I joined the board of the Enrollment Management Association because Heather Hoerle inspired me with her vision: to focus the organization on empowering enrollment leaders. In fulfilling—and then exceeding—EMA’s goals and this vision, she has been a model for the strategic and steadfast leadership we champion.
In the summer of 2025, after completing 14 remarkable years leading EMA, Heather has decided to retire as CEO. We will benefit from her continued leadership until this planned transition.
As one of my favorite authors (of one of my favorite books) tells us, there is a secret to building great organizations. Says Jim Collins, "Good is the enemy of Great. Greatness is not a function of circumstance. Greatness, it turns out, is largely a matter of conscious choice and discipline."
In my experience, those are words to live by, and they have guided me as EMA's Executive Director through the last 12+ years in creating (and re-creating) a relevant association in service to our members and the wider community.
What a delight and honor it has been to lead the Enrollment Management Association since 2011! Together with an exceptional board, dedicated staff, and an incredible set of volunteer leaders, we have built a great community dedicated to the business of enrollment management and the professionalization of leaders responsible for their institution's enrollment success. I couldn't have imagined a more glorious run, and now it is time for a new generation of leadership to take EMA forward!
So, what have we accomplished at EMA over the last decade? Thanks to great people who have shaped our work and strategy, nothing less than the turnaround of an organization.
Whether it has been new development processes for EMA's gold-standard assessments (SSAT, the Character Skills Snapshot, Practice Portal) or updated enrollment and marketing tools (Student Prospect List, Admission.org, Standard Application Online), or a fully renewed professional development program, we have accomplished great things together by following Collins' advice, "People first, then program."
Even as our organization lived through the chaos of COVID-19, EMA invested in people, both the community we serve and our staff and volunteers, to meet the new exigencies brought by this once-in-a-century pandemic.
At EMA, we are proud to work alongside trailblazers in our community who champion transformational education journeys, and we are now focused in new ways on student success—both in the admission process and beyond.
During my tenure, EMA has served over one million students with services, and 57,000 of those young people received $16.2 million in underwritten fee waivers. (To offer some context, that financial investment equals EMA's entire FY22 operating budget!) At EMA, we are deeply dedicated to educational access.
Perhaps I am most proud of the birth of our association and the renaming of the Enrollment Management Association in 2016. That decision has produced ripple effects with 27 percent growth in association numbers, more than doubling Annual Conference attendance, and active regional meetings each spring.
I am also proud of the annual research and special reports for this industry that EMA has produced. Together, we've convened three Think Tanks to better understand the future of assessment, enrollment management issues, and DEIJ challenges. We have built rich partnerships with NAIS and NBOA, ensuring strong connections between national flagship associations.
All of these activities increased EMA's operating budget by 67 percent since 2011.
In collaboration with our hard-working professional community, we've helped enrollment management leaders rise in their careers and influence—not surprising to me, we've also witnessed many enrollment leaders move into headships.
As Jim Collins reminds us, "In the end, it is impossible to have a great life unless it is a meaningful life. And it is very difficult to have a meaningful life without meaningful work." Thank you for allowing me to do such meaningful work in my professional life.
I look forward to supporting the search for my successor, who will begin in the summer of 2025. And now, here's to EMA's next chapter!