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2020 WAEPA Federal Summit and Annual Member Meeting: Key Takeaways

Federal Civilian Life

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3 min Category: Federal Civilian Life

Like many events, WAEPA’s annual conference moved to a fully virtual format in 2020. Hosted by our CEO M. Shane Canfield, the 2020 WAEPA Federal Summit and Annual Member Meeting delivered an excellent lineup of speakers for the Civilian Federal Employees. Here are some key takeaways from the event.

The meeting kicked off with a State of the Association presentation from our CEO, who then led audience members into a plenary fireside chat with federal career coach, Alex D. Tremble. Alex is an award-winning speaking and author with over 10 years of experience coaching and advising senior government leaders. Alex tackled some of the main issues that Civilian Feds are facing during this pandemic, as they’re trying advance their careers. Some of the highlights include:

Be Intentional

How do you network during a time where you can’t walk up to someone and start a conversation? Be intentional. Understand where you want to go next in your career and use your virtual tools to find the necessary people to reach in those fields. Relationships can be built virtually by simply asking for a phone call/skype chat. You never know how much you can get out of merely starting the conversation. This resonates with another takeaway regarding top skills civilian feds will need over the next two to three years.

Strategic Networking and Political Savvy

We’re all going through this pandemic together and can empathize with one another about the difficulties of navigating through it all. Political Savvy is based on honest communication, listening, and understanding what people need. Covid has created a global common denominator, as everyone is dealing with its impact. That alone is a way to connect. Check on people and build relationships as everyone is experiencing an event that has never happened before. Watch his entire segment.

Federal Benefits Panel

After having a detailed conversation about networking and achieving career goals in the federal workforce, Shane turned to the final session of the day, our Federal Benefits Panel. Experienced federal experts Tammy Flanagan, Ed Zurndorfer, and Mike Causey sat down to discuss the current state of the federal workforce. Including Open Season, the impact COVID-19 has had on retirement, and what to expect in the next year as a result.


Experts are reporting that many Feds are delaying their retirement. Some may be holding out to see how the pandemic develops through the end of the year. Our panelists suggested Feds should be using this time to reflect on their savings, as it is possible for people to be retired longer than they worked.

Open Season

Another thing Civilian Feds should review a long with their retirement is their healthcare. Open Season is the time to establish or re-evaluate benefits planning for the upcoming year, and healthcare has everything to do with retirement. Some tips included doing a careful review of health coverage, and not being afraid to change plans because you may not want a new doctor. Knowing your plan and checking to make sure all is up to date is very important and will ultimately be a benefit in the long run.

Thank you to our speakers and attendees at the 2020 WAEPA Federal Summit and Annual Member Meeting. We hope to see you all back in person at next year’s event, but regardless of circumstances, WAEPA will continue to provide the necessary resources for Civilian Feds to help their careers and receive quality benefit options.

To see our Plenary and Panel sessions on–demand, visit our YouTube channel.

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