Fundamentals for Chiefs of Staff: Understanding Your Role and Ensuring Success from the Start

Fundamentals for Chiefs of Staff: Understanding Your Role and Ensuring Success from the Start

August 1 - 2, 2018 | Washington, D.C. Area

Over 50 Chiefs of Staff and higher-ed leaders are already signed up!


Set yourself up for success as a chief of staff.

The role of chief of staff looks very different at each institution and requires a unique skill set for continued success. During this workshop we will look at how you can better define your role, understand your strengths and challenges under stress, and be prepared for the wide variety of issues you may have to handle. We have assembled four current and former chiefs of staff to help you:

  • Define your role as needed by your institution and president
  • Navigate the massive and ambiguous workload with the appropriate tools
  • Mitigate stress, maintain energy, and keep a positive attitude
  • Establish and maintain critical internal and external relationships
  • Handle presidential transitions, conflicts, and crises with confidence

This program is designed for current chiefs of staff who have been in the role 1 - 3 years, as well as professionals aspiring to the chief of staff position. If you are a current chief of staff and are looking to explore options for your future career path, we recommend also attending our post-conference workshop.

Understand Your Own Leadership Style

As a part of this conference, you will complete a 5 Paths Leadership Assessment to better understand your own leadership style. By examining five forms of intelligence, and identifying which forms you gravitate toward, you will understand how you can achieve a greater balance among the different types of intelligence and improve your overall effectiveness as a leader.

Post-Conference Workshop: Career Paths for Chiefs of Staff

This post-conference will focus on paths you may take after you have served as Chief of Staff. Presented by Chris Romano, VP of Enrollment Management and Student Affairs at Ramapo College, we will discuss transferable skills, options, and furthering your development for success.

Attend Multiple Leadership Trainings in D.C. and Save 10%

We are hosting three leadership events in the same location in one week. Save 10% when you register for multiple events. Visit the two other event pages below:



Continental Breakfast (included in registration fee)

8:00 - 8:30 a.m.

Welcome and Introductions

8:30 - 9:00 a.m.

Defining Your Role as Chief of Staff

9:00 - 10:15 a.m.

We will discuss how the role of Chief of Staff can have a wide variety of models and structures. Your university size and the needs of your President and Board will largely determine the role you serve. In this session, you will learn which questions to ask to clarify of your role and methods you can use to help others on campus understand your function from the start.


10:15 - 10:30 a.m.

How to Prepare for the Ambiguity of Your Role

10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

In this session, you learn ways to prepare for the ambiguity of your role. Skills that will help you in this area include:

  • Influencing without supervisory authority
  • Managing both internal and external audiences
  • Representing and advising the President when necessary

Lunch (included in registration fee)

12:00 - 1:00 p.m.

Working Session: Defining Your Role and Setting Goals

1:00 - 1:45 p.m.

In this session, you will have an opportunity to work on a goal-setting sheet given what you have learned about your role and your leadership style in Day 1. We will close by sharing with others and getting input from peers and speakers.

Understanding How You Manage Stress

1:45 - 3:00 p.m.

One of the keys to success is having an awareness of how you manage stress, being prepared for your strengths and challenges during stressful situations, and being aware of how your President and close co-workers manage stress. In this session, you will use the results from your pre-conference assessment to engage in a discussion on how you act when under stress and how to manage potential pitfalls.


3:00 - 3:15 p.m.

Handling the Workload

3:15 - 4:15 p.m.

One of the keys to success for Chiefs of Staff is being able to utilize tools and protocols to help manage your tasks, finances, and communication. In this hour, you will learn how four Chiefs of Staff managed their workload. We will discuss finances, including during fundraising periods, effective communication, creating and managing teams, tools for effective organization, and specifics for communicating to various stakeholders.

Day One Wrap Up

4:15 - 4:30 p.m.

Networking Reception (included in registration fee)

4:30 - 5:30 p.m.


Continental Breakfast (included in registration fee)

8:00 - 8:30 a.m.

Managing Relationships

8:30 - 9:45 a.m.

We will discuss skills for managing relationships across and outside of campus. Having a good relationship with key constituents such as the Board, athletics, faculty, and other stakeholders will be key to your success as you move among and between these various groups.


9:45 - 10:00 a.m.

When the Going Gets Tough: Managing Presidential Transitions, Conflicts, and Crises

10:00 - 11:30 a.m.

During your tenure as Chief of Staff, you will likely be challenged with a conflict, crisis, or a Presidential transition. The lessons provided will help you prepare for these challenges and give you resources for when you need them.

Working Session: Defining Success

11:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

In this final session, you will write your goals for success in the next year. You will get feedback from peers and speakers as you move forward.

Conference Close

12:00 - 12:15 p.m.

Lunch for Post-Conference Attendees (included in workshop registration fee)

12:15 - 1:15 p.m.

Post-Conference: Career Paths for Chiefs of Staff

1:15 - 4:15 p.m.

Many Chiefs of Staff wonder what career paths are open to them after they have served. In this post conference event, Chris Romano, Vice President of Enrollment Management and Student Affairs at Ramapo College, will discuss his career path and how he capitalized on his duties as Chief of Staff to succeed in his current role. You will leave with action items to help you successfully make your transition from Chief of Staff to your next role, whether in the short term or future plans.

August 1 - 2, 2018
Washington, D.C. Area

Conference Hotel Information:

Gaylord National Resort & Conference Center
201 Waterfront Street
National Harbor, MD 20745

Rooms at this hotel are sold out for these dates - we recommend reserving hotel accommodations at a nearby hotel.


Sept. 27, 2016 - Max Allen, chief of staff at Clemson University.
-- Maxwell Allen --
JOB TITLE: Administrator
Office Of The President
(864) 656-3413

Max Allen

Vice President and Chief of Staff
Clemson University

Max Allen serves as the chief advisor to President Clements and is the primary liaison with the vice presidents and other direct reports to the president. Under his leadership, he has helped design and implement the Clemson Forward strategic plan, coordinate a massive strategic reorganization of the campus diversity efforts, serve as the primary liaison with key community leaders and partners, serves as a member of the university’s crisis decision team, and helped with the successful completion of the $1 billion Will to Lead capital campaign.

Prior to Clemson, Allen served as the chief of staff at the University of North Carolina Wilmington for twelve years and the executive assistant to the president and director of university relations at Georgia College & State University in Milledgeville, Ga.


Brittany Goldstein

Chief of Staff and Board Liaison
Ramapo College

Brittany joined Ramapo College in 2010. Ms. Williams-Goldstein serves as the primary liaison to the President’s Cabinet and the Board of Trustees. She is responsible for the strategic development, implementation and coordination of Cabinet and Board activities as well as the coordination of the Office of the President. She chairs the Space Management and Allocation Committee. During her tenure at Ramapo, she has served as a member of the Campus Facilities Master Plan Steering Committee, Position Review Committee, and the Strategic Planning Task Force.

Ms. Williams-Goldstein began her professional career as a journalist and later transitioned into higher education as an instructor of Spanish and English as a Second Language. She has also fulfilled roles as Designated School Official, chief human resources officer, and executive assistant to the president. She has presented nationally on board of trustees development and was awarded the Professional Board Staff Member Award (Northeast) by the Association of Community College Trustees. She earned her M.S.Ed. in Higher Education Management from the University of Pennsylvania and her B.A. in Communications/Journalism from William Paterson University. She is a graduate of the Chair Academy for Leadership, is certified in Affirmative Action Complaint Processing, and is a trained Title IX investigator. She is a member of the Public Relations Society of America and the Board Professionals network of the Association of Governing Boards.


Dr. Joshua Jacobs

Vice President for Advancement and Alumni Relations
Central Methodist University

At Central Methodist University (CMU), Dr. Joshua Jacobs works with a team focused on developing committed relationships with alumni and friends of CMU and creating lasting opportunities to link people's passions with the mission of the university. He has oversight of the annual fund, corporate and foundation relations, prospect research, major gifts, planned giving, comprehensive and capital campaigns, and alumni and constituent relations.

Jacobs previously served as Chief of Staff to Murray State University President Randy J. Dunn. He was responsible for the daily operations of the institution and worked closely with campus constituency groups to advance the mission of the institution.


Chris Romano

Vice President of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management
Ramapo College

In his current role, Christopher leads the division of enrollment management, including the offices of admissions, advising and first-year experience, career services, financial aid, marketing and web administration, athletics , residence life, the Educational Opportunity Fund, public safety, and the division of student affairs. Christopher chairs the strategic enrollment management planning committee and is responsible for the development and maintenance of Ramapo’s strategic enrollment management plan aimed at defining targets for rates of enrollment, persistence, and graduation, but also developing strategies to help the college reach its optimum enrollment levels. He serves as a member of the president’s cabinet as well as other administrative bodies to ensure that institutional conversations and decisions take into account the impact not only on incoming student enrollment, but also on the way those decisions impact the perception, experience, and ultimate success of current students. Prior to serving as the vice president, Christopher served as the associate vice president of enrollment management and as the special assistant to the president of Ramapo College, where he was responsible for strategic planning, resource allocation, and institutional effectiveness.

Christopher earned his bachelor’s degree in international relations from Saint Joseph’s University (PA) and a master’s in higher education administration from Harvard University. He has presented nationally on strategic enrollment management as a model for implementing change, the student engagement project at Ramapo, marketing/branding in the context of enrollment management, developing an institutional model for student success and utilizing data and modeling to predict student retention. His professional work concentrates on strategic planning, student success, higher education leadership, student engagement, and using data to drive decision making.

Main Conference Only

$1,295 through July 13$1,395.00

Learn how to better define your role as Chief of Staff and manage the workload that it entails.

Post-Conference Workshop Only

$395 through July 13$495.00

Focus on the transferable skills and paths that you may take after you have served as Chief of Staff.

Can't Attend? Buy the
Conference Binder

Purchase the conference binder, which includes all presentation slides, worksheets, action plans, and additional resources.

Note: Conference attendees do not need to purchase materials separately.

Questions About the Event?

Elizabeth Hubbell
Program Manager, Academic Impressions

Please enter your name.
Please enter a message.