The Evolution of Evaluation as a Community and Profession By Sarah Farina

I’m delighted to be Co-chairing the 2017 CES conference with Chris Lovato.  My first introduction to CES was at the 2010 conference in Victoria. I’d been working in evaluation for many years, including conducting training in monitoring and evaluation.  At that time, though, I wasn’t familiar with evaluation as a discipline.

What struck me most about the conference was how collegial attendees were, and how curious they were to learn.  I enjoyed the sessions I attended, and more than that, I savoured the open and exploratory conversations that took place throughout the event.  Almost every session made me feel like I’d finally come home. People were friendly, used a language I understood, and talked about topics I cared about.  I felt from that time that I was joining a community of people working in the same realm, though the boundaries were still being worked out.

We’ve advanced a great deal as a profession since that conference, and it only been six years.  Since 2010, the Credentialed Evaluator program has been implemented in Canada, and there is a movement to promote evaluation internationally, through VOPEs and global initiatives and organizations such as Better Evaluation, EvalYear 2015 and the International Organization for Cooperation in Evaluation.  I’m honoured and constantly invigorated to be part of the evaluation community.

The enthusiasm and energy that members of our Planning Committee are bringing to CES 2017 is inspiring.  I’m looking forward to “Facing Forward” together with evaluation colleagues joining us in Vancouver.

Sarah Farina specializes in planning, evaluation and governance with Broadleaf Consulting.  She serves as President of the Canadian Evaluation Society BC and Yukon Chapter, and Co-Chair of the CES 2017 Conference in Vancouver.