ABA’s strategy consulting services generally cluster into two main areas: Program and Organizational Development and Comprehensive Meeting Design.
Ann begins every strategy consulting engagement with a focused conversation about how the firm can make a significant difference in the client’s ability to clarify, expand, and achieve its goals and objectives.
Ann works frequently with clients who are innovating—developing program initiatives or even founding new organizations—from start-up through growth and expansion. Above all, ABA’s orientation is toward helping organizations set goals, design programs and strengthen capacity that advances their missions.
Client: Center for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI)
Project Description: Almost 10 years ago, Ann Becker was retained to help conceptualize the new Center for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI), including how best to establish it, identify and reach its priority constituencies, launch and periodically assess its various activities and initiatives.
Since then she has continued to provide strategic advice, predominantly to the CEO and Leadership Team, as CFSI has transitioned from entrepreneurial start-up to an established organization with a multi-million dollar budget and staff of 35. She has provided counsel and feedback on employee engagement, organizational structure, and multiple new initiatives, many of which are now embedded into CFSI’s on-going work.
In addition, Ann works regularly on a broad array of meetings across the organization. In addition to creative program design counsel, she has helped CFSI build and solidify its meeting/event planning infrastructure and has assisted a broad array of employees across all teams in developing strong program design and facilitation skills.
I knew Ann Becker had many skills, but I never realized when I hired her that she would also find so many opportunities to connect us with an active and productive network of contacts. Ann is able to do this successfully because of her strong strategic sense. She is both a strategist and an operator, a rare combination.
President and CEO
The Center for Financial Services Innovation
Ann has been tremendously helpful in designing meetings that are valuable learning and sharing experiences and that put the participants and their needs at the center. She’s terrific at thinking about the overarching purpose as well as the small details and special touches that make convenings particularly memorable and impactful.
The Center for Financial Services Innovation
Client: National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Directorate for Engineering
Project Description: For many years, ABA provided full service meeting management services for the annual meetings of three programs of NSF’s Engineering Directorate. ABA typically guided NSF staff, consultants and grantees through an extensive planning process to design meetings that not only reflected the changing issues of maturing programs but also met a number of disparate objectives, including introducing new grantees, sharing research highlights and encouraging productive collaboration, often with industry partners. Each meeting agenda was unique with fresh content and creative new formats introduced regularly. ABA also provided a strong logistical infrastructure and on-site management to ensure that attendees were able to maximize the benefits of the meeting experience.
In 2012, the staff of NSF’s Emerging Frontiers in Research and Innovation (EFRI) program began a new initiative, Research Experience and Mentoring (REM), with several of the EFRI grantees. While no longer providing full-service meeting management, ABA provided advice on overall project management and program planning. She also counseled the staff on creative program design and group dynamics in light of the different needs of the target audiences. This ensured that the first time EFRI-REM grantees meeting was productive, interactive and beneficial to the Principal Investigators, Mentors and Mentees, all at varied points along their career development paths.
In addition, ABA worked extensively with the NSF on programs for the Industry/University Cooperative Research Centers’ Program and the Engineering Research Centers Program.
Over the years, I have observed Ann Becker successfully plan and implement large national meetings for the National Science Foundation. What’s the secret to her success? She brings so much more to the table than meeting management skills. She has the intellect that allows her to offer strategic insights into the meeting content. She has the leadership and personal skills needed to orchestrate meetings with very diverse audiences (e.g. think industry, university, government). She has the organizational skills and knowledge which guarantees that every meeting strengthens the overall program and the goals of the organization. Finally, she won’t stand pat with last year’s successful agenda when she knows she can do better — which is most of the time.
Alumni Distinguished Graduate Professor, Psychology in the Public Interest Program
North Carolina State University
Client: Urban Sustainability Directors’ Network (USDN)
Project Description: The coordinator of the Urban Sustainability Directors Network asked Ann Becker and Associates to work with her and the Global Philanthropy Partnership in launching a new initiative designed to build a professional network of city sustainability directors across the U.S. and Canada. ABA provided start-up guidance regarding the process to define an organization that could enable network members/participants to easily exchange information, collaborate to advance their practice, and more quickly find solutions to their sustainability challenges. Issues considered during the start-up phase included need, scope, purpose, desired outcomes, participant eligibility and requirements, and operational structure and roles. Ann Becker and Associates also provided meeting design counsel and for the Network’s early Annual Meetings.
Ann Becker . . . is entrepreneurial at heart and loves meeting and getting to know new people. She enjoys bringing people together in new and exciting ways and being a catalyst for individual change and new partnerships.
Urban Sustainability Directors Network