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Business Affairs Conference 2018

Date: Wednesday - May 02, 2018
Time: All Day
Location: Mohonk Mountain House

Exhibitors - Click here for information and

registration for the Exhibitor Showcase

Exhibitors - Click here to SPONSOR (Pre-Requisite: Exhibitor Table)

Click here to submit a workshop proposal (Currently Closed)

Attendees from Schools - Conference Registration Here

In the schedule below, sessions designated with will be livestreamed. You can watch live, or click the logo to view all of the NYSAIS archived sessions from past conferences.

All meals in Main Dining Room


3:00 - 4:00
Mountain View

Informal Chat Group: New Business Officers and those who are attending the Business Affairs Conference for the first time.

4:00 - 4:30

Registration Desk opens. Tea in Lake Lounge.

4:30 - 4:45

Welcome - Conference Committee

4:45 - 6:00


Session 1 – Keynote Address –  Navigating the ‘Big, Hairy Challenges’ Facing Independent School Leaders
Grant Lichtman

The next 25 years will bring a magnitude of dramatic and inevitable change in education beyond anything seen in many generations. Over the last four years, author, education thought leader, and former independent school CFO Grant Lichtman has visited and worked with more than 125 schools and districts and thousands of school stakeholders to understand what these changes means for schools in an increasingly differentiated education marketplace.  Grant has also collected a fascinating and unique set of data during 2017-2018 from more than 250 independent school leaders about what they see as the most pressing issues facing our schools in terms of mission, people, the learning experience, and operations and finance. These “big, hairy challenges” will frame how business officers help lead our schools into this future.

Navigating these challenges requires a different fiscal, organizational, and leadership tools than school leaders have used in the past. These include a very different approach to traditional strategic planning; markedly greater inclusion of the broader school community at a strategic level; empowerment of distributed leadership throughout the school; and a design-based approach to executive leadership.  These approaches position schools to more dynamically navigate the challenges of an ever-more VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous) world.

West Dining Room

Cocktails and Vendor displays in the West Dining Room

Main Dining Room

Dinner  (Assigned tables), Main Dining room

Wine courtesy of Janney Montgomery Scott

Late night networking in Carriage Lounge



Continental Breakfast available in Carriage Lounge

7:30 - 8:15

Buffet Breakfast

8:30 - 10:00


Session 2 - President Gloria Cordes Larson, Bentley University - How Innovative Colleges Drive Student Success

How can we as parents, educators, and members of the business community prepare students to be successful leaders in today's global environment? It's a critically important question. Gloria Cordes Larson, president of Bentley University, explains why today's practices in higher education are inadequate preparation for our rapidly evolving innovation economy. Instead, she passionately advocates for a hybrid-learning model that integrates business education with traditional liberal arts courses. Today's businesses demand a new kind of hybrid graduate, possessed of both hard and soft skills, with the courage to take risks, the creativity to innovate, and the savvy to excel in a turbulent competitive climate. This book is a valuable resource for participants in every learning community: our homes, schools, and businesses. It will change the way you think about what excellence in education means in today's business environment as you develop strategies that will move our children, students, and future employees forward in a rapidly changing and very challenging world. Prepared with that training and knowledge, they will find greater fulfillment and make their own mark on the future.

10:00- 10:15


10:15 - 11:45

Session 3 – Concurrent Workshops

Mountain View

A.  Student Travel
Mark Brossman, Schulte, Roth & Zabel

After the unprecedented $41.75 million dollar jury verdict against The Hotchkiss School for injuries sustained by a student who contracted tick-borne encephalitis on a school trip to China, independent schools must review their travel policies and procedures. We will discuss risk management for student travel ranging from local day trips to remote international travel.  We will address documentation including waiver/release permission slips, medical forms, early release forms, and emergency procedures.  We will discuss issues concerning school sanctioned trips versus faculty organized trips.  We will discuss best practices regarding insurance, relationships with outside travel companies, host families, due diligence, disability accommodation on trips, etc.

Cliff View

B. Cyber Hacking Schools, and protecting yourselves
Andrew Garrison, First Republic

This workshop will include real examples and how to defend against these threats.

  • Why CFOs are a target

  • What is a lookalike domain

  • Explanation of the Dark Web

  • Ransomware and how it happens, how it propagates and how to protect yourselves

  • How Fraud has evolved through the years

  • Online safe practices


C.  Utilizing and Understanding Financial Data and Ratios to Create a Meaningful Annual Plan
Josh Moreau, boostEd Finance

Financial data provides key information and tools that allow schools to make strategic decisions in the short and long-term. Data, metrics and ratios in the key areas of Enrollment, Personnel and Facilities are the main areas driving most decisions that schools are forced to make. The goal of this workshop is to show examples of data extracted from financial statements and potential decisions that are made using that data for annual planning purposes. The data will be presented in a way so that any school can use its own data as a measure against other schools and while the data examples are being presented, a range of normalcy in the data will be discussed.


D. Endowment Best Practices
Carol Barbour, TIAA

An educational presentation addressing critical decisions for endowment and foundation success and corresponding best practices. Content will address key components necessary for successful endowment and foundation management and characteristics that help assure longevity. Governance and fiduciary responsibility will be addressed as well as several case studies, which will tie concepts together with practical application.

12:00 - 1:00


1:15 - 2:15

Session 4 – Concurrent Workshops

Cliff View

A. My Little Angel Would Never Do That:  Managing Student Behavior and Misconduct
Caryn Pass - Venable

All too often, schools view student discipline as the primary mechanism to address student misconduct.  While student discipline is an important aspect of maintaining a safe learning environment for all students, there are other tools and strategies that schools can implement to address such misconduct as bullying, harassment and hazing.  Such strategies include effective vetting of incoming students and communication of behavioral expectations.  Of course, no single method is fail-safe and, inevitably, schools will have to rely on their disciplinary policies.  In this session, attendees will learn about best practices they can implement to proactively address student misconduct, as well as the considerations they should assess in effecting student discipline.   


B. Data Breaches - The K-12 Overlooked Critical Technology Infrastructure
Amish MehtaJake Lehmann, William Mendez, Friedman LLP

At the height of global interconnectivity, it is imperative that educational institutions— especially the K-12 community – have a frontline of defense against cyber security threats. Our comprehensive presentation will spotlight emerging industry risks and recommended tailored approaches to help mitigate cyberattacks. The audience will leave with a peace of mind knowing that their most sensitive, high volume and diverse information can be safeguarded if the right precautions are taken.


C. Tax issues affecting Private Schools
Joseph Blatt, Loeb & Troper

This session will cover the new tax laws effect on private schools as well as existing tax issues that could lead to unrelated business income tax.

Mountain View

D. Every Square Inch: Inspiring Efficient School Design
Jeffrey Murphy and Sara Grant, MBB Architects

Architects Jeffrey Murphy and Sara Grant discuss how to turn spatial challenges into design opportunities for your school. Around the world, the demand for quality education is exceeding the current capacity of international and independent schools. Many existing schools are investing heavily to build capacity and new schools are being built at unprecedented rates. Unlike suburban schools, or schools with expansive campuses, urban schools built on compact sites with tight footprints require significant flexibility and inventive ways of utilizing every inch of space. The “tightness” of urban schools becomes an asset as common and multi-purpose spaces concentrate people and foster strong community. The creativity and innovation evolved from maximizing limited space in urban schools has applications in all successful academic environments. This session will explore cost effective strategies to optimize space in any school setting, including:

  • Adaptive Reuse: Sustainable solutions save time, require fewer materials, maximize resources and promote environmental responsibility

  • Creative Placemaking: Vertical buildings; using rooftops as playgrounds, science centers and outdoor classrooms

  • Community Anchors: Designing schools to be the heart of a community

2:30 - 3:30

Session 5 - Concurrent Workshops

Cliff View

A.  Retirement Plan Lawsuits Now Targeting Not-For-Profit Organizations
Peter Margiotta, Strategic Benefits

Over the last couple of years a number of high profile companies have appeared in the headlines as defendants in class action lawsuits relative to their retirement plans. Lawyers on behalf of retirement plan participants are now setting their sights on non-profit institutions including several Ivy League schools and Universities. This is a wake-up call to all non-profit organizations to make sure their retirement plan fiduciary oversight is robust and compliant. A common thread through all of the suits was excessive fees, but the overarching theme was the alleged failure on the part of the plan fiduciaries to fulfill their fiduciary responsibilities and obligations. Settlements have been reached in several of the suits, resulting in settlement amounts in the tens of millions of dollars. This presentation will cover- Recent retirement plan litigation;- The risk to not-for-profit organizations;- Fiduciary best practices to avoid litigation; ,and - what the future may hold.

Mountain View

B. Financing for Independent Schools - Impact of the Tax Reform Bill
Dan Froehlich, Janney Montgomery Scott

The tax reform bill, which was passed late in 2017, will affect the financing and refinancing options available to non-profit organizations, including most independent schools. This session will focus on both taxable and tax-exempt financing options in the aftermath of the tax reform bill. We will also discuss the impact of the bill on existing tax-exempt debt, with a particular emphasis on the change in the corporate tax rate and lenders' reactions to that change.


C. Trends in (Data Management & Web Engagement) Essential for Business Leaders to Understand to Partner Effectively with Communications and Marketing
Rob DiMartino, Finalsite & Tye Campbell, Gilman School

Join Tye Campbell, CTO of Gilman School, and Rob DiMartino, Founding Member/Chief Evangelist of Finalsite in an open discussion on trending topics that matter to independent schools. This session will focus on leveraging data and web experiences to drive engagement, revenue, and overall communications efforts for schools in a mobile, socially connected world. What do technology leaders need to understand about these trends to be effective strategic partners in improving school sustainability in increasingly competitive markets? We will also address in an open dialogue the shifts in the independent school marketplace and how schools are seeing these changes as challenges and opportunities for positive change.


D. Transforming Attitudes and Physical Environments in Schools
Mike Patrick, Milliken & Company

There are various facets to learning environments – both physical and mental. Each of them plays into how effective learning can be fostered in schools. Transformational learning and transformation leadership go hand in hand. Much like the corporate world, we believe that there is a leadership mentality required to create school environments that inspire learning. Their physical spaces must represent this mindset.Designers have an innate understanding of how physical environments can elicit certain desired behaviors. These behavioral responses can change the culture of institutions. We believe it can further efforts in K-12 education, too.During this CEU course, we will review ways to integrate a culture of transformational change both physically and mentally – one that invites teachers to lead and students to learn. We[?]ll propose that flooring can serve as a physical cue of dedication to teachers and students alike, using case studies where schools have empowered teachers and made students feel safe and welcome.

3:30 - 6:00

Free Time / Afternoon Options
Enjoy the excellent trails, lake, new Mohonk Spa, tennis and golf (weather permitting). Details at Guest Services Desk
4:00 -- tea in Lake Lounge

6:00 - 7:30
West Dining Room

Vendor Showcase, Complimentary Cocktails and Raffle


Dinner - Wine courtesy of Austin & Co., Inc


 After Dinner

Late night networking in Carriage Lounge
Main Event Photo Booth! Stop by for fun photos with your colleagues.



Fun Run / Walk / Hike - Rain or Shine!

Meet in Lake Lounge. We are departing at 7:00 sharp so arrive a little early. You can get coffee at the hotel desk. 

7:30 - 8:15

Buffet Breakfast

8:30 - 10:00

Session 6 – Unconference

  • NYSAIS Healthcare Consortium in Mountain View

10:00 -10:15


10:15 - 12:00

NYSAIS Principles of Best Practice on Sexual Misconduct
Caryn Pass, Austin & Co, and  Anne Klein

This panel discussion will address the components of the Principles of Best Practice, along with tools and solutions for business managers to help schools comply with these new guidelines.

12:00 noon

Buffet Luncheon

Box lunches available – order at dinner Thur. night. Pick up at Guest Services

Featured Speakers:

Grant Lichtman is an internationally recognized thought leader in the drive to transform K-12 education. He speaks, writes, and works with fellow educators to build capacity and comfort with innovation in response to a rapidly changing world. He works with school and community teams in both public and private schools, helping them to develop their imagination of schools of the future, and their places in that future. He is the author of three books, Moving the Rock: Seven Levers WE Can Press to Change Education; #EdJourney: A Roadmap to the Future of Education; and The Falconer: What We Wish We Had Learned in School.

For fifteen years Grant was a senior administrator at one of the largest and oldest K-12 independent schools in California with responsibilities that included business, finance, operations, technology, development, campus construction, and global studies. Grant graduated from Stanford University with a BS and MS in geology in 1980.

Gloria Cordes Larson, Esq. was elected to the presidency of Bentley University after a prestigious career as an attorney, public policy expert, and business leader. She was drawn to Bentley because of its inventive approach to redefining business education—by fusing its core business curriculum with the arts and sciences, and its strong focus on ethics and social responsibility.

During her tenure, the institution has reached a number of milestones centered on the content and value of a business education in the 21st Century marketplace. President Larson is the author of PreparedU:  How Innovative Colleges Drive Student Success, published by Jossey-Bass, a division of Wiley.  She also launched the Center for Women and Business at Bentley in 2011, with a mission to advance shared leadership among women and men in the corporate world and to develop women as business leaders. Currently, she serves on the boards of directors of two public companies, Unum Group and Boston Private, as well as a number of non-profit boards.

Before joining Bentley, Larson was co-chair of the Government Strategies Group at Foley Hoag LLP.  She led a business advisory cabinet for Massachusetts Democratic Governor Deval Patrick and served as Secretary of Economic Affairs under Massachusetts Republican Governor William Weld. Larson also oversaw business and regulatory issues as Deputy Director of Consumer Protection at the Federal Trade Commission in Washington.

Larson was named to the Boston Business Journal’s “Power 50:  The Newsmakers” and ranked #8 on The Commonwealth Institute’s and the Boston Globe Magazine’s Top 100 Women-Led Businesses in MA.  She has also been named among Boston Magazine’s “50 Most Powerful People”; the Boston Business Journal’s “Power 50: Influential Bostonians;” Boston Magazine’s “50 Most Powerful Women in Boston;” and is the recipient of the International Women’s Forum “Women Who Make a Difference” Award and Associated Industries of MA “Next Century” Award, as well as the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce’s inaugural “Collaborative Leadership Award” and “Academy of Distinguished Bostonians Award.” She was also honored with the Region I “President’s Award” from NASPA, the leading association for Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education.

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 apply within 2 weeks of the event

    •    NYSAIS Members - $420.00

    •    Non-members - $455.00

Early Discount of $50.00 will apply until 2 weeks before the event.

Late fee of $20.00 will apply within 2 days of the event.

Questions about the program? Email

Questions about registration? Emai