Informative Meetings with the Secretary of State and Deputy Secretary of State

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo
Wednesday, May 16, 2018 — Town Hall Meeting
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan
Wednesday, May 30, 2018 — Meeting with Representatives of State Unions, Employee Affinity Groups, and Employee Organizations

Town Hall Meeting, Wednesday, May 16, 2018.

It was no surprise that shortly after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s swearing in, the new Secretary held his first Town Hall meeting at the Dean Acheson auditorium in the Department of State on Wednesday, May 16, 2018. This was the first chance for everyone in the building to see and hear the new Secretary live and in person and for Secretary Pompeo to meet with the personnel and volunteers of the Department of State.

Understanding that diplomacy is an all-hands-on-deck effort, Secretary Pompeo announced the lifting of the hiring freeze especially regarding the hiring of eligible family members for positions at post. He talked about the strength of the Foreign Service Family and his intention to offer his full support: “Tell your families we love them.” Secretary Pompeo also mentioned the value of all diplomats to be working out in the field engaging in what they know best. Answering one of the questions he received from AAFSW President Dr. Joanna Athanasopoulos Owen, Secretary Pompeo emphasized that there is more common ground than is obvious with all of the United States’ usual allies around the world. In addition, AAFSW President Dr. Joanna Athanasopoulos Owen publicly invited Mrs. Pompeo and Mrs. Sullivan to be AAFSW’s Honorary President and Vice President respectively.

A few days later, on Wednesday, May 30, 2018, Secretary Pompeo along with Deputy Secretary Sullivan invited all the 25 representatives of the Department of State Unions, Employee Affinity Groups, and Employee Organizations and asked them to present their top priority. Gathered around a large table, Secretary Pompeo, with Deputy Secretary Sullivan by his side, did what all effective leaders do: they listened to the full spectrum of concerns of all the DOS groups. As the President of AAFSW, I relayed our varied efforts to support our members, the Foreign Service and Foreign Affairs Families. Although the meeting was brief, the care for the Foreign Service Officers and their Families is obviously of prime importance to the Secretary.

This is the list of Department of State Unions, Employee Affinity Groups, and Employee Organizations that were invited by the Secretary and the Deputy Secretary and were present at the May 30 meeting:

Department of State Unions: AFSA, AFGE, NFFE.
Department of State Employee Affinity Groups: Arab-Americans in Foreign Affairs Agencies (AAIFAA), Asian American Foreign Affairs Association (AAFAA), Blacks in Government, Carl T. Rowan Chapter (BIGCTR), Council for Career Enhancement and Professionalization (CCEP), Disability Action Group (DAG), Executive Women at State (EW@S), GLIFAA: LGBT+ Pride in Foreign Affairs Agencies, Hispanic Employees Council of Foreign Affairs Agencies (HECFAA) , Presidential Management Fellowship Advisory Council (PMFAC), Returned Peace Corps Volunteers at State (RPCV), South Asian-American Employee Association (SAAEA), Thursday Luncheon Group (TLG) , Veterans at State (VETS).

Department of State Employee Organizations: Balancing Act, Civil Service Association, Japan Exchange Teaching @ State, Native American Foreign Affairs Council, UP: State International Dance Collective, National War College Alumni Association, Working in Tandem, Associates of the American Foreign Service Worldwide (AAFSW), FS Families with Disabilities Alliance.

AAFSW really appreciates this invitation and is looking forward to working with the Secretary and Deputy Secretary as well as all the State Unions, Employee Affinity Groups, and State Employee Organizations.

Joanna Athanasopoulos Owen, PhD
AAFSW President