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Leading in the time of COVID-19

March 27, 2020

As we wrap up our second week of social distancing, remote work, and virtual learning, we are all adjusting to the new normal. New routines are established, new learning schedules are in place, and the initial decisions have been made to ensure business continuity for most of our schools and universities. We know that effective leadership is essential for the next phase of decisions that our member schools face in the coming months, and the business officers will have a major role to play in both the decision-making process and in communicating about the decisions.

Described in Leadership in a Crisis: Responding to the Coronavirus Outbreak and Future Challenges, “the outbreak has the hallmarks of a ‘landscape scale’ crisis: an unexpected event or sequence of events of enormous scale and overwhelming speed, resulting in a high degree of uncertainty that gives rise to disorientation, a feeling of lost control, and strong emotional disturbance.” The authors indicate, “What leaders need during a crisis is not a predefined response plan but behaviors and mindsets that will prevent them from overreacting to yesterday’s developments and help them to look ahead. Here are the five behaviors and corresponding mindsets to consider:

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We Are All in This Together! COVID-19 Update

March 13, 2020

The great thing about being part of the independent school community is that you are not alone in dealing with COVID-19 and the many repercussions related to school/university life and operations. We are all in this together!

PAISBOA continues to monitor COVID-19 and bring you the latest updates and resources from governmental sources, other independent schools associations, our corporate partners, and our PAISBOA Preferred Vendors (PPVs). Rather than inundate you and add to the volume of information coming at you from all directions, we compiled the resources at paisboa.org for you to reference when you need information—on your timetable. Log in to access this information HERE. If you are having difficulty with access, please contact Ron Hill at [email protected], and he will assist you and your colleagues with access to all kinds of helpful information and advice.

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Envisioning the Future and Your School, Your Legacy

February 28, 2020

This week I was privileged to represent PAISBOA at both the NBOA Annual Meeting in Orlando, and the NAIS Annual Conference in Philadelphia. It was a wonderful opportunity to connect with our members, reconnect with colleagues from around the country, meet with our PAISBOA Preferred Vendors and Corporate Sponsors, and engage in some professional development.

Jeff Shields and his team at NBOA and Donna Orem and her team at NAIS put on amazing conferences. The keynote speakers were top-notch – I had a fangirl moment with Soledad O’Brien and was wowed by Vinh Giang at NBOA, Jonathan Haidt was compelling, and I am looking forward to hearing from Gretchen Rubin later today. As always, I have additions to my reading list as a result of these conferences:

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Contracts, Commitment and Performance

Happy Valentine’s Day to all!!! With cards, candy, and flowers, Valentine’s Day is a celebration of commitment. For some independent schools, Valentine’s Day used to be employee contract day — the schools committed to employing faculty and staff, and, in turn, faculty and staff committed to working at the school for the next academic year.

Contract = Commitment.

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Health and Safety Update

January 31 2020

We know that there are many health and safety issues that schools and universities grapple with every day. This week we are focusing on an update regarding novel coronavirus, and Act 67 of 2019 which updates Pennsylvania school safety laws regarding training and credentials for school resource officers, schools police officers, and school security guards. I also realize that as soon as we publish this update much of the information will be outdated, so we are including additional resources at the end so you can continue to check back for updates on your own.

Novel Coronavirus

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The Quiet Quandary

I have never been one for New Year’s Resolutions — This year though, I plan on making an exception, mostly because the change I am interested in happens to coincide with the New Year.

We all work in different types of spaces. Some of us work alone in discrete offices, some work in shared spaces with another person or two, others work in an open space configuration. I have worked in all these types of spaces and found them acceptable, even enjoyable. It never makes much difference to me how or where I work. But, I have been reading a lot lately about working or at least spending a part of each day in quiet or even silence, and there are both health and productivity benefits to finding some quiet in your day. As a total extrovert and supreme multitasker with a Type A personality, I am going to embrace the quiet and maybe even try for a little silence every day.

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What’s on Your Stop Doing List?

December 20, 2019

Every week, we dutifully create our to-do lists and work diligently to cross items off that list by Friday. Some of us have 90-day lists. Others have their lists divided by long-term items and short-term items. To-do lists are even more important at this time of year, with a race toward year-end at work, additional social commitments, gift lists, errands, etc. I am getting to the point where my lists have lists -- you know what I am talking about!!!

So how can we restore order? Saying Yes to No: The Power of a Stop Doing List outlines 5 tips for creating your own “stop doing” list:

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Thank You for Your PAISBOA Membership!

November 15, 2019

Like many of you, I filed PAISBOA’s 990 this week, and to say that I am grateful for the support of Lisa Carbone Warren, Treasurer of PAISBOA and the  PAISBOA Services Corporation, the PAISBOA Board of Directors, our accountants, Mainline Accounting, and our auditors, Tait Weller is an understatement. Anything related to compliance is a heavy lift for all of us, and I am thankful to have this level of professional expertise available to the association.

So, with that out of the way, and with the year-end fast approaching, it is now time to focus our attention on membership renewal.

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Rethinking Risk for Independent Schools and Universities

November 1, 2019

Next Friday, November 8, PAISBOA will host one of our signature events, the Annual Meeting of the PAISBOA Business Insurance Group. For Members of the PAISBOA Business Insurance Group, this is a mandatory meeting. Additionally, all members of PAISBOA are invited to attend as we will be discussing how to mitigate some of the top risks for independent schools and universities.

In recent years, the news has been full of catastrophic events involving schools and universities—active shooters, mudslides, fires, floods, sexual assault, abuse and molestation, hazing, and other violent events that affect our schools and our children. ISM, one of the PAISBOA Business Insurance Group carriers, notes that the more mundane threats: “mold, faulty playground equipment, unlicensed vendors, social media activity, unmaintained employee records, and outdated insurance policies” can be just as detrimental to schools and universities.

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Right Questions, Right Time, Right Solutions

October 4, 2019

In our personal and professional lives, we are asked to make roughly 35,000 decisions every day ranging from “should we have a cybersecurity assessment?” to “should we reset our tuition?” Obviously, some decisions are more important than others, so how can we make better decisions when we must make a tough call, or when we are faced with options that are unpleasant?

According to research by McKinsey, “Decision makers complain about everything from lack of real debate, convoluted processes, and an over-reliance on consensus and death by committee, to unclear organizational roles, information overload (and the resulting inability to separate signal from noise), and company cultures that lack empowerment.”

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Onboarding Your Rockstar New Hires

September 20, 2019

Your new employees are about to complete their 30th (teachers) or 90th day (administration and staff) — how is their onboarding going? For many of you, the answer is that onboarding has been completed, paperwork is in, and, like most schools, universities, and corporations, you are in good company. For those of you who say that you are just getting started, you have just improved your new hire retention by 82% and productivity by 70%.

According to Gallup, “The decision to join a new organization is often accompanied by leaving another, and new hires are placing bets that their new role will be better than the last, fulfilling a need the previous employer was not. It is a decision that starts with rational considerations but is ultimately decided based on emotions…The transition from candidate to employee should feel like a natural handoff that continues the momentum and fuels the excitement for the new job. Don't lose the momentum you've gained during attraction and recruitment by failing to deliver during the onboarding process. Welcome new hires like they are the rock stars you diligently selected.”

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Benefits of Membership

September 6, 2019

Welcome back! We hope that you had a productive summer filled with successfully finished projects, a clean audit, and some time to refresh and recharge with family and friends! The PAISBOA team completed the migration from one survey platform to another and opened the PAISBOA Annual Data Survey on time on September 3, we are waiting for the audit report, and we all took some time to have some fun with family and friends. A successful summer for all!

As always, we are now gearing up for the 2019-2020 academic year, just like you. Just as you focus on your students and employees, our focus is on YOU! Your membership in PAISBOA comes with a myriad of benefits included in your modest, all-inclusive dues. We would be remiss if we did not remind you of your membership benefits, and advise you of some new opportunities for this year:

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Leadership Lessons from Music Legends

August 23, 2019

As many of you know, my broken ankle a slowed me down a bit, but it did not dampen my enthusiasm for good music. This summer, my family and I made plans to see a number of concerts in all different venues, and I considered giving up my tickets to some of them due to my mobility issues. My family said, “Nonsense!” So they wheeled, muscled, and pushed their way into theatres, casinos, and stadiums, with me in tow, to see some of the classics of all times.

To start this academic year off right, let’s begin with some lessons from folks who understand leadership at a visceral level, and who have the gravitas and the career longevity to back it up.

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Summer of Learning

July 26, 2019

On June 11, I broke my ankle in three places by getting my foot caught between a step and the seat in front of me at a Phillies game. I knew immediately that I broke my ankle - Ouch! The ushers and first aid team were very quick to act and very helpful, but no one ever followed up with me from the Phillies or Citizens Bank Park. I was surprised and yet not surprised at the same time.

Lesson 1 – Customer Service is Key! In this litigious age, sometimes we forget that just showing empathy/sympathy is still the right thing to do.

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The PAISBOA Annual Data Survey: New and Improved Version Underway Soon!

June 14, 2019

Led by Tom Devine from Merion Mercy Academy, our PAISBOA Survey Gurus (Frank Aloise, Larry Capuzzi, Erin Donnelly, Mark Gibbons, David Gold, and Jayme Karolyi) are gearing up for the launch of the PAISBOA Annual Data Survey.

With our new data collection partner, Dynamic Benchmarking, we plan to open our beta test to 15 member schools the week of August 12, and will open the survey to all PAISBOA members by the end of August. If you are interested in being a beta tester, please contact Ron Hill at [email protected]. We will contact the first 15 respondents with the beta testing information in early August.

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Reading for the Future

May 31, 2019

I am a big reader! I always have a couple of books going — one for fun and the other for professional development. I read two news feeds from different perspectives, multiple professional newsletters and magazines, blogs from associations, education, and business, and I scan association sites for new ideas on website functionality, trends, and professional programming. Right now, I am very interested in Artificial Intelligence and how it applies to education. Bottom line — I am always reading something or looking for something to read!

This week, I read NAIS’ Independent School Magazine, which highlighted health and well-being for students, and it started me thinking about the health and well-being of the employees in our independent school and university communities, how our workforce is changing, and what that means to the way we do business.

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Leadership, Longevity, and Legacy

May 17, 2019

This week, I came across a blog post by John Maxwell titled, You Can’t Lead If You Can’t Stick Around: Developing Longevity as a Leader, in which he describes the “secret to staying in a high-powered role for 2 decades” like Daniel Amos of AFLAC, Jeff Bezos of Amazon, and Warren Buffet of Berkshire Hathaway. He cites three traits that are the foundation for any leader’s longevity: character, competence, and consistency.

  • Character: combination of values, beliefs, and actions – talking the talk and walking the walk.
  • Competence: built on experience, growth, excellence, exceeding expectations, and inspiration in the way you understand and connect with your people.
  • Consistency: behaviors, temperament, and integrity – “leaders are the metronome for the team’s performance – a steady beat by which everyone else can play”

For PAISBOA, John Batley is the metronome! A former CFO of Westtown School, recipient of the Visionary Award, and the man for whom the John Batley Award was created, John’s legacy is one of selfless giving and inclusion in PAISBOA. We celebrate his character, competence, and consistency each year at the PAISBOA Annual Meeting with the selection of the John Batley Award winner.

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Celebrating Women in Leadership and Linda Phelps, Executive Director of PAIS

May 3, 2019

For women leaders, there is a Catch-22 situation based on societal norms. We are expected to be warm and nice as well as tough and competent having to negotiate a unique balancing act of being demanding yet caring, authoritative yet participative, advocating for ourselves while serving others, and maintaining a distance while being approachable.  It’s no wonder why we are all so tired!!! Being perfect is exhausting!!!

Despite gains in every profession, women remain underrepresented at all levels of leadership, according to research compiled by the AAUW for the Barriers and Bias report. In Congress, on corporate boards, in colleges and universities, in independent schools, and independent school associations, male leaders outnumber female leaders by considerable margins. There are many reasons for these leadership gaps, but stereotypes and bias are still the leading obstacles to women’s leadership.

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Why the PAISBOA Network is the Most Important Member Benefit!

April 5, 2019

Having recently finished the membership renewal cycle for PAISBOA, and looking back at the results of the membership survey from last year, the benefits of membership we have assembled are important to our member schools and universities. Most members appreciate the consortia for business insurance, goods and services, and healthcare. Others find the PAISBOA Annual Data Survey a critical part of their data-driven decision-making process. Many members find the annual meetings (Business Insurance Group, Health Benefit Trust, Purchasing Consortium) and professional development programs invaluable in improving their professional practice. But the key benefit of PAISBOA membership is the PAISBOA Network.

Business Officers spend much of their time alone and in many ways, feel like a “business owner” or “sole proprietor” at their school with long hours and stressful decisions. Building relationships and having a network of colleagues that you can count on makes the job less solitary. While your membership in PAISBOA provides all the tangible benefits that you have come to expect for your school or university, it is the camaraderie, resources, and advice you rely on to be more effective and efficient in your role that keeps you coming back to PAISBOA.

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Vacation, Self-Care, and Sleep

March 22, 2019

With one week left in the month of March, we find ourselves in the throes of March Madness (literally and figuratively!), and many independent schools are either returning from or just heading out for Spring Break. For those of you with April spring breaks this year, you are likely trying to keep the wheels on until then. March is a tough month—the weather is iffy, daylight savings knocks everyone off their game for a few days, and for many schools and universities, it feels like a long time since the winter holiday.

For those of you fortunate enough to travel over your break this month or next, or even enjoy a staycation; getting away from work is good for you and good for your school. Rather than leave vacation time on the table like 52% of Americans who don’t use 212 million vacation days annually, here are three good reasons to take your vacation:

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