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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Farewell to 2017 and Cheers to 2018

December 15, 2017           

We have much to celebrate as 2017 winds down!  We continue with the implementation of the new website, database, and communication systems into the first quarter of 2018.  The next project will be moving the affinity group listservs to the e-lists in MemberClicks.  We originally planned to move them in the first phase of implementation, but with the lively, important discussions, we chose to wait until the winter holiday break to make the cut over to the new system. Look for the new listserv addresses when you return from winter break in January.

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The Importance of Knowledge Sharing

December 1, 2017

Many associations are creating and monetizing their knowledge-sharing networks to build member engagement and create a return on their investment for their e-learning platforms. At PAISBOA, we have a long history of providing opportunities for knowledge sharing with our in-person professional development programs featuring industry experts, with our affinity group listservs (soon to be launched elists), and now with our Wednesday Webinars featuring industry experts and PAISBOA members with valuable knowledge and a particular expertise. All of this is included in your PAISBOA membership fee!!!

Why is knowledge sharing important?

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Thanksgiving and Organizational Health

November 17, 2017

As we gather with our families and friends next week to share food, fellowship, traditions (and in my house lots of laughs), it is a wonderful time to reflect on all that we appreciate in our personal and professional lives. I am grateful for a happy, healthy family, and especially our two grandboys who give us endless joy and laughter.  I am thankful for my role with PAISBOA which challenges me and allows me to engage with so many dedicated independent school and university professionals who care deeply about ensuring a premier educational experience for students of all ages. I am also grateful for the volunteers who lead the boards of PAISBOA, PAISBOA Services Corporation, PAISBOA Health Benefit Trust, and the PAISBOA Business Insurance Group.  Without their herculean efforts, PAISBOA would not be the healthy, financially sustainable association.

In the most recent McKinsey Quarterly, there was an article about The Yin and Yang of Organizational Health, which got me thinking about not only the long-term health of PAISBOA, but the long-term health of our member schools and universities.  The premise is that when long and short term performance is coupled with organizational health, they become interdependent and complementary, and unable to exist without the other despite their apparent opposition.

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Listening, Storytelling, and “Sticky” Memories

November 3, 2017

The PAISBOA Board of Directors met back in August to map out the strategic direction of the association and set goals for the future. The primary goal for the next year is to enhance the value and experience of PAISBOA membership, resulting in Association growth and long-term sustainability. To achieve this goal, we need your help!

We want to learn what you value in your relationship with PAISBOA, and we want to hear your stories about your PAISBOA experience. To that end, we will be sending you a short survey about how you would like to share your feedback with us. Your options include:

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Shifting your Focus on Performance Management to Employee Engagement

October 20, 2017

In independent schools and universities, our greatest resource is our workforce and our largest budget item is the compensation of that workforce. Yet, for most of our institutions, we rely on performance management and evaluation systems that are not working! In fact, according to Gallup, companies are not getting the ROI they assumed, and these processes may even be driving out top performers!

Traditional performance management programs focus on the bottom 20% of the talent pool and have been less effective for three reasons: unclear and misaligned expectations, ineffective and infrequent feedback, and unfair evaluation practice and misplaced accountability. Most members of the workforce today, particularly millennials, want a coach, not a boss. “They want their work to have meaning and purpose. They want to use their talents and strengths to do what they do best every day. They want their jobs to fit their life and they are less interested in settling.”

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PAISBOA and the Rule of 3

October 5, 2017

There are three takeaways this week that require your immediate attention:

  1. PAISBOA launched a new integrated website, database and communication systems on Thursday, October 5, so if you have not received your welcome email from us and are not able to log in to your member page at, please contact Ron Hill ([email protected]) for assistance.
  2. PAISBOA Annual Data Survey – General Survey must be submitted by 12:00 Midnight EDT, Friday, October 6. There can be no exceptions and no extensions. Your Salary Survey must be submitted by 12:00 Midnight EDT on Tuesday, October 10, and you must submit the General Survey to receive the results of the Salary Survey.
  3. Registration is open for our October Wednesday Webinar and Professional Development programs—have you registered yet?

You may be wondering why there are 3 takeaways this week and not more or less —communication experts like Carmine Gallo agree that 3 is the magic number of items we can keep in our short-term memory. So, most people are likely to remember 3 items from a conversation, presentation, or email, so why give them more?

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Enrollment Management and the Business Officer

September 22, 2017

Last week, a number of key influencers in the independent school sector gathered in New Orleans for meetings and conferences related to enrollment management, accreditation, and independent school association leadership. As a member of ISAnet, the association of independent school associations, PAISBOA leaders meet twice a year with our counterparts from across the globe to share experiences, learn about best practices in our industry, and keep informed about trends that are important to our schools.

Instead of our regular programming, we attended the Enrollment Management Association Conference. If you have not attended this conference, I highly recommend it, and here is why…

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Managing Up, Down and Sideways

September 8, 2017

For many of you, this week was the first week back for faculty and students, so Happy Friday! You made it through week one of the 2017-2018 academic year!

It is always a challenge to make the switch from summer mode to the academic year race to the finish, but I find that ramping up to the faster pace of the school year is always exciting and filled with anticipation for what could be. I also find it imperative to have a sense of humor about all the things that inevitably can and will go wrong in the process (like the delay in this week's Friday Flyer!), and to remember that you are not in this alone.

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Codes of Ethics

August 25, 2017

In the next few weeks, PAISBOA will launch a new integrated website, self-service database, and communication system -- very exciting!!! Since January, Al Greenough, Ron Hill and I have combed through our own website for content, and we have visited hundreds of association websites looking for inspiration and interesting ways to communicate all the things you need to know about your PAISBOA membership. In that process, I noticed that many associations not only have mission statements, philosophy statements and vision statements, they have an explicit Code of Ethics, as well.

PAISBOA has always had an implied code of ethics - an "all for one, one for all "ethos, a mantra of "there is strength in numbers," and a rationale for operation in the lessons of the geese. A code of ethics is explicit in our Purchasing ConsortiumBusiness Insurance GroupHealth Benefit Trust and our Annual Data Survey

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Competition, Collaboration and Consortia Relationships

July 28, 2017

When I read a recent article by Donna Orem, President of NAIS, her examination of the tension between competition and collaboration, it resonated with me on a personal and professional level. As a quasi-competitive person, I feel that tension every day. At my professional core, I am always striving for the win-win, which explains why the mission of PAISBOA makes sense to me: Comprised primarily of 
a volunteer team of business officers working for the common good of all members, PAISBOA’s mission is to create savings in both time and money while providing useful resources and expanded knowledge.

 Before PAISBOA was a formal association, a group of Business Officers came together to help each other with the complexity of independent school operations and to help their schools save money through group purchasing. They were way ahead of their time! “Leaders and organizations are acknowledging that even their best individual efforts can’t stack up against today’s complex and interconnected problems. They are putting aside self-interests and collaborating to build a new civic infrastructure to advance their shared objectives.

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2017 NBOA Boot Camp

June 30, 2017

Tomorrow is my one-year anniversary with PAISBOA!!! I am so incredibly appreciative of the opportunity to work with all of you, and to represent PAISBOA in the larger independent school community. Last year, Hal Davidow, Chair of the Board of Directors of PAISBOA, recommended I attend the NBOA Business Officer Institute -- aka Business Officer Bootcamp -- and while I had some reservations, I forged ahead and spent last week with 65 new business officers at La Jolla Country Day School learning how to be an independent school business officer. Thank goodness I had a year under my belt with PAISBOA before I attended, because it validated some of the work that I did this year and it gave me a working vocabulary that was critical to my success at the Business Officers Institute.

Here are some of my takeaways from bootcamp:

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The 2017 PAISBOA Annual Data Survey

June 16, 2017

Last week, the PAISBOA Annual Data Survey subcommittee (Larry Capuzzi, Gail Crane, Tom Devine, Erin Donnelly, Jayme Karolyi) met with our colleagues from Measuring Success and Cal-ISBOA (California Independent School Business Officer Association) to review our survey questions for 2017 and prepare for the July 24 launch of this year's survey. The PAISBOA Annual Data Survey is a widely known and respected benchmarking tool created by business officers for business officers. For over 30 years, PAISBOA has been providing participating member schools with relevant, comprehensive data for administrators and boards to utilize, creating financial dashboards and other data reports that are imperative for the tough decisions our independent school administrators and boards face every day.

"How does our 403(b) match compare to other schools? Who can I call with a question about swimming pools? How do our faculty salaries compare to other schools? Which law firms should we consider for employment advice? These are just four of the hundreds of questions I can answer using the PAISBOA Annual Data Survey!"
Carolyn Hapeman, CFO, Westtown School

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June 2, 2017

Now that we are into June, we are six months into our membership year calendar! Are you making the most of your PAISBOA membership and taking advantage of everything PAISBOA has to offer?

Here are 10 great reasons to get involved with PAISBOA today!

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In the News: CyberSecurity

May 19, 2017

As many of you know, "Ransomware, which is often transmitted by email or web pop-ups, involves locking up people's data and threatening to destroy it if a ransom is not paid. The [recent] global cyberattack has affected 200,000 Windows computers in more than 150 countries, including China, Japan, South Korea, Germany and Britain," according to Brian Chen of the New York Times.

Like it or not, cybersecurity is increasingly a part of our lives as we continue to leverage technology for personal and professional use. Cybersecurity is not just the responsibility of the tech department at our schools and universities -- everyone in the community has an important role to play!

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Retirement Planning Dinners Coming Up

May 5, 2017

"Money isn't the only necessity for a happy retirement," Emily Brandon explains in 9 Secrets of Retirement Happiness. I thought, "Well it sure doesn't hurt!"

Thanks to our colleagues at SCH Academy (May 10) and The Shipley School (May 11) for hosting the annual PAISBOA Retirement Planning Dinners co-sponsored by TIAA next week from 6:00-8:30 pm. These dinners will feature presentations that will assist those in our member schools who are considering retirement in the next few years. We will have representatives from TIAA, Social Security, and Medicare, and an attorney who will discuss wills and estates. These folks will be on hand to start the conversation and answer some general questions about how you can begin to financially prepare for your life's next chapter.

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2016 Annual Meeting Review

April 21, 2017

Yesterday's Annual Meeting at Lincoln Financial Field, home of the Philadelphia Eagles, was a salute to teamwork. Hal Davidow, outgoing PAISBOA Board Chair, presided over the day with his usual wit and wisdom, and led us through an agenda which paid homage to our past, celebrated our present, and laid the groundwork for the future.

Our welcoming speaker, Eagles Insider Dave Spadaro, updated us about some personnel changes for the Eagles for the upcoming season and, like many of us, is eagerly anticipating the NFL Draft. He stressed the importance of culture in an NFL organization and how important it was for teams to recruit and retain the right players for their team and their city, which is certainly something we all should keep in mind as we look to recruit and retain our students. And our Keynote Speaker, Andrew Brandt, looked at sports from the legal and business perspectives, and shared his insights into some critical issues in professional sports.

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Zero-Based Budgeting

APRIL 7, 2017

Last week the business officer listserv lit up with a simple question about budgets. On the surface, budgeting seems like a simple process, but we all know that there is nothing simple about the budget process in our schools. Carol Lerner from the Philadelphia School offered to share the forms she uses with her colleagues, and you would have thought she invented chocolate!!! Everyone wanted a copy of the forms, but as Carol confirmed, the forms are not the magic in all of this, "I would say the form is not what makes zero-based budgeting successful. The success is due to the meetings that I have with budget owners at the beginning of the planning process and throughout the year."

Carol will be leading a one-hour Zoom meeting on Wednesday, April 26 at 11:00 am to share her knowledge of zero-based budgeting and the process she uses to educate her community leaders to develop and track their budgets. All are welcome to join this discussion.

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The Power of Introverts (and Extroverts)

March 24, 2017

Susan Cain, author of the New York Times Bestseller Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking and a self-proclaimed introvert, was featured in NBOA's Net Assets, and was a keynote speaker at the 2017 NBOA Annual Meeting in February. When she asked how many attendees considered themselves introverts, the overwhelming majority of hands went up. It was a bit daunting for the scant few extroverts in the audience!

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NBOA and NAIS Wrap-up

March 10, 2017

Last week, Al and I attended the annual meetings for NBOA (Washington DC) and NAIS (Baltimore MD) with over 50 members of PAISBOA. Both conferences featured excellent speakers (professional and novice) and provided occasions to interact with all types of exhibitors who support independent school education. As with any gathering of independent school leaders, the opportunity to network with like-minded educators was paramount -- connecting with new colleagues and reconnecting with old friends. In our role as association leaders, we were on the lookout for new ideas, engaging speakers, and potential vendor partners. We were successful in identifying all three!

The programming at NBOA was tracked into seven categories: accounting, finance and tax, business operations, facilities, human resources, information technology, leadership and governance and risk management. I attended some interesting programs on endowment management, investment policies as well as data trends, dashboarding, and data presentation, while Al attended a few programs related to governance, affordability and accessibility, and financial reporting.

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