I'd be disingenuous if I told you that I am excited by the findings in EMA's latest State of the Industry survey (full report coming soon!). Actually, my most immediate reaction has been one of displeasure. How can it be, in 2019, that admission and enrollment leaders are not seeing their influence grow inside of schools? Especially given the fact that boards and heads cite "enrollment" and "financial sustainability" as their top concerns?
How is it that only 39% of enrollment leaders are meeting with trustees regularly? Why are enrollment leaders paid 20% less than their development counterparts (see chart, left) while remaining responsible for 79%* of their schools' operating revenue? The aforementioned issues are unsettling, given the stakes involved. Without full enrollment, our schools have less impact and less of an opportunity to share their missions in the wider world.
(*source: NBOA BIIS - Business Intelligence for Independent Schools)
At EMA, we're committed to advocating for enrollment leaders by teaching our entire community what it takes to build long term enrollment success. That's why we're working hard to connect to CFOs, heads, and trustees with important content, bringing the subject of enrollment strategy front and center.
The EMA Heads Institute
Last November, we received support from The Edward E. Ford Foundation to design our first-ever Head's Institute, which is offered this summer in a beautiful wooded setting south of San Francisco, California. At this institute, we will provide the leaders of our independent schools with a better understanding of all of the drivers connected to enrollment success. If your head would benefit from this type of programming on enrollment strategy and innovation, please share this link with him/her: https://go.enrollment.org/conferences/heads-institute-2019
The Annual Conference
Most importantly, we remain focused on those who lead the work of enrollment strategy in their schools. Compelled by the findings of our industry survey, our team thought long and hard about the upcoming 2019 Annual Conference in Washington, DC.; Our theme, "Prepare to Lead," is quite intentional, and the conference programming will include a number of sessions and speakers on the topic of leadership: what it means to be a leader in 2019, and how to build your leadership strengths and skills. I am particularly thrilled to be welcoming speakers Ana Navarro (above, right) and Donna Brazile (above, left), remarkable journalists and political strategists who will share their personal stories about building careers against what often felt like insurmountable odds.
Leaders in Turbulent Times
In closing, I'd like to share a wonderful podcast with you - it's titled What Makes a Leader Great? and it's an interview with Harvard University's Dr. Nancy Koehn, who recently released her book "Forged in Crisis: The Power of Courageous Leadership in Turbulent Times." In it, Dr. Koehn profiles five leaders who prevailed against challenging odds. In the podcast, she reveals that all of her profiled leaders have two distinct traits: competence and character. If those traits are necessary for leaders in "turbulent times," I would say that enrollment professionals are well-set to become leaders for our community.
Here's to a great spring ahead!