Advancement Roundtable: A Cohort-Based Series for Development Leaders


Advancement Roundtable

This event has been cancelled.

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Engage with a cohort of other advancement leaders to explore common issues you face and share current practices that will help you to build your leadership capacity as you expand your network.


Assistant/Associate Vice Presidents of Development often have no peers at their institutions. Charged with overseeing major gifts fundraising and supervising teams, they play critically important roles on campus. They are also frequently leading campaigns, setting fundraising goals and metrics, and attending to overall donor engagement—and therefore, they must constantly focus on the big picture. However, they must also dive into such details as navigating the issues surrounding institutional namings or misalignments between donor and institutional ideologies. It’s not an easy job, and many do all of this with a lean staff and even leaner budgets.

In facing these challenges, advancement leaders deserve the ongoing support and community that can only be provided by others who serve in similar roles. Discover this sense of community and vital support by joining our cohort of advancement leaders across higher education for a roundtable series to discuss common challenges, get support from experienced peers, and build your network. You will:

  • Engage in discussion focused on timely topics and the challenges you’re facing in a small, cohort-based, and confidential environment.
  • Build community with other advancement leaders and expand your professional network.
  • Learn from peers and exchange institution-specific practices and strategies.
  • Come away with a crowd-sourced repository of templates, sample language, and other resources that you can refer back to and use to inform your future work.

To preserve an intimate and productive experience, this roundtable will be capped at 12 attendees.


Who Should Attend

This group engagement is specifically designed for advancement leaders who:

  • Have development responsibilities (AVP of Advancement, AVP of Development/Major Gifts or similar)
  • Serve at the central, institutional level
  • Have a reporting line to the VP of Advancement or Dean

AVPs of Advancement/Development/Major Gifts from all institutional types and sizes are invited to attend.



For additional training on common issues and challenges you face and how you can build your leadership capacity, register for Roundtable for Leaders of Talent Development in Advancement on February 24 – May 19, 2023.

How Roundtables Work

The goal of our roundtables is to bring together a small cohort of peers for a comprehensive learning and networking experience. Through short, regular live meetings, you will come together with a maximum of eleven other peers and our two experts in order to:

  • Build strong connections and expand your network.
  • Try new tactics and approaches to improve your leadership.
  • Share your own best practices and listen to those of others.
  • Carve out time for reflection.
  • Be part of a cohort-based support community.
  • Contribute to the conversation with your own thought leadership.


In-Person and Virtual Sessions

To facilitate community and trust-building among the cohort from the get-go, the roundtable will kick off with a half-day in-person strategy session in Denver, Colorado on Friday, March 24, 2023. Five weekly, hour-long virtual sessions will follow, running from late March to late April

Session 1 (In-person): Friday, March 24, 2023 | 12:00 – 5:00 p.m. MT (local time in Denver, CO)

12:00 – 1:00 p.m. MT: Lunch (provided)

1:00 – 4:00 p.m. MT: Advancement Roundtable Session

4:00 – 5:00 p.m. MT: Networking Reception

Session 2 (Virtual): Friday, March 31 | 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. ET

Session 3 (Virtual): Friday, April 7 | 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. ET

Session 4 (Virtual): Friday, April 14 | 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. ET

Session 5 (Virtual): Friday, April 21 | 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. ET

Session 6 (Virtual): Friday, April 28 | 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. ET

What is the time commitment?

The cohort will meet six times on Fridays from March through April. Each session runs for one hour except for the first session, which will take place in person in Denver, Colorado. Participants may be asked to read light, relevant materials in advance of some sessions.

Can’t attend all sessions?

No problem. However, we strongly recommend that you participate in the in-person kickoff event in Denver, CO, and then in at least four virtual sessions to get the most value out of this experience.


As a health and safety protocol, we will be asking everyone to provide proof of a negative COVID test within 48 hours of the event in Denver. As the pandemic and CDC guidelines evolve, Academic Impressions’ health and safety protocols may also change. All attendees will be notified of requirements and/or changes prior to the event.


Session 1 (In-person): Friday, March 24, 2023 | 12:00 – 5:00 p.m. MT (local time in Denver, CO)

12:00 – 1:00 p.m. MT: Lunch (provided)

1:00 – 4:00 p.m. MT: Advancement Roundtable Session

4:00 – 5:00 p.m. MT: Networking Reception

March 31-April 28, 2023 | 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. ET

Session 2 (Virtual): Friday, March 31 | 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. ET

Session 3 (Virtual): Friday, April 7 | 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. ET

Session 4 (Virtual): Friday, April 14 | 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. ET

Session 5 (Virtual): Friday, April 21 | 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. ET

Session 6 (Virtual): Friday, April 28 | 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. ET

During this series of roundtable sessions, you and your fellow attendees will get to drive the agenda based on common challenges such as the following:

Staffing and Team Culture
  • Effectively recruiting and retaining gift officers
  • Managing team morale through times of change
  • Hybrid workforce considerations
Creating University and Donor Alignment
  • Identifying university non-negotiables when working with alumni and donors
  • Articulating donor priorities and how you have made a match
Portfolio Management
  • Identifying with and understanding your institutional portfolio
  • Best practices for size of portfolio
  • Effectively planning, kicking off, and wrapping up campaigns
  • Keeping momentum during the campaign lifecycle
  • Mini and Bridge Campaigns
  • Adjusting fundraising metrics to reflect the current times
  • Identifying the most important metrics to focus on: what counts? What doesn’t?
Non-Cash Giving
  • Real estate
  • Gifts-in-kind
  • Crypto Currency & NFTs
Managing Up
  • Navigating leadership transitions
  • Supporting staff while simultaneously carrying out vision
  • Working with Presidents, Deans and other Senior Leaders


March 24, 2023: Denver, CO | March 31 - April 28, 2023: Online

Your attendance at the in-person kickoff session on March 24 is strongly recommended and will be conducted at Academic Impressions’ Denver-based office at:
5299 DTC Blvd, Suite 1400, Greenwood Village, CO 80111

Nearby hotel suggestions:

Hyatt Place Denver Tech Center – 3-star hotel
8300 E Crescent Pkwy, Greenwood Village, CO 80111
Distance from office: 0.5 miles if driving, 0.3 miles if walking

Hyatt Regency Denver Tech Center – 4-star hotel
7800 E Tufts Ave, Denver, CO 80237
Distance from office: 1.1 miles

Denver Marriott Tech Center – 4-star hotel
4900 S Syracuse St, Denver, CO 80237
Distance from office: 0.9-1.2 miles, depending on route


Portrait of Dhiraj Chand

Dhiraj Chand

Deputy Chief Philanthropy Officer for Principal Gifts, University of Utah

Specializing in higher-education fundraising, Dhiraj lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, where he is the Deputy Chief Philanthropy Officer for Principal Gifts at the University of Utah. In this role, he sits on the advancement leadership team and works to generate philanthropic support for health sciences, academic initiatives, donor relations, student programs, research activities, and presidential initiatives.

Read Dhiraj's Full Bio.

Portrait of Michelle Fuko

Michelle Fuko

Associate Vice-Principal, Development – Queen’s University

Michelle has been in fundraising for nearly 2 decades, having worked with donors of all types—from annual fund donors to third-party volunteers, principal gift donors, and corporations and foundations. From start-up non-profits in Tanzania, to complex institutions of higher learning in Canada, Michelle takes great pride in her passion for philanthropy and her drive to make a tangible impact in our communities and the world.

Read Michelle's Full Bio.

Questions About the Event?

Portrait of Nick Pettet

Nick Pettet
Learning & Development Manager,
Academic Impressions

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