Submitted by Sue Abeles, President, UCLA Retirees Association
Strategic Planning. As reported in the Fall 2018 campus report, in August, the Board of Directors met to develop a strategic plan for the FY19 year. A series of goals and strategies for achieving those goals during the coming year was identified and agreed upon. The Board is tracking progress toward completion of the goals on a monthly basis. Goal areas include membership, connectivity with UCLA and Community, communication/networking, technology, advocacy, and roles and responsibilities.
Membership Marketing. Membership Marketing continues to be a major focus and the committee is continuing its outreach work to increase the visibility of the Association with campus staff (including the health sciences). Members of this committee assist the Emeriti and Retiree Relations Center staff at pre-retirement workshops and benefits fairs providing an opportunity for staff to learn about the Association and its activities. In February, the committee conducted a focus group of former senior administrators to seek ideas and strategies for greater involvement of retirees in the Association. This focus group provided valuable input and insight and has generated some new ideas for strategic initiatives that the committee and the Board will be reviewing and prioritizing in the next few months. Another strategic focus has been to increase our coordination with Campus Human Resources and the Health Sciences Human Resources to gain more visibility and develop strategic partnerships. UCLARA is participating as a project sponsor in the Campus Human Resources Professional Development Program, which provides development opportunities to selected mid-level management staff. The participants work on a team project and receive mentoring by a senior UCLA administrator. Our project, which is currently under study, is to determine the feasibility of a retiree mentorship program that would leverage the career expertise of UCLA retirees for the benefit of current UCLA staff. The team will complete its report next month.
Membership Marketing Software: As reported in the Fall, 2018 report, this year's membership renewal process was done via email using Wild Apricot. The automated process, which includes credit card processing via PayPal, has expedited renewals and has significantly increased the percentage of renewing members on a year-over-year basis as compared to the same time last year. The automated membership management system and online payment process has also facilitated new memberships. On a year over year basis, UCLARA's membership has increased 14%.
Programs and Events. Our Program Committee has delivered a full schedule of events and programs planned each month for most of the year. In September, twenty-two retirees enjoyed a tour of the William Andrews Clark, Jr. Memorial Library. In October, twenty retirees enjoyed a tour of the Adamson House and Malibu Lagoon. Our annual December holiday luncheon at Maggiano's in The Grove was attended by 78 retirees. An opportunity to lunch with the retiring UCLA Women's Gymnastics coach, and hear about the Women's Gymnastics Program (including an opportunity to attend a meet) was attended by 55 retirees in February. A weekend trip to Paso Robles for a winery tour and wine tasting was offered in March to 13 retirees. Thirty-seven retirees also attended a March performance of a UCLA student musical, "Rebel Genius". Future planned programs for the balance of FY19 include a tour of the Huntington Library, a tour of the Banning House, a tour of the Weisman art collection, and a trip or trips to the Hollywood Bowl for summer performances. In addition, the UCLA Retirees Association and the UCLA Emeriti Association jointly sponsor monthly after-lunch programs featuring distinguished speakers Members of either association are invited to attend. During FY19, we have offered lectures on the Plato Society, a post mortem on the 2018 midterm elections, and UCLA's Picasso holding. We have also co-hosted a jazz program put on by UCLA music majors, and a talk by authoress, Susan Orlean, about her book that chronicles the fire in the Los Angeles Central Library in 1986, The Library Book. These programs are well-received and attendance at each of these events has ranged from 54-142 retirees.
Interest Groups. A significant number of interest groups continue to flourish. Groups have been organized to read and discuss books, to play Mah Jong, Scrabble, bridge, Texas Hold 'Em, Canasta, to cook and test new recipes, for play reading, for jewelry making, and for hiking. We are currently recruiting a new Gardening group coordinator.
Campus and Community Relations. We continue to invite a senior campus administrator to each of our Board meetings and devote a portion of the agenda to discussions with that administrator. These discussions focus on opportunities for partnerships between the Association and the campus programs and/or departments for which the administrator has responsibility. In November, we met with the Assistant Vice Chancellor of Student Development to discuss possible collaborations. In December, we met with the Director of Community Learning to discuss projects of mutual interest. In January, we met with the Associate Vice Provost of the Healthy Campus Initiative and explored ways that retirees could participate. In February, we met with the Campus Chief Sustainability Officer and discussed opportunities for collaboration. In March, we met with the Provost of Enrollment Management and discussed opportunities for retirees to become more involved in this process. In April, we met with the Associate Director of Intercollegiate Athletics to explore partnership opportunities. We are planning similar meetings throughout FY19 and beyond to continue to increase the visibility of the Association and explore partnership opportunities for our members.
IT Committee. A decision was made as part of our strategic planning process to form an IT Committee to address strategies for long term maintenance and support of our membership management software program (Wild Apricot), which includes our website, given the impending departure of the current Director of the ERRC, who has announced her planned retirement in Spring, 2019. The committee has met several times and a strategy for supporting the membership management software is emerging. The committee has also been exploring the development of a social media strategy for the Association. Given the ongoing need for this committee, the Board has approved a revision to our bylaws to incorporate the IT Committee as a Standing Committee of the Board.
Travel Committee. A Travel Committee was originally formed last year as an offshoot of the Program Committee. In October, the Travel Committee organized its first trip, a cruise to Cabo San Lucas. This trip was well attended and the participants expressed interest in future trips organized by UCLARA. Two additional cruises, one to the Hawaiian Islands in September, and the second to the Pacific Coast and Canada in October, have been organized and are being offered to our members. Given the interest by our members, a decision was made by the Board to formally make this committee a Standing Committee of the Board and revise our bylaws accordingly.