CEO Notebook

Aligning Who We Are With What We Do

As NBOA plans to celebrate its first 25 years, we are asking all members to envision what the next 25 years could hold.

Nov 29, 2022

Jeffrey Shields, FASAE, CAE
NBOA President and CEO

In 1998, Europeans agreed on the common currency of the Euro, the first Apple iMac came out, the film “Titanic” dominated the Oscars, and the National Business Officers Association was founded. A lot has changed in the time since then, including the size and scope of NBOA. Beginning with the 2023 NBOA Annual Meeting, we will be celebrating the association’s 25th anniversary next year and all we’ve achieved as a community.

Nearly 25 years ago, NBOA was founded by 23 committed business officers, supported by their schools, who shared the vision that the role of the business officer and business operations staff at independent schools was so unique and integral that it required a dedicated national association. The mission would be to serve, support and provide professional development for this professional community for the betterment of not only business officers but their schools.

While NBOA remains the professional “home” for independent school business officers, the “tent” has expanded to include controllers, human resource professionals, and other business and operations staff.

Since its founding, NBOA has expanded its reach to serve independent schools in Canada, Mexico and more than 20 other countries around the globe. While NBOA remains the professional “home” for independent school business officers, the “tent” has expanded to include controllers, human resource professionals, and other business and operations staff. And, while the association began 25 years ago with a few dozen members, a listserv, and a website, today, it serves more than 1,600 members, including schools, independent school associations, and business partners, through face-to-face and online professional development, an award-winning magazine, original research, online communities, publications, a resource library, and purchasing discounts, among its many robust offerings. 

A milestone like this is frequently accompanied not only with a tremendous amount of reflection regarding what has been accomplished but also a call to imagine what the next 25 years may be like for our members. 

Therefore, the association is conducting a comprehensive assessment of the NBOA brand, 25 years after our founding, to ensure that there is clear alignment between who we are and how we present ourselves and the programs, products and services we deliver to support and advance business, finance, and operations throughout the independent school community. Because NBOA is your association, your feedback is critical to the success of this effort. 

More concretely, the brand assessment means we are assessing how well the association’s name, messaging, graphics, even colors, align with and positively reflect NBOA’s current program of work and future aspirations. To assist with the assessment, we have contracted with the firm GRAPHEK, which employs experts in the field of branding and graphic identity, especially for nonprofit associations such as NBOA.

Our goals for this work are:

  • Deepen our understanding of how the name “National Business Officers Association” and “NBOA” are contributing to or inhibiting the advancement of the association.
  • Assess market perception of the association regarding its strengths and weaknesses, in addition to the identification of unmet needs within the market that align with the association’s mission.
  • Provide recommendations regarding naming conventions, taglines, color schemes, style guides, and key messaging to reflect the association and differentiate its value proposition.

And here is where you come in. Your perspective is essential to the success of this effort, and thus I’m asking all members to look for an invitation from studio@graphek.com that will include a survey of fewer than 10 questions regarding your perceptions of and experience with your professional association, NBOA. By participating, you will be entered into a drawing to receive a $100 Amazon gift card.

So much has changed within our community during the last quarter of a century, and like our schools, we will continue to embrace change and forge an even stronger path toward the future. Thank you in advance for your participation — and the success of the association we know today!

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Follow NBOA President and CEO Jeff Shields @shieldsNBOA.

Jeff Shields

Jeffrey Shields, FASAE, CAE

President and CEO

National Business Officers Association (NBOA)

Washington, DC

Jeffrey Shields, FASAE, CAE, has served as president and CEO of the National Business Officers Association (NBOA) since 2010. He currently serves as a member of the American Society of Association Executives’ (ASAE) 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. Prior to his current role, Shields was senior vice president and chief planning officer at the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO), where he worked for nearly 10 years.

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