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].

Practically speaking, these conferences are a great place to learn something new, examine trends in our industry, share our experiences with others, and become inspired by thought leaders and disruptors. It is also no surprise that PAISBOA member schools were well represented at both conferences!

Carol LernerLisa Carbone Warren and I turned our Zero-Based Budgeting webinar from last year into a 75-minute presentation for NBOA. Jayme Karolyi and Adam Wojtelwicz presented "Plagiarized: The 10 Best Tips Stolen from Past NBOA Conferences." Frank Aloise served on a panel discussion on retirement, and presented "Driving Enrollment with Small (and Large) Projects" with Justin WheelerCindy Nichols and Susan Guerette teamed up for "How to Terminate the Popular Teacher or Administrator."

In addition to the workshops, the featured speakers at NBOA and NAIS respectively were top-notch! Recalling her mantra of “Find a Way,” Diana Nyad spoke about her historic swim from Cuba to Key West. The successful completion and fifth attempt of the over 100-mile swim was the culmination of a 35-year dream for Nyad, who is a graduate of Pine Crest, an independent school in Florida. Her three messages resonated with all of us, "One is we should never, ever give up. Two is you never are too old to chase your dreams. Three is it looks like a solitary sport, but it's a team.”

Adam Grant, from the Wharton School at University of Pennsylvania, spoke about his book Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success, in which he describes how people fall into three categories – givers, takers, and matchers, and how their behavior informs their success and the success of their organizations. Grant asserts, “If we create networks with the sole intention of getting something, we won’t succeed. We can’t pursue the benefits of networks; the benefits ensue from investments in meaningful activities and relationships.”

After spending the week with colleagues at NBOA and NAIS, I am reminded there are many smart people who have dedicated their lives to independent school education. Despite complex and serious challenges, we are fortunate that there are far more givers than takers who “never give up” and “find a way” to ensure that our students realize their dreams.

Thanks to Steve Snyder from Commonfund, and Armstrong Doyle and Carroll for their sponsorship of the PAISBOA/MISBO Reception at NBOA. Many thanks to my counterpart at MISBO, Damian Kavanagh, for co-hosting the reception. Kudos to Al Greenough and Ron Hill, who work tirelessly to support PAISBOA members from the office and on the road. I am looking forward to getting home before the next snowstorm!

Take Advantage of the Power of the Flock!!


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