Category: Season One

AT09. Focus, Focus, Focus with Chris Marshall

What’s Up Trendsetters!

Our guest is alumni relations consultant and practitioner extraordinaire, Chris Marshall and today’s trend line includes:

  • Strategic Planning,
  • Engagement Metrics,
  • and managing a volunteer board

A quick episode guide:
at 1:46 Consulting in a COVID World
at 5:26 Coaching to Advancement Professional
at 10:25 Marshall on Strategic Planning: Focus, Focus, Focus
at 14:03 What business are we in?
at 18:25 Return on Engagement: measuring the impact of your alumni program
at 21:17 Augustinian wisdom: Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good!
at 22:05 You vs Yesterday: Penn State’s R.I.P.S. metrics
at 24:36 Volunteer Management: “You get the board you deserve”
at 25:11 “A good board should have their noses in and their fingers out.”

Bio
Chris Marshall is a senior higher education advancement professional with 18 years of alumni relations and fundraising experience.

He spent twelve years leading alumni relations programs at two top ranked national research universities – Lehigh University (seven years) and Cornell University (five years).

Chris has five years of experience serving as an alumni relations consultant at one of the top philanthropic consulting practices in the United States – Grenzebach Glier and Associates (GG+A) where he served as Senior Vice President and Managing Director. While at GG+A, Chris led the Alumni Relations practice area and served as a consultant to over 100 clients around the world.

Most recently, Chris has served for two years as President of Graduway North America. Graduway is the world’s leading provider of alumni networking and career mentoring software. Trusted by 750+ educational institutions to engage alumni and provide career guidance to students. The vision of the company is rooted in the belief that the alumni network is at the heart of improving philanthropy, employability, and enrollment.

Chris has been highly successful in engaging the buy-in and support of key stakeholders in executing new initiatives with clients. He is a strategic planner, creative thinker, data-driven, and a consensus builder with a strong work ethic. He has proven success in guiding teams of all sizes in complex organizations.

A bit about CMAC:
CMAC is a full-service advancement consulting firm focused on the education sector. They bring extensive experience from our work with over 100 clients in higher education, independent schools, and non-profit organizations – see full client list. They specialize in alumni relations but offer consulting services in all advancement areas – see complete list of services.

Website: https://www.cmac.me/

AT08. “Your greater is coming!” with UNC’s Timothy A. Minor

#OnTrend with Tim Minor

What’s Up Trendsetters!

Our guest is Timothy A. Minor, Vice President for University Advancement at The University of North Carolina System, and today’s trend line includes:

  • The “Why” behind his passion for higher education,
  • The UNC System Advancement office
  • and Challenges presented by COVID-19.

Here’s a quick listening guide:
at 2:08 A career in advancement “is all about the WHY.”
at 3:33 Advice for newcomers to the field, “Your greater is coming!”
at 5:37 Campus Advancement vs System Advancement
at 10:02 Navigating the political landscape of working with Board of Governors and General Assembly
at 14:01 Return on Investment on advancement spending 7:1, 12:1, 16:1
at 15:55 COVID-19 and The UNC approach
at 18:00 Impact on campaigns in North Carolina
at 18:55 COVID Creativity – Shout out to Nancy Bird (Penn State)
at 20:26 Social equity through education and systemic racism conversations
at 22:26 “at least for me, and I’m African-American, having these conversations and seeing the news everyday on what’s happening in America has brought out a little PTSD in me and some of the things that I have suppressed just to go about my day-to-day have started to leak out in other ways.”
at 23:41 The final word on the state of the profession.

Full Bio
TIMOTHY A. MINOR

Vice President for University Advancement | The University of North Carolina System

Timothy Minor is the vice president for University Advancement for the University of North Carolina System.  He is responsible for administrative direction and support for external funding to meet the priority needs within the UNC multi-campus university which is composed of all 17 of North Carolina’s public institutions, including the NC School of Science and Mathematics, the nation’s first public residential high school for gifted students. 

Prior to joining the UNC System Office, Timothy served as the associate vice chancellor for University Advancement at North Carolina A&T State University for five years where he led fundraising initiatives and day-to-day operations of A&T’s central development office.   Minor started his career in university development in 1994 at Emory University in Atlanta, Ga., followed by 12 years at UNC at Chapel Hill as a senior member of the Development Office, serving in various major gift director roles in the University’s $500 M Bicentennial Campaign and the university’s largest campaign, the $2.3 billion Carolina First Campaign that concluded in 2007.  He was appointed to the role as Associate Vice President at UNC System Office in September 2013 and became vice president in September 2014.  Minor received a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and earned a Master of Public Affairs at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

An active citizen, Timothy serves on the board for the Chatham County Education Foundation.  He served as a trustee of the North Carolina Humanities Council from 2009 until 2016 and as the vice chair from 2014-16.  Minor also served as a member of the Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History Board at the UNC Chapel Hill for several years.  In 2010, he co-founded and was chair of the charter advisory board member of the American Red Cross Greensboro Chapter’s Club Red service committee and served on the Board of Directors for the Greensboro Chapter.  Timothy also served as a Board Member for the Orange County Boys & Girls Club from 2005-07.

 

AT07. The High Performing Alumni Office with Chris Vlahos

#OnTrend with Chris Vlahos

What’s Up Trendsetters!

Our guest is Chris Vlahos, of Chris Vlahos Alumni Engagement Consulting  and today’s trend line includes:

  • Characteristics of High Performing Alumni Relations office,
  • Challenges presented by COVID-19,
  • and his career in higher education advancement.

Full blog post: The 12 Characteristics of a High Performing Alumni Relations Office

About Chris
After 20+ years in the marketing and public relations world on the private side, Chris took his talents to his alma mater’s alumni association at THE Ohio State University where he was the vice president for membership and marketing. He went on to lead alumni efforts at the University of Arizona and Case Western Reserve, before fully committing to  his consulting practice first under his own shingle and now under the shingle of one of higher education advancements premier consultancies at Marts and Lundy.

Here’s a quick listening guide:
at 2:21 Revelations of a 20-year marketing veteran upon entry to higher education
at 4:09 Career in Alumni Relations
at 4:40 The truth about the Penn State Alumni Association
at 5:27 Alumni Association as the voice of alumni on campus
at 6:27 Advice for newcomers to the field
at 9:20 Performance metrics
at 10:42 Characteristics of a High Performing Alumni Relations Office
at 12:00 Importance of a strategic planning
at 13:15 Digital first strategy
at 15:30 Stop using the term “friendraiser”
at 16:01 Move alumni to action
at 17:16 Centralized approach to alumni relations
at 21:49 Culture of Innovation and purposeful programming

Full Bio
Chris is the author of numerous blogs and articles, most notably his work on the link between alumni engagement and fundraising. His most recent report is “The Evolving Role of Alumni Relations: How institutions are organizing, mobilizing and measuring the value of alumni engagement.” He has assisted numerous institutions in the areas of planning and strategy prior to establishing Chris Vlahos Alumni Engagement Consulting LLC in 2015.

He served as AVP of Alumni Relations at Case Western Reserve University, where he developed engagement strategies that positioned the alumni relations office as the alumni gateway to the university.

Prior to joining CWRU, Chris was President and Executive Director of the University of Arizona Alumni Association. In this capacity, he was a member of the university Cabinet as well as the Board of Directors for the U of A Foundation.

Chris began his alumni relations career as VP of Membership & Marketing at The Ohio State University Alumni Association, following a 20-year career in the field of marketing communications. He is a founding member of the Council for Alumni Membership & Marketing Professionals (CAMMP) and has maintained a long affiliation with the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE). Chris has served CASE as a faculty member in the U.S., Asia and Europe; as a two-time chair of the Summer Institute on Alumni Relations; and as a member of the CASE Commission on Alumni Relations. Chris is a recipient of the CASE Crystal Apple award. 

AT06. Bonus – About Your Host

What’s Up Trendsetters!

This is a bonus episode of the Alumni Trending podcast and is a re-airing of an episode of the #OnTheStacks podcast hosted by Bill Corcoran Jr. Check out the #OnTheStacks podcast at www.onthestacks.com.

I was honored to be a guest on the May 13 episode of #OnTheStacks and I thought that this might be a good way to introduce myself to my Alumni Trending audience.

On this trend line you will hear about my professional and personal background, the Penn State Alumni Associations COVID-19 approach, and an amazing story about how the Penn State Alumni Association helped Bill propose to his wife.

Quick listening guide:
3:45 My career progression
5:53 My 90 days as a college football player
8:04 How I become my college mascot
9:14 What I love about my work: “No two days are the same.”
13:30 The Penn State Alumni Association’s approach to COVID-19 
14:56 Form Three Prides (Digital First, Class of 2020, Lifting Up Lions)
17:48 Using membership as the key for ALL alumni
21:53 Advice to the Class of 2020
23:51 Celebrating milestones
24:48 The power of technology
28:14 A great wedding proposal

Thanks for staying #OnTrend with the Alumni Trending podcast.

AT05. Alumni Identity with Jay Dillon

What’s Up Trendsetters!

Our guest is Dr. Jay Le Roux Dillon, chief alumni strategist at the University of California – Berkeley and today’s trend line includes:

  • Alumni Identity,
  • Building a Community of Practice during COVID-19,
  • and his career in higher education advancement.

Here’s a quick listening guide:
At 4:30 – About me and careers in higher education
At 7:30 – My ultimate frustration with advancement work (hint: lack of research)
At 9:50 – What do music and fundraising have in common?
At 16:15 – What is the best thing alumni and alma mater can do for one another right now?
At 23:30 – My favorite alumni relations brainstorming exercise
At 29:30 – Identity making and the alumni experience
At 34:45 – Creating professional community without “gurus”
At 40:20 – How to test your own Alumni Identity

Bio
Dr. Jay Le Roux Dillon is a redhead, father of a redhead, social scientist, and executive director of alumni relations for the University of California, Berkeley. His research is focused on “Alumni Identity” – a new approach to identifying ideal alumni donors through the lens of social psychology and data science. He was previously director of alumni engagement at the University of San Francisco and executive director of alumni strategic initiatives at UCLA. Jay is dedicated to improving philanthropy in order to bring social justice and equity to education. He is the founder and principal of Alumni Identity Fundraising Consultants and holds a doctorate in organization and leadership from USF and a master’s and bachelor’s degree in music from UCLA.

A bit about Alumni Identity:
Your Alumni Identity is that quantifiable part of who you are – your own self-identity – that is related to your alma mater. It’s both a measure of engagement and a predictor of future philanthropy. You can test your own alumni identity in under two-minutes at https://score.alumniidentity.com

Website: https://alumniidentity.com

To test your own Alumni Identity: https://score.alumniidentity.com

AT04. Integration and the Alumni Association Brand with Jennifer Heisey

On this episode,  I visit with Jennifer Heisey, Chief Alumni Relations Officer for the University of Cincinnati and we discuss power of integration and the value of the Alumni Association brand.  Today, she talks about:

  • her career and advice;
  • the integrated model at Cincinnati; and
  • the metrics they drive towards annually.

On April 14, 2014, The University of Cincinnati named Jennifer Heisey to the dual role of executive director of UCAA and vice president of alumni relations for the UC Foundation.

Heisey’s core responsibilities will be to provide strategic leadership and vision for UCAA while managing the daily operations of alumni staff and volunteers. She will work closely with the UC Foundation president to connect with alumni and cultivate development opportunities for the university. Her efforts, along with those of UCAA staff and volunteers, ensure that alumni stay engaged and active in the UC community.

Before Cincinnati, Heisey served as associate vice president for alumni relations and annual giving as well as the executive director of the alumni association at the University of Louisville. Prior to that, she led alumni affairs efforts for SUNY College at Buffalo. She has more than 21 years of experience serving higher education institutions where she developed exemplary leadership, advancement and relationship building skills.