Conferences & Workshops

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NYSAIS Institutional Advancement Conference 2020

Date: Sunday - March 08, 2020
Time: All Day
Location: Mohonk Mountain House

Mohonk Mountain House

New Paltz, NY

Sunday, March 8 - Tuesday, March 10, 2020
Featured Speakers: Martha Haakmat and Kathy Pearson

Vendors and Exhibitors Information and Registration

Learn more on our conference website

Who should attend? YOU! There will be outstanding general topics for all advancement professionals as well as focused tracks for fundraising, event planning, communications, alumni relations and more!

NYSAIS expects that presenters will adhere to our standards of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Questions about the conference? Want to chat with a member of the planning committee? Contact us at any time!

Register now!

Information for workshop presenters.

Conference Overview:

Join your colleagues from all over New York at Mohonk in March for the eleventh annual NYSAIS Institutional Advancement Conference. We are thrilled to focus this year’s conference around building community, as this tenet is at the core of all advancement work.

Enjoy a tailor-made program and network with outstanding people: Whether you specialize in marketing and communications, fundraising, events, alumni/ae relations, or oversee it all as a director, this conference will be an important chance to think big, gain new insights, recharge, connect with fellow professionals and vendors, and bring back new ideas and action plans.

Location, location, location: The conference takes place in the stunning surroundings of the historic Mohonk Mountain House in the spring, with three days and two nights of fine dining, exceptional facilities, and countless networking possibilities.

Peer-led breakouts - Click here for the session schedule. 

Sessions in red are together in the Parlor.

Sessions in blue are breakouts and rooms will be assigned at the conference

 Click the logo to view live streamed sessions. 

Sunday, March 8

Start Time

End Time


12:00 p.m.

1:15 p.m.

Registration Opens Outside Parlor / Lunch in Dining Room

1:45 p.m.

2:00 p.m.


2:00 p.m.

4:00 p.m.

Keynote - Building Equity from the Inside Out: Advancement’s Crucial Role in Strengthening Community
Martha Haakmat, Haakmat Consulting

Advancement practitioners can play a crucial role in building, strengthening and sustaining diverse, equitable, inclusive school communities. This demands work beyond a theoretical understanding of racial equity and calls for systemic anti-racism in practice, along with the required knowledge, skills and dispositions, as well as policies and procedures, which are rooted in equity. Advancement practitioners in this general session will be engaged participants in activities and conversations for an investigation of their own practices. The goals of this session are to build awareness of the ways whiteness and white supremacy culture in advancement offices work against school missions for equity, and to build anti-racist strategies and action steps into development and communications practices. Whether you are new to thinking about your work with an equity lens or are a veteran of deep-dive learning and reflection, this session is a unique opportunity to consider in a personal, real-world context, how your daily work connects to and supports your school’s equity mission. 

4:15 p.m.

5:30 p.m.

Cohort Meetings

  • M/C in Parlor
  • AG in Parlor
  • MG in Sunset 1   
  • DoD/A in Mountain View 
  • Alumni in Sunset 2
  • Data in Suite 61
  • Events in Rock Reading Room

5:30 p.m.

6:30 p.m.

Free Time

6:30 p.m.

7:30 p.m.

Cocktails in Lake Lounge

7:30 p.m.

9:00 p.m.


Monday, March 9

8:00 a.m.

9:00 a.m.


9:15 a.m.

10:15 a.m.

Peer Breakout Sessions

10:30 a.m.

11:30 a.m.

Peer Breakout Sessions

11:45 a.m.

1:00 p.m.

Lunch: Table Talk & Mini-Wins Bulletin Board! 

To expand the number of colleagues sharing knowledge beyond our breakout session series, we ask all conference attendees to share your favorite professional "win" - big or small, along with your contact info, so fellow conference goers can connect with you about it! 

1:15 p.m.

2:15 p.m.

Peer Breakout Sessions

2:30 p.m.

3:30 p.m.

Peer Breakout Sessions

3:30 p.m.

4:30 p.m.

Choose your own minds-on adventure:

  • Debrief and make an action plan with your school's team
  • Host a walk-and-talk discussion about a topic of your choice
  • Get a "speed-therapy" strategy session about your most pressing with an expert Generation Branding & Communication

4:30 p.m.

6:00 p.m.

Free Time

6:00 p.m.

7:30 p.m

Exhibitors Cocktail Hour

7:30 p.m

9:00 p.m.


Tuesday, March 10

7:45 AM

8:30 AM


8:45 AM

9:45 AM

Peer Breakout Sessions

10:00 AM


12:00 PM

Closing Presentation – Managing Uncertainty:  The Need for Strategic Agility in the Advancement Office
Kathy Pearson

Today’s not-for-profit environment is no longer described as having an “ebb and flow”, but rather a permanent “whitewater” condition, particularly for the advancement function within independent schools.  This increased speed of change in fundraising, communication methods, and marketing channels has made the traditional planning process inadequate and in need of more dynamic planning. This session presents the case for adaptability in strategic planning and provides a pathway to building the capability to be nimble in the areas of fundraising, alumni relations, and development.

12:00 PM

12:05 PM

Closing Remarks

1:00 PM



 Martha Haakmat will be our keynote speaker on Sunday, March 8th. Martha is an educator and strategist who has spent her 32-year career in faculty and leadership positions, most recently as a Head of School, in a wide variety of NYSAIS school communities. As Head of School a Martha worked specifically on enrollment, marketing, and finance in a changing admissions landscape, and she developed strategic planning expertise including diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) goal-setting and ongoing systemic work. Martha is now Executive Director of Haakmat Consulting, providing leadership coaching and support for DEI strategic planning for schools and other organizations. In addition to her experience as a teacher and leader in lower, middle, and upper school grade levels, Martha has served as an independent school trustee and as a member of various committees for NAIS, NYSAIS, the Independent School Admission Association of Greater New York (ISAAGNY), and New York City Guild of Independent School Heads. She was also the founder and director of Educators for Growth and Empowerment (EDGE), a diversity consulting team with regional and national recognition. Martha currently serves on the Board of Trustees for NYSAIS and Early Steps. She is also a faculty member for the NAIS Institute for New Heads and is a credentialed Montessori administrator.

Kathy Pearson, Ph.D. will be our closing speaker on Tuesday, March 10th. Kathy is a strategist, Systems Thinking expert, and authority in decision making. She is President and Founder of ELS, a firm focused on executive development and learning across industries. Kathy is also a Senior Fellow at the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics and has served as an adjunct Associate Professor in the Operations and Information Management Department at The Wharton School, both at the University of Pennsylvania. In this academic capacity, Kathy taught operations management courses in the MBA program and Executive Masters of Technology Management programs as well as Probability and Statistics, Simulation Modeling, and other courses for the department and the University. An award-winning educator, Kathy works extensively with mid- to senior-level executives, where she teaches on a variety of topics including Executive Decision Making, Strategic Agility, Change Managing, and Execution.

Register Now, It's Time Well Spent!

Registration is a 2-step process. Be sure to do both.  

1. Reserve your room with Mohonk using one of the following.
  • Click here to reserve online
  • Click here to download the Mohonk Residential Reservation Form (room and board)
  • Click here if you will be a day guest at Mohonk (meals only)
  • Reserve by phone: 800-772-6646
  • Need car service? Please give the Mohonk 24 hours notice, or call a local taxi.

2. Conference Registration and Credit Card Payment

Regular Registration Fees 

    •    NYSAIS Members - $430.00
    •    Non-members - $470.00

Early Discount of $40.00 will apply until 4 weeks before the event.

Late fee of $40.00 will apply within 2 days of the event.

Questions about the program? Email

Questions about registration? Email

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17 Elk Street (First Floor)     Albany, NY 12207     Tel: 518-694-5500     Fax: 518-694-5501

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