Ari Betof and Hans Mundahl are the cohosts for the first season of EMA’s new podcast series.
Hans Mundahl and Ari Betof are the cohosts for the first season of EMA’s new podcast series.

In August 2021, The Enrollment Management Association launched an innovative new podcast series called “EMA’s Idea Factory” with co-hosts Ari Betof, Co-Founder and Partner of Mission & Data and Hans Mundahl, the Director of Professional Development at EMA.

The first season of EMA’s Idea Factory Podcast will focus on effectively addressing impossible questions such as — Will we be full next year? How do we avoid burnout in an endless admission cycle? and Will students like me be safe here?

Listen to the Impossible Questions Series and EMA’s Idea Factory on Apple Podcast.

Episode 1: What do we do when…


Takeaways for Independent School Trustees & Leaders

By Ari Betof & Kelsey Vrooman

Greenbrier School, a PreK — Grade 8 school in Tennessee, had weathered several head transitions over the past decade but the board knew they finally found the right fit in Kate Thompson. Kate has served as head for the last two years. One of her first goals was to bring more transparency to the board in terms of school data. Working closely with her administrative team and board chair, she was excited to unveil a data dashboard for the trustees, including a section on the “Admissions Pipeline.” As she handed out the new dashboard…


Twenty-six independent school associations co-hosted “Buckle Your Seatbelts: Navigating the Path to the 2021–2022 School Year.” A total of 1,375 trustees and senior leaders registered for the two part series.

Twenty-six independent school associations co-hosted “Buckle Your Seatbelts: Navigating the Path to the 2021–2022 School Year.” A total of 1,375 trustees and senior leaders registered for the two part series held on November 19 and December 3. The two-part series was a collaborative effort building on the success of Independent Schools on the Brink held on April 21, 2020.

Session 2 of “Buckle Your Seatbelts: Navigating the Path to the 2021–2022 School Year”— December 3, 2020 Moderator: Debra Wilson Panelists: Peter Barron, Ari Betof, John Gulla, and Lisa Pullman

Session 2 — December 3, 2020
The second session focused on what independent school leaders and board members may want to consider as they chart their course toward the 2021–2022 academic year.

Moderator: Debra Wilson, President, SAIS

Panelists:
●Peter Barron, Chief Member Relations Officer…


In June, Senators Angus King (I-ME) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) introduced the Accelerating Charitable Efforts Act, the legislation proposes several penalties and incentives that the authors say are needed to speed up distributions from DAFs to active charities.

Donor-advised funds (DAFs) have been around since the 1930s, but they’ve increased exponentially in number and value over the past few decades. Educational institutions, the philanthropic arms of financial services companies, and independent philanthropic organizations provide access to DAFs. Between 2016 and 2017, the number of DAFs grew by 60.2%, while grantmaking grew by 20%. There are around half a million DAFs in America, with an estimated worth of about $142 billion.

In June this year, Senators Angus King (I-ME) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) introduced a new bill that would more tightly regulate the pace and transparency of distributions from…


Jay Rapp is joining Mission & Data as Senior Leadership Strategist and Executive Coach

Mission & Data is thrilled to announce that Jay Rapp will be joining our firm as Senior Leadership Strategist and Executive Coach.

“We are humbled and honored that Jay is joining Mission & Data to focus on the growth and development of leaders in our industry,” said Mission & Data co-founder, Kelsey Vrooman. “Jay has been the single most influential individual in my personal and professional journey to become an effective, reflective, and inclusive leader. I know from experience that current and aspiring leaders in independent schools and non-profit institutions would benefit greatly from Jay’s wise counsel and support.”

Jay…


Ari Betof, co-founder of Mission & Data, was named to the 2021 EMBA Best and Brightest list by Poets & Quants

Recently, Poets & Quants published its annual “Best & Brightest MBAs” list, celebrating the most distinguished Executive MBAs of the Class of 2021. Ari Betof, Co-Founder and Partner of Mission & Data, was named among this year’s awards group. Poets & Quants is a leading source of news and quality information regarding graduate business education, started by Jeff Schmitt in 2015.

“When you think of Best & Brightest, they are the leaders and innovators. Their instinct is to serve and solve,” Schmitt writes.

The award recipients are selected by Poets & Quants in collaboration with numerous EMBA programs, which nominate…


Senior Governance Strategist Anne-Marie Balzano’s governance expertise was on display in the recently published 2021–2022 Trendbook by the National Association of Independent Schools.

Balzano co-authored the annual publication’s chapter on governance and leadership with NAIS research analyst Margaret Anne Rowe. This year’s trends focused on the head-board partnership during the pandemic, new challenges that intensified head of school stress, and the future forecast for head of school turnover. Overall, heads highly rated their board’s performance during the first year of the pandemic, although mutual goal setting continued to be an area of growth. While work-life balance had been an issue…


The phrase “good man” is thrown around lightly, but it embodied Clay's generosity and spirit. It was my good fortune to be in a search that Clay was leading more than a decade ago. That initial series of discussions through the search process led us to dozens of conversations about careers, work, family, and living life well. He became a mentor and a friend in the years since that first call. Clay was a model of helping others seek clearness. Shauna and I will always be immensely grateful for his generosity of time, wisdom, and care. I feel like we…


By Anne-Marie Balzano and Barb Rosston

Independent school boards are self-perpetuating and as such, their Governance committees are tasked with seating the next cohort of trustees around the board table.

In this article, we describe how boards can engage in effective recruitment practices and develop a pipeline of potential trustees with an emphasis on diversity and mission alignment.

Scenario:
The Committee on Trustees (COT) at Graydon Academy has been charged with identifying a new cohort of trustees aligned to the school’s mission, vision, and values and that will bring a fresh perspective to the board. At the first meeting of the year, the Chair of the COT, Mike Bianco, pulls out the list of current trustees and remarks, “Well, it looks like we have three…


Headshot of Dr. Anne-Marie Balzano. Ari Betof and Kelsey Vrooman announced that Dr. Anne-Marie Balzano will be joining Mission & Data as Senior Governance Strategist,
Dr. Anne-Marie Balzano will be joining Mission & Data on April 26, 2021.

Mission & Data is pleased to announce that Dr. Anne-Marie Balzano will be joining our firm as Senior Governance Strategist, bringing 25+ years of experience in the field of education and leadership.

“Anne-Marie is a national thought leader in governance and educational leadership. Ari Betof and I look forward to the impact she will make on independent schools and nonprofit organizations from her new home at Mission & Data,” said Mission & Data co-founder Kelsey Vrooman. “During our time as colleagues, Anne-Marie continually impressed me with her research-based approach to driving organizational change and supporting boards of trustees in their…

Ari Betof

Co-Founder and Partner at Mission & Data; Chief Advancement Officer at Minerva Institute for Research and Scholarship

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