Association of Graduates
Marc Robinson Class of 1990

Marc Robinson is a veteran leader and teacher with experience in the military, higher education, and industry. He has a documented record pursuing what is right and not just what is convenient. A graduate of the USAF Weapons School, National Intelligence University, Capella University, and USAFA, he has received several awards for outstanding leadership, including USAF Intelligence Officer of the Year, national Distance Education Program of the Year, and the Federal Leadership award. Recent accomplishments include a creating two new college programs that are critical in the 21st century and overseeing the creation of the University of Michigan’s publishing operation.

Candidacy Statement

The U.S. Air Force Academy has a 50+ year tradition of producing the highest caliber leaders. Many graduates have achieved extraordinary success in the military and in civilian careers. As a graduate and AOG Chapter President, I have seen and experienced the issues that many graduates face: the need to network with fellow graduates; the need to connect to the heritage of the Academy and the Air Force; the need to mentor younger graduates or find a mentor from the population of experienced graduates; and ultimately the need to create a culture of connecting to, being valued by, and ultimately giving back to the Academy. I hope to be part of the continuing strategy of connecting graduates to each other and to the Academy that will endure throughout the graduate's lifetime and benefit future graduates.

Why did you decide to run for the AOG Board of Directors?

Over the past year and half, I’ve been honored to serve the Graduate community as President of the Great Lakes Chapter of the AOG. I’ve been deeply involved with the chapter and with the AOG on the need to reach out to graduates and increase the camaraderie among the Graduate community, and between Cadets and Graduates. The recent tailgate party at the USAFA-Michigan game – that I helped to organize with the AOG - was the embodiment of the kind of community that is possible.

Being a USAFA Graduate has opened many doors throughout my career. After all that I have gotten from my Academy education, now is a great time in my life to give back to the Academy.

I believe strongly in the Academy, and in the AOG, and want to be at the table to help guide the AOG through the challenges that remain in fulfilling the AOG’s strategic plan, including Member Engagement, Communications, Academy and Cadet Connections, External Outreach, and Financial Sustainment.

I think that the AOG is on the path to doing more to support graduates, though challenges remain.

What skills, knowledge, & experience do you have that has prepared you to serve on the AOG Board?

As a Chapter President, and attendee at the AOG Chapter Conference for the last two years, I have gained significant insight into the challenges facing the AOG, individual USAFA Graduates, and local AOG Chapters. I’ve also been witness to, and a part of, the successes that are possible when the Graduate community pulls together. The AOG and the local Chapters have identified several characteristics differ, and some that are the same, among the Graduate communities that comprise the various chapters, and have begun to identify strategies to better serve all Graduates and future Graduates.

I also have had the privilege to serve on several boards and to be a key advisor and presenter to many others. In my current position at the University of Michigan, I have studied best practices of several boards and know how to lead from that level.

I also know the types of pressure that boards function under, and I understand the ways in which boards become gridlocked and unable to make and communicate critical decisions. With my experience, I can help to keep the Board engaged in healthy communication and decision making.

My USAFA education and military background provided me with critical leadership, communications, and planning skills that the AOG Board of Directors needs to function efficiently. My service in industry, education, and in non-profit veterans' groups has helped me to hone those skills. I have also added essential skills in negotiation, consensus building, and communication.

What involvement with the AOG or the Academy have you had that has prepared you to serve on the AOG Board of Directors?

I am a Life Member of the AOG. I believe deeply in the mission of the AOG and the direction it is headed.

Over the past two years, I have served as Chapter President of the Great Lakes Chapter of the AOG, and have guided the chapter through its renewal, building a local network and completing the paperwork to establish it as a non-profit organization.

I have stayed in touch with graduates and future graduates through my work as a USAFA Liaison Officer. I have lived the challenges of finding, attracting, selecting, and preparing our nation's young leaders to serve in the military. My experience on other high-level boards has prepared me for the challenges of serving on the AOG’s Board. The nation is at a crossroads, and it will need future leaders shaped by Academy experiences. I want to help lead the AOG's efforts to address the challenges it is, and will be, facing.

How would you suggest the AOG improve its relevance to the Graduate Community as a whole and to individual Graduates?

I have been a part of the AOG’s efforts to reach Graduates through its focus on building a strong AOG Chapter Program. I see a strong chapter program as a critical component of reaching and serving the Graduate Community as a whole and to individual Graduates.

I also see significant opportunities to increase the AOG’s relevance to the Graduate Community by documenting and connecting the heritage and traditions of the Academy and accomplishments of its Graduates to increase awareness within the graduate community and the nation. Recent emphasis on Founders Day are a beginning, but more work remains. One way to accomplish that would be in building a strong sense of belonging through honoring significant graduate accomplishments and the lives of our fallen Graduates in an annual worldwide event that corresponds with the USAFA Homecoming Memorial.

My recent experience as a Chapter President and Admissions Liaison Officer both lead me to the conclusion that the AOG also needs to engage new Cadets before they enter the Academy to help increase their sense of belonging, purpose, and heritage.

Under the recently adopted Carver governance model, the primary role of the Board is to provide the strategic direction for the organization, while leaving operational administration to the CEO. How do you define strategic direction? What experience have you had in strategic thinking and policy making?

Strategic direction simple to describe, but difficult in implementation: providing the 50,000 foot view, setting parameters for ethical and informed action on issues, and letting the CEO and staff of the AOG do their jobs.

The first goal is to identify – or in the case of the AOG, to validate - values and desired outcomes contained in the strategic plan. Next, the Board and AOG Staff identify the gaps between the current state and the desired state. The gaps can often be very large, and may require a phased approach toward achieving the AOG’s goals, with each step building on the successes of the previous step.

It may also be necessary to define and describe the state of the organization in clear and straightforward terms – is the organization a start-up, a turn-around, a realignment, or is it sustaining successes? Organizations typically move between these phases, and it is critical to know where the organization is. Once the Board and the AOG leadership agree on the answer to this question, there will be several potential paths to meeting the AOG’s goals.

Within each phases, there are several key success factors that define the organization's progress from one phase to the next. These success factors must be specific, measurable, actionable, and realistic in both scope and time horizon. Once the Board has identified the key success factors, it can create or validate a plan to accomplish the goals. Progress is measure against the plan and modifications are made, if necessary.

I have experience in the Carver Model from my service on several boards, as well as in my role as a Director in a multi-million dollar non-profit at the University of Michigan.

Some of the key issues that the AOG board needs to set direction for include continued partnership with other fundraising organizations at the Academy, clarity on the needs of Cadet organizations as governed by the Commandant’s Office, financial management of the AOG and Staff, building connections between Graduates with the Chapter Program, and continued re-assessment of the needs of Graduates.

How much of your time can you devote to meetings, preparation for Board of Directors meetings, emails/correspondence, committee work, and interacting with members?

I can devote as much time as required to build a healthy and sustainable AOG. My expectation is that this will require at least 10-15 hours per week on a regular basis, as well as increased time approaching and after Board meetings.

Personal Statement

Election Update Message (2/13/2013)

To the AOG Community, Please remember to vote for your Board. Voting closes on March 4.

I am tremendously grateful to have re-connected with classmates and grads during the campaign, and am fortunate to have met many new friends on the way.

Serving you is always an honor, and I’m looking forward serving you in this new capacity on the Board.

One issue that has come up that I will address immediately is that of matching company contributions when donating to the USAFA AOG and Endowment. Both West Point and Annapolis have aggressive campaigns to make certain that company matching funds can be sent to their AOGs if members elect to make donations. We should do the same.

West Point’s AOG, especially, is very well organized, and I’ve been fortunate as Chapter President in the Great Lakes area to coordinate with the West Point AOG. The lessons we’ve learned have been discussed among the Chapter Presidents, and have already had an impact on USAFA AOG operations.

If elected to the AOG Board, I will work tirelessly to make certain that this is an organization focused on graduate needs, and to make certain that we are raising funds in the best ways possible.

Thank you,

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