Tag: college

AT14. Lessons Learned: Virtual Events with Hilary Cohen

What’s Up Trendsetters!

Today, I talk with Hilary Cohen, Senior Director of Alumni Engagement at Rutgers University- – New Brunswick.
Today’s trend lines include:
– alumni engagement strategies,
– virtual events in response to COVID 19,
– trends in alumni engagement.

Quick Listen Guide
at 2:40 What do you love most about your work? The results…
at 3:30 Difference between corporate and higher education? BUDGET
at 4:52 Outcome driven event planning
at 8:25 COVID 19 and switch to virtual
at 10:26 Lessons Learned with virtual events
at 13:18 Strategic approach to events
at 15:06 Post-COVID 19 engagement
at 17:18 Fall plan without Rutgers Athletics
at 19:54 Navigating without a map
at 20:45 B1G Community of Practice
at 21:26 Re-org forced by COVID
at 23:54 Lightning Round: book recommendations, pizza and advice
at 28:15 Epic Engagement: Mosaic and the Who

Hilary started at Rutgers in December 2014 as the Senior Director for Events and Benefits for the Rutgers University Alumni Association, a title she held until July, when she became the Senior Director of Alumni Engagement – New Brunswick. Hilary came to Rutgers with 15 years of event planning experience, though Rutgers is her first foray into the higher education industry. Prior to Rutgers, Hilary worked at a variety of financial institutions, trade associations and founded her own event and meeting company. Hilary received her BA in English from Haverford College in Haverford, PA and earned her Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) in August 2014.

AT13. Affiliate Groups and Volunteers with Scott Francis

Stay #OnTrend with Scott Francis

What’s Up Trendsetters!

Today, on this episode I talk with East Carolina Pirate, Scott Francis. Scott is the Associate Vice Chancellor of Alumni and President of the ECU Alumni Association board at East Carolina University.
Today’s trend lines include:
– his career,
– affiliate groups – the Florida Gator way,
– fall plans in response to COVID 19,
– and his perspective as an African-American in higher ed advancement.

Quick Listening Guide
at 3:28 Scott’s Career progression
at 4:01 Baseball Career (BA .167)
at 10:40 Affiliate Groups: The Gator Way
at 13:36 Florida’s Association of Black Alumni and Association of Hispanic Alumni
at 15:21 Programming beyond Athletics
at 17:43 Welcome to the GatorHood
at 20:07 Race and Ethnicity based Affiliate Groups
at 34:36 Lessons in Leadership through COVID 19
at 39:48 Experience as an African-American higher education professional
at 45:54 What’s Trending in Advancement


Scott Francis is the Associate Vice Chancellor of Alumni and leads the alumni team. In this role, he works directly with the ECU Alumni Association board, serving as its President.

Scott joined the Pirate Nation in August of 2019, bringing 20 years of Higher Education experience to the role. Scott served his first 12 years in higher education in housing and residence life, followed by 7 years serving as the Director of Gator Clubs and Affiliate Groups for the University of Florida Alumni Association where he was responsible for support and development of the 95 Gator Clubs®, and the 6 affiliate groups, representing over 422,000 alumni.

A graduate of Stockton University, Scott earned a degree in Criminal Justice. He also earned his Master of Science degree from Western Illinois University in College Student Personnel. Scott hails from South Orange, New Jersey and lives in Winterville, NC with his wife Stephanie and their children Steven (8) and Isabelle (6).

Scott is committed to the vision of the ECU Alumni Association developing and executing programs and initiatives that transform the experience of being a Pirate.

AT12. The Alumni Trending Origin Story with Michael Sgro

What’s Up Trendsetters!

On this episode I talk with Michael Sgro, higher ed veteran, executive coach, superhero, the godfather and OG of the Alumni Trending brand! Michael is the owner of Michael Sgro Leadership Coaching in Syracuse
Today’s trend lines include:
– the Alumni Trending origin story,
– executive coaching,
– and his perspective on higher ed advancement.

Quick Listening Guide
at 3:30 Alumni Trending Origin Story
at 6:04 #AlumChat on Twitter
at 8:35 Creating an Online Community of Practice
at 13:16 Serving your Purpose
at 15:31 The role of an executive coach
at 20:54 Motivation to achieve your goals
at 22:01 The Leadership Challenge for post COVID 19 world

Michael D. Sgro is a business owner, a certified professional coach, an advocate, a performance expert and empathic leader. He coaches professionals to improve their overall effectiveness, leadership skills, career readiness, digital savvy and so much more. Michael’s vision for himself is to help people achieve their human potential through relationship building, developing emotional intelligence and community building. 

Sgro, a Syracuse native, ascended the ranks in higher education at several institutions in New York state, earning a stellar reputation for his work with constituent engagement, program management, professional networking and digital marketing. He spent 20- years on college campuses in New York City and the Central New York area before coming home to Syracuse to start his own coaching practice. 

Michael has earned several honors through the years, including the NYU Advocate for Change Award, the SUNYCUAD award for best alumni program, the Downtown Syracuse Committee Perfect Partner award and the prestigious Le Moyne College Ignatian Award for Service.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Le Moyne College, a certificate in business coaching from the Professional Business Coaches Alliance of North America, a certificate in project management from the American Management Association and is a certified facilitator of Extended DISC.

AT11. Unshackle Greatness with Kim Nyoni

What’s Up Trendsetters!

On this episode of the Alumni Trending podcast, I visit with Kim Nyoni, Associate Vice President for Development at the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV). Kim Nyoni talks about and asks all of us to take the pledge and make a difference so that equity and inclusion can thrive in advancement.

Today’s trend lines include:
– the power of philanthropy,
– mentoring and team building,
– anti racism,
– and the pledge (AADO and Black Leaders in Advancement)

Quick Listening Guide
at 5:03 My Mission: Unshackle Greatness
at 8:17 Building Institutional and Professional Relationships
at 14:04 Culture Eats Strategy for Lunch Everyday
at 22:36 Black Leaders in Advancement
at 26:33 The Pledge Diversity and Inclusiveness in Advancement
at 28:00 How are we Sourcing Talent?
at 31:07 White Privilege and Institutional Racism
at 33:46 Unconscious Bias in Career Advancement
at 38:01 Coconspirators in Anti-Racism
at :43:04 Diversity in the Board Rooms
at 44:14 What’s Trending in Advancement

Kim Nyoni serves as an Associate Vice President for Development with the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV).  He is a seasoned fundraising executive with over fifteen years of experience in higher education. Kim has been with UNLV since 2017 and oversees fundraising teams that work to secure philanthropic gifts in support of UNLV’s strategic priorities in academics and athletics. Additionally, Kim is responsible for working closely with academic leaders to develop and execute fundraising initiatives.   

Kim started his career at the University of California Berkeley and served in key fundraising roles at Washington University, Utah State University, University of Arizona, and the University of Missouri. Kim joined UNLV from the University of Missouri, where he served in various leadership roles in university advancement.  

Kim is a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, with a Master of Arts in Advertising and a Bachelor of Journalism in Broadcasting. He also attended the Institute of Education Management (IEM) at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.  He enjoys serving the Las Vegas community as a proud member of The Rotary Club of Las Vegas. Kim is an avid Nebraska Cornhusker, a Lifetime Member of the University of Nebraska Alumni Association and a proud Las Vegas Raiders fan.

AT10. Will COVID-19 Push Alumni Organizations To Go Viral? Barney Ellis-Perry

What’s Up Trendsetters!

Our guest is alumni relations and fundraising practitioner, Barney Ellis-Perry and today’s trend line includes:

  • Strategic Planning,
  • Outcome Metrics,
  • and how COVID-19 sparks a change in engagement.

Articles by Barney on these topics:

Showing Your Impact with Outcome Metrics

Will COVID-19 Push Alumni Organizations To Go Viral?


Barney Ellis-Perry is the former Senior Vice President in the Alumni Relations practice at Grenzebach Glier and Associates. A veteran of higher education advancement, Barney has over 25 years of experience in alumni relations and fundraising spanning education, non-profit and health care organizations. Barney is known for his ability to deliver unique and creative ideas with execution rooted in strategy. His vast experience covers all aspects of nonprofit work with expertise in strategic planning, board and constituent relations, campaign visioning and planning, marketing and branding, and in spearheading innovative and immersive alumni engagement strategies across various digital, social media and in-person platforms. Prior to GGA, Barney served as CEO of the University of California, Irvine (UCI) Alumni Association. During his tenure, Barney worked collaboratively with campus leaders and alumni volunteers to develop and implement a new vision and strategic plan for the University and the alumni endeavor. He also designed a system for tracking alumni engagement metrics, launched the Bridge Media program to improve online alumni and donor engagement, and led a re-branding of the organization. Under his leadership, alumni engagement increased from 7,650 to 10,533 from 2015 –2016 and reached 13,161 in 2017.Before his role at UCI, Barney held several fundraising and alumni relations positions during his 14-year tenure at the University of British Columbia (UBC), including Director of Alumni Engagement Campaign and Director of Alumni Relations. From 2000- 2005 he served as Strategic External Relations Officer at UBC Land & Building Services where he created Canada’s first campaign for aging university infrastructure. He also successfully designed, launched and co-ledStart an Evolution, the world’s first dual-goal campaign for a major university, with goals of raising $1.5 billion and of doubling active alumni engagement by 2015. In support of the campaign, he also conceived and led a ground-breaking social media campaign—your evolution—in 2011, connecting alumni with each other and the community through a collaborative online project-sharing platform. Under his direction, Alumni UBC met the campaign’s engagement goal a year early. Prior to UBC, Barney worked as a fundraiser for a number of large organizations and served as a founding partner in a fundraising consultancy for three years.

From 1996-1999 he served as Director of Annual Giving at St. Paul’s Hospital Foundation of Vancouver where he created and executed the innovativeLights of Hope campaign and developed a major gift program for the Foundation. When not at work, Barney is an active volunteer at the local and national levels.

In 2012, the Prime Minister of Canada and Queen Elizabeth II awarded him the Diamond Jubilee Medal for his social engagement and community service, most notably with Volunteer Canada.

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.”

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/