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Inspiration at Professional Development Opportunity

A recent trip to Atlanta, Georgia, provides inspiration to SBS staff members.
Thanks to the generosity of our Second Fund donors and support of Head of School Don Davis, two members of our advancement team, Alumni Relations Coordinator Marlo Wise ‘93 and Annual Giving Officer Ronda Harder, traveled to Atlanta to attend the 2020 CASE-NAIS annual conference recently, where the theme was “Ignite Possibility.” Both Harder and Wise walked away from this event ignited with inspiration and fresh ideas regarding the development of successful advancement programs. 

The Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) was established in 1974 and is a membership-based, global association for independent school advancement professionals who share the goal of championing education to transform lives and society. 

“New to the alumni relations role this year, I went to Atlanta hoping to learn from other people in the same role at other institutions,” stated Wise. 

She continued, “What do they do differently? How can we strengthen our overall alumni engagement? How do we stay relevant to changing times and different generations? Those questions and so many more were answered as I heard from top development professionals who are experts in their field.” 

Invaluable information and leadership strategies were shared through keynote speakers, including Starbucks’ COO and former president and CEO of Sam’s Club Roz Brewer and James Johnson, Jr., the Distinguished Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship and Director of Urban Investment Strategies Center at UNC, Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Their presentations were the perfect mix of inspiration and enlightenment -- two leaders working in different fields whose primary message had a strong bent on courageous leadership and the importance of philanthropy to any institution. 
 
The individual breakout sessions provided the most helpful and practical information. Varied in style and content, each presenter represented independent schools from coast to coast to spark new ideas in the minds of their captive audience.

Harder shared, “I went to learn more about advancement best practices utilized by comparable schools. I think hearing how other schools build community is very helpful, especially those who are successful. There were so many ideas shared at the conference, and I left encouraged and challenged.” 

Both Wise and Harder returned from Atlanta ready to implement what they learned at the conference, grateful for the opportunities this conference brought and excited for the future impact they hope to make at SBS.

“I’m thankful Dr. Davis values the investment in professional development at all levels for our faculty and staff. Under his leadership, we are encouraged to be thoughtful and creative in our roles. I’m grateful to be part of a team that is valued and equipped to support our school,” said Harder. 
 
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