Speaker Information


Sunny Donenfeld

Sunny Donenfeld is the Senior Associate Dean for Finance & Administration and CFO at the USC Marshall School of Business.  He is responsible for the school’s finance, budget, human resources, information technology and facilities functions.  Donenfeld also manages the school’s diversity and inclusion initiatives.

Prior to joining USC, Donenfeld was the Associate Dean for Administration at the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University.  He began his career in IT at Stanford University, where he worked in a number of positions of increasing responsibility.

Donenfeld earned a Master’s of Business Administration and a Master’s of Industrial and Labor Relations from Cornell University, and a Bachelor’s degree in Latin American and Caribbean Area Studies from the State University of New York at Binghamton.  He served on the executive committee of the board of the Cancer Resource Center of the Finger Lakes, and he enjoys hiking and travel.

Breakout Session Summary

Developing P&Ls that appropriately allocate revenue and expense is essential for gauging program health, and critical for managing a portfolio of programs. The speaker will address one school’s approach and entertain questions.

Teri Fairchild

Teri Fairchild, Registered Corporate Coach™ (RCC) through the Worldwide Association of Business Coaches is a member of the Tri-State Human Resource Association in Dubuque, IA, SHRM, Past President of the Rotary Club of Dubuque, and happily married to husband Riley with four children: Colt, Matt, Emily, Haley and Henry the dog.

Breakout Session Summary

Within two decades, millions of baby boomers will retire, which will result in massive turnover among business leaders. Does your organization have a transition plan in place to ensure your business will stand the test of time?

Teri Fairchild is the author of Nurturing the Flame: How to Carry on Your Mission from Generation to Generation. During this presentation, Teri will cover her ten-step framework for succession of a business or organization utilizing modern business concepts.

Attend this meeting and learn the 10-step method for succession that will carry your organization into the next generation.

  • Learn the 10-step process for succession management
  • Build a foundation for successful recruitment to build management teams
  • Communicate values that validate an organization’s existence and ensure stability and right conduct
  • Understand the essential nature of internal transformation to ensure successful business transitions

Sarah Fisher Gardial

Sarah Fisher Gardial was named dean of the Henry B. Tippie College of Business at the University of Iowa in 2012. Previously, she was the Beaman Professor of Business at the University of Tennessee where her leadership roles included Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs, as well as Assistant and Associate Dean in the College of Business Administration. She has served in leadership and volunteer positions for international business school associations, including the MBA Roundtable, the Graduate Management Admissions Council, and AACSB. Over the years she has worked with a variety of companies, including Procter and Gamble and Frito-Lay. She currently holds director positions on two corporate boards, and she is a frequent speaker for academic, corporate, and non-profit organizations.

Breakout Session Summary

Culture is always being created inside organizations – whether through intentional or unintentional means.  Organizations pay untold attention and training to strategic planning, tactics, and resources allocation.  But how often do we engage in conversations about how to build and maintain a healthy, mission-driven organizational culture?  All of the strategic planning in the world will not make a dent if there is no culture to support the behaviors we want to see in the workplace.  This session will define culture, will make a case for promoting culture building to the top of the leader’s priorities, and will provide some basics for how to go about building/changing culture in the workplace.

Jim Hundrieser

Dr. Jim Hundrieser is the associate managing principal of AGB Institutional Strategies.  Over his 30-year career in higher education, Jim has served in a variety of roles from an institutional vice president, to consultant, to faculty member, to residence hall director.  The core of Jim’s work has been focused on providing ways for students to gain access to and succeed in higher education.  As a first-generation college student, Jim knows first-hand the opportunities that are afforded through earning and maximizing a college degree. 

Prior to joining AGB Institutional Strategies, Jim led the reengineering efforts of Plymouth State University’s undergraduate admissions department, which resulted in two straight years of record first-year enrollment with more college ready students.  As vice president of student development at Lynn University, he led an effort that increased first to second-year retention rates by 8 percent in two years. 

Jim also served in a senior role consulting for Noel-Levitz as their Vice President for Strategic Enrollment Management. There he worked with more than 50 campuses to create strategic enrollment plans, comprehensive retention strategies, and campus workshops on improving the quality of student life and learning.

Jim is active in educational associations and is continually working to imagine and create new business models that ensure every student receives a high quality, rigorous, engaging, outcomes-oriented education. 

He holds a BS from Northern Michigan University, an MEd from Plymouth State University, and a PhD in leadership and education from Barry University (FL).

Keynote Summary

Higher education institutions are in the midst of dramatic change.  Implementing innovative, transformational strategies that grow or diversify revenues are frequently discussed, yet few institutions have succeeded in changing current structures to actually diversify revenue streams.  Innovation and transformation occur when creative thinking is combined with a focus on maximizing current resources that produces business models which create the greatest Return On Investment (ROI).  This session shares some of the macro trends impacting this type of work and the latest practices that you can implement at your institution to achieve positive, innovative transformational change. 

Breakout Session Summary 

Decreasing traditional student enrollments have forced many institutions to cut costs, programs, services, and operations.  Approximately 67% of Chief Financial Officers report that their institution’s current business model is unsustainable and that revenue diversification is needed to sustain operations over the long term.  This session explores ways that institutions can implement strategies and focus on strategies to ensure embed systemic change to leverage their strengths, identify priorities, and determine priorities.     

Nadine Petty

Dr. Nadine Petty is the executive director of the Center for Diversity and Enrichment in the Chief Diversity Office at the University of Iowa. She studied higher education administration at the University of Louisville where she completed a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Organizational Development. Before that, her studies focused on English instruction and she earned both a Master of Arts in Teaching Secondary English Education and Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Rochester. Her past professional experience includes the following roles: director of TRIO Student Support Services; Supplemental Instruction supervisor; TRIO academic specialist; adjunct English faculty; project manager in the School of Engineering at Morgan State University; high school English teacher; and soccer, track and field, and badminton coach. She currently co-chairs the University of Iowa’s Talent@Iowa Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee through which she partners with HR staff to help shape onboarding and engagement practices that foster a more diverse and inclusive campus climate. Nadine moved to the Iowa Corridor with her husband a little over two years ago. She is a guardian of two incorrigible cats, Ginger and Snaps, and enjoys hiking, live theatre, and a vegan-ish lifestyle.

Breakout Session Summary

Research shows inclusive workspaces foster greater employee satisfaction which lends itself to increased employee retention. This interactive session is designed to engage participants in discussions and activities surrounding inclusivity, its role in diversity and equity, implicit bias, and embedded workplace challenges.  The presentation is intended for individuals who are interested in gaining insight needed to shift workplace culture from the status quo to more inclusive models with hopes of increasing employee satisfaction and retention. It is also intended for those who are looking for ways to promote social justice in their workplaces. Participants will leave the workshop with resources and action plans they can take back to their individual offices and teams.

Albert Smith

Trained in black cultural studies, queer theory, religious studies, ethics and critical race studies, Albert Earnest Smith, Jr.’s passion for justice and equality sits in the nexus of academia, community development, public policy and grass-root activism. Albert brings over 10 years of experience leading medium-to-large system initiatives in the federal government, non-profit, and private sector to his role at Cook Ross. Most recently, he served as the inaugural Sexual and Gender Minority Portfolio Strategist at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). At NIH, he provided leadership and support on diversity and inclusion program and strategies as well as monitored the agency’s process in eliminating discriminatory practices that adversely impacted SGM employees.

Previously, Albert served as Deputy Director at the National Public Housing Museum and Center for the Study of Housing and Society (Chicago, Illinois); Director of Student Affairs at The Art Institute of Tennessee (Nashville, Tennessee); Assistant Director of Residential Education at Vanderbilt University (Nashville, Tennessee); and as a civil servant with the United States Departments of Labor and Defense. A trainer, facilitator and educator, he has guest lectured at Vanderbilt University, American Baptist College, Fisk University, Meharry Medical College, Tennessee State University, Western Kentucky University and Al Asad Air Force Base (Iraq) in areas of race, gender, sexuality, globalism, public health, violence and terrorism and has facilitated diversity training on sexual orientation and gender identity issues for over 2500 federal government employees. 

A magna cum laude graduate of Fisk University with a bachelor of arts degree in English literature, Albert received a master’s in theological studies from the Divinity School at Vanderbilt University and studied literature and religion at Oxford University – Trinity College. He was a 2001 Congressional Black Caucus Intern and a 2005 graduate of the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators – New Professionals Institute. He has served on the Community Advisory Board for the Meharry Medical College Community Wellness Center and holds professional membership in the America Academy of Religion. He is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Incorporated and is a trained rape, sexual assault, domestic abuse and suicide prevention counselor and mentor to lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender (LGBT) youth across the country.  
Areas of Expertise Include: Cultural Competency, Diversity & Inclusion, Gender Issues, Race in the Workplace and Unconscious Bias

Keynote Summary

In this presentation participants will gain an understanding of the science, research, and impact of unconscious bias. They will become aware of their own background, and its impact on perceptions. Furthermore, participants will learn to recognize functions of the unconscious mind and its impact in the workplace. The goal is that this learning will filter back into new strategies for developing conscious awareness action steps for different departments and teams at the University.

Patricia Clark White

Dr. Patricia Clark White is Associate Dean for the School of Education at Brandman University. She oversees two ground-breaking new programs: The Ed.D. in Organizational Leadership, which is a highly innovative doctoral program focused on leading transformational change; and the Masters Program in Educational Leadership and Administration, a creative new program featuring high tech approaches for the 21st century.  She previously served as the Superintendent of Schools in three award-winning school districts in Southern California.  Dr. White is the lead author of a new edition of The Politically Intelligent Leader, and a frequent presenter and consultant on topics related to leading transformational change, building a climate of trust, transforming conflict to find common ground, and thriving in a high stakes political environment.

Keynote Summary

Today's Higher Education leaders are often caught in a world of rising expectations and diminishing resources - the political pressures are enormous.   We may be trained in job competencies, but we often feel ill-prepared and apprehensive about our ability to deal with a high-stakes political environment. Becoming a Politically Savvy Leader empowers leaders at all levels, from small teams to major institutions, to truly understand the dynamic nature of politics in organizations, while learning more about themselves, their current political styles, and political strategies that offer greater personal and professional success. Participants will come away with a deeper understanding of the tactics and motivations of nine different political actors, and the skills that will help them manage positive outcomes in their interactions.

Breakout Session Summary

Leaders who are charged with delivering a changing 21st century vision for their organization or team, may need to introduce new thinking, new behaviors and new culture often when trust is not abundant.  Learning to work effectively with the core human needs that tend to emerge during times of change is fundamental to building trust.  Participants will explore strategies for cultivating high trust relationships, using real world examples.  A Trust Questionnaire will provide insights on your own trust levels and help you develop next steps for building a healthy, enjoyable, productive climate at work.

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