Plenary Presentations 

The 2019 Presidential Strand Plenaries will feature in-depth keynote presentations that focus on this year’s theme: Paths to the Future of Evaluation. These sessions have been organized by AEA President Tessie Tzavaras Catsambas and her Presidential Strand program committee to create a lively and critical conversation about the role of evaluators in the evaluation profession's path forward.

Paths to the Future of Evaluation: Up Close and Personal  

Wednesday, November 13 | 3:15 p.m. - 4:15 p.m.

Presented by: 

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Tessie Tzavaras Catsambas
AEA President
Melissa Chapman
Evaluation 2019 Co-Chair


Melissa Chapman will be joined by local hosts and leaders to welcome all conference attendees and situate us in time and space. Tessie Tzavaras Catsambas will then welcome and situate us in the mental space for our conference: What we value and honor guides us, what we chose to lead grows, and who we invite to the table influences and creates the future. Tessie will share her perspective on the most important priorities and questions in evaluation today, and will invite all participants to contribute their ideas to the conversation throughout the conference as we weave our paths toward the future of evaluation.


Leadership for Evaluators: Engaging Clients in Adaptive Work  

Thursday, November 14 | 9:15 a.m. - 10:15 a.m.

ron.JPGPresented by: 

Ron Heifetz, King Hussein bin Talal Senior Lecturer in Public Leadership, Founding Director of the Center for Public Leadership at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, and Co-Founder of Cambridge Leadership Associates

When your analysis challenges people's familiar reality, it can be difficult, dangerous work. Whatever the context, whether in the private or the public sector, many people will feel threatened as you engage them in facing the implications of data and its evaluation. Often, evaluation calls for tough trade-offs with strategic reassessments of priorities and investments.

As evaluators leading clients and colleagues in adjusting to the realities revealed by evaluation, you need to find a way to lead people through the dangers of change. Ron Heifetz has transformed generations of leaders through his work in developing the adaptive model of leadership. His three books are used by practitioners around the world: Leadership Without Easy Answers, Leadership on the Line: Staying Alive through the Dangers of Change, and The Practice of Adaptive Leadership: Tools and Tactics for Changing your Organization and the World.

In this plenary presentation, Ron will share insights and leadership development lessons from his 35+ years of advising country presidents and global leaders – individuals who, like evaluators, have faced the challenge of engaging people in the adaptive work demanded by changing or long-ignored realities.


Prioritizing What Matters in Evaluation

Friday, November 15 | 9:15 a.m. - 10:15 a.m.

Hosted by:  Presented by: 
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Michael Quinn Patton Glenda Eoyang Khalil Bitar Dominica McBride


These three distinguished evaluators have made significant contributions to evaluation: Glenda Eoyang joined Bob Williams to infuse systems thinking in evaluation transforming our thinking, Khalil Bitar to the exponential growth and fountain of achievements of EvalYouth, and Dominica McBride to the authentic practice of inclusion in evaluation for communities affected by poverty and injustice. Each of these colleagues will inspire you with their pitch for their top priority area for the evaluation community of the future. Hosted by brilliant facilitator and evaluation icon Michael Patton, this session will fuel discussions about our collective vision, and invite you to re-think your own path to the future of evaluation.


Compelling Paths to the Future: Reflections by Evaluation Thought Leaders

Saturday, November 16 | 12:15 p.m. - 1:15 p.m.

Hosted by:

Presented by:

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Tom Archibald
Evaluation 2019 Co-Chair 
Jennifer Greene Oumoul Khayri Ba Tall Stafford Hood Melvin Michael Mark Donna Podems


Every member on this panel has inspired generations of evaluators in the United States and globally. They have made important contributions as professors, authors and practitioners, led the way advocating for integrity and relevance in evaluation, and provided mentorship and gave voice to future evaluators. Come listen to their reflections on the presentations and conversations they heard during the conference and in other evaluation communities about paths to the future of evaluation. Masterful facilitator Tom Archibald will host an authentic conversation by this distinguished panel.