to our members and those who

care about the Foreign Service, diplomacy and development that AFSA

is a vibrant organization with a rich history and abundant potential.

This past year AFSA made significant strides on the governance side

of the operational equation. We addressed governance issues head on,

developed and tested checks and balances, and set in place processes

that will serve the association well for years to come. Such growth is

never easy, but the maturity gained enabled AFSA to smoothly transi-

tion to a new board—affording vital legal, fiscal and awareness train-

ing for a uniquely cohesive board as they enthusiastically took office.

Our members can truly be proud of these accomplishments.

I’m also pleased to report that, once again, AFSA achieved the highest

rating from our outside financial and management auditors. It is the

sixth year in a row that AFSA has performed to this standard, demon-

strating that we are conscientious stewards of association resources.

Similarly, a healthy business must always

focus on how to properly align limited resourc-

es to further its goals and have the business

acumen to adjust where necessary. I found the

AFSA internal budget process that wrapped up

in November to have done just that.

The exercise was strategic, transparent,

inclusive and collaborative. Thanks to this

deliberative process, I sat alongside gifted

board leaders and staff managers to seriously

consider our vision and purposeful direction

for the association. We then wired that vision

into a fiscal engine designed to propel us

down a strategic path to help build a stronger

Foreign Service.

This 2015 AFSA Annual Report offers an

engaging window into our operations and

accomplishments on behalf of our

members.

I hope when you review it, you will also feel

the appreciation I felt at the end of 2015, and

that you, too, will take a moment to reflect on

the attributes that make AFSA the energetic

and service-oriented organization that it is.

FROM THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Ian Houston