Professional Development > Conferences and Workshops

Conferences and Workshops
(Click here for the 2019-2020 Professional Development Series PDF)


Creating Resilient Schools: Strategic Marketing, Enrollment, and Budget Management
Mike Connor and Vanessa Wassenar

Friday, November 19, 2010
10:00 am - 3:00 pm

Hotel Allegro
171 West Randolph Street
Chicago, IL 60601

***Only a few spaces remain for this workshop. If you would like to register please call the ISACS office at 312-255-1244.***

For the last 30 years, tuitions have risen relentlessly at rates above and beyond the cost of living, often based only on subjective opinions of what the market might bear—or what competitors may be charging. The current economic climate is a perfect opportunity to create a more strategic approach to the marketing, enrollment, and budget management cycle. Our goal is to evaluate and discuss what this means for financial resilience in these uncertain times.

We will explore and discuss:
  • Demographic and marketing trends and their influence on mission and a school’s value proposition
  • The context for making tuition-setting and financial aid decisions and how differing perspectives on policy and practice influence this process
  • What kind of discipline is required to make tuition affordable and the School’s mission viable and relevant
Learning Outcomes:
  • How to construct a value proposition unique to your school that can help overcome concerns about cost
  • What you need to consider in determining your school’s ideal cost and revenue model
  • Examples of tuition-setting practices from various types of schools
  • How to develop a calendar and checklist that will ensure that your approach is disciplined, data-driven, and inclusive of internal and external constituents
For this workshop, teams of senior administrators and/or trustees are encouraged to attend.

Mike Connor
, President, Connor Associates Strategic Services, is an education marketing consultant for schools and school associations across the U.S, and in China, Europe, and South Africa. His expertise includes external marketing research and planning, communicating value, community relations, internal and integrated marketing, admission and retention, and media relations. He is co-author of the National Association of Independent Schools’ (NAIS) book, Marketing Independent Schools in the 21st Century, and has contributed to the 2009 NAIS Leadership Series and 2010 SSS – NAIS Leadership Forum. His articles on strategic planning, integrated marketing and international programs have appeared in CASE Currents, Inside Private School Management, Independent School magazine, the Washington Times, the Los Angeles Times, and Education Week.

Vanessa Wassenar is the interim chief financial officer at Rockland Country Day School (NY) and Finance and Administration Affiliate at Connor Associates. Ms. Wassenar brings over 25 years of educational administrative experience and trusteeship in colleges, universities, independent schools, and various non-profit enterprises. Her expertise includes finance, administrative structure, and governance, with experience in financial analysis and planning, triage, modeling, facilities planning and construction, and strategic planning. Her clients and employers have included Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Bennington College, Emma Willard School, and Archer School for Girls and Bentley School. She has made numerous presentations at NAIS, WACUBO, EACUBO, and NBOA meetings and continues to focus on long term planning for institutional resilience.

For more information on Connor and Associates, visit

The workshop will take place in Chicago at the Hotel Allegro, 171 West Randolph Street. The Hotel Allegro is located in the heart of downtown Chicago in the busy theatre district in close proximity to the Art Institute and Navy Pier. It is also just minutes from Grant Park, Millennium Park, Lincoln Park and Chicago's beautiful lakefront that stretches for miles.

Click here for directions and parking information for the Hotel Allegro. ISACS has obtained a reduced overnight parking rate of $40 for this event.

Hotel Reservations
ISACS has secured special discounted room rates at the Hotel Allegro: $169/night plus tax (single or double occupancy). To make a reservation, call 1-800-KIMPTON or 312-325-7211 and use Group Code: "ISACS Strategic" or click here to reserve a room online. Special discounted rates are available until Monday, November 1, 2010.

Registration Fee
  • $225 Member Fees
  • $275 Non Member Fee
  • First registrant pays full fee, each additional registrant receives a $33 discount
  • Workshop includes lunch
Cancellation Policy
Cancellations must be received in writing to ISACS by emailing 10 business days prior to the event to receive a 50% refund. Cancellations received within 10 days of the event will not receive a refund. Registration may be transferred to another member from the same school. ISACS reserves the right to cancel the workshop for insufficient enrollment. In this case, participants will be notified and given a full refund.

Questions? Please call 312-255-1244.

Member Cost: $225     Non-member Cost: $275


55 West Wacker, Suite 701 · Chicago, IL 60601 · Telephone (312) 750-1190 · Fax (312) 750-1193
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