Essential Skills for Engaging Corporate Partners

Essential Skills for Engaging Corporate Partners

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Learn the core skills to strategically engage potential and current corporate partners.

Corporate engagement is competitive and challenging in the landscape of higher education. Corporate partners are often inundated with community outreach and seldom respond to unsolicited proposals. Learn the fundamental skills of how to identify, engage, and foster a relationship with potential and current corporate partners to build towards a holistic engagement strategy.

This workshop will provide training and practice to become more strategic in your approach and effectively identify corporate partners and prepare and facilitate high impact meetings. You will learn how to:

  • Identify key success strategies through entry point and each phase of corporate engagement based on the latest trends
  • Conduct in-depth company research that will catch the attention of potential partners
  • Develop an intentional agenda for successful meetings and campus visits
  • Powerfully communicate your value through media and proposals
  • Apply the skills learned from this program to build meaningful relationships with your campus partners for holistic engagement


Who Should Attend

Whether you are new to corporate engagement or facing a new charge in your current role to meet institutional corporate engagement goals, this program will provide a toolkit for successful corporate engagement and give you confidence in your approach. This may include front-line corporate foundation relations staff or professionals from other campus entities charged with corporate outreach.


“This conference set the stage for strong preparation and execution skills for corporate fundraising. Sessions were focused and totally applicable to my work and growth.”

- Lara Levi, Director of Corporate Relations, Florida International University

“This conference is ideal for a new professional in corporate and foundation relations and higher education.”

- Kristen Farrell, Director of Institutional Giving, Manhattan College


Registration fee includes: Full access to all conference sessions and materials, access to the networking reception on Wednesday, breakfast and lunch on Thursday, as well as refreshments and snacks throughout the conference. If you register for the Conference Bundle and attend both programs, lunch will be provided on Wednesday.

Day 1

12:30 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.


Registration, Opening Remarks, and Introductions



What Corporations Want: Trends and Strategies for Corporate Engagement

During this session, you will learn the latest data to support a more strategic and holistic approach for corporate engagement. Our expert will guide you through data and examples from real corporations to deepen your knowledge of corporate engagement and help you identify which are the strongest areas for corporate engagement.  



Corporate Engagement Success Stories

From research to engagement and stewardship, you will see examples of a successful corporate engagement cycle. Through these examples you hear first-hand how the relationships came about, and the amount of research, data, and preparation that was involved and who they collaborated with to ensure a long-term engagement strategy. Through these examples, we will surface the most common elements that connect all corporate engagement to your desired outcomes.



Working Session: Successful Corporate Engagement

During this interactive working  session, you will work with your table group to connect your own strategies to stories you just heard and work with your peers to discuss how these could be included in your corporate engagement work.



Networking Reception


Day 2

8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.


Identifying and Reaching out to Ideal Corporate Partners

Learn the skills necessary to develop your own metrics to identify which corporations would be an ideal fit as partners with your institution. Once you identify who you want to contact, you will learn best strategies for marketing and branding to position your efforts in your community and beyond. You will gain insights for how to build upon existing relationships and reach out to new external partners.



Preparing and Facilitating a Face to Face Meeting

This session will cover everything you need to have a successful meeting with a corporate partner. This includes: who should attend, what to bring, and what you will need to prepare in advance to ensure you have the opportunity to progress your relationship. Following a brief presentation, you will spend time building your own successful meeting agenda.  



Panel Discussion: Strategies for Information Systems Tracking and Sharing

The data needed to facilitate productive meetings and the ways to report the information to your campus community can be daunting. Our panel will explore tried and true strategies across platforms and homegrown systems that have worked for them. You will have ample opportunity to share your own strategies and ask questions of our panel and your peers.  



Facilitating a Corporate Visit on your Campus

The campus visit – if skillfully executed – is the perfect opportunity to hone in on the intersection between the corporation’s and your institution’s strategic roadmap and goals. You will learn advanced strategies and receive templates and examples of what a productive visit can be.  



Building Key Relationships with Campus Partners and Leadership

This interactive session will allow you to identify some of the most common challenges in gaining support from campus partners and leadership to support your goals and priorities. You will come away with direction on where your focus should be in terms of building the relationships you need to be successful at your specific institution.  



Developing your Corporate Engagement Toolkit

With support from our instructors, you will reflect on the strategies and examples shared and hone in on your own needs to better support your role. As a campus leader for corporate engagement, you will come away with a system of ways to support goal setting and refresh your approach.



group of learners at an Academic Impressions Conference

Christopher S. Groff

Assistant Vice President, Corporate and Foundation Relations, Office of University Advancement
Fairleigh Dickinson University

Chris manages the CFR philanthropic planning, research, and stewardship process for all of Farleigh Dickinson’s campuses. His work and leadership has successfully led to an increase in the number of strategic corporate partnerships and grants dollars at FDU since 2004.

Read Christopher's full bio here.


Anne O'Donnell

Senior Executive Director, Corporate Relations, University of California San Diego

Since January 2017, Anne leads a new Central Corporate Relations Office to develop holistic relationships with companies to support UC San Diego’s strategic plan and fundraising objectives. Anne works with the UC San Diego Chancellor and Deans on strategic corporate initiatives from both advancement and sponsored research.

Read Anne's full bio here.

Stephanie Soto-Pell

Stephanie Soto-Pell

Executive Director, Foundations and Corporate Relations, California State University, Los Angeles

Stephanie has extensive development, marketing, and sales experience from strategy to execution, dedicated to seizing opportunities that drive revenue and sustain growth. She is an experienced team builder with over 20 years of corporate experience, much of this obtained from The Walt Disney Company.

Read Stephanie's full bio here.

Questions About the Event?


Nick Pettet
Program Manager, Academic Impressions

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