CCAE COVID-19 Webinar Series

We are in this together

Across Canada CCAE member institutions have been responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. The advancement community has been leading many of the campus response teams, which has led to a number of questions being asked in related areas. In efforts to bring the advancement community together and to collaborate on strategies and share ideas surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, CCAE developed an on-going series of webinars.

Should you have additional questions that you would like to have addressed, please email the CCAE office at


March 25, 2020
Canadian Advancement Leaders share strategies & thoughts on COVID-19

April 8, 2020
Independent Schools COVID-19 Fish Bowl Conversation

The COVID-19 pandemic is re-shaping how independent schools are reaching, engaging and supporting their students, parents, and constituents as well as alumni and donors. With operational, and educational challenges surmounting, find out how your peers are rising to the challenge and creating effective solutions in these unprecedented times.

  • Navigating the current circumstances
  • Institutional action plans
  • International Students
  • Fall recruitment
  • Communicating with staff and constituents
  • Finances, operations and more

Angela Dudek, St. John's School
Brent Johnston, Country Day School
Ross W. Marsh, Ross W. Marsh Consulting Group
Hallie McClelland, Kingsway College School
Greg Stevenson, Shawnigan Lake School

April 15, 2020
Managing Institutional Relationships with Government

As government mandates, funding and support surrounding COVID-19 are being rolled out, how are Canadian educational institutions managing their relationships with all levels of government during the COVID-19 pandemic? Join CCAE and a panel of Government Relations specialists as they share their insights into the issues and challenges in ensuring educational interests are included in the discussions and the best practices to make this happen.


John Alho, Associate Vice President Government and Community Engagement, University of Calgary
Sylvie Bourassa, Executive Director Government Relations Concordia University
Matt Hebb, Assistant Vice-President of Government Relations and Economic Development, Dalhousie University
Adriaan de Jager, Associate Vice President, Government Relations and Community Engagement, University of British Columbia
Andrew Thomson, Chief of Government Relations, University of Toronto

April 22, 2020
The class of 2020: Challenges in transitioning students to alumni

With campuses closed for events and Alumni Relations staff working remotely in most cases, institutions are facing new challenges in transitioning 2020 graduates in all aspects. Hear from Canadian leaders on how schools are planning and innovating to ensure graduates remain engaged and celebrated.

  • Awarding diplomas
  • Graduation ceremonies: Cancel, postpone or virtual?
  • Recognizing new graduates
  • Transitioning graduates to alumni in a meaningful way
  • Promoting affinity programs
  • Involving graduates in alumni activities
  • Alumni employment assistance

Tim Ambrose, Fanshawe College
Nancy Armitage, Kwantlen Polytechnic University
Mary Duffley, University of New Brunswick
Liz Gorman, Queen’s University
Lee Hays, Trent University
Anne-Marie Middel, McMaster University

April 29, 2020
Changing the narrative; from pandemic panic to campus community

Communication plans tend to be mapped out months in advance but when COVID-19 hit, nobody was prepared for the extent of its impact. Advancement communications with donors and alumni have drastically changed with many institutions completely re-building their strategies. Join CCAE and hear from Canadian leaders on what communications look like today vs two months ago and take part.

  • What does current messaging out to donors and alumni look like?
  • Is there a pause on plans that were strategized prior to March 15th?
  • Are/How are units responding in real time?
  • Does COVID-19 fall under “crisis communication” plans?

Derek Cassoff, McGill University
Grant Hamilton, Brandon University
Katie Kostiuk, The Study
Robert Moore, CASE

May 6, 2020
Taking the relationship virtual. The response of Alumni Offices in the face of COVID-19

There is no end date to the current COVID-19 climate, and alumni professionals, like their Institutional counterparts in all units, continue to provide programming and support for their constituents. Moving Alumni Relations to a virtual space takes time and consideration, but what happens next? Has COVID-19 changed the way Alumni Relations professionals show-up and do their jobs? What does the future of Alumni Relations look like, if we can even look that far at all...

There is no crystal ball, so we lean on Alumni Leaders from across Canada to share how they and their teams are supporting their alumni from afar.

  • What tools are you using to support alumni in the virtual space?
  • Have alumni been receptive to online initiatives?
  • How far into your event timeline have you cancelled?
  • Have you made decisions around Fall events like; homecoming, reunion weekends and other annual get-togethers?
  • How are you supporting International Alumni? How has that changed, if at all, in recent weeks?
  • Do you plan to maintain any of the current online alumni support tools, once the dust from COVID19 settles?

Annie Benko, University of Guelph
Erin Caldwell, Conestoga College
Guy Larocque, University of Saskatchewan
Tricia Mandryk, Trinity College School

May 7, 2020
Working, meeting and leading remotely: 2020 CCAE National Conference Keynote Speaker Sylvie di Giusto

Sylvie di Giusto

Sylvie di Giusto, Keynote Speaker, Author, Stair Climber

"You’ve 7 seconds. Make them count!" says Keynote Speaker Sylvie di Giusto, CSP, who helps individuals and organizations explore how people make up their minds very quickly about them, and either open the door for them or slam it shut. Sylvie takes audiences around the world on an interactive and entertaining journey of self-discovery that reveals how the world sees them, and ultimately, how they see themselves. With her unique and thought-provoking presentations, she helps audience members to lead better, sell faster, and persuade instantly. She empowers them to master their first impressions in any professional environment and during customer interactions. Sylvie is one of less than 12 percent of speakers worldwide who received the Certified Speaking Professional designation by the National Speakers Association. She is the author of "The Image of Leadership" and "Why’d you post that?" and the mind behind dozens of online courses, including "How You Impress".

In light of the current climate, with in-person events no longer being possible at this time, CCAE is excited to bring you the opening Keynote Speaker from the 2020 National Conference Sylvie di Giusto. CCAE invites you to join Sylvie for a captivating webinar on May 7 at 1 p.m. EDT on “Working, meeting and leading remotely”. 

While technology offers incredible opportunities to work and meet with anybody, at any given time, in nearly any place on earth, it also comes with some challenges. When meeting with team members, partners, or clients, it is essential to overcome the anxiety that the technology involved is causing, to understand the vast opportunities virtual environments have to offer, and to sharpen one's presentation skill on screen.

During this webinar, you'll
  • understand the roles and responsibilities in virtual meetings and how to prepare, execute, and review them successfully.
  • learn about the most common mistakes and how they may influence someone's professional or the company's reputation.
  • learn how to set up your virtual workspace best possible.
  • understand how you can make technology work in your favor and host interactive and engaging meetings.
  • learn concrete ways to feel, sound, and look better on screen.

May 13, 2020
Being in Campaign during the pandemic. How has COVID-19 impacted the phases of a campaign and its plan?

It has been said that an institution is ALWAYS in campaign. Whether it be planning, quiet, public or wrap-up, the phases related to campaign are circular. However, the best laid plans never include an act of unforeseen global events such as a pandemic. In a 2,5,8 year plan, how does “pandemic” fit and how do professionals make sure they remain sensitive to the needs of their communities and the existing campaign goals.

  • Has there been a shift in fundraising directive? If so, what does it look like?
  • Where are gift officers supposed to place their focus during these uncertain times?
  • Is there an “ideal” phase to be in when a global crisis hits?
  • What have we learned from past experiences as it relates to campaign fundraising post 9/11 or previous Canadian Recessions?

Marie-Josée Gariépy, McGill University
Guy Mallabone, Global Philanthropic
Paul McCullough, British Columbia Institute of Technology
Rod Morrison, Acadia University
Greg Reid, SAC Foundation, St. Andrew's College

May 20, 2020
Nuances of Major Gift Fundraising in the age of COVID-19

Major gifts are an enormous part of an institution’s fundraising efforts. These gifts can accelerate institutional operations, facilities and everything in-between. Within the current climate how do you continue to keep the conversation going and what does it take to secure a major gift when donor dollars are already stretched? Join CCAE and panel members who will discuss a number of key issues related to major gift fundraising, including:

  • How to discuss philanthropy with donors
  • What types of giving vehicles are donors using
  • How to position solicitations remotely
  • And more!

Hillary Gosselin, University of British Columbia
Pete Lasher, Grenzebach Glier + Associates
Ben McIsaac, Dalhousie University
Sarah Robertson, Upper Canada College

May 27, 2020
2 months later: The return of CCAE’s First COVID-19 Panel

On March 25, 2020, CCAE hosted the very first COVID-19 fishbowl conversation with a panel of advancement leaders from across Canada. Since then the entire landscape of advancement operations, communications and processes have changed and CCAE has tried to provide relevant content with additional COVID-19 webinar panel discussions. What are these institutions doing now, and how are things moving forward as they relate to the COVID-19 pandemic?

Coming May 27th at 2:30 p.m. EDT, CCAE invites you to join the return of the original panel for the final session in the COVID-19 series.


Derek Cassoff, McGill University
Mike den Haan, Simon Fraser University
Brent Johnston, Country Day School
John Kearsey, University of Manitoba
Gillian Morrison, University of Toronto
Nuvyn Peters, University of Calgary
Mark Savenkoff, Algonquin College
Erin Sargeant Greenwood, Saint Mary's University