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


2017 Trustee Day - An Extension of the ISACS Annual Conference
Cathy Trower & Jeff Shields

Thursday, November 9, 2017
9:30 am - 3:30 pm

Marriott Marquis Chicago
Chicago, IL

Registration is now closed. ISACS can provide you with a late/onsite registration form, which can be completed and returned to the ISACS office by Wednesday, October 25. The registration fee for members is now $200. Please call the ISACS office at 312-750-1190 to request the form or if you have any questions. 

If you are already registered and would like to make changes to your lunch attendance or session selections, please call the ISACS office at 312-750-1190.

Date and Time
Thursday, November, 9, 2017: 9:30 am - 3:30 pm (with a special session for board chairs and heads at 8:15 am - 9:15 am)

Marriott Marquis Chicago, 2121 S. Prairie Ave, Chicago, IL 60616. The hotel will be opening August 2017.

Trustee Day Flyer
Click here for the Trustee Day flyer.

ISACS is pleased to host Trustee Day on Thursday, November 9, 2017, at the Marriott Marquis. Designed as an extension of the ISACS Annual Conference, this will be an energizing and thought-provoking day featuring a series of stimulating presentations and conversations designed specifically for the independent school board member. Included in the registration fee will be two half-day presentations by Cathy Trower and Jeff Shields complemented by the opportunity to join the conference luncheon and hear the keynote presentation by Amy Blankson. Trustee Day will be held from 9:30 am – 3:30 pm. There is also a special session on the board chair/head partnership from 8:15 am – 9:15 am with Cathy Trower is offered at no additional charge.

The program for trustees includes:

8:00 am – 9:15 am: Check in at the registration desk (Online registration if required and must be completed by Wednesday, October 18 at

8:15 am – 9:15 am: Special SessionHeads & Board Chairs: Leading in a Complex Era with Cathy Trower
If any single strategic relationship is crucial to the success of a school, it is the one between the head and the board chair. While this partnership is always pivotal—whether in times of calm or challenge—the environment in which schools operate is increasingly ambiguous, uncertain, and complex. This session will explore the nature of adaptive leadership for heads and chairs during complex times.

9:30 am – 11:30 am: ​ Great Governance in Complex Times with Cathy Trower
The days when boards could be well-intentioned but not well-informed and be complacent spectators rather than engaged leaders are long gone. There exists today an expectation among stakeholders from students and parents, donors and patrons, to the press and public officials, that boards will be reliable fiduciaries, astute strategists, and sources of ideas, insights, and initiatives. Learn why some boards underperform and what gets in the way of great governance. Trower will share an overview of the governance as leadership framework and application before turning to the latest on leading in complex times where there are no right answers, but there are better questions; adaptive leadership is required; and boards must be flexible and agile as they, with the school’s administration, take calculated risks, adapt, course-correct, and learn.

11:45 am – 1:15 pm: Banquet luncheon featuring keynote presenter Amy Blankson, The Future of Happiness

1:30 pm – 3:30 pm: Business Intelligence for Independent Schools with Jeff Shields, National Business Officers Association (NBOA)
We live in a world of big data, but too often independent schools make decisions regarding tuition price, financial aid, or facilities investments without the requisite information to support data-driven decision-making. These are competitive times for independent schools, and the decisions your school leadership makes today will have an impact on the long-term financial health of your independent school for years to come. NBOA has focused its research on the key issues that impact a school’s financial health. This session highlights several NBOA research initiatives to help trustees identify the most relevant information available to ensure your school’s long-term viability.

Pre-Trustee Day Resources

Cathy Trower

Speaker Bios

Cathy Trower, president of Trower and Trower, has provided governance consulting and coaching services to more than 130 nonprofits including independent schools. She is author of The Practitioner’s Guide to Governance as Leadership: Building High Performing Nonprofit Boards and the second edition of Board Source’s Govern More, Manage Less, and is the co-author of What Board Members Need to Know about Faculty. Trower’s latest book about faculty work life and policies is called Success on the Tenure-Track: Five Keys to Faculty Satisfaction. Formerly research director at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and administrator of business degree programs at Johns Hopkins University, she also has been a faculty member and department chair at a liberal arts college. She serves on three nonprofit boards and has a BBA and an MBA from the University of Iowa and a PhD from the University of Maryland.



Jeff Shields, FASAE, CAE, has served as president and CEO of the National Business Officers Association (NBOA) since March 2010. NBOA is the national association serving the needs of business officers and business operations staff at independent schools. The association has grown from 23 founding member schools in 1998 to over 1,330 US member schools, plus member schools in Mexico, Canada and 23 other countries around the globe.  Shields, an active member of the American Society of Association Executives, is a member of the 2008 Class of ASAE Fellows (FASAE) and earned the Certified Association Executive (CAE) designation in 2002. He currently serves as a trustee for One Schoolhouse, an innovative online school offering supplemental education to independent schools, as well as Georgetown Day School in Washington, DC. He holds a BA from Shippensburg University and an MA from The Ohio State University.

Luncheon keynote speaker Amy Blankson is the only person to be named a Point of Light by two presidents. She received a Presidential appointment to serve a five-year term on the Board of Directors of the Corporation for National Service, and was one of the youngest delegates to the Presidents’ Summit for America’s Future. In 2007, she co-founded GoodThink to bring the science of happiness to life for organizations and individuals. She is conducting research in partnership with Google to determine how to make positive psychology strategies stick and create sustainable positive change. She serves as a Visioneer for the Xprize Foundation for Personal Health, and was a featured professor in Oprah’s Happiness course. She is the author of two books: Ripple's Effect and The Future of Happiness: 5 Modern Strategies to Balance Productivity and Well-being in the Digital Era. Blankson received her BA from Harvard and MBA from Yale School of Management.


Trustee Day Sponsors
We are grateful for the following Trustee Day sponsors:

Hotel Accommodations
Marriott Marquis Chicago
2121 S.Prairie Avenue
Chicago, IL 
(312) 824-0500

ISACS has secured discounted rooms at the Marriott Marquis Chicago at $205/night plus tax for single or double occupancy. To make a reservation, please call 1-877-303-0104, and use the Group Code 2017 ISACS Annual Conference to receive the discounted rate. To make reservations online, click here and click the “make a reservation” button. This rate has been extended until Wednesday, October 18, 2017 or until the room block reaches capacity. Individual reservations must be cancelled by 3:00 pm, 48 hours prior to arrival. We highly recommend making your hotel reservations early.

Air Travel
Both Midway and O'Hare airports are easily accessible to the Marriott Marquis Chicago. Please note that Midway is slightly closer to the hotel if Midway (Southwest Airlines) is an option for you. The hotel is accessible by public “L” transportation) and would take 30 minutes – 1 hour.  

Ground Transportation to/from the Airports

  • Midway Airport: Taxi service takes about 20 minutes and costs approximately $35 each way based on light traffic.
  • O'Hare International Airport: Taxi service takes about 30 minutes and costs approximately $58 each way based on light traffic.
  • Shared Taxi Program: There is a Shared Ride Program available for those flying into O'Hare and Midway and taking a cab from one of these airports to either McCormick Place or downtown.
  • GO Airport Express (Share-a-Ride) Shuttle Service: ISACS has negotiated a special rate with GO Airport Express for ISACS members – 15% off the standard rates. Reservations MUST be made in advance and online to receive the discounted rate.  The standard rate per person to/from O’Hare is approximately $28 one-way; $49 round-trip. The standard rate per person to/from Midway is approximately $24 one-way; $40 round-trip. To receive the 15% discount off the standard rates, please click here for the Go Airport Express website to make a reservation in advance. A credit card is required and charged at the time of reservation. Airport walk-ups are not eligible for the discounted rate. Parties of two more reserving at the same time receive a discount. Please visit their website for more information.  

Public Transportation
In addition, you can also take public transportation (Chicago Transit Authority or the "L" service) to/from Midway or O'Hare to the hotel. The Marriott Marques Chicago is conveniently located just a few blocks from the Cermak-Chinatown Red Line Station as well as the Cermak-McCormick Green Line Station. You can also take the CTA to downtown to enjoy Chicago’s attractions and restaurants outside of conference sessions.  For more information, visit      

The CTA "L" trains provide service to Downtown Chicago and McCormick Place from both international airports for $3.00 each way (additional charges for O’Hare).

  • From O'Hare International Airport: The CTA "Blue" line provides service to and from the airport. Take the Blue Line from O’Hare and transfer to a south-bound Green Line train at Clark and Lake. Note, in the Loop the Blue Line is a Subway Train and the Green Line is an elevated train, a free transfer is available at Clark and Lake. ($5.00 to/from O'Hare)
  • From Midway Airport: The CTA "Orange" line provides service to and from the airport. Take the train to the Roosevelt Street Station (Subway) and transfer to the elevated Green Line. Continue on the southbound Green Line train for 1-stop to the Cermak-McCormick Place station.
  • The Cermark-McCormick Place Station is 2 block (0.15 miles) walk from Marriott Marquis Chicago.
  • Metra Train and CTA Bus Map

Daily and Overnight Self-Parking
Daily and overnight self-parking is located at McCormick Place’s Parking Lot A, 2301 South Prairie Avenue, which is located across the street from the Marriott Marquis. Parking rates are $23 for up to 16 hours and $36 for 16-24 hours. Prices are subject to change.

For directions and a map to Parking Lot A click here. Please note the Marriott Marquis is located in the beige area between Prairie and Calumet avenues, From Parking Lot A the hotel can be accessed from Prairie Avenue or via a sky bridge.

Chicago Visitor Information
For information on Chicago, visit

Registration Information & Fee
ISACS will be happy to work with a representative from your school on all issues related to trustee registration.  In order to plan appropriately, trustees must register online prior to the conference. Due to the structure of the day, we can only accept registrations for the full day. Registration includes the sessions led by Cathy Trower and Jeff Shields and participation in the conference luncheon with a keynote presentation by Amy Blankson.

  • $160 for trustees from ISACS member schools 
  • $225 for trustees from non-member schools
  • Registration includes programming and a banquet lunch
  • There is no on-site registration; register online by Wednesday, October 18, 2017 to secure your space.
  • Please note the Trustee Day starts at 9:30 am and ends at 3:30 pm.
  • There will be a special session for board chairs and heads with Cathy Trower from 8:15 am - 9:15 am at no additional cost for those registering to attend Trustee Day. During the online registration process you will be prompted to to attend or not attend this special session.
  • If you are a head of school and planning to attend the head/board chair special session from 8:15 am - 9:15 am but plan to attend the Annual Conferenece on Thursday instead of Trustee Day, please email Karen Zeitlin at and she will add you to the list of attendees for the special session.
  • Please note that the Trustee Day is designed for trustees. If preferred, heads may register to join their board members at Trustee Day.  Please see information below about registration for attending the Annual Conference on Friday or call the ISACS office for assistance.
  • Trustees are also invited to extend their participation by also registering for Friday conference sessions. Please see information below about registration for a second day or call the ISACS office for assistance.
  • For heads and/or trustees who plan to attend Trustee Day and the Friday Annual Conference, please register separately for each event.  ISACS can provide a discount code to heads or trustees who plan to register for Friday, entitling them to a rate of $90 for Friday. Please contact Karen Zeitlin at for more details.

Registration Confirmation

  • Once registered, an automatic email will be sent to the contact person identified during on-line registration.
  • By October 1, ISACS will send a confirmation email to each registrant, which will include conference details and a list of pre-registered sessions.
  • Approximately one week prior to the Trustee Day/Annual Conference, ISACS will send a FINAL email confirmation with pre-registered sessions.
  • If you do not receive a confirmation email, please contact the ISACS office at 312-750-1190 as we may have an incorrect email address in our system.

Cancellation Policy
Cancellations for Trustee Day must be received in writing to ISACS by emailing by Wednesday, October 18 to receive a refund. ISACS will determine the refund amount, if any, that can be refunded at the conclusion of Trustee Day. Cancellations received after Wednesday, October 18 will not receive a refund. At any time, registration may be transferred to another member from the same school.

To contact ISACS, please email or 312-750-1190. 


Member Cost: $160     Non-member Cost: $225
Registration Deadline:  October 19, 2017


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