Peter Baron, Chief Member Relations Officer, The Enrollment Management Association
Peter is responsible for the creation and oversight of EMA’s external programs as well as its membership promise. He oversees EMA’s marketing and communications, member recruitment and retention, and outreach functions, as well as its leadership training programs, research, and other related strategic initiatives.
With a career spent in product development, sales, relationship development, and marketing, Peter’s success has been built on listening to schools’ and families’ needs. Peter joins EMA from Blackbaud, where he served as a member of the K-12 executive committee and led the business development of its K-12 partner network, working with schools, associations, and other partners to increase the value of Blackbaud products across the entire school community. Prior to his work at Blackbaud, Peter served as the chief evangelist at WhippleHill, a cloud-based software provider to independent schools, where he developed and implemented the organization’s inbound marketing strategy. He is also the founder of edSocialMedia, a community-driven site dedicated to exploring the role of social media in education, and Admissionsquest, an online resource connecting independent schools and families via a range of social media-inspired tools. Peter has also served as the vice president of sales at inResonance, a company that provides data and web solutions for independent schools.
Peter serves as a trustee for Wolfeboro, The Summer Boarding School, and participated on the Executive Committee of The Association of Boarding Schools’ (TABS) North American Boarding Initiative. He is a graduate of Brewster Academy, Skidmore College (BA), and Tufts University (MAT).
Lauren Castagnola, Director of Communications and Community Relations, Westover School
Lauren Castagnola returned to Westover School in 2016 after spending a year at Cheney & Company as director of new media, bringing with her experience in both the higher ed and independent school environments. During her time at Cheney & Company, Lauren launched a blog and social media program for the agency and assisted Carol in communications audits and project management. Earlier at Westover, Lauren oversaw all aspects of a $1,575,000 annual fund program, which included vastly expanding the school’s social media profile and instituting a successful one-day donor challenge. Prior to working at Westover, Lauren was assistant director of alumni relations at the UConn Foundation. Earlier she served as development officer, School of Health Sciences, and coordinator of Young Alumni and Quinnipiac Fund Programs at Quinnipiac University, her alma mater, where she majored in marketing. Her position at Westover today brings her in direct contact with many aspects of school management, including overseeing Westover’s advancement communications strategy.
Carol Cheney, President, Cheney & Company
Carol Cheney established Cheney & Company in 1983 after four years as director of communications at Choate Rosemary Hall. Carol has served on CASE publications juries and several CASE and NAIS Summer Institutes. She has written for CASE and NAIS on marketing, branding and communications, and speaks at regional and national conferences. Carol has served two times on the CASE Industry Advisory Council and was the recipient of a CASE crystal apple teaching award and the 2010 Ashmore Award for service to CASE and the advancement profession. Carol was president of the Alumnae/i Association of Sarah Lawrence College, and served as a trustee for 12 years. She graduated from Laurel School (OH).
Ken Mason, Marketing Consultant
Ken Mason is a strategic marketing communications consultant and designer, and is the former director of marketing at two Connecticut schools: The Gunnery (2016–2018) and Westminster School (2004–2016). Prior to joining Westminster, he operated a design firm for 11 years specializing in communications for nonprofit organizations, local businesses and schools.
An independent school industry veteran, Ken was selected as one of the top 100 “key thought leaders” in the U.S. by The Association of Boarding Schools and was on the Advisory Committee for NABI–TABS’ ambitious multi-year marketing initiative to support North American boarding schools. He has chaired the communications track of the CASE-NAIS conference and the CAIS Commission on School Advancement, and was a contributing writer to the 2011 edition of The Marketing Handbook for Independent Schools published by NAIS. Ken has led the communications section of the annual Strategic Marketing & Advancement Institute for nine years with Kathy Hansen and Jeff Wack, and presented at Aim High and numerous CASE, NAIS and TABS conferences.
Adam Olenn, Director of Communications & Community Engagement, Moses Brown School
For over 25 years, Adam has helped clients in a wide range of industries tell their story to win new customers and nurture existing ones.
After graduating from the University of Virginia, he helped trusted brands move online for the first time in their history–Kellogg’s, Mercedes-Benz, Haagen-Dazs, Turner Classic Movies, Mayo health clinics, and more. He joined a team of Harvard Business School and MIT (Sloan) graduates who were pooling their expertise from leading consulting firms to help innovative startups disrupt established players. (Buying a car has never been the same.)
After spending over a decade at Berklee College of Music modernizing communications systems, building a culture among a diverse alumni body, and developing proprietary software, he joined Moses Brown School as the Director of Communications & Community Engagement.
Whether he’s overseeing the Moses Brown communications ecosystem, lecturing at Bryant University, honing strategy for an avant-garde chef, or defining the brand of an innovative private equity firm–Adam is always focused on getting the story right.
David Thiel, Assistant Head of School for Strategy and Planning, Deerfield Academy
David Thiel is Deerfield’s Assistant Head of School for Strategy and Planning. In his role, David focuses on long-term planning and decision support related to organizational alignment, with the goal of bringing greater intention, efficiency and agility to Academy programs and operations. David is a strategic, systems, and design thinker—and he also brings those skills to Deerfield’s curriculum as an instructor in design and a principal contributor to the Academy’s innovation lab/makerspace.
From 2008 until 2017, David served as Deerfield’s Director of Communications, establishing an internal marketing communications agency for the school. Previously, David founded an Inc. 500 strategic branding and communications agency, serving as creative director and then CEO, with a focus on national business-to-consumer brands. David holds a bachelor’s degree in biology/English and a masters in business administration, both from the University of Rochester. David enjoys photography, furniture making, cycling, and all forms of camping.