Independent Schools Summit - Sessions and Presenters

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Three Ways to Engage Alumni for Optimal Philanthropy

Maeve Strathy, Fundraising Strategist at Blakely Inc.

Some alumni who have philanthropy in their bones while others need some convincing. And a growing group of millennial donors won't give unless they really believe they are making an impact.

Put simply, the landscape has changed for alumni giving, and the way ahead is through engagement. This inspiring session will cover key programs, services, and events - especially alumni mentorship programs - that will engage your donors, and how to translate that engagement into philanthropy.

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Key Engagement and Fundraising Challenges by School Type: Panel Discussion

Moderator: Mireille Millette, CFRE, Associate Director of Advancement, The Sterling Hall School

Panelists include:

Doug Mann, Executive Director of Philanthropy and Alumni, Trinity College School; Scott Hayter, St. Andrew’s College; Geneviève Delaquis, Balmoral Hall School

Discussion will focus on various perspectives regarding the challenges and benefits of engaging constituents at a single-gender or coed student body, and day versus boarding students and families. Advancement professionals from different school types will compare and contrast strategies for effective communication and fundraising, parental and student engagement, alumni relations and more.

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The Trifecta of High-Value Giving (and how to get your donors there)

Maeve Strathy, Fundraising Strategist at Blakely Inc.

Why would you inspire a donor to give for the first time if you don't want them to engage with you over the long-term? You wouldn't. But our fundraising programs aren't optimized for the trifecta of high-value giving: monthly, mid-level, and legacy. So let's change that!

This session will walk through what high-value giving is, how to set up your donor journey so that your donors heads towards high-value giving from from their very first gift, and what the ROI of a focus on high-value giving is (hint: it's massive).

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Models that Optimize Alumni Committees and Boards: Panel Discussion

Panelists include:

Christina Barwinsky, Director of Advancement, St. John’ Ravenscourt School

Sandra Sualim, Alumnae Communications Officer, Havergal College

While virtually all Canadian independent schools now rely on alumni association board or committee buy-in for strategic direction, planning and marketing, the models and mandates of these groups vary significantly.

3 seasoned advancement professionals will provide a capsule summary of their own alumni groups’ scope, structure, functions and roles in governance, fundraising and promotion. Take away aspects of the model(s) best suited to your school and success tips from colleagues who are making it work.

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Planned Giving Programs: The Essentials

Theresa Butler-Porter, Head of Philanthropic Relations, Lakefield College School

The early, and ongoing, success of any legacy program is directly related to the engagement and commitment of volunteer and school leadership. Integration of, and accountability for, a well–defined legacy goal is critical.

Stewardship is key. An extraordinarily high percentage of estate gifts are revocable, making effective lifelong stewardship and ongoing donor engagement critical in order to prevent donors from re-evaluating and/or withdrawing their commitment.

Learn about these principles, and strategies to establish effective, ongoing legacy programs, from an expert in the field.

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International Fundraising in - and from - China

Laura Edwards, Executive Director of Advancement, York House School

Many schools have seen an influx of Chinese families on campus. Are you wondering why China matters? Do you want to learn how to approach philanthropy and deepen engagement among parents who speak Mandarin? Let's explore key questions and learn what strategies and tactics are likely to be successful with Chinese families:

  • What are the cultural cues you need to know when working with new immigrants from China?
  • When is the right time to travel to China to build relationships?
  • Who should go, and how often?
  • What are realistic expectations from each visit?

This session will explore:

  1. Why China is important for Canadian Independent Schools.
  2. What cultural norms and cues to watch for.
  3. Realistic expectations of the Board and Head of School from fundraising in China.

Laura Edwards is a seasoned expert who brings a wealth of experience in fundraising in China. She will share time-tested strategies and personal experiences to help you to start and grow a fundraising program in and from China.

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Communicating your Fundraising Message

Rebecca Llewellyn, Director of Development; and Shannon Boeckner, Manager, Donor Relations, Appleby College

Discover how Appleby College’s advancement professionals collaborate with communications staff to provide effective and segmented appeals. This session features the reunion giving challenge as a case study. Learn about the fine points of collaboration between internal stakeholders, along with the challenges and opportunities that can arise as a project evolves.


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Step Off the Edge: Optimizing Raiser’s Edge

Laura Marziali,  Director, Advancement Services, The Bishop Strachan School

Are you using Raiser’s Edge to its full potential? A scan of independent school advancement staff indicates plenty of room for improvement. Join an expert for an audience Q&A covering all things Raiser’s Edge.

 Among other topics, this session will address:

  • how to create segmented mailing lists for the Annual Fund;
  • invitations and newsletters;
  • Annual Report listings;
  • prospecting and moves Management;
  • the difference between Actions and Notes,
  • how to use Dashboards; and
  • Best Practices.

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Closing Panel Discussion: The 360-degree View

Moderator: Ross W. Marsh, Ross W. Marsh Consulting Group, Inc.
Innes van Nostrand, Principal, Appleby College
Deryn Lavell, Head of School, Bishop Strachan School
Chad Holtum, Deputy Head of Advancement, Glenlyon Norfolk School

The Summit will close an analysis of the major issues facing Independent Schools in Canada, and the important role of advancement in managing these issues within this unique academic setting.

Participants will learn about:

  1. The “state of the practice” of independent school leadership and advancement from the most recognized and effective practitioners in Canada; 
  2. The coming trends and challenges facing independent schools, and how to meet them successfully; 
  3. What makes a successful senior leader in an independent school. 

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Presenter Bios 

Christina Barwinsky, CFRE, Director of Advancement, St. John’s Ravenscourt School

Christina Barwinsky received her B.A. from the University of Manitoba with a major in Art History as well as a Certificate in Applied Management with a Non-Profit Organization speciality. She is a CFRE and has worked in fundraising for over 20 years, honing her skills in volunteer management, stewardship, special events, capital campaigns and all aspects of philanthropy.

She has been a board member of AFP Manitoba Chapter and is a faculty member of the Essentials of Fundraising program at Red River College in Winnipeg.

Christina has always worked in the non-profit community, with previous positions at the Winnipeg Art Gallery and Red River College. She is an alumna of St.John's Ravenscourt School and returned to her alma mater in 2009 as Director of Advancement, where she managed SJR's $15 million Build Our Tomorrow capital campaign. She continues to oversee the School's archives, alumni, annual and planned giving programs.

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Shannon Boeckner, Manager, Donor Relations, Appleby College

Prior to joining Appleby, Shannon managed community fundraising for Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital Foundation, where she enjoyed stewarding and growing a robust portfolio of community events and cause-related marketing programs.

At Appleby, Shannon oversees the Grad Class Gift, Annual Giving, Planned Giving, Employee Giving, the Student Philanthropy Club (kids4kids) and Reunion Giving, and is in charge of day-to-day donor stewardship. Shannon enjoys volunteering in a multitude of capacities around campus, including leading a Writer’s Workshop for Appleby parents.

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Theresa Butler-Porter, Head of Philanthropic Relations, Lakefield College School

Theresa left the private sector 18 years ago to become part of the Peterborough not-for-profit sector. After gaining invaluable experience working with social justice, health care and university advancement teams, she joined the Lakefield College School Foundation in 2004.

As a mentor, a volunteer and well-respected professional, Theresa sees daily the effect philanthropy has, not only on the independent school sector, but on local, national and global communities as well.

First and foremost a relationship builder, Theresa works diligently to engage, cultivate, and inspire donors to actively discover and realize their unique philanthropic passions.

Today, Theresa is relentless in her promotion of the power of planned giving. She believes that in order to ensure a healthy, vibrant and sustainable future, schools must actively engage in pro-active philanthropy: legacy giving.

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Geneviève Delaquis, CFRE, Director of Advancement, Balmoral Hall School

Eighteen years ago, Geneviève joined a small shop in Winnipeg and was given the opportunity to build an advancement program at this 100-year-old girls’ school. With the goal of engaging constituents and growing a culture of philanthropy, she has planned events, led marketing/communications initiatives, managed the database, liaised with the parent association, and worked with hundreds of volunteers. Today, she spends her time with donors who support the school’s Annual Fund, Major Gift and Planned Giving programs.

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Laura Edwards, Executive Director of Advancement, York House School

During Laura's 19-year tenure, the culture of giving at York House School has grown from modest beginnings to a thriving annual fund, capital for new facilities, and growing endowment.

Laura is particularly committed to, and successful with, philanthropy from Chinese constituents. Fifteen years ago she realized the importance of China to her work, and during 30-plus visits to countless cities and rural areas of China, she has gained a strong understanding and love of the country and people. What began as a learning mission has become a thriving, vital component of the fundraising work Laura delivers.

Laura has been recognized for her work both professionally and as a volunteer, receiving the CAISAP Sam Heaman Award for outstanding service to the association and profession; HRH Queen Elizabeth Golden and Diamond Jubilee medals; and the Association of Fundraising Professionals Outstanding Professional Fundraiser in November 2015.

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Scott Hayter, Executive Director of Advancement, St. Andrew’s College

Scott joined St. Andrew’s College in May 2008, with responsibility for communications, alumni and parent relations and fundraising.

A graduate of the Royal Military College, Canada, Scott began his career in the military in 1976, before moving to the private school sector in 1988 as deputy head of a boys’ boarding school in Niagara, Canada, where he was responsible, among other things, for fundraising and alumni affairs.

In 1995, he began his fundraising career in higher education as the Assistant Director of External Relations at Brock University, Niagara, Canada.

As Director of Development at the University of Durham, UK from 1997, Scott was responsible for the establishment of a new and highly successful team, and he laid the groundwork for a £175 million campaign.

As Assistant Vice-President of Development at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo from 2004, Scott rebuilt the development team and successfully completed a $100 million campaign 4 years earlier than planned. He became Vice-President at Laurier in 2007.

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Chad Holtum, Deputy Head of School, Glenlyon Norfolk School

Chad Holtum is in his fourth year as Deputy Head of Glenlyon Norfolk School in Victoria, BC.

As head of the Advancement Office, Chad oversees the school’s Admissions, Fundraising, Alumni Relations, International Program, Communications and Marketing operations. Since his arrival he has played an instrumental role in diversifying GNS’s enrolment by adding a Family Boarding Program that has allowed more than 60 students from around the world to attend the school, each living with a current GNS parent or staff member.

Chad has also helped build the school’s culture of philanthropy, allowing GNS’s 2015-16 Annual Appeal to surpass $400,000 for the first time and double parent participation. He has also played a principal role in securing nearly $1 million in capital gifts in the past 2 months and has recently secured a seven-figure gift as part of the silent phase for the school’s upcoming campaign. All of this in a school that had little to no culture of giving prior to his arrival.

Chad has extensive experience in Canadian independent schools. Prior to his current position he served as Director of Enrolment and Marketing at Shawnigan Lake School, as well as Deputy Head of Queen Margaret’s School. He is widely regarded as an expert in admissions with a flair for international student recruitment, and has a wide network of contacts around the world.

Chad holds a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Guelph, a Bachelor of Education and Master’s of Education (Administration and Leadership) degrees from the University of British Columbia. He resides in Victoria with his wife, Erica and their two young sons.

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Jody Jacobson, Director of Constituency Relations, Upper Canada College

Jody has been with Upper Canada College (UCC) as Director of Constituency Relations since 2010. She is responsible for developing and strengthening relations with the College's external constituents and providing strategic directions for alumni and parent programs. Jody is also the Managing Director of the Association Council and has served as the Secretary of the UCC Foundation and the UCEF Foundation in the U.S.

Prior to joining UCC, Jody was Executive Director of the Canadian Journalism Foundation. She has also held positions with BearingPoint Inc. (formerly KPMG Consulting) and the Business Development Bank of Canada.

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Deryn Lavell, Head of School, Bishop Strachan School

Deryn Lavell is a highly respected educational leader with over 30 years experience in Canada and internationally. With a Master of Educational Administration and Bachelor of Education from the University of Victoria, B.C., Deryn’s career has taken her from the classrooms of Alert Bay, Prince Rupert, and Victoria, B.C., to increasingly senior roles in the United Arab Emirates and Canada.Currently she is Head of School at The Bishop Strachan School (BSS), which is celebrating its 150th anniversary alongside Canada, making it this country’s oldest day and boarding school for girls.

Deryn is a powerful advocate for equality and for empowering girls with the confidence they need to thrive in an increasingly complex world, a philosophy that has distinguished her leadership at BSS.

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Rebecca Llewellyn, Director of Development, Appleby College

Rebecca has been with Appleby College for five years and oversees a broad scope of fundraising avenues for the school, including annual giving, donor stewardship and major gifts. A key portfolio piece focuses on fundraising in Asia. She is passionate about the importance of student financial assistance.

Prior to joining Appleby, for five years Rebecca was with the Children’s Aid Foundation, a national not-for-profit, managing corporate sponsorships, national fundraising initiatives, cause-related marketing and community relations. It was here she saw firsthand the power and impact education has on young lives.

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Ross W. Marsh, President, Ross W. Marsh Consulting Group

In 26 years as a consultant, Ross Marsh has worked across Canada and internationally with over 200 clients on campaigns with goals from $500,000 to $200 million, and a myriad of projects spanning education, health, arts and culture, environmental, sports, religious, and social service. His work has been recognized with numerous awards and accolades.

As President of Ross W. Marsh Consulting Group, which he established in 2004, he leads a team of 10 Associates in fund development and non-profit management for organizations in Western Canada and Ontario.

Ross was previously President of the Canadian division of the world’s largest international fundraising consultancy at that time. He founded Sponsorship Connections in 2010, one of Canada’s top sponsorship sales agencies.

A graduate of the University of Toronto, Ross has sat on a number of Boards, including the Beta Theta Pi Foundation of Canada, Hillandale Corporation, LinkAGES Foundation, Sage Theatre and as a founding trustee of the Dave Williams Leadership Fund at the Edmonton Community Foundation. He volunteers with numerous other organizations.

Ross has taught at post-secondary institutions in Ontario, Alberta and Melbourne, Australia. He is a regular speaker and presenter at conferences and workshops for, among others, the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Canadian Association of Gift Planners, and Canadian Association of Independent Schools. He has authored a number of published articles on industry issues.

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Doug Mann, Executive Director of Philanthropy and Alumni, Trinity College School

Doug Mann worked for a few years in federal and provincial politics after university before starting his career in advancement in 1990 after moving to Halifax. He began knocking on doors, including the advancement office at Saint Mary’s University, where he started as Annual Fund assistant.

Doug has been almost exclusively a campaign/major gifts professional. Aside from one year working in annual giving, he has spent the past 20 years working on 9 different major campaigns. He was a Development Officer on SMU’s second comprehensive campaign in the early 1990s, followed by 9 years with KCI Ketchum Canada as a campaign director in Fredericton, Moncton, Ottawa and Calgary.

Doug served as Associate Vice President, Development at the University of Alberta and Campaign Director for much of their centenary campaign, which ended in 2008. He moved to the independent school sector with Trinity College School in 2007 and is presently leading a major campaign.

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Laura Marziali, Director of Advancement Services at The Bishop Strachan School and Owner & Lead Consultant at MMC Canada

MMC is a technology and management consulting firm committed to delivering superior software training and assisting organizations to maximize the potential of their Raiser’s Edge software. Laura has 13 years experience working with clients throughout Canada, the U.S. and Asia.

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Mireille Millette, CFRE, Associate Director of Advancement, The Sterling Hall School

Mireille brings 15 years of relationship building in the charitable sector to her professional and volunteer work. She creates and closes philanthropic opportunities, and builds campaigns and events that deliver promised results and outlast her leadership.

Since 2006, as the Associate Director of Advancement at The Sterling Hall School, Mireille has successfully led numerous staff and volunteer efforts that have propelled SHS’s fundraising, community relations, and communications efforts forward. She also led the team as Interim Director of Advancement for a period in 2013. She holds a CFRE accreditation and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Waterloo.

Mireille is an active community volunteer and mentor.  She has spent 10 rewarding years in a variety of roles on the CAISAP Board, most recently as CAISAP President for 2015-17.  She loves a challenge and meeting new people.  

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Maeve Strathy, Fundraising Strategist, Blakely Inc.

Maeve Strathy is a sought-after speaker, incredibly passionate (and bordering on geeky) about fundraising. Her full-time work is as a Fundraising Strategist at Blakely Inc., providing strategy for her nonprofit clients on integrated direct response campaigns, with a growing expertise in mid-level giving.

Prior to joining the team at Blakely, Maeve developed the mid-level giving program at Wilfrid Laurier University, and before that, built a young-alumni giving program at Trinity College School. In her spare time, Maeve likes to cook and write for her fundraising and philanthropy-focused blog, You can find Maeve on Twitter @fundraisemaeve.

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Sandra Sualim, Alumnae Communications Officer, Havergal College

With over 10 years of experience in Strategic Marketing and Communications, Sandra joined Havergal College in the Advancement & Community Relations department as an Alumnae Communications Officer in 2015. Sandra’s outgoing personality, creativity and strategic vision have served her well in her involvement with companies all across Canada, nonprofits and the education sector.

Sandra’s many responsibilities with Havergal include the alumnae magazine, website, event planning and, most importantly, keeping Havergal’s over 9,500 alumnae closely connected with and involved in the College.

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Innes van Nostrand, Principal, Appleby College

In July 2012, Innes van Nostrand became the 7th Principal of Appleby College since its founding in 1911. He is proud to lead a school that combines a warm culture with superb, broadly-based programs, and particular strengths in global education, outdoor education, technology integration and student engagement. All Appleby students board in at least their final year.

Prior to arriving at Appleby, Innes spent more than 25 years working in the Canadian university and independent school sectors. Most recently, he served as Vice-Principal of Upper Canada College, and before that in a variety of roles at Queen’s University. He has also consulted or participated in review teams at a wide variety of universities and schools across Canada in areas such as advancement, market research, ethics, and accreditation.

Innes has been involved as a volunteer, presenter, author and Board member with a variety of professional and community organizations, including Canadian Accredited Independent Schools (CAIS), The Canadian Council for the Advancement of Education (CCAE), TABS, CASE, NAIS, Christ Church Deer Park, Rotary, Scouts Canada, and Queen’s University (having just retired from its Board). He and his wife Alison are the proud parents of Jack, Claire and Alec.

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