The Initiative on Financial Security (IFS), an Aspen Institute policy program, established an advisory board of financial services CEOs and public policy experts to address America's savings crisis. Board members committed to IFS for a fixed timeframe and made subject matter experts from their organizations available on a very part-time basis. A small (in number) staff of mostly junior associates composed the internal IFS team. Within a three-year period, IFS developed multiple business-driven proposals for the national savings policy-making process.
Access to the loaned experts was not only constrained by their availability, they were also remote - located across the country. To capitalize on each person's afforded time and specialty, Yvette quickly assessed their expertise and schedules against IFS requirements. She organized the group into manageable committees, facilitated meetings, established work plans and regular communication practices. A virtual forum of creativity and productivity resulted. With optimal efficiency, the IFS team received input vital to its final report.
Aspen IFS also had obligations to deliver periodic publications, fundraise, and host roundtable and other world-class events. With project management discipline new to IFS, Yvette introduced clear and concise methods to keep concurrent tasks on track, while ensuring that urgent and critical items received the necessary attention.
Not limited to coordination activities, Yvette also contributed by assuming non-traditional, "utility player" roles as needed: event planner, interviewer, coach and adviser.
The culmination of this effort is published in Savings For Life: A Pathway to Financial Security for All Americans. The report recommends four innovative and complementary savings vehicles to achieve financial security - from cradle to grave. The ultimate goal is to propel the proposals into legislative action.
A child account solution is currently under consideration for pilot implementation in two states. With its homeownership solution, IFS is partnering with other organizations to highlight the importance of savings in light of the nation's subprime lending crisis. Two retirement proposals, an IRA and an annuity plan, have been topics of testimony on Capitol Hill and continue to be discussed within the advocacy community.