The New Marketing Communications Director

The New Marketing Communications Director
The New Marketing Communications Director

Time: 3:30pm ET -
Certification Credits: 30 IACP

The efforts of the Marketing Communications Office are integral to your private-independent school, providing a unified message to your faculty and staff, students, families, and the larger community. Discover how to excel in this position through proven strategies, in-depth knowledge, and hands-on activities to create a marketing communication action plan you can immediately implement in the new school year.

Your Marketing Communications Office is the “tie that binds.” It not only tells the story of your school, but also recruits new families, re-recruits existing families, and cultivates donors.

If you are somewhat new to your position, you may not know where to start or where to focus your limited time. This workshop combines foundational, practical topics with efficient marketing communications procedures and proven materials to help you create strategies to meet your goals.


    • Understand the big picture of how marketing communications serves your entire school.
    • Develop an action plan to implement in the new school year.
    • Design templates for a strategic marketing plan, schoolwide communication calendar, social media strategy, and crisis communication plan.
    • Engage in one-on-one mentoring sessions with the workshop leader.

      Who Should Attend:

      Marketing Communications professionals who are new or less-experienced in their roles should attend. This workshop is also ideal for marketing communications professionals who are new to private-independent schools.

      Penny Abrahams

      Penny Abrahams, IAP-L

      ISM Consultant | Virtual Advancement Summit Convener


      Penny first joined Independent School Management in 2010 as a member of the Advancement Academy’s founding faculty. As a Consultant, she specializes in marketing communications, enrollment management, and development. Her experience in these areas comes from working in private-independent schools for more than 13 years, and serving a variety of other non-profits for an additional seven years.

      Her areas of expertise and passion include building enrollment management and marketing plans; developing mission-based messaging; crafting digital marketing and social media strategies; establishing crisis communications plans, and advising on optimal staffing structures and functions.

      Current Role

      As an Advancement Consultant and founding Advancement Academy Faculty member with ISM, Penny:

      • consults in marketing communications and enrollment management planning, case statements, message frameworks, and development assessments
      • conducts workshops and webinars focused on marketing communications and enrollment management best practices
      • speaks at regional and national education conferences
      • co-convenes ISM’s Advancement Academy for experienced school practitioners
      • writes for ISM’s publications, including Ideas & Perspectives

      She holds the Leader Certification through ISM’s International Advancement Program (IAP-L).

      Prior Experience

      Penny began her career in schools in 2001 at Ravenscroft, a PreK through grade 12 school in Raleigh, NC.

      As the Annual Fund Director, she managed all aspects of the school’s annual giving program, overseeing a team of volunteers responsible for raising nearly $600,000. Penny later became Ravenscroft’s Director of Communications and was charged with building the school’s communications program from the ground up.

      From 2013-17, Penny served as the Director of Admissions & Marketing at Academy at the Lakes, a PreK3 through grade 12 school located in Tampa, FL., where she helped the school reach record application and enrollment numbers.

      Prior to her time in private-independent schools, Penny worked in publications and media relations for the University of Texas, the Memphis Center City Commission, and U.S. Synchronized Swimming.


      Penny graduated with a B.A. in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and received her International Advancement Program—Leader certification in 2012.

      Schedule to be announced soon

      Location to be announced soon

      How will ISM communicate workshop information with me?

      It is essential that your school approves the following email addresses from ISM:


      You will be receiving all communication—including your confirmation email and access to your workshop's Google Drive account—from these emails.

      What does my registration fee include?

      All workshop materials, breakfasts, lunch or dinner daily, and social hours are included.

      What is not included in my registration fee?

      Hotel accommodations and travel expenses, other meals not noted.

      What should I wear?

      Meetings rooms are generally cold, as temperature control in meeting spaces and large convention centers is difficult. Please bring a sweater, jacket, or sweatshirt.

      What should I bring?

      You’ll receive a letter from your workshop instructor letting you know what to bring. However, please bring a laptop or tablet for online access.

      Can my special dietary requirements be met?

      Absolutely. Just give the Workshops Department a call at 302-656-4944, and we'll make sure your needs are accommodated.

      Should I need medical or dental attention, where should I go?

      Should you need medical attention in a non-emergency, notify ISM staff and the hotel staff. The hotel can recommend what facilities are available, and may be able to supply transportation. In an emergency, call 911.

      Event Confirmation and Cancellation Policy

      We take the health and safety of our school leaders seriously.

      In an abundance of caution and to protect the health of all participants, ISM will hold only distance learning events until further notice.

      Should ISM cancel an event, we ensure a 100% money-back guarantee for all registrants—so you can buy with confidence. You can feel free to direct any questions to

      Confirmation and Cancellation Policy

      Tuition Payment and Cancellation Policy for ISM’s Professional Development Events

      Tuition must be paid in full 10 business days prior to the start date of the event. An attendee with a balance due on the start date will be denied entrance to the program until the balance is paid in full.

      Cancellation requests must be made in writing by emailing, faxing to 302-656-0647, or mailing to: Event Experience Manager, ISM, 1316 N. Union St., Wilmington, DE, 19806.

      • Cancellations received more than 15 business days prior to the start date of the program will be fully refunded. Gold Dollars will also be fully refunded.
      • Cancellations received less than 15 business days prior to the start date of the program will not be refunded.
      • Non-payment of tuition or no-show to the event does not constitute a cancellation. Full tuition will be due and payable.

      The Substitution Option and Wallet Option

      If a member of your team can no longer attend a workshop for which they have registered and it is past the cancellation window, your school has two options to avoid penalty. Schools may also exercise these options at any time for cancellations. 

      1. The school may substitute another employee.
      2. The school may bank the funds for a future ISM registration. These funds must be applied to a professional development event within one year from the start date of the original workshop. After one year, the funds will be forfeited. To use banked funds, please call the Event Experience Manager at 302-656-4944 x152.

      *We DO NOT accept enrollments from consultants.


      Our Guarantee

      ISM believes in providing quality and excellence in all of our events and in ensuring the satisfaction of everyone who attends. Nearly 100% of our participants say they would recommend our events to their colleagues. If you are not satisfied with your event for any reason, ISM will credit the fee you paid toward another similarly priced workshop or will refund it.

      If you have any questions, click below to send us an email. 

      Workshop Registration

      Register for your workshop online by filling out the form below. If you'd prefer to register by mail, download our registration form.


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