Program at a Glance

"The Creative Journey: Bridging Where We Are to Where We Want to Be"

Tuesday, June 7
9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Workshop - Essentials for New Professionals in Advancement
7:00 - 10:00 p.m.

Opening Reception - University of Saskatchewan

Wednesday, June 8
8:00 – 9:00 a.m. Registration - Breakfast
9:00 – 10:00 a.m.

Opening Ceremonies

Keynote Speaker – W. Brett Wilson

10:00 – 10:30 a.m.

Health Break in the Marketplace

10:30 – 11:30 a.m.

Professional Development Sessions # 1


11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.


TD Fellowship Presentations

1:00 - 2:00 p.m. Round Table Discussions
2:00 – 2:30 p.m.

Health Break in the Marketplace

2:30 - 4:00 p.m.

Head of the Class Sessions

5:15 – 6:15 p.m.

6:15 – 7:00 p.m.

7:00 – 10:00 p.m.

President’s Reception - Delta Bessborough

Awards Reception - Delta Bessborough

Awards Dinner - Delta Bessborough


Thursday, June 9
8:00 - 9:00 a.m. Registration & Breakfast
9:00 - 10:00 a.m.
Keynote Speakers: Janet Kestin and Nancy Vonk
10:00 - 10:30 a.m.

Health Break in the Marketplace

10:30 – 11:30 a.m.

Professional Development Sessions # 2

11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
  • Annual General Meeting (AGM]
  • 2017 National Conference Presentation – Hamilton, ON
1:00 – 2:00 p.m. Round Table Discussions
2:00 – 3:00 p.m.

Professional Development Sessions # 3

3:00 – 3:30 p.m.

Health Break in the Marketplace

3:30 – 5:00 p.m.
Forum on Aboriginal Issues in Education and Society
5:00 – 6:30 p.m. Break
7:00 – 10:00 p.m.

Social Night - Western Development Museum


Friday, June 10

8:30 – 11:00 a.m.


9:00 – 11:00 a.m.

Prix d’Excellence Awards Presentation

Tempo Framing

11:00 – 11:15 a.m. Short Coffee Break
11:15 a.m. – 12:20 p.m. Keynote Speaker – Kim Coates
12:20 – 12:30 p.m.

Closing & Departure


Professional Development Sessions

PD Sessions 1 - Wednesday, June 8, 2016 - 10:30 - 11:30 a.m.

Thanks A Million: How to Boost Donor Loyalty and Revenue with Simple Stewardship Strategies

David Kravinchuk, Chief Advice Dispenser, Fundraising Pharmacy; and Jane Potentier, CFRE, Assistant Dean, Advancement, Faculty of Arts, University of Alberta

What would happen if your institution was as admired for donor care as it is for the transformative work you do? Would your donor retention rates improve? Would you raise more money? You can improve your donor relationships with simple tools and strategies that focus on caring, personal and meaningful communication. And that all starts with how you thank your donors. This session will dissect the very best in fundraiser thankfulness.

Through this session you will learn how:

  • you can build deep and meaningful connections with your donors that boost engagement and loyalty;
  • transforming the often-overlooked thank-you letter can yield significant results;
  • a simple thank-you call can lead to a massive increase in revenue;
  • other easy-to-implement ideas can help you successfully steward your donors.

Going, Going, Gone! A Profile of 100 Graduating Students

Rebecca Ho, Communications Officer, Department of Economics, Simon Fraser University

What do our students want from their university when they graduate? After speaking with 100 graduating students at Simon Fraser University’s Department of Economics, we have developed a profile of our students that examines how they were engaged at SFU, their satisfaction with their education, and their future plans. We will include engagement strategies for future students and these young alumni to combat the challenges we found in this study: large class size and its impact on building community; the perception of a liberal arts degree in their job search; international students and their experience with post-graduate work.

Participants in this session will:

  • study a model to understand what graduating students want from their university that can enhance Alumni Relations engagement strategies;
  • evaluate whether their home institution could benefit from a transition evaluation with graduating students (exit interviews, focus groups, survey);
  • build a list of ideas for their young alumni programming and engagement opportunities for students;
  • gain insight on what international students plan to do after they graduate and their unique challenges.


Analytics in Wonderland: Down the Rabbit Hole 

Kirk Schmidt, Director of Professional Services, Method Works Consulting; and James Johannesson, Reporting Analyst, University of Saskatchewan

"Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?” asked Alice. "That depends a good deal on where you want to get to," said the Cat. With proper analysis, we can use the data we already have to figure out where we are, and where we are going. Explore with us as we examine data in a higher-education environment and the metrics we found. See what opportunities there are to explore your fundraising and alumni data, how they can be used, and how they can give you a better yardstick for your journey.

Participants in this session will:

  • learn about the use of analytics in higher education;
  • understand why some measures are better than others;
  • use analytics to implement better indicators and influence development processes.


Not a Cookie-Cutter College Strategic Plan: This One Includes Philanthropy and Alumni

Darlene Palmer, Director of Development; and Angela Gilmore, Development Officer, Cambrian College

In 2014 Cambrian College began the process of creating a new strategic plan. But unlike any other strategic planning process, this one took to the streets of the community, where we spent the first few months asking people what they wanted from their community college. The process involved town halls, focus group session with business and community partners, visits with grade school classes to talk to the students of the future, and a multitude of social media and interactive web connections. The result was a one-of-a-kind action plan, incorporating our vision, our value and strategic priority, that at its very heart addresses the philanthropic and alumni engagement need to sit at the table of innovation.

This session will:

  • demonstrate a unique method of creating a new college strategic plan that includes input from external and internal sources;
  • show how inputs were transferred into strategic goals with philanthropy and alumni engagement woven into them;
  • guide participants through the process of creating tactical working groups and delivery timelines.


Creative Corner

Lori Moulden, Development Officer; and Erin O'Neil, Alumni Officer, Digital Engagement, McMaster University Alumni Association

We’ve all been there: you have to write a convincing e-mail, plan an event, or even build a program from scratch. But where on earth do you go to find new ideas? Join affable nerds Lori and Erin on a tour of the places they go to find inspiration, outside the educational advancement sector. They’ve curated a list of go-to resources, tactics and sneaky strategies to get insight into how we can be more creative as individuals and as a sector. You’ll come away with a fresh set of tools to knock your next (whatever it is you do) out of the park!

Culture of Philanthropy

Darlene Freitag, University of Regina

Competition for charitable gifts is fierce. Major and planned gifts are key to a successful Development operation, and indeed to building a culture of philanthropy at your school. This session will cover essential aspects of building and sustaining such a culture, from establishing clear processes and policies to finding champions and building a sense of community. We will discuss core principles such as valuing the donor more than the gift, demonstrating impact through stories and building deep engagement through stewardship.

Participants in this session will:

  • understand philanthropy as a means of achieving the mission;
  • appreciate the sustaining value of philanthropy; and
  • learn strategies to help staff, Board members and volunteers embrace fundraising.

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PD Sessions 2 - Thursday, June 9, 2016 - 10:30 - 11:30 a.m.

Rebranding and Repositioning SIAST as Saskatchewan Polytechnic

Jen Pilsner, Senior Marketing and Communications Consultant, Saskatchewan Polytechnic

In 2014, Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science and Technology embarked on a rebranding project to reposition the institution as a polytechnic under the name Saskatchewan Polytechnic. Polytechnics offer a full suite of learning opportunities, including Bachelor’s degrees of an applied nature, apprenticeship training, certificates and diplomas, with the depth of programming based on workplace requirements.

Attend this session to gain insight into the rebranding journey of SIAST to Saskatchewan Polytechnic and the lessons learned along the way. From engaging internal and external audiences, to planning and executing simultaneous brand launch events in four campus cities, you will leave this session with a rebranding check list for your own institution.

Participants in this session will learn:

  • what to consider when embarking on a rebranding project – both large- and small- scale;
  • how to engage internal and external audiences in the branding process and a successful launch;
  • how to convert social media accounts (i.e. Twitter, Facebook) in real-time from one account to another without losing followers.


Everything I Needed To Know About Major Gifts I Learned By Running The Annual Fund

Mikhael Bornstein, Director, Donor Programs, York University

Many fundraising professionals begin their careers in annual giving. Senior roles, however, typically require major gift experience. And the transition from annual giving to a major gifts role can prove to be challenging.

In this interactive session, the stories of real fundraisers will be used to illustrate how to make the move successfully from annual giving to major gifts as well as more senior roles. Participants will learn how to plan their careers, how to avoid the common pitfalls that trap annual fund professionals, and how to secure their first major gifts position.

Participants will learn:

  • Practical career-planning strategies for annual giving professionals;
  • How to avoid the common career mistakes that annual giving professionals make;
  • Practical tips for annual giving professionals on how to secure their first major-gift position.


The End of evolution - The Complete Lifecycle of the Outreach Elements of the Unique start an evolution Campaign

Richard Fisher, Chief Communications Officer; Jennifer Bendl, Senior Director, Stewardship and Events; and Juliana Fridman, Director of Interactive Marketing, University of British Columbia

Too often campaigns are seen as moments in time, versus the continuum of relationships they represent. In this entertaining and highly visual session, everything from communications to events to stewardship is brought together under one compelling umbrella. Not only is this the case study of a successful public campaign from inception to end, it also weaves alumni engagement and fundraising communications into one homogenous piece.

Participants in this session will:

  • see the importance of an innovative strategy to delivering truly original outreach;
  • learn how to build a strategic "through train" that precedes and succeeds the campaign;
  • understand how the integrity of communications and other forms of outreach contribute to a strong and successful campaign;
  • witness the importance of high-quality execution to all campaign outreach.


Digitizing Donor Records: Leveraging Information and Data

Anna Gibson Hollow, Director of Advancement Records and Advancement FOIP Liaison Officer; Lisa Gauthier, Document Coordinator, University of Alberta

The Office of Advancement at the University of Alberta is establishing an information and records management program that includes implementation of an Electronic Document and Records Management System (EDRMS), and a massive digitization project. In this session, we will discuss the origins and progress of our program. We will also demonstrate how this program meets our objective to make our donor, gift and alumni records accessible to our researchers and front-line fundraisers, while ensuring we practice responsible information-governance principles.

Participants in this session will learn:

  • business requirements for implementing an EDRMS and digitization program;
  • the benefits of moving into an EDRMS and lessons learned from implementation.


Best Creative Session Ever

Jeff Drake, Manager of Communications Services; and Brian Kachur, Creative Services Specialist, University of Saskatchewan

Sometimes, working in marketing and communications at a massive institution can beat the creativity out of you. This session will discuss what you can do to stay creative individually, how to use that to build a culture of creativity across your campus, how to work with campus clients without sinking in the wild seas of bureaucracy, and how to not lose any sleep over it. Plus, we'll throw in an abundance of examples and wacky cartoons to back up our big words and keep you captivated until lunch.

Participants in this session will learn:

  • Where creativity comes from
  • How to capture creativity
  • How to get buy in on your ideas
  • How to get a good night’s sleep

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Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL): What Does it Mean for University and College Alumni Offices?

Diane Mullan, Alumni Relations, University of Regina; Thomas Boivin, Business Analyst, Reporting, University of Regina; and Matthew Vernhout, Chief Privacy Officer & Manager, Deliverability, Inbox Marketer Corp.

Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) will have an impact on the way Canadian colleges and universities communicate with their alumni. Noncompliance could lead to hefty CRTC fines beginning July 1, 2017.

Interpretation of CASL is varied among post-secondary education institutions, with some developing elaborate systems and others hoping the legislation will change before the deadline. This session is an opportunity to learn more about CASL and its implications for college and university alumni and communications offices. Electronic marketing experts and CRTC representatives will present information and answer questions.

Participants in this session will:

  • learn about Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL);
  • understand CASL implications for alumni offices;
  • share a case study from the University of Regina;
  • hear other approaches from session participants.

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PD Sessions 3 - Thursday, June 10, 2016 - 2:00 - 3:00 p.m.

Decentralized, Centralized, Hybrid?? Lessons Learned and the Ripple Effect of Change

Jane Potentier, CFRE Assistant Dean, Advancement Faculty of Arts; and Lori Shockey, CFRE Director, Advancement & Alumni Relations Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Alberta

Post-secondary advancement offices come in many shapes and sizes. Whatever the model, one thing is certain. We work in complex environments with multiple stakeholders where change is a constant.

Join us for this interactive discussion on the lessons learned as we have watched our university advancement office evolve. We will examine how an advancement operation can continue to meet the needs of the organization and implement change while ensuring we do not jeopardize the integrity of relationships with donors, volunteers and key constituents.

Participants in this session will:

  • learn about new ways to partner with colleagues in advancement and - perhaps more importantly - with others across the campus in building institutional relationships with key constituents;
  • gain perspectives from across the advancement operation and learn how all the components can work together for maximum results;
  • learn how to develop strategies to manage change and ensure all stakeholders are engaged.


Storytelling: How to Transform Annual Donors into Legacy Prospects

Leah Eustace, ACFRE, Principal and Chief Idea Goddess; and Bev Cooper, Associate Director of Development (Planned Giving), Good Works / University of Saskatchewan

Storytelling for legacy giving is part art and part science – and it’s quite different from what triggers an immediate gift. Given that annual donors are one of the best sources of prospective legacy donors, how can you use stories to introduce donors to a different way of supporting to your university?

This session will cover a dynamic case study from the University of Saskatchewan to show how donor stories can be used to speak to annual donors and grow a planned giving program. We’ll start with a journey through the science of storytelling, provide an overview of the planned giving program at the U of S, and then explore how to craft a story-based legacy mailing series.

Participants in this session will:

  • gain practical advice for how to tell and use donor stories in their marketing materials;
  • learn best practices for collecting donor stories;
  • achieve an understanding of why stories generate response from donors.


Case Study: Using Oscar Buzz to Build Community and Raise Profile

Jane Cockton, Director, Brand Strategy, Sheridan College

In 2015, three of the five Oscar-nominated films for Best Animated Feature were directed by Sheridan graduates. This real-life case study will share our Oscar month campaign that built awareness, excitement and pride among Sheridan students, alumni, staff, faculty, industry and the broader community.

Learn how an Ontario college created a powerful buzz on campus, in Los Angeles and across North America. We will present our alumni and student engagement strategy and our communications plan, and will explain how we generated college-wide collaboration to celebrate this milestone. Included will be lessons learned and key performance metrics that can be applied to your next celebratory campaign.

This session will:

  • showcase how Sheridan College creatively used a short timeframe and limited resources for maximum impact;
  • demonstrate how Sheridan developed an integrated marketing and communications plan to build engagement and excitement, during the campaign and beyond;
  • highlight the best practices that delivered an exciting, community-led campaign that built alumni and other stakeholder relationships for the long term.


Trailblazing the Path to $500 Million

Peter George, President and CEO, McKim Communications Group; Judith Jayasuriya, Interim Director of Alumni Relations, University of Manitoba; and Lori Yarchuk, Executive Director, Marketing Communications Office, University of Manitoba

In 2011, the University of Manitoba embarked on both an ambitious branding campaign and a new institutional model for delivering marketing communications – both in an effort to better position the institution, leading into the largest fundraising campaign in the province’s history.

This session will cover how a brand-building, reputation-marketing campaign transitioned into a successful philanthropic case for support and fundraising campaign launch.

This session will:

  • Provide insight into the strategy and evolution of the University of Manitoba’s Trailblazer Campaign.
  • Share how a strong brand story can be an effective platform for generating institution-wide integrated marketing communications, addressing enrolment, engagement and giving.
  • Share the successes, challenges and lessons learned.


Alumni Spring Cleaning

Tom Meadus, Director of Advancement, New Brunswick Community College

Most alumni professionals will agree that updating and maintaining current contact information of alumni is critically important, yet it’s a major challenge facing associations. At a time when people are inundated with requests, contests, and spam on e-mail and social media, getting attention and motivating alumni to action is an even bigger challenge.

In this session you will learn how NBCC used creative engagement principles to motivate alumni to action and keep contact information current. To extend the learning, attendees will be asked to share their own experiences with using creative tactics to motivate alumni to participate. This session aims to encourage discussion to inspire useful ideas that can be replicated by any alumni team.

Attendees will:

  • Learn about NBCC’s program, which led to more than 20% of alumni updating their contact information;
  • Learn NBCC’s rules of engagement that drive success when it comes to major promotions with alumni;
  • Share creative ideas for calling alumni to action and increasing promotion response rates.

University of New Brunswick Saint John Campus 50th Anniversary

Sonya Gilks, Director, Communications; and Heather Campbell, Communications Officer, University of New Brunswick

In September 1964, UNB Saint John students attended their first class in Uptown Saint John. Over the next 50 years, the quiet campus became larger and louder. In celebration of this golden anniversary, UNB Saint John and the community held year-long festivities and events that brought together old friends and showcased how much the campus has grown, and the impact it has had on the community. Several community events were held including a kick-off, an alumni celebration, the grand finale – a gala dinner – and much, much more. A UNB Saint John 50th Anniversary Scholarship fund was also developed in recognition of this milestone.

Participants in this session will learn how to:

  • Raise the local, regional, national and international awareness of a university’s contribution to students, faculty, staff, alumni, donors and the community at large;
  • Increase pride and affinity in a university’s past accomplishments, present initiatives and future plans; and
  • Celebrate the accomplishments of the university over the past 50 years.

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Head of the Class Sessions - Wednesday, June 8, 2016 - 2:30 - 4:00 p.m.

Recruitment and Retention of Advancement Staff

Christoph Clodius, Vice President, Senior Consultant, KCI (Ketchum Canada Inc.); and Ana-Maria Hobrough, Managing Director, Development and Alumni Engagement Services, University of British Columbia

As the need grows for increased revenue and concerted alumni and community engagement, the role of the advancement professional becomes increasingly important and shifts in complexity. For instance, larger organizations are seeing increasingly complex and metrics-focused alumni and communications strategies, while development needs become much more specialized. Smaller organizations, meanwhile, continue to need generalists whose skills can apply to various milieus.

We only need to go back a few years to see the evolution of advancement from a relatively simple operation with straightforward skills and aptitudes-based needs to a complex global environment demanding expertise in such diverse areas as navigating complexity, financial acumen, communications, negotiations, EQ, and adaptability.

Finding the right person for the right role can be tough, to say the least.

Additionally, strong staff members may not feel fully engaged, and thus may be tempted to explore other roles. This can create a cycle of ongoing vacancies and exasperated leadership. How do we keep the staff we have, in such competitive markets?

Often universities and colleges turn to people from outside of the nonprofit sector to fill these roles, and a common challenge is the transferability of skills from other sectors.

All of these factors point to the necessity for recruiting and retaining excellent advancement staff at the start, and keeping them fully engaged and happy while with you.

Ana-Maria Hobrough - who heads up UBC’s recruitment and retention efforts - and KCI VP Christoph Clodius, who has worked with universities and colleges across Canada as their strategic advisor, will share trends, strategies, and plans to retain and engage your staff fully, and how to recruit and assess talent from outside the sector.

Participants in this session will:

  • understand trends in hiring and recruitment in the sector, and comparable trends in other sectors;
  • learn to avoid the financial cost and loss of institutional memory that comes with high employee turnover and how it impacts their organization;
  • learn best practices in employee recruitment and retention; and
  • identify the transferable skills, traits and experiences those outside the sector may have that can translate into a role within the education sector.


Canadian University Presidents with Unfinished Mandates

Julie Cafley, Ph.D., Vice-President, Public Policy Forum

The ever-changing context of universities is paralleled by an increased number of presidents who do not complete their terms, approximately 18 in the past ten years. Through interviews with university presidents with unfinished mandates, Julie’s research uncovers findings related to board governance and communication, university transitions, relationships within the executive team, and others.


Culture of Engagement

Ray Satterthwaite, President, Engagement Analysis inc.; and Kris Brown, Acting Director, Alumni & Community Relations, University of Saskatchewan

Alumni engagement is continually evolving to find new ways of deepening the relationship between alumni and their alma mater. Focus is shifting from mutual “transactional” goals to the“transformational” relationship that requires more sensitivity to alumni needs, life stage, and interests.

As institutions adopt a culture of engagement, they must also evolve their expectations, accountability, collaboration, integration, focus, and the technology used to advance this critical mandate. Yet many institutions have yet to define and measure alumni engagement because of its personal, subjective and complex nature. Do we know what it is, and can we measure it?  

Join Ray Satterthwaite, President of Engagement Analysis and Kris Brown, Acting Director Alumni Relations at the University of Saskatchewan, to explore alumni engagement from the theoretical through the mathematical and ultimately to the practical.


Managing the Challenges of Change

David Palmer, Vice President Advancement; and Gillian Morrison, Assistant Vice President, Divisional Relations and Campaigns, University of Toronto

Declines in population among the traditional post-secondary education cohort. A massive intergenerational wealth transfer poised to alter the landscape of charitable giving. Intense demands for institutional accountability and increased scrutiny of PSE leadership. Governance and Board structure issues.

Massive changes are cresting or on the horizon in Canadian education. How can the educational advancement leaders of today and tomorrow understand, plan for and adapt to these changes?

This session will explore current trends and predictive models in education, society and advancement, along with strategies and frameworks to stay ahead of the curve of change.


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Forum on Aboriginal Issues in Education and Society

Thursday, June 9, 2016 - 3:30 - 5:00 p.m.

This unprecedented forum will explore the importance of integrating Indigenous perspectives in education, and the role of education in addressing the impact of colonialism on Indigenous-settler relations. Panelists will draw from their unique experiences to discuss the influence of Indigenous resurgence on the future of Saskatchewan and the nation.


George Lafond


Sheelah McLean, Idle No More organizer

Kendal Netmaker, Business person

Blaine Favel, Chancellor of the University of Saskatchewan


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