Brain Trusts

Helpful Conversations During the 2020 COVID-19 Crisis

Conversations and questions from our higher education colleagues are changing daily – one day it was “is anyone pushing deposit dates” and “how should we adapt our messaging,” the next we’re getting – “how do I host a virtual commencement” and “what do I do about our alumni magazine that's about to go to press?”

We don’t have all the answers, but believe that the “answer is in the room” if we get the right people together. We want these conversations to be able to offer some framing so that you know what other schools are considering and to hear from your peers about what they are doing to plan and respond.

Our Brain Trust series has helped clients navigate these uncertain times with fresh ideas they are learning from their colleagues at other institutions and through brainstorming with our group. We find colleagues at other institutions to join us who we know will provide a unique perspective and new ideas. We are continually learning from our colleagues throughout higher education what topics would be helpful to have future conversations about – and that's what drives these schedules.


What to expect

Facilitated conversation on a specific topic with 10-20 people on Zoom.


Marketing Opportunities & Strategies for 2-Year Community Colleges

Tuesday, August 4, 1:00pm ET

While many colleges are struggling with enrollment this fall, many community colleges are seeing increased demand and are enrolling at record numbers. We’ll talk about what community colleges are doing to attract new students and why this fall will be like no other before.

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Rachel Reuben Senor

Vice President, Account Strategy

Rachel has 20+ years senior marketing leadership experience in higher education from working at California College of the Arts, Colgate University, Ithaca College, State University of New York at New Paltz, and consulting with dozens of other schools. 

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Georgy Cohen

Director, Digital Strategy

Georgy spent nearly nine years working at Tufts University and Suffolk University on digital strategy, content strategy, and crisis communications initiatives and the last five with OHO focusing on digital and content strategy with dozens of clients.

photo of Vanessa Theoharis

Vanessa Theoharis

Director, Digital Marketing

Prior to joining OHO, Vanessa worked at Babson College for eight years where part of her responsibilities included digital crisis communications, and also brings extensive digital marketing expertise across higher ed business lines.

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Creating an Efficient Remote HigherEd Marcom Team 

In the transition from office life to remote work, you may realize the value of some of the face-to-face interactions you previously took for granted While there may not be 1:1 solutions for everything, there are a number of ways you can maintain strong relationships with your colleagues, managers, and direct reports.

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Crisis Communication Proactive Planning

Even in this tumultuous time where you may find yourself building the car while you drive it, it is important to identify items that fit into one of these four buckets and take what you have learned to evolve the process for the future.

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Undergraduate Enrollment Marketing

With critical in-person yield activities, such as campus visits and Accepted Students Day being cancelled this spring, how can teams still meet their enrollment goals? Can critical in-person events be replicated online?

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Graduate + Online Program Marketing

What were some of the first steps that graduate/online marketing teams took at the start of this health crisis? How are schools adjusting and optimizing paid media efforts?

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Planning a Virtual Commencement or Postponing

These times call for hard decision-making, but also radical virtual hospitality and customer service. Commencement ceremonies are a monumental life milestone for graduates and the prospect of missing or not having one this spring on top of being forced off of campus is gut-wrenching for them and their families.

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Navigating Alumni Relations + Donor Communications

Spring is the season of giving days, but when nothing is normal, how do we proceed? Many schools have decided to cancel, postpone, or modify giving days to focus on emergency needs.

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Alumni Magazine: Print + Digital Considerations

Magazines were scheduled to go to press at the end of March or in April. Are they outdated and/or tone-deaf by the time they hit mailboxes? What about that special issue you were planning for this fall that photoshoots were going to take place for in May and June? Should we move to an online-only version for now?

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COVID-19 Microsite

The need to disseminate information quickly was moving faster than any of us could keep up with in mid-late March. We kept adding and adding to our COVID-19 microsite without a plan that we would even be building a microsite. It's become unwieldy, but is filled with critical content. How to do we wrangle this beast?

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Graduate, Online, and Adult Education Enrollment Marketing: Yielding the Fall Class

What new strategies are you using to attract graduate, online, and adult students for the fall? What events are working with keeping these audiences engaged? How are schools adjusting and optimizing paid media efforts? We’ll discuss these and other yield strategies with our special guests from National University and Syracuse University.

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