FROM THE DIRECTOR
The 2001-2002 Class Wraps Up Their Year
We have just completed our first full year with a class of Fellows. The year was a tremendous success and concluded with a third meeting with President Bush in the Oval Office. The President sent the class of Fellows off with words of wisdom and challenged them to utilize the experience gained over the past year to do great things.
I am pleased with how well the year went for the 2001-2002 class. Our education program provided a wide variety of speakers, and the Fellows were actively engaged in asking substantive, probing questions. The Fellows performed well in their placements and several Fellows contributed in very significant ways to policymaking, including development of proposals that were presented to and approved by the President. As a result of the accomplishments of these Fellows, the stature of the program has been elevated significantly. I look forward to watching as this class goes back to their jobs and communities to see how they use what they have learned to contribute to this country in the future.
The 2002-2003 Class Is Off to a Great Start
This year, we had a very strong competition amongst the Departments and the White House for the Fellows in the 2002-2003 class. This strong interest is a testament to the legacy of the class of 2001-2002. I was continually lobbied everywhere I went - from the White House Mess to the President's box at the Kennedy Center - for the Principals' first choice Fellow.
The good news is that we ended up with ten first place matches. The bad news is that several Principals who provided excellent placements for Fellows in the 2001-2002 class do not have a Fellow this year. The placement process was much more difficult this year in terms of trying to balance so much interest and support for the program with the need to match up first choices.
The new class already has exhibited a can-do, positive attitude at every point in the process. I expect that each Fellow will get the maximum benefit from their year in the program. We look forward to a terrific year of learning for the new class.
Next Program Enhancements Beginning
As you know, I am undertaking an ongoing effort to analyze and improve the program. The next area of focus is how to measure the results of the White House Fellows Program. I am looking at how to determine the extent to which the program mission has been reached over the years.
We all are aware of the most notable alumni and their contributions to this country. But, what percentage of all of the Fellows has actually given back and in what way? Are there common characteristics of those Fellows who tend to best fulfill the mission of the program and if so, should we not target potential applicants with those characteristics? Are there things we can do in the program to enlarge the percentage of Fellows who ultimately meet the mission of the program when they go on to new endeavors? I also want to look at how we might institutionalize the measurement of the long-term effects and success of this program. I will report to you on what we learn as we undertake this next effort.
It's Time to Recruit
By now you all should have received an e-mail from me outlining how we plan to organize an alumni recruiting effort. This year, in addition to an organized alumni effort, we also have a more organized recruiting plan that we are executing. Our focus continues to be on recruiting a diverse pool of quality applicants. The 2002-2003 class is one of the more diverse classes in the program's history, with 46% diversity and representation from various racial and ethnic groups. In addition, this class includes a Fellow with a disability.
However, this class makeup highlights the need to focus on ensuring better gender diversity. The best way to improve in this area is to ensure that we have a strong pool of female applicants. We need all of you to help with this. At the same time, if any alumni feel that we need more representation in other areas such as business, please help us recruit in those areas. Alumni are our best source of quality applicants.
Additionally, we have improved our recruiting tools by redesigning the brochure and application, repackaging the video, and rewriting the PowerPoint presentation. All of these resources are available to you. Our recruiting efforts are discussed further in a separate article in this newsletter.
A Reception on the former Presidential Yacht Sequoia Kicks Off our Public Relations Efforts
This summer, we hosted a reception to honor the Fellows and their Principals on the Sequoia. The reception was a great success with several Cabinet Secretaries attending and Secretary Mel Martinez even driving the yacht! Thanks to Carlos Del Torro ('98-'99) for helping secure the Sequoia donation for our use.
We are working with RFBinder, a subsidiary of public relations firm Rudder Finn, to help us on a pro bono basis with our public relations efforts. Already we have had many articles through the help of RFBinder.
New Associate Director with Marketing and PR Experience Joins Us
I am pleased to announce that Kelly Kenneally joined us on September 9 as Associate Director. Kelly has a background in crisis management, public relations and marketing and will be overseeing our recruiting and public relations efforts. Kelly worked for me in the past and I know you all will be as pleased with her as I have been. She will contribute greatly to the program.
Lucy Weber has moved on to be a Special Assistant in the Academic Programs Division of the Education and Cultural Affairs Bureau at the Department of State. We will miss Lucy and I know you all will join me in wishing her the best in her new job!
I look forward to seeing many of you at the fall meeting.