Driving Institutional Strategy as a Chief Strategist or Chief of Staff

Denver, CO | July 22, 2024 8:00 am MT - July 23, 2024 12:00 pm MT

Registrant Access Only

This training will not be available asynchronously.

Driving Institutional Strategy as a Chief Strategist or Chief of Staff

Denver, CO | July 22, 2024 8:00 am MT - July 23, 2024 12:00 pm MT

Maximize your impact and effectiveness as a Chief Strategy Officer by exploring critical trends facing higher education and building valuable skills.


Higher education is at an inflection point. Small colleges have closed due to financial and enrollment challenges, there is public scrutiny over cost, curriculum, value, and the worth of a college degree, and student debt is at an all-time high. And for all of these issues, the Chief of Staff/Chief Strategy Officer plays a crucial role in helping to address them, yet they often have a more solitary professional experience than other Vice Presidents and Cabinet members—many times working through influence rather than via large divisional and organizational chart purview. Through the Academic Impressions Five Paths to Leadership℠ Self-Assessment, you will discover how you show up as a leader in typical circumstances as well as during times of stress and use this understanding to identify how to work more effectively in your strategy focused role.  

This one-of-a-kind conference experience invites Chiefs of Staff, Chief Strategy Officers, and Chief Strategists like you to ensure that you have a data-informed and big-picture understanding of the critical issues facing higher education, and how those may impact the work accomplished by you, your President, and your institution. You will build community, develop resources to take back to your campus, and deepen your understanding of best practices across higher education.  

To preserve an intimate and productive experience, this conference is capped at 30 attendees

Who should attend?

This in-person conference is designed for leaders who are tasked with leading institutional strategy, have institution-wide responsibilities, report to the President, serve on the President’s cabinet/executive team, and/or have similar responsibilities.

Examples of relevant titles may include Chief Strategy Officer, Special Advisor to the President, VP of Strategy, VP of Strategic Initiatives, and Chief of Staff.

If you are specifically charged with responsibilities like the following, this program is for you:

  • Chief Strategist for the institution—leading strategic planning process and managing related initiatives
  • Linking campus strategy to external opportunities
  • Convening and creating alignment between and among cabinet members and other senior leaders
  • Providing strategic guidance and advice to the President and/or the Board
  • Succession planning and leadership development at the cabinet level
  • Managing relationships with the Board and external stakeholders



DAY ONE: Monday, July 22, 2024
8:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. MT (local time in Denver, CO)

Registration and Continental Breakfast (included in registration fee)  
8:00 – 8:30 a.m.    



Welcome and Community-Building
8:30 – 9:00 a.m.



Critical Topics in Higher Education
9:00 – 10:30 a.m.
We will kick off our day with a discussion on the toughest challenges and head winds facing higher education overall and your campus in particular. We will use a guided exercise to reflect on how these external forces impact your role in driving strategy at your institution. Learn from our expert facilitators and your peers as we crowdsource best practices and strategic solutions across our different geographies and institutional contexts.



Morning Break
10:30 – 10:45 a.m.



Leadership Development in Today’s Higher Education
10:45 a.m. – 12:00 p.m
To be a successful leader in higher education, you need to invest in your own leadership development to be prepared for current and future challenges. We will explore topics such as fostering a First Teams mindset, navigating the dynamics of culture and strategy, ways to foster innovation, and inclusive meeting design to deepen the collaboration necessary to drive strategy.



Lunch (included in registration fee)
12:00 – 1:00 p.m.



Defining Your Leadership Strengths: The Five Paths to Leadership℠ Self-Assessment
1:00 – 2:30 p.m.
This session will allow you to better understand your predominant leadership style and how it changes under stress. Knowing your leadership style will better equip you to make decisions that align with your strengths and weaknesses. Understanding your leadership style during a stressful situation can help you to lead more effectively, make better decisions, and communicate more clearly.



Afternoon Break
2:30 – 2:45 p.m.



Leading Through Influence
2:45 – 4:00 p.m.
Chief strategists solve problems, influence and convene others across campus to move from strategy to action, hold those that don’t report to you accountable all while tamping down issues, and teeing up the big wins for the president. Strategists do a lot of “invisible” work behind the scenes. This session will walk through how to design frameworks to empower and inspire others and discuss models and effective ways to strengthen and enrich critical leadership partnering with the president and other key institution leaders.



Day One Wrap Up
4:00 – 4:30 p.m.

Networking Reception (included in registration fee)
4:30 – 5:30 p.m.
This informal reception is your chance to decompress at the end of a long Day One, have some refreshments on us, and continue expanding your network of connections. Our programs are intentionally designed for smaller groups, so this is a great time to catch up with the speakers and other attendees whom you may not have connected with yet throughout the day.



DAY TWO: Tuesday, July 23, 2024
8:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. MT (local time in Denver, CO)
Continental Breakfast  
8:30 – 9:00 a.m.



Group Activity: Expanding your Planning Toolkit
9:00 – 10:15 a.m.
Build on the learning from Day One, you will have the opportunity to share and learn various strategy tools and tricks of the trade that help get things done: surveys, software tools, meeting design methods and more. In the solutions clinic, the program facilitators and your colleagues will build out a repository of templates, resources, and other items that you’ll take with you and utilize on your campus long after the conference ends.



Morning Break
10:15 – 10:30 a.m.



Taking Your Learning Back to Campus
10:30 – 11:30 a.m.
We’ll end our time together with space for you to reflect on what you’ve learned and how to create a roadmap of next steps for yourself and your institution. What areas have emerged as new priorities? Which situations necessitate preparation on your part, and why? How can this experience be carried forward in your role? How can we sustain the network of support created during the conference when we head back to our own campuses?



Conference Wrap-Up and Final Q&A
11:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Save on In-Person Conference Registrations

Attend any three in-person conferences for $5,500 for Members ($6,000 for Non-Members) – or $1,833 dollars per registration for Members ($2,000 for Non-Members) – with a Conference 3-Pack. There’s no one way to use your 3-Pack!

  • Send 3 people to the same conference
  • Send 3 individuals to different conferences
  • Experience 3 different conferences yourself

Learn More

Optional Executive Coaching

For those who choose to add on our Executive Coaching package, you will receive 6 sessions of executive coaching and will be paired with a coach who has extensive experience in higher education.


The training will be conducted in person 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

A room rate of $154/night is available if you book your room using this link.

This reduced rate and room availability are subject to general hotel availability and not guaranteed. So, we recommend booking as soon as possible!


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

A 10% discount is available if you book your room using this link.

This discount is subject to general hotel availability and not guaranteed. So, we recommend booking as soon as possible!


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