CEO Notebook

Jeff Shields

Jeffrey Shields, FASAE, CAE

President and CEO
@shieldsNBOA

Until We Meet Again

From Net Assets NOW, June 22, 2021. Read past issues of CEO Notebook.

In an ideal world, I would be on an NBOA member school campus this week, meeting face to face with 50 new and aspiring business officers at the NBOA Business Officer Institute. That’s always the plan this time of year. However, in June 2020, we cancelled this signature program due to the pandemic, for the first time since BOI became an NBOA program — 21 years ago — and this year we’re meeting virtually.

During the week of BOI, participants learn the ropes of the independent school world and build a network that will last throughout their career. The energy is high, the connections are strong, and it’s an event like no other that always leaves me hopeful about the future of our profession. I have heard from many experienced business officers that BOI was a crucial milestone, helping them build skills and relationships that led them to success professionally throughout their career to the benefit of their schools.

This year is NBOA’s first-ever virtual BOI. We, like our schools, have worked diligently to master the format over the past year and a half, and I’m confident it will be one of our best, thanks in no small part to our outstanding faculty:

  • Michael Bergin, chief financial and operating officer at Miss Porter's School in Farmington, Connecticut, will present with his development officer on the relationship between advancement and the business office.
  • Debbie Lee-Rizzi, chief financial officer at The Evergreen School in Shoreline, Washington, will present on the myriad issues related to school facilities and operations.
  • Phyllis Palmiero, CFO/COO at Collegiate School in Richmond, Virginia, will present on independent school financial governance.
  • Chad Stacy, chief financial officer at The Dunn School in Los Olivos, California, will present on the relationship between the admissions office and the business office.

Faculty also convene at roundtable discussions on overarching issues and lead Personal Learning Networks that facilitate small group conversation. Industry experts and NBOA staff members — including yours truly — present on additional topics such as leadership, human resources, legal matters, and this year, for the first time, diversity, equity and inclusion.

These sessions enable newcomers or relative newcomers to learn the key questions to understand their school’s financial health, strategies to tackle enrollment challenges, ways to enhance personal management styles and build relationships across the school, and many other essential aspects of a business officer’s wide-ranging job. In short, BOI is a showcase for the generosity of the national independent school business officer community, which is committed to your success and the success of your independent school. That doesn’t change regardless of how we meet.

As participants in the 2021 NBOA Annual Meeting know, virtual platforms can be highly informative and inspiring, and have their advantages. I’m looking forward to seeing how this traditionally more intimate meeting runs in a new format. And I’m looking forward to a time when I can see you all face to face again.

In terms of professional development, what have you taken away from this past year of new and different offerings? What have you enjoyed? And what are you hoping to get back to in a post-pandemic world? Which relationships have remained strong in a virtual environment, and which are you hoping to rebuild? Send us your thoughts. The NBOA staff is always looking ahead and considering how we can best reach you and connect you with each other in a continually shifting environment.

In some ways, ending this tumultuous year virtually is a perfect bookend that helps demonstrate that we are bound together by a noble profession and a resilient and vibrant community that can survive most anything.

Jeff Shields

Jeffrey Shields, FASAE, CAE
President and CEO

Jeff Shields, FASAE, CAE, has served as president and CEO of the National Business Officers Association (NBOA) for over ten years. NBOA is the premier national association serving the needs of business officers and business operations staff at independent schools. The association has grown from 23 founding member schools in 1998 to over 1,300 U.S. member schools, plus member schools in Mexico, Canada and 20 other countries around the globe. Shields, an active member of the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), is a member of the 2008 Class of ASAE Fellows (FASAE) and has earned the Certified Association Executive (CAE) designation. He currently serves as a member of ASAE’s board of directors as well as a trustee for the Enrollment Management Association (EMA). Previously, he served as a trustee for One Schoolhouse, an innovative online school offering supplemental education to independent schools, and Georgetown Day School in Washington, DC. He holds a B.A. from Shippensburg University and an M.A. from The Ohio State University.

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As the COVID-19 pandemic evolves and restrictions loosen, NBOA, in consultation with engineers and industrial hygienists from Environmental Health & Engineering (EH&E), has produced a Supplement to Operating Guidance for Independent School Pandemic Management to help guide schools in planning for the 2021-22 school year. This update covers the latest research on the spread of COVID-19 and virus variants, vaccines that protect against the virus, and practices to mitigate risk on school campuses.

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