2021 CEO Forum & Reps Meeting


March 4-5, 2021
Virtual via Zoom - All Sessions - Central Time
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Learning Partners

Bob Allen
Chief Storytelling Officer

Kelly Pounds
Vice President, Learning Solutions

Mark Sparvell
Director, Education Marketing

Kari Granger
CEO & Founder
The Granger Network

Nick Santilli
Senior Director, Learning Strategy

Learning Objectives

By participating in the CEO Forum and Reps Meeting, you will:

  1. Explore this year’s learning theme and expand your understanding of its strategic alignment with your organization’s goals.
  2. Preview learning partner presentations and provide feedback to enhance the learning objectives for the Summer Institute.
  3. Identify colleagues to invite to the Summer Institute and develop plans to maximize your team learning experience.

Proposed Learning Objectives for Summer Institute

By participating in the 2021 Summer Institute, your team will gain a deeper understanding of how to:

  1. Overcome organizational challenges and systemic roadblocks that threaten recovery and reimagination during volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous times.
  2. Apply proven tools to create a reimagination roadmap.
  3. Unleash creativity and innovation to achieve competitive advantage in World 5.0.

Proposed Key Concepts

  1. How does higher education and its partners plot strategy for competitive advantage in a dynamic world?
  2. How do organizations and their leaders engage in difficult decision-making in the face of adversity?
  3. What is different about our students, partners, and key stakeholders now after experiencing their own intense disruptions? How do leaders adapt to these changes?
  4. What have consumers experienced that translates to higher education and the choices they make about how, when, and where they learn?
  5. What is our story? How do they fall in love with it? How do we get the story right?


*All times in Central Time.

Thursday, March 4

Welcome, Introductions, Opening Remarks, and Meeting Overview
9:15 – 9:35 a.m. Central Time | General Session (all attendees) – John Politi, Executive Director, AFIT

  • Introduction to the 2021 Summer Institute Theme
  • Learning Partner Preview

“Being” a Leader in this New Era—Resilience, Relevance, and Readiness (Part I)
9:35 – 11:00 a.m. | General Session – Kari Granger, Founder and CEO, The Granger Network™

Who do you need to BE as a leader in this new world? What orientation must you have to lead through ambiguity, complexity, uncertainty, exhaustion, anxiety, opportunity, pivots, disruption, trauma, stakeholder demands, and more? In this interactive workshop, Kari will focus on you, the leader. We will take time to re-orient and look at the soft skills we can develop in ourselves and in our teams to better lead in this age of acceleration. Kari invites you to join her in co-creating a relevant summer agenda to address leader resilience and readiness.

11:00 – 11:10 a.m. | Break

The Future Is Not What It Used to Be – Disruption, Transition, and Reimagination
11:15 a.m. – 12:05 p.m. | General Session – Mark Sparvell, Director of Education Marketing, Microsoft

What changes will higher education face as a result of recent disruptions? Predicting a “renovation” versus a “knock-down rebuild,” Mark Sparvell explores how pragmatic optimism and strengths-based acceleration can be used by leaders to innovate and address the ripple effects from:

  • A year of lost learning
  • A diminished pipeline of both traditional and adult learners
  • A shift in student wants and needs
  • A continued environment of uncertainty and complexity

12:10 – 12:40 p.m. | CEO Session with Mark Sparvell – Open Discussion
12:10 – 12:40 p.m. | Reps and Other Participants Session with Tracy Dryden and Kari Granger – Feedback, Questions, Discussion
12:40-1:20 p.m. | Lunch

Engines for Innovation and Competitive Advantage in Times of Duress
1:20 – 2:10 p.m. | General Session – Nick Santilli, Director of Learning Solutions, The Society for College and University Planning (SCUP)

Strategies for surviving volatility and techniques for making difficult decisions provide an exit ramp from the constraints of the pandemic and other disruptions – and an entrance ramp to reimagination. Nick Santilli explores the forces that contribute to volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous (VUCA) times in higher education and provides strategies and techniques for navigating them.

2:15 – 2:45 p.m. | CEO Session with Nick Santilli – Discussion
2:15 – 2:45 p.m. | Reps and Other Participants Session with Mark Sparvell – Feedback, Questions, Discussion

Unleashing Innovation and Creativity for World 5.0: Zennovation
2:50 – 3:40 p.m. | General Session – Bob Allen, Chief Storytelling Officer and Kelly Pounds, Vice President, Learning Solutions, IDEAS

How can higher education leaders transform their work and foster a sustainable culture of innovation? Bob Allen, a 25-year Disney veteran and Zen teacher, uses ten simple guidelines that blend classic Zen training with real-life experience to help you uncover and harness the innovative potential in your organization.

3:45 – 4:15 p.m. | CEO Session with Bob Allen – Discussion
3:45 – 4:15 p.m. | Reps and Other Participants Session with Nick Santilli – Feedback, Questions, Discussion

Reflection, Q & A, Closing Remarks
4:15 – 4:25 p.m. | CEO and Rep Combined Session – Reflection – The Minute Paper
4:25 p.m. | Closing Remarks
4:30 p.m. | Adjourn

Friday, March 5

9:00 – 9:30 a.m. | CEO Session with Kari Granger – Discussion
9:00 – 9:30 a.m. | Reps and Other Participants Session with Bob Allen and Kelly Pounds

9:45 – 9:55 a.m. | General Session Opening Remarks

Creating the Roadmap for World 5.0 – A Tool Kit for Innovation and Reimagination
Explore the possibilities for Summer Institute with tools, frameworks, guidelines, and methods you can apply to your own reimagination work.

Disciplined Integrated Planning – It’s the Response to Disruption
10:00 a.m. – 10:25 a.m. | General Session – Nick Santilli, Director of Learning Solutions, The Society for College and University Planning (SCUP)

Seeking solutions to disruption mirrors the search for the Holy Grail. The journey is plagued with stops and starts frequently ending in disappointment. The same is true for integrated planning. Many institutions claim to engage in integrated planning but their efforts typically fall short. Plans are not adequately resourced, are based on lofty platitudes that are unrealistic or unmeasurable, and do not advance the core purpose and mission of the institution. Integrated planning is a disciplined process that aligns the institution, is sustainable, and engages community stakeholders in forming a realistic vision for student success and institutional thriving.

The Well-Storied Brand
10:30 a.m. – 10:55 a.m. | General Session – Bob Allen, Chief Storytelling Officer, IDEAS

We are at an inflection point, staring at a future radically altered by a pandemic-induced shift in consumer values and a huge demographic migration in which millennials will make up 75% of the world’s wage-earning population by 2025. Bob Allen illustrates how a powerful story can breathe new life into an education brand and position you for the next normal.

10:55– 11:05 a.m. | Break

Framework for Reflecting on Lessons Learned
11:05 – 11:30 a.m. | General Session – Mark Sparvell, Director of Education Marketing, Microsoft

Mark will introduce a conversation-tool designed for education leaders to support critical reflection with their teams to identify strengths, growth opportunities, and durable changes moving forward.

“Being” a Leader in this New Era – Resilience, Relevance, and Readiness (Part II)
11:35 a.m. - Noon | General Session – Kari Granger, Founder and CEO, The Granger Network™

Building on yesterday's conversations, Kari invites you to continue co-creating a relevant summer agenda to address leader resilience and readiness.

Reflections from our Learning Partners and Open Q & A
Noon – 12:20 p.m. | General Session

12:20 – 12:30 p.m. | CEO, Rep, and Other Participant Reflection and Evaluation Time
12:30 p.m. | Next Steps
12:45 p.m. | Closing Remarks

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