For a personalized experience, attendees may elect to attend sessions in any track. Tracks do not include general sessions or deep dives.
Financial Transformation: One School's Journey to Financial Equilibrium
Monday, 10:30 am - 11:30 am
In 2014, Westover School found itself at a crossroads when faced with a $2 million operating deficit, declining enrollment, rising discount rate and more than $30 million in deferred maintenance. Under the leadership of a new head of school and senior administrative team, Westover undertook an ambitious plan to transform itself operationally, physically and financially. This session will explore the key decisions made to reshape the school's financial model, renovate a 100-year-old building and rethink the school’s approach to delivering its mission. This includes reframing institutional culture and identity, and identifying key candidates for transformational positions.
Learning Objective: Participants will learn how to communicate mission-critical initiatives and best practices to the board and broader school community, as well as best practices in communicating financial information to boards to enhance decision making. They will also learn to use the jobs-to-be-done framework in the admission process.
Julie Faulstich, Head of School, Westover School
Thomas Gorman, Chief Operating Officer, Westover School
Institutional Strategy and Economics: Integrating Program, Population and Philanthropy
Monday, 1:15 pm - 2:15 pm
Large forces challenge the traditional economic model of independent schools. In this session, participants will investigate what actions can be taken in the next five years to ensure positive options for their institutions. Using an analytic framework and performance analytics on more than 800 schools, learn how to appraise market position, comparative advantage and financial performance; discover how to optimize market, educational and financial dynamics for near and long-term performance; and explore full-pay domestic enrollment as a keystone to program, population and philanthropy.
Learning Objective: Participants will learn what actions they can take at their independent schools to ensure positive future financial position and choice availability.
William Kummel, Principal, Rational Partners
Build Teams that Maximize Productivity, Spark Innovation and Create Joy
Monday, 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Where do the best ideas come from? How do you create a culture in which everyone feels empowered to innovate? Get answers to these questions and an overview of seven actionable strategies that, when consistently applied, become a tour-de-force for building highly productive administrative teams that find joy in their work, uncover hidden value and come up with innovative ideas that advance the organization.
Learning Objective: Participants will learn tips for identifying growth-oriented candidates in the hiring process, how different technologies can be leveraged to promote innovation, and how to accelerate the organizational acculturation process through immersive on-boarding. Participants will learn effective strategies for creating professional growth pathways that keep employees happy and motivated, while imbuing a sense of purpose.
Tim Schwartz, Director of Innovation, Whitby School
Navigating the Bermuda Triangle: Integrating Design Thinking with Values-Centric Leadership
Tuesday, 10:15 am - 11:15 am
Business officers are getting pulled in ever-increasing directions as independent schools contemplate difficult decisions and necessary structural changes. This session will help participants assess their personal values, pinpoint the alignment of their values relative to their school and then integrate principles of design thinking to navigate the murky waters of difficult decisions and change management.
Learning Objective: Participants will learn to explore and define their values and leadership styles while discovering methods to increase community understanding and empathy. Participants will also develop strategies for navigating ambiguity so they may lead teams through fear toward innovative, customized solutions for their schools.
Rachel Horak, Director of Business and Finance, Indian Creek School
Linda Dennison, Director of Finance and Comptroller, Phillips Academy
The Anatomy and Choreography of Collaborative Leadership
Tuesday, 2:45 pm - 3:45 pm
Leadership style has everything to do with success. How you speak is how you lead. This session introduces and explains a “Framework for Collaborative Leadership” developed by the certified leadership coach presenter with years of experience in independent school administration and coaching. The framework’s four quadrants — mindset, questions, protocols and debriefing — enable leaders to understand and navigate the complexities of leadership in whatever role they play in their schools. In an interactive session, participants are encouraged to contextualize the tools and techniques of the framework with their own experiences and those of other participants.
Learning Objective: Participants will learn to examine how their leadership style has a direct effect on the delta between intention and impact.
Abigail Wiebenson, Professional Coach, Turning Points Coaching
Mission Delivery: an Operations Perspective
Wednesday, 10:30 am - Noon
Every school requires reliable and efficient behind-the-scenes operations. But is that enough? Today's schools demand these teams to be innovative leaders of strategy and prepared to step out of their comfort zones. This session will share the transitional steps that Crescent School's operations team is undertaking to not only ensure relevance but to stay one step ahead of the school’s needs. Through workshops and presentations, participants will review the team and lead standards that have been intentionally developed to create a team connected to Crescent School's mission.
Learning Objective: Participants will learn the need to transform operations teams into thought leaders and contribute to the delivery of their school's mission.
Carolyn Smith-Green, Chief Financial and Administration Officer, The Crescent School
Navigating Board Relationships: Challenges and Opportunities
Wednesday, 10:30 am - Noon
Working with board members is a critical part of every business officer’s role, but navigating those relationships is not always easy. Between board turnover, micromanaging styles and demanding personalities, there are plenty of challenges that come along with board collaboration. This goldmine session will focus on opportunities to effectively partner with board members and provide strategies to help navigate difficult board conversations.
Learning Objective: Participants will learn tactics, tips and tools to set them up for success when dealing with difficult board members.
Brent Wiblin, Senior Managing Director, First Republic
How can changing 1% of your budget transform the future of your school? Through cost reductions and/or a modestly higher tuition increase, you can create a completely different faculty and student culture at your school. A 1% change can allow for the following: over three hours a week of professional development for all faculty; the addition of more than 25 new course offerings for students through strategic partnerships; a more contiguous school year; and less stress. Learn how a 1% change can completely turn around your school climate and better position you for the future.
Learning Objective: By looking at long-range financial modeling from a new perspective, participants will learn the benefits of aligning change management procedures with their strategic plan. Participants will learn ways to overcome perceived financial limitations, how to implement change and move beyond objections to change.
Peter Brown, CFO & Assistant Head of School, The Avery Coonley School
Anu Mahajan, CEO, TinkRworks, LLC