What Is Keeping You Up at Night?

December 7, 2018

Last week I had the privilege of being part of the delegation from Pennsylvania at the North American Conference on the Business Office (NACOBO) sponsored by NBOA. Carol Lerner from The Philadelphia School, Adam Wojtelwicz from Shipley School, and I joined Business Officers from all over North America to discuss all the things that keep business officers up at night!

Thanks to Jeff Shields and his team at NBOA, we identified issues, looked at the independent school business model, talked about affordability and accessibility, assessed our leadership strengths, and built our personal and professional network. As with all NBOA programs, we had an ambitious schedule, worked hard, and enjoyed good food, fellowship and fun with a most congenial group of old and new friends.

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Gratitude is Good!!!

November 16, 2018

There are two things that businesses -- or in our case, independent schools and universities -- can’t have enough of: revenue, for obvious reasons, and gratitude. We often fail to appreciate our current students and families, and reward high-performing employees by piling on more tasks and responsibilities. Why is gratitude as important as revenue, and what causes this “failure to appreciate?”

  1. Focus on the new – new always seems more interesting than ones we already have
  2. Busy and Rushing – seems like we don’t have time for the small things like “thank you”
  3. Lack of prioritization – gratitude seems to be the last item on our checklist
  4. Fear of creating new demands – the notion that employees who are appreciated will ask for more money
  5. Feeling uncomfortable – when you never receive appreciation, you might not know how to show appreciation to others

Expressing gratitude is good for business and people. When receiving feedback, we feel the negative with three times the strength we feel the positive. As a culture, we give 10 times more negative than positive feedback. As Camille Preston tells us, “we need 3:1 and we are getting 1:10.” It's no wonder so many are unfulfilled in their work!

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The Results Are In - How Healthy is Your School?

November 2, 2018

Yesterday was Organizational Health Day with Scott Barron from School Growth, Inc. and today, for those of you who participated in the PAISBOA Annual Data Survey, the results of the General Survey are in! Why are these two seemingly unrelated items noteworthy?

Something Scott Barron said yesterday stuck with me, “Data driven strategic planning is critical to uncovering and leveraging the powerful genius of your school and leadership. Because your school has a distinct context, copy and pasting from other schools is a weak and ineffective way to plan.” With the data from the PAISBOA Annual Data Survey, you are now able to use your distinct data to support your journey to better organizational health.

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Business as Usual -- or Evolution?

October 19, 2018

This past Wednesday at the ADVIS/E.E. Ford Program, “Transformative Models for Independent School Sustainability“ which was sponsored, in part, by PAISBOA, we heard from John Gulla about some of the ways the E.E. Ford Foundation is helping independent secondary schools become better versions of themselves. One of these is by offering grants to schools and associations, like ADVIS, in the independent school space. Many of the PAISBOA secondary schools have benefitted from these grants to explore ways in which they can “leverage their unique talents, expertise and resources to advance teaching and learning throughout this country by supporting and disseminating best practice, by supporting efforts to develop and implement models of sustainability, and by encouraging collaboration with other institutions.”

Gulla asserted that we (independent schools) are pricing ourselves out of existence, and that according to NAIS, only 15% of their member schools exist in a place where they have enough financial aid resources; the rest live in a world of net tuition revenue.

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PAISBOA Hits the Road!

October 5, 2018

The PAISBOA Team is embarking on a tour of our member schools in order listen to our constituents and to bring the membership benefits of PAISBOA to you. Our plan is to engage with schools that are willing to come together in small groups of schools for a "Lunch and Learn" program that will include a networking opportunity for our members as well as a short professional development program.

We will be inviting the business officer and his/her team – HR professionals, plant and operations managers, and technology directors will be included. All the PAISBOA staff members will be on hand to present information about PAISBOA programs and benefits, and answer your questions throughout the day.

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Why We All Should Care about Student Loan Debt

September 21, 2018

Student loan debt is now the second highest consumer debt category - behind only mortgage debt - and higher than both credit cards and auto loans, according to Forbes. Make Lemonade, a personal finance comparison site, cites there are more than 44 million borrowers who collectively owe $1.5 trillion in student loan debt in the U.S. alone. The average student in the Class of 2016 has $37,172 in student loan debt.

Here are some of the staggering statistics:

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What Did You Read This Summer?

September 7, 2018

I love to read! For as long as I can remember, I have had a summer reading assignment. In the beginning of my educational journey, there were required summer reading books that would prepare me for the upcoming school year. Somewhere around high school we had some required books to read and a list of books from which we could choose. I read them all!

When my kids started school and had their own summer reading assignments, I read their summer reading with them — we read everything from Call of the Wild and the Harry Potter series to The Bridge to Teribithia and the Twilight series. I also read The Good Earth (again) and Cold Mountain — both of which my daughter and I struggled to get through. We are a family of readers!

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Data, Dashboards, and Decision-Making

August 24, 2018

Data, Dashboards, and Decision-Making

PAISBOA General Survey Closes October 5
PAISBOA Salary Survey Closes October 12

With the help of our Survey Gurus (Tom Devine, Frank Aloise, Larry Capuzzi, Mark Gibbons, David Gold, and Jayme Karolyi), the PAISBOA Annual Data Survey launched on August 6. Our member schools and universities use a variety of surveys; however, the PAISBOA Annual Data Survey is the only survey built for and by business officers with a focus on operational and salary benchmarking. Best of all, the results are geographically relevant. We encourage all our schools and universities to participate this year — more schools equals more data!

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Change and Influencers

July 20, 2018

Change and Influencers

Change is inevitable! Every year on July 1, many of our schools and universities experience changes in leadership and changes in personnel throughout their communities. While change can be necessary, exciting, and transformative, it can also be unsettling, challenging, and operational. New leaders and colleagues guarantee a shift in the status quo. So, how can new leaders and colleagues navigate their new workplace, and how do current leaders and colleagues create an onboarding experience that gets these new folks off to a good start?

When entering a new community, a person only has one chance to make a first impression, and new leaders and colleagues have an opportunity impact their new workplace right from the start. Embracing the 9 Core Behaviors of People Who Positively Impact the World can help you be the “maker, shaker, or disruptor” in “powerful and constructive ways.”

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What is ERM and Why Should We Care About It?

June 15, 2018

I received a call this week from a PAISBOA member who had an inquiry from a board member about Enterprise Risk Management (ERM). He was familiar with ERM from his work in the corporate world and wondered if ERM was being used in educational institutions.

While many independent schools and universities have audit committees and engage in risk management best practices, more and more are beginning to embrace ERM. Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) is defined by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (COSO) as a process, effected by an entity's board of directors, management and other personnel which is:

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Integrity, Transparency, and Loyalty in Action

June 1, 2018

PAISBOA has a long history of collaboration and cooperation through group purchasing for business insurance, energy, health insurance, and our purchasing consortium for goods and services.  PAISBOA has built a strong reputation in the region, in the independent school community, and in higher education as a brand you can trust—a brand that is steeped in integritytransparency and loyalty.  You should expect that from us, and we expect that from you.

In our work with our vendor partners—we look for the best in class with excellent pricing, stability, and customer service for our members, and we also expect our vendor partners to subscribe to the same values as PAISBOA— integritytransparency, and loyalty, in their work with us.  As your membership association, PAISBOA is committed to building strong, respectful relationships with you and for you, and since PAISBOA’s inception, Al Greenough has been the steward of those relationships.

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2018 Annual Meeting Program Highlights

May 18, 2018

Continuing our coverage of the PAISBOA Annual Meeting on April 26, we want to highlight the programs and speakers from the day.  PAISBOA is fortunate to have excellent resources for professional presenters on wide variety of topics within the membership of the association. We not only have experts within our member schools; we have knowledgeable vendor partners who are most willing to share their skill, information, and data to empower business officers to excel.

Dr. Marisa Porges, Head of The Baldwin School, presented a general session for all participants titled: SCHOOL SAFETY AND SECURITY: STRATEGIES.  One of the main responsibilities of our schools is to create and maintain a safe environment for students, staff, and visitors. Dr. Porges shared best practices that independent school leaders should consider to ensure campus safety and security, while maintaining a welcoming environment for community members.

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PAISBOA Honors its Own!

May 4, 2018

Last week at our Annual Meeting, we had the opportunity to honor two of our own – one volunteer, and one of the founders of the organization that has become PAISBOA — both trailblazers in their own way. Both of these individuals deserve our recognition for their many accomplishments, and by doing so, the membership was able share in the history of the association and understand through these exemplars how one can live the core values of integrity, transparency and loyalty and our mantra of “all for one and one for all” in their own lives.

As a Board Member, Business Officer, and advocate for children with special needs, Gail Crane exemplifies the many qualities which make her the perfect candidate for PAISBOA’s highest honor, the John Batley Award. In June 2018, Gail will complete her 28th year of service as a Business Officer for three Independent Schools: Greene Street Friends School, Hill Top Preparatory School, and most recently, The Quaker School at Horsham. During this time, she also served two separate terms totaling 8 years as a Board Member of PAISBOA, and for the last 4 years she has also served as a member of the Purchasing Consortium Steering Committee.

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Ensuring Growth and Sustainability

April 6, 2018

“Creating long-term value with limited resources is a huge challenge for entrepreneurs, but it’s hardly a novel one.” In Fast Company’s article, The 7 Fundamentals of Sustainable Business GrowthFaisal Hoque explores how even though circumstances vary, the fundamentals of sustainable growth remain the same.

  1. Authentic Purpose - “why we do what we do” – your school’s mission
  2. Powerful Brand - build brand equity with emotional connections with customers by developing and sustaining those relationships over time
  3. Partnership and Collaboration
  4. Customer Retention - acquiring new customers can cost an organization around five times more than retaining current ones
  5. Community - adds structure and spreads “stakeholdership” out into society
  6. Repeatable sales - design and implement sales processes that can be successfully deployed again and again
  7. Flexible, Adaptive Leadership - To continue growing, entrepreneurs, managers, and business owners must become the leader the business needs for each stage of growth. Since a company’s needs change at each stage, its leaders need to keep evolving at the right pace.

In these uncertain economic times, it is more important than ever to focus on sustainable growth in the education sector. PAISBOA is committed to ensuring growth and sustainability not only for the association, but for our member schools and universities.

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Member Engagement and The Future of PAISBOA

March 23, 2018

A few months ago, we sent you a Member Engagement Survey in order to find out why your membership in PAISBOA is important to you and how we can improve our member services to you.  To be an effective member-driven association, it is important to know what we are doing well, what types of programs are interesting to members, where we need to improve, but most importantly, are we providing value for your time and money?

Here is what you told us:

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On Givers, Takers, and Never Giving Up!

 March 9, 2018

This week, while many of you were dealing with snow removal, power outages, and all the complications of winter, some of us were dealing with planes, trains, and automobiles on our way to (and from) the NBOA Annual Meeting in Nashville and the NAIS Annual Conference in Atlanta. It is always a privilege to attend these conferences and gather with our colleagues from all over the world to celebrate independent school education.

For a variety of reasons (weather, expense, illness, etc.) I know many of you were not able to make this trip, and we will do our best to share programs and ideas that impacted us with the entire membership in the next Friday Flyer on March 23. For those of you who attended either or both conferences, please share your top three takeaways with me by Wednesday, March 21, and I will pass them along —you can reach me at [email protected].

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Situational Awareness and Safe Schools

February 23, 2018

With the tragic events in Florida last week, the safety and security of our school communities continue to be of the utmost importance for our member schools and universities. Yesterday, PAISBOA hosted a program on Situational Awareness with John Gooley from US Security Care, Inc. An authority on school safety, John offers specialized professional training based in part on his 28 years of experience with the Lower Merion Police Department. He is a proponent of trusting your intuition in the context of pattern recognition.

Situational Awareness is comprised of observation combined with orientation. An observation can be a stimulus you perceive with your senses, a “bad guy”, or an object out of place. Orientation puts what we observe into context so we know what to do next.

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It's Just Football

February 9, 2018

The Malters are a sports-loving family! Last spring, I received a call from a friend who offered me two Philadelphia Eagles season tickets for the 2017-2018 season, so without hesitation I grabbed them. My husband was celebrating a big birthday, and being a diehard Eagles fan I knew this was the perfect gift for him — best wife ever --- right??? Little did I know that these tickets would bring our family so much joy — aside from seeing the Eagles play some amazing football and reconnecting with each other every weekend around the game, we were reminded of some important lessons along the way.

After that incredible victory, Nick Foles shared a message he received from Drew Brees, quarterback of the New Orleans Saints, just before the Super Bowl, “A lot of the messages I'll keep to myself, but the big thing was going into this game, he reminded me that it's just football. There's a lot going on, pre-game, a longer pre-game, a big half-time show, but at the end of the day when you're out there, the game will settle down, and it'll just be football."

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Data-Driven Talent Recruiting, Selection, and Evaluation

January 26, 2018

In anticipation of hiring season, we continue our conversation related to performance management with Scott Barron of School Growth for Data Driven Talent Recruiting, Selection, and Evaluation on February 8, 2018.

Scott will discuss how independent school administrators and board members are beginning to prioritize human resources and talent capital as the critical path to achieving sustainability and growth goals. With higher parent expectations for faculty quality and engagement, strategic improvements in core HR functions are necessary to deliver greater value. This requires building the school’s leadership capacity and continuous improvement around talent recruiting and development.  Driven by intense competition, this idea of “people analytics” is trending in all businesses and industries.

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2018 – A Year of Engagement

January 12, 2018

Welcome back from the Winter Break!!! As we settle into a routine after the fits and starts of the past week with freezing temperatures, school closings, and delayed openings, it is time to put those New Year’s resolutions into action. For those of you who have already abandoned your resolutions — here is a great idea for you. I never make New Year’s resolutions -- ever. Rather, I reflect on the past year over the holiday break and come back to work with a renewed sense of purpose using a theme or some meaningful words as a guidepost for the next year. Last year my word was communication—this year my word is engagement.

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