Message from the AAGEN Chair!

HAPPY SUMMER! I hope this finds you well as we enter the dog days of summer. The intent of this message is to provide you with a midyear update on our organization. It has been a while since I last communicated with you, but rest assured that we have been busy at work addressing the top strategic goals set by the Board during a retreat held earlier this year. The Board identified the following four areas to prioritize as we move forward:

  • Increase AAGEN Visibility
  • Identify AAGEN Values
  • Streamline Internal Processes
  • Maintain Financial Stability

Specific tasks were identified within each of these areas, with Officers serving as executive champions within each committee. As we drill down on these areas, much of our time has been spent updating internal operations, including a review/update of the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP). We have been fortunate to have six CAPAL interns assist us with this pursuit as their Community Action Project. While many of the SOPs are complete, there is still much to do as we look for more effective ways to push our volunteer-run organization forward despite difficulties with competing availability and commitments, growth, and turnover. Nonetheless, the core mission of the organization to promote, expand, and support government leadership remains paramount and even more essential during the current transitions within our government.

One of our top priority goals for this year is to redesign and update our website, addressing our need to communicate more efficiently amongst members and our need for an effective outreach tool. I profess, this is not my area of expertise. Therefore, I am relying on our experienced IT CIOs to take on this challenge of navigating the various IT platform advances in technology to create a website that meets our needs. Fortunately, a number of SESDP members and a team of computer specialists have already taken on this developmental project. We have high hopes that they will produce innovative ideas geared towards transforming the way we do business.

In addition to addressing our top strategic goals, AAGEN has been busy sponsoring our hallmark programs this spring and summer. I am proud that we have graduated another Senior Executive Service Development Program (SESDP) class. We had a ceremony in May on the USDA Whitten Patio, where we were honored to have Ms. Holly Ham, the newly appointed Executive Director of the WHIAPPI, as our keynote speaker. Our 15 graduates had the chance to welcome the 22 aspiring leaders of the 2019 incoming class. This year’s applicant pool drew from 27 different federal agencies, and, as always, selection into the program was highly competitive, with a 50 percent acceptance rate.

Furthermore, AAGEN successfully held its annual leadership workshop and awards reception. Our 2018 “Innovative and Dynamic Leadership Workshop” held at the Doubletree Hotel in Crystal City on June 5th drew 700 participants. The attendees were treated to opening remarks from Brad Jenkins, the Executive Producer of Funny or Die, and Jeff Sutton, the CFO of the DEA. Consistent with our past trainings, this workshop engaged federal employees in three tracks: Innovative Skills; Dynamic Leadership; and Results of Leadership. These were accompanied by individual coaching sessions throughout the day. The DoD sponsored our luncheon, which consisted of a special tribute to fallen soldiers and inspirational words from the keynote speakers MG Garrett Yee (US Army) and MG Tony Taguba (ret) (US Army) that energized the afternoon sessions. After a full day of leadership training, we celebrated with a memorable and festive awards reception, regaled with a Baltimore Chinese lion dance troop, singers, and a whole roasted pig! The evening’s awards consisted of: Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award to Mr. Samuel Mok; Excellence in Public Service Award to Mr. Tommy Huang, the former chair of AAGEN, and the SES Development Program Team; Stanley Suyat Memorial Leadership Award to Stan Fujii; and scholarship awards to four promising public service leaders: Samson Lim (UC Berkeley School of Law); Daniel Wang (University of Pennsylvania) Michael Tayag (Yale University School of Law); and Pooja Sohoni (Emory University Rollins School of Public Health). Special thanks go out to the Program Committee Co-Chairs Huong Pham and Shanel Lu and the team of volunteers that orchestrated another year of exceptional programming and logistical support. As always, we are ever so thankful for the support of our individual sponsors, including Ms. Ellen Law and Dr. Sumyie Okubo, the following federal agencies: DoD, USDA, Department of Transportation, Food and Drug Administration, NASA, and Department of Energy, and our community and corporate sponsors, including APAICS, Senior Executive Association, FAPAC, Pan-Pacific American Leaders and Mentors, Aranza Communications, Condor International Advisors, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Sunstone Solutions, Synergy Works LLC and Knowledge Advantage, Inc. These supporters made this workshop possible. Thank you!

Tomorrow's problems demand bright, hard-working leaders, who will need the AAGEN community to provide support as mentors, coaches, advocates, and role models. We could use your talents and expertise and encourage you to join one of our committees as we move forward. I wish to close with a special thanks to the officers, board members, and volunteers for selflessly offering your service and time. Please know that AAGEN will continue to call on you as leaders, volunteers and contributors! I am pleased to announce that, this year, we will be included in the Combined Federal Campaign. Our CFC number is: 45979, so please don’t forget to give in the Fall during the CFC campaign! Your involvement is always appreciated so if you have time, please join one of our committees and become more engaged.

Finally, I want to thank all of YOU and wish you a memorable end to the summer. Rest up and enjoy. We have a lot of work ahead of us in FY2019!

Enjoy the rest of your summer!
Vivian and the Board

Disclaimer

As a tax-exempt nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, AAGEN dutifully complies with all applicable state and federal laws and regulations. Moreover, It is, and has been, AAGEN’s practice to remind its members, officers and members of the Board of Directors, to abide by all laws and regulations that apply to government employees’ participation in outside activities, including but not limited to, the Standards of  Ethical Conduct  for Employees of the Executive Branch, Final Regulation Issued by the U.S. Office of Government Ethics, Codified in 5 C.F.R. Part 2635, As amended at 81 FR 81641 (effective January 1, 2017). Where appropriate and/or necessary (for example, where a rule or regulation is unclear or ambiguous as to its applicability to a given set of facts), AAGEN encourages its members, officers and directors to seek advice from their agency’s Ethics Adviser/Counsel, especially in cases of first impression.

Unless otherwise expressly stated, the officers and members of the Board of Directors of AAGEN serve in their personal, unofficial capacity. The inclusion of their official title and position within their respective government agencies on AAGEN’s website and in AAGEN’s digital and print materials (including but not limited to, informational materials, promotional materials, press releases, media advisories, programs, and agendas,) is strictly for identification purposes only, and should not, in any manner, be construed to imply that the relevant agency or the government sanctions or endorses their personal activities related to AAGEN.


AAGEN Workshop Sponsors & Partners

Their support enables AAGEN to provide high quality executive training to federal employees and provide scholarships to students interested in public service. Their partnership with us also enables AAGEN to develop quality year-long executive development programs for future leaders who will deliver high quality service to the American public.


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