Advancement & Communications Conference

2017 Advancement & Communications Conference

"It's All about The Brand. 'bout the Brand"

November 2-3, 2017

Church Landing, ​​Meredith, NH

ISANNE Advancement & Communications is heading to Church Landing this year focusing on Branding, what it is, why it matters and how to work branding into both Advancment and Communications. The conference continues the popular hybrid model of concurrent sessions and full group sessions and of course, we will enjoy the VERY exciting evening activities that allow us to work hard all day and relax together in the evening! 

See Full Draft Program Below


Registration Fees:

$365.00 per person for ISANNE Members - Full Conference (includes all meals, conference breaks and conference materials)

$340.00 per person for ISANNE Members if three or more people from your school are attending

$499.00 per person for Non-ISANNE Members

Please be advised that the registration form that you filled out is for the conference only.  You will need to make your own room reservation by calling Church Landing directly at (800) 622-6455. Your rooming reservation must be made by Monday, October 2, 2017. To receive the conference rate of $149  identify yourself as an ISANNE Advancement and Communications Conference participant.


Andy Shepard, President/CEO, Outdoor Sport Institute

Andy Shepard spent 16 years at L.L.Bean in Freeport, Maine working on strategies, products and services to inspire people to spend time outdoors. While at L.L.Bean Andy developed a strategy to create a new economic and cultural model for Northern Maine, which became the Maine Winter Sports Center (MWSC) in the Spring of 1999.

Over the next 18 years the MWSC evolved into a globally respected, year-round, statewide organization that used the challenge inherent in the outdoors and outdoor sport to preparing kids and adults for the challenges in life. But by 2016, what started out focused on getting people in Northern Maine on skis had evolved into so much more. It needed a new name that more accurately reflected that evolution—the Outdoor Sport Institute.

Andy was named the Outstanding Non-Profit Business Executive for Maine in 2010, recipient of the Russell Wilder Award by the US Ski and Snowboard Association in 2009 and was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Maine in 2005. 

Andy is co-founder, Vice Chairman and trustee of the United States Biathlon Foundation and past trustee of Carrabassett Valley Academy and Pineland Farms.

Robin Schell, APR, Fellow PRSA

Robin Schell  is senior counsel and partner for Jackson Jackson & Wagner, a behavioral public relations and management consulting firm serving a national base of clients.  Robin’s specialties include issue anticipation and crisis communication programs, employee communications, community relationship-building, behavioral research & strategic planning.  The firm’s clients range from private schools and small nonprofit organizations to Fortune 50 companies and government entities.

Robin is an accredited member of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) and has served in many capacities for that organization, including past president of the Yankee Chapter of PRSA, Environmental Section Chair, National Membership Co-Chair and Assembly Delegate.  She has also co-chaired the Educational Initiatives Committee of the College of Fellows and currently participates in the mentor program.  She is a frequent speaker and presenter at conferences across the country, including PRSA, the New England Society of Healthcare Communicators (NESHCO), NSPRA (National School Public Relations Association), the Department of Veterans Affairs, APPA (American Public Power Association), ISANNE (Independent Schools Association of Northern New England) and the Florida Public Relations Association (FPRA).  She regularly teaches a 2-day “PR Bootcamp” class for PRSA and has served as an adjunct professor at both the University of New Hampshire and the University of South Carolina.  She is also a contributing editor to the book, “Public Relations Practices:  Managerial Case Studies & Problems: 8th Edition”  by Allen Center, Patrick Jackson, Stacey Smith and Frank Stansberry.  In addition, she has served as Chair of the Communications & Trust Advisory Panel for Brookhaven National Laboratory and is Chair of the Expert Advisory Panel for the Department of Energy’s Office of Science Communications. 

A graduate of the University of New Hampshire, Robin is an active member of the UNH Alumni Association.  Her volunteer activities include chairing the Called to Care committee at the Main Street Congregational Church and Publicity Chair for LUNGSTRONG (a nonprofit organization that funds innovative lung cancer research).  She is a 5-time bike rider in the Pan-Mass Challenge, the largest fundraiser for cancer research in Massachusetts and resides in Amesbury, MA.

Ross Gibson

Ross Gibson is leadership and organizational development consultant and facilitator.  Through The Richards Group Employee Benefits Group and its subsidiary, The Green Mountain Leadership Center, Ross works with organizations to help develop positive leadership growth.   Prior to working as a consultant, Ross was Senior Vice President, Global Human Resources at World Learning, a global academic institution and Non-Governmental Organization based in Brattleboro, Vermont.  Ross has held other several senior level positions.  He is active in several local and regional Human Resources and training organizations and is a past president of the Northeast Human Resources Association (NEHRA). Locally in Brattleboro, Vermont, he is a Board member of the Brattleboro Area Chamber of Commerce and the Strolling of the Heifers.  Additionally, he is an advisor to the local United Way chapter and an active member of the Sunshine Rotary Club of Brattleboro.  

Eric Rolfson, President, Rolfson Group, Inc.

Eric François Rolfson is President of the Rolfson Group, Inc. ( Before founding the Group, Eric spent more than 30 years raising money for nonprofit institutions and held leadership positions in $10 million, $35 million and $150 million comprehensive fundraising campaigns at Thomas College, Colby College, and the University of Maine.
He founded the Rolfson Group to help organizations make a difference in the world by effectively identifying and engaging like-minded constituents in their futures.Prior to his career in fundraising, Eric taught English, French and American Studies at the secondary and college levels, both in the United States and abroad.
An avid musician, Rolfson travels regularly with old-time country music bands representing the United States on musical and cultural exchanges, primarily in developing countries. Trips over the past dozen years include tours in Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Algeria, Cuba, Benin, Niger, Mauritania, Israel, Jordan, Poland, Mongolia and Ukraine.
In his spare time, Eric runs a family maple syrup operation and maintains trails on his land in rural Maine.

Nancy Clark, Owner of Drive Brand Studio

Nancy is fortunate to be surrounded by amazing team of fun, enthusiastic and savvy marketers who inspire her every day. The Drive team loves branding for clients throughout the country and they are energized by the mantra “do great work for nice people and have fun doing it.” She also serves on the NH Humanities Board, the NH Joint Promotional Program Committee and the Washington DC-based Small Business Advisory Council.  Her personal interests include travel that combines any & all outdoor activities particularly hiking and cycling. But her all time favorite moments are anywhere, anytime spent with her husband and four wandering boys.

John Visgilio, Principal and Co-founder of Overabove

John Visgilio is Principal and Co-founder of Overabove, a marketing and communications firm in Essex, CT.

John didn’t come from the ivory tower of the traditional agency world. He came from news, where he uncovered compelling stories that broke through. So he thinks differently about just about everything: strategy, collaboration, results, you name it. That’s why he created a different kind of agency. One that uses traditional and new media in ways other agencies don’t understand.

To drive enrollment and development, schools need to differentiate themselves from the competition. From private secondary to public post-secondary schools, Overabove does just that. Academia, however, is not all we do. Overabove clients live in diverse worlds, including travel & leisure, financial services and healthcare. John uses the discipline he’s gained from working in these competitive categories to help Overabove education clients outsmart and outperform their peer schools.  

Ken Mason, Director of Strategic Marketing and Communications, The Gunnery School

In 2016, Ken joined The Gunnery, a boarding and day school for boys and girls in grades 9-12, in Washington, Connecticut.  In this role as Director of Strategic Marketing & Communications​, Ken serves on the senior leadership team, contributing to the strategic direction and operation of the school and leads the school’s Advancement Team. Among his department’s areas of concentration are the school’s website, print and digital communications, community and public relations, social media, advertising, and the visual brand and messaging of the school’s programs. Prior to joining The Gunnery, Ken served for 12 years at Westminster School (C​onn.​ ) where he started and led their marketing program as their first Director of Marketing & Communications.

Ken has presented at national, regional and local conferences including for CASE, NAIS, TABS, SSATB, Round Table, Whipple Hill and Aim High!; was chair of the CASE/NAIS 2012 conference communications track; chaired the Conn. Assoc. of Independent Schools Commission on School Advancement. He has served in leadership roles for the local chamber of commerce and Main Street program, and on town committees.

For 11 years, prior to joining Westminster School, Ken was the principal of an award-winning graphic design and marketing firm. His firm produced marketing plans and tactics for non-profits and business clients in the Hartford region. He first ventured into independent school marketing when working on the refinement of Westminster’s identity program, creation of their print materials and implementation of early marketing initiatives. Ken has served as Director of Alumni & Parent Relations at the University of Hartford, and in marketing and communications roles in banking and insurance.

Deven Spear, Chief Innovation Officer of Overabove

Deven Spear is the Chief Innovation Officer of Overabove, a marketing and communications firm in Essex, CT.

Deven is a serial entrepreneur founding six companies. Many of the businesses focused on technology, marketing and sales solutions. Ranging from small operations to Fortune 500 organizations. Working on custom application development and customer relationship management systems spurred Deven to think of using data to orchestrate customer experiences and advance an entirely new generation of customer engagement.

Deven’s focus is acutely attuned toward a single goal: helping clients capitalize on technology-driven marketing to educate, engage and delight their customers. And once a part of the school community, enabling schools to maintain on-going relationships with alumni through regular and relevant communications. In the world of education, where school choice is becoming more common, it has become more critical than ever for institutions to outsmart their competition. 


Thu, 11/02/2017 to Fri, 11/03/2017


Church Landing
281 Daniel Webster Highway
Meredith, NH 03253