AAGEN | 1001 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Suite 320, Washington, DC 20036

January 2013

Telephone: (202) 558-7499 | Web -- http://www.aagen.org |Facebook – AAGEN.ORG | CFC #45979

Volume 1, Issue 2


Message from the Board Room

2013-2014 Officers and Board of Directors

SES Development Program News

Now available: The Plum Book

Message from the Board Room

Thomas Phan, Chairman


Happy New Year!  I would like to extend to you and your families my very best wishes for a prosperous 2013. As your newly elected Chair, I am deeply honored and humbled to serve this group of dedicated public servants.


In the past few years, we have seen AAGEN membership grow to over 300, including 66 SES members, and achieve record attendance levels at our annual leadership conference. Last year, we launched the inaugural class of the SES Development Program with its first 20 candidates. We also accomplished an unprecedented number of formal agreements and partnerships with federal agencies, other non-profit organizations and corporate sponsors.


We are entering AAGEN's 20th year, poised to do great things. Early in 2013, we will launch the second SES Development Class and continue to support the growth and development of our inaugural class to build a strong pipeline to the SES.  Our educational scholarship program continues to attract some of the best and brightest students across the nation, as future public servants. We are planning to launch a mentoring and coaching program so that our members have access to our network and resources for assistance on an ad hoc basis. As AAGEN's leadership and governing body, it is our responsibility to further these programs and develop other signature initiatives that can thrive and flourish in these challenging times for government.


As a completely volunteer organization, AAGEN's success is predicated on the commitment, leadership, mutual support and contributions of all our members.  I highly encourage you to learn more about supporting AAGEN with your time and talent by joining at least ONE committee.  Contact membership@aagen.org or any committee chair directly to tell us which committee you’d like to support. I assure you, active membership pays forward for you and your colleagues. 


I highly encourage you to join us at our various events to support AAGEN and network with your peers. Our next big event is in mid-March – the AAGEN Installation Dinner, featuring the installation of new officers and membership appreciation.  Please stay tuned for more details and RSVP at programs@aagen.org to attend this momentous occasion. Also, please mark your calendars and register for AAGEN’s annual Leadership Conference and Banquet on Thursday, June 6 at the Doubletree Hotel in Arlington, Va.  More details will be available on www.aagen.org. 


I very much look forward to working with you in this year to grow and develop AAGEN as we enter our third decade. If you have any ideas or questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me directly at chair@aagen.org.

2013-2014 AAGEN Officers and Board of Directors

AAGEN congratulates the newly elected slate of officers, BOD members and committee chairs

In December 2012, AAGEN members elected our next officers, board members and committee chairs for 2013-2014. Congratulations to our newly elected officers – Thomas Phan as Chair, Franklin Odo as Vice Chair, Stan Fujii as Executive Director, Marina Milton as Treasurer and Christine “Ping” Ge as Secretary .  Our new Board of Directors include: Kumar Bala, Tin Cao, Vivian Chen, Benedict Eng, Patrick S. Eng, Carson Eoyang, Marla Hendriksson, Jong Ho Hwang, Edward Kim, Ellen Law, Belkis Leong-Hong, James Meng, Alan Mikuni, Sumiye Okubo, Huong Pham, Stacey Pham, Rod Rimando, Daud Santosa, Chiling Tong, and Ming Zhu. Please visit www.aagen.org for information about Committee appointments and/or how to support us through your volunteerism. 


SES Development Program News

The 2012-2013 inaugural AAGEN SES Development Program (SES DP) class enters its final year-long training stretch with the Media Communication and Presentation Practice and mock SES interviews in February 2013.


Over the past year, instructors from Ascend, Harvard University, and OPM taught our 20 class participants several topics:  Myths of Asian Leadership and Your Personal Brand, Building Trust, Political Mapping, and, most importantly, SES Executive Core Qualifications (ECQ).  In addition to providing instructors, OPM introduced the class to a member of the Qualifications Review Board (QRB) who gave a presentation on how to write effective ECQs.


As part of the training program, the SES DP class members volunteered for various leadership positions in the planning and execution of the 2012 AAGEN Leadership Conference.  Additionally, the group also participated in the Senior Executive Association Conference.  These conferences provided great opportunities for the candidates to network with current and former SES members.

The AAGEN SES DP places an emphasis on the mentoring program.  Each candidate is paired with a Flag Officer or an SES member to give him/her one-on-one encouragement and provide counsel as needed.


The AAGEN SES DP Team plans to establish formal metrics, feedback mechanism to collect lessons learned and incorporate constructive comments and feedback in order to improve the program as we work on the second class (2013-2014).

AAGEN also wishes to congratulate Ms. Marla Hendriksson, one of the 20 candidates in the inaugural class, for her recent SES appointment. Ms. Hendriksson was selected for an SES position three months before completing the SES Development Program! 

Did You Know?

What every SES (and aspiring SES) should know:  The Plum Book is now available! 

Formally known as the 2012 United States Government Policy and Supporting Positions, the “Plum Book” is a special publication issued by Congress every four years.  It contains a list of over 8,000 civil service leadership and support positions (filled and vacant) in the Legislative and Executive branches of the federal government that may be subject to noncompetitive appointments. You can purchase the publication for $38.00. 


Visit the Government Printing Office’s webpage on the Plum Book for more information and a link to purchase the publication online: http://bookstore.gpo.gov/collections/plum-book.jsp. 


Also, this publication is available for the first time as a mobile app.  Click here to get the app: http://www.gpo.gov/mobile/. Users will be able to find policy, political and presidential appointed positions based on a variety of filters, including:

  • Organizational information (Branch, Agency, Organization)
  • Position Title
  • Location
  • Appointment Type, tenure and term expiration
  • Pay Plan and Level
  • Vacancy

Reflections: Understanding Life in Public Service

Tommy Hwang, 2011-2012 Chair


As I completed my tenure as Chair, I reflected on all the activities of the past 2 years.  The best place to start is probably September 26, 2010, when the AAGEN Board gathered for a Strategic Planning meeting.  During that long meeting, we revised the AAGEN mission statement to: To promote, expand, and support Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) leadership in government.  We also changed our vision statement to: AAGEN is one of the foremost leaders in increasing representation of AAPI's in the highest levels of government.  The group then went on to define many goals, including:

  • Implementing a new website
  • Developing a membership directory
  • Launching a mentoring program
  • Conducting a glass ceiling survey
  • Increasing membership to 200 with 30 SES members by 12/31/2011 and 300 members with 45 SES members by 12/31/2012
  • Formalizing relationships with agencies and other affinity groups
  • Hold meetings with senior officials at OPM and the White House to introduce AAGEN
  • Update the AAGEN bylaws
  • Form active committees to involve more members and new leaders

These goals were quite lofty at the time, given that we only had 102 members, of which only a small, core group was actively contributing to AAGEN on a regular basis.  But with a mission that we all believed in and a vision that provided us with focus, we forged ahead!  On February 28, 2011, our new website went live.  The new website provided a much needed infrastructure for ongoing functions such as membership sign-up and renewal, event registration and content management.  Along with the website, we also created a membership directory that allowed AAGEN members to more easily look up other members' information and touch base, as appropriate.  If you have not used the membership directory yet, I encourage you to check it out!  


AAGEN continued its very popular coaching program during the 2011 and 2012 Leadership Conference.  In fact, the 2012 Leadership Conference was the most successful ever, with over 400 registrants!  To further expand AAGEN's mentoring program, AAGEN launched the inaugural Senior Executive Service Development Program (SES DP) on March 19, 2012.  The SES DP was launched with full support and participation from OPM, EEOC and the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.  The program attracted 112 applicants from 25 different agencies, including 5 DOD components.  Twenty highly-qualified candidates were selected and are nearing the end of the year-long program.  As I write this, AAGEN is preparing to launch the second cohort.  This year, the SES DP will have 24 slots, with up to 4 slots reserved for candidates from the private sector so that AAGEN can open up another avenue to help expand representation of AAPI leadership in government. 


AAGEN has signed MOUs with 5 agencies, FAPAC, and is currently in discussions with additional agencies and affinity groups.  AAGEN closed the glass ceiling survey on November 8, 2012 and is currently analyzing the results.  The AAGEN Board of Directors reviewed, updated and ratified the bylaws on November 19, 2012.  At the time of this writing, AAGEN has 322 members, with 63 at the SL/ST level and above!  I think it is pretty safe to say that we have been successful in meeting these goals set out in our strategic plan from September 2010.  All of these accomplishments only happened because of the active participation of many members and new leaders who have stepped forward.  I am extremely appreciative of all the support that I received as Chair and am so excited to see how vibrant the organization is right now.  Even though I don't need to write any ECQs at this point in my career, I am confident that I can easily support each of the five ECQs just with my recent experience in AAGEN! 


A new slate of AAGEN leaders has taken the helm.  I know that they will take AAGEN to even greater heights and continue to advance the mission.  If you are considering being more actively involved in a committee as a contributing member and/or a leader, there are plenty of opportunities and many more great things that can be done.  Volunteers are the fuel that powers the AAGEN engine, so just let any AAGEN board member know if you are interested in volunteering!


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