CCAE Thought Leaders’ Discussion Forum

Supported by:



All sessions now available on demand

The CCAE Thought Leaders’ Discussion Forum will provide Advancement Leaders from across Canada an opportunity to contribute their knowledge, experience, and insights through a formalized process. The participants for the Forum are proven leaders with expertise in specific topics relevant to each Thought Leader Forum agenda.

The Forum will be hosted monthly and consist of a mix of presentation topics with open discussion.


On-demand sessions (available for CCAE members only)

Members : 
Single Session: $100 (access to the session of your choice)

Purchase on-demand sessions

Get the most out of the discussion:




Discussion led by Mark Hazlett, President & CEO, CCAE & Derek Cassoff, McGill University, (Chair of the CCAE Board)

Derek Cassoff
Derek Cassoff

Mark Hazlett
Mark Hazlett

Topics include

  • The new CCAE story – a strong, focussed strategic plan for the future
  • How CCAE is positioning itself as the educational advancement sector leader
  • Trends and insights from the 2nd edition of the CASE-CCAE Support of Education Survey and the launch of the 3rd edition

Continuous Innovation During a Time of Constraint
Melinda Church, Senior Vice President and Managing Partner, Grenzebach Glier and Associates

melinda churchMelinda Church

In early March, the rules of the road changed—suddenly and dramatically. Campuses sent students home. Events were cancelled. The horizon was uncertain. Seemingly overnight, the engagement of alumni, donors, and friends flipped to “socially distant” tools and tactics. For many teams, this was a swing-the-bat moment, freeing them to innovate quickly and to partner in new ways with others in their organizations. Canadian schools, colleges, and universities embraced the opportunity, and have much impressive work to show for it.

In this session, Melinda Church of Grenzebach Glier and Associates will showcase several innovative approaches undertaken by Canadian institutions this spring and summer. She will break down some of the principles behind this progressive work and lead a conversation about what comes next. With a near-term that looks much like today, how can alumni and development teams continue to innovate in their engagement and communications? The session is designed for collaborative ideation and problem-solving, all to develop actionable insights.

Learning Objectives

  • Common principles of innovation
  • Ways to collaborate across organizations for shared benefit
  • How to engage key alumni and friends in next-gen virtual programming

COVID-19 6-month check-in panel discussion: What Impact has the COVID-19 Pandemic had on Advancement Strategies
Penny Blackwood, Executive Director, Office of Development, Memorial University of Newfoundland  
Greg Dick, Executive Director, Advancement and Senior Director, Public Engagement, Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics
Kirsten Eastwood, Executive Director, Community Development, TMS
Chris Horbachewski, Vice-President, External Relations, University of Victoria

As member institutions start a new version of the return of the Fall semester what are the effects, impact and strategies that are being used by institutions and advancement leaders?

Learning Objectives

  • Program strategies and action plans for fundraisers, alumni relations, communications and advancement services.
  • The impact on your staff and talent management strategies.
  • The overall financial health of institutions and its relation to advancement department.

Penny Blackwood
Penny Blackwood

Greg Dick
Greg Dick

Kirsten Eastwood
Kirsten Eastwood

Chris Horbachewski
Chris Horbachewski

That hurts - how leaders cope with hostile criticism
Julie Davis, Vice President External Relations & Advancement, Trent University

Julie DavisJulie Davis

The ability to cope with criticism is an important competence for leaders, who face criticism as a normal reaction to their role and the decisions they make. Hostile criticism and personal attacks are a source of stress for leaders. If unmanaged, this stress affects their physical and mental health, job performance, and their employees. Accepting that criticism is normal, developing emotional regulation skills, accessing social support, and engaging in proactive planning are all proven approaches to coping with the stress of hostile criticism. The session will review and help participants develop these skills. Given the normalization of personal attacks and public criticism in our society, leaders at all levels will benefit from this session.

Learning Objectives

  • Help leaders develop skills to cope with the stress of hostile criticism
  • Help leaders understand and accept that hostile criticism is a normal part of leadership

The Future of Award Management & Student Funding
Randy Hashem, Solutions Engineer, Blackbaud
Scott Mousseau, Manager, Advancement Services, Fanshawe College
Betcy M. Scaria, Awards Officer, Sheridan College

The climate for students being able to afford to attend college or university this year in Canada is uncertain to say the least. The COVID-19 crisis has brought more financial challenges to young people considering post-secondary education than ever before. Not only is the idea of summer employment precarious, but the demand and competition for financial aid and scholarships will be more prevalent than ever before. Increased demand on funding for students will put increased strain on financial aid and scholarship administrators. Not only will we see amplified demand, but will also see the need for improved access for student applicants, award reviewers, administrators, and the ability to steward award donors virtually. So often, systems that have existed to date are reliant on in person interactions and varied, unreliable tracking and disbursement methodologies. It will be imperative for institutions to embrace safe, dependable cloud technology to meet the needs of students and staff moving through this time of change and uncertainty that will have a lasting impact.

Learning Objectives

  • How to implement technology to simplify the submission and review process
  • Creating new stewardship opportunities
  • Fostering cross departmental efficiencies to support increased demand

Randy Hashem
Randy Hashem

Scott Mousseau
Scott Mousseau

Betcy M. Scaria
Betcy M. Scaria

Corporate Citizenship and Post-Secondary Education: A Partnership to Improve Lives
Kari Scarlett, Manager, Community Banking and External Events, Prairie Region, TD Bank Group
Farah Kurji, Senior Manager, Philanthropy, Global Corporate Citizenship, TD Bank Group

Kari Scarlett
Kari Scarlett

Farah KurjiFarah Kurji

TD, as with many financial institutions in Canada, has evolved how they engage and invest in the communities. The approach is dedicated to improving people's lives, with the focus on outcomes. This session will provide insights and clarity on TD's new corporate citizenship platform, the TD Ready Commitment, the annual TD Ready Challenge, and TD's response to the COVID19 pandemic.

Learning Objectives

  • Share TD's new corporate citizenship platform, TD Ready Commitment and the TD Ready Challenge
  • Provide insights on how TD's community investment has evolved, and TD's response during the pandemic
  • Provide insights on TD corporate citizenship goals and objectives, and share best practices for post-secondary institutions interested in applying for support