2014 Rising Star

CCAE Rising Stars - 2104

Rising Star Awards are designated for professionals with three to five years’ experience in educational advancement who demonstrate achievements, accomplishments, early success and commitment in the advancement field. A $2,000 Presidents’ Scholarship is presented to each Rising Star and is used to support further professional development in the year following their receiving the award.

The two 2014 Rising Stars are:

Cynthia Breen, Alumni Officer, Digital Initiatives, University of Waterloo
Ashley Forristall, Marketing Coordinator (Graduate Studies), Memorial University


Cynthia Breen
Alumni Officer, Digital Initiatives
University of Waterloo

2014 CCAE Rising Star Cynthia Breen joined the Alumni Relations team at Waterloo two years ago, and has since made a dramatic strategic impact on Alumni Relation’s social media. She has proven to be adept at integrating digital media and communications into all of the team’s alumni engagement initiatives.

Said Jason Coolman, Associate Vice-President, Alumni Relations at Waterloo: “Cynthia’s expertise in communications has been a valuable asset to the team and she continues to outperform our expectations in each project she undertakes, always providing recommendations that push team goals forward. Her high-quality and uncompromised work has contributed to the Alumni Relation’s team and the entire Advancement Department.”

Cynthia created a social media portfolio and was responsible for the team’s website launch within her first couple of months of starting on the team. Within her first year, Cynthia took leadership on an innovative project for Waterloo, working with key areas of campus such as the Registrar's Office and Athletics to include social media in Waterloo's convocation for the very first time. This successful project was recognized by both CASE District II and CCAE, and received Gold Awards in social media categories.

Ashley Forristall
Marketing Coordinator (Graduate Studies)
Memorial University

Ashley Forristall, the recipient of a 2014 CCAE Rising Star Award, has been a major force in advancing the School of Graduate Studies at Memorial University for the past three years. As Marketing Coordinator (Graduate Studies), Ashley’s position is a joint effort of the School of Graduate Studies and the Division of Marketing and Communications.

Ashley worked closely with Marketing and Communications staff to revamp Memorial’s prospective student website. Since its launch in October 2013, the site has shown a vast increase in visits and page views, ranking among the top ten visited sites on mun.ca. Ashley also collaborated with Distance Education, Teaching and Learning Support (DELTS) to create a student testimonial video campaign, which was launched in December 2013.

Ashley promotes MUN’s Graduate Studies’ marketing activities by establishing a highly interactive community through social media on Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin. Since 2011, the Graduate Studies Facebook page has seen an 807% increase in page 'likes.'

Graduate Student Orientation is the largest grad event, for which Ashley is entirely responsible. The student and faculty participation rate in Orientation has increased 70% since 2011. Ashley's collaborative efforts and initiatives have resulted in an increase in graduate enrolment by 14% since 2011. In efforts to assist students in making a successful transition into graduate studies, Ashley developed a year-long orientation program for entering graduate students, the Graduate Integration Program. In 2011 and 2012, she organized the interactive event, Outside the Box Challenge, as part of MUNdays, the annual school spirit week of activities. Ashley holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Memorial University of Newfoundland; a Master of Professional Communication from the University of Western Sydney, in Sydney, Australia; and a Corporate Communications Post-Graduate Certificate from Seneca College. Ashley Forristall’s accomplishments and proactive attitude predict a brilliant future in Advancement for this 2014 CCAE Rising Star.