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Business Officer Magazine
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Montréal Mosaic

Highlights from the NACUBO 2016 Annual Meeting in Canada include insights from keynote presentations, an array of educational sessions, and visually innovative special events—all illustrating the theme of “Les Fondations for the Future.”

The following NACUBO staff members and consultants contributed photos, comments, and articles for this report: Debi Cumbo, Karla Hignite, Katy Hopkins, Earla Jones, Whitney Sayce, Carole Schweitzer, Khesia Taylor, and Preeti Vasishtha.

Photos by NH Photographers Group

We have a pressing need on our campuses and in our communities to come together to create a more peaceful world," emphasized John Walda, NACUBO president and CEO, at the opening session of the NACUBO 2016 Annual Meeting, in Montréal. Against the context of growing numbers of campus demonstrations, terror attacks and police action in cities around the globe, and "other acts of violence threatening the lives of people on our campuses," Walda called for a moment of silence to honor the promising students whose lives have been cut short.

"When terror replaces tolerance, and pain replaces promise," said Walda, "we all must renew our efforts." This year's conference theme, "Les Fondations for the Future," took on new meaning, with the summer's violent events so fresh in memory.

Walda went on to highlight the stronger need than ever for the positive work of NACUBO; the regional associations; and their respective, strong volunteer bases to strengthen and protect campuses and their surrounding communities.

For NACUBO's part, Walda summarized the many new resources and tools designed not only to strengthen chief business officers in their expanding leadership roles but to prepare those coming up behind them. "The release of NACUBO's 2016 National Profile of Higher Education Chief Business Officers, noted Walda, "indicates a continuing wave of retirements, with one in five CBOs planning to retire within the next five years. Part of our effort to fill the supply chain is the creation of the NACUBO Fellows program, with the inaugural cohort—of 15 fellows—meeting up here in Montréal for their first event, where they will get together and network, while taking advantage of the annual meeting activities. The program provides a yearlong professional development experience for these promising individuals."

Walda went on to explain that NACUBO's professional development programs are focused on maximizing the value of the association by making access easier. "For example, we are recording sessions so that they are available once you return to your offices. We are continuing to add new titles to our podcast series, and once again we have expanded the annual meeting app with additional tools."

Collaboration has also been a NACUBO priority, noted Walda, "with important work being done with APPA and the Key Metrics Survey, ACE and our annual two-day meeting with CBOs and their CAO counterparts, and EDUCAUSE and our IT Summit.

"One of the reasons NACUBO was formed," reminded Walda, "was to influence higher education issues." Currently, the association is highly engaged with the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, some pressing tax issues related to Form 1098-T, and the Department of Higher Education's new requirements for cash management.

With total registration of 2,580 attendees and exhibitors, the meeting was the fourth largest in the past nine years. Of this year's total, 1,663 were full-conference registrants, 331 were attending their first annual meeting, and 74 represented 17 other countries (with 47 Canadians from the host country). Walda went on to explain that attendees would be on hand for the release of two important white papers that would help explain the work of NACUBO's two-year Economic Models Project and some of its outcomes. "A collaboration with TIAA has also resulted in a number of additional papers relating to the project, with the final phase being a guide for you to use on your campus to assist you in decision making around your institution's particular business model."

Outgoing board chair, Gregg Goldman, senior vice president for business affairs and chief financial officer, University of Arizona, Tucson, took the stage to talk about NACUBO's future activities. "It's time to focus on strategy," said Goldman, "and the board has been spending concentrated time on positioning the association to move forward with an envisioned future. That means going beyond the many programs and initiatives that we already have in place to articulating the things we need to do to prepare for the next 10 years." He explained the five-point initiative that NACUBO board members were continuing to define and discuss prior to the plans being finalized later this year.

On a personal note, Goldman acknowledged the various mentors along his professional path, noting that he had brought away from those individuals four characteristics that he continues to hold as top priorities: "think bigger, don't overcommit, live an impactful life, and understand the effects of your decisions." In closing, he added: "Even on our worst day, we must remember that the work we do can truly change the world."