Education Marketing and Advancement

Objectivity, transparency, and a collaborative spirit

Integrative Thinking. Transformative Consulting.

Mike Connor


Mike Connor is co-author of the National Association of Independent Schools’ (NAIS) book, Marketing Independent Schools in the 21st Century. His white paper, It’s What’s Inside That Counts: Maximizing Internal Marketing, has been digitally published by NAIS and many state, regional, provincial, and international independent school associations. Connor Associates Strategic Services, LLC has worked with over 450 independent, faith-based, and charter schools in the United States, Europe, Africa, and Asia since 1998.

Carolyn Stiles

Vice President for Client Relations and Market Research

For more than 10 years, Carolyn has partnered with Connor Associates overseeing the Division of External Image Audits and Competitive Analysis. In 2016, she was named Vice President for Client Relations and Marketing Research. In this role, she manages all client contacts for scheduling of projects and deliverables, and monitors quality control and client satisfaction.

Liz Cherry

Creative Director and Brand Strategist

Founder, President, and Creative Director of Cherry + Company (Tampa, FL) Liz brings three decades of institutional brand marketing experience to Connor Associates. Her educational brand strategy and marketing expertise is nationally and internationally recognized for delivering award-winning, results-generating work. Her creative spirit blends great branding with Connor Associates' research and strategy to produce visually compelling brands that stand the test of time. Together, Connor and Cherry have branded over 450 schools and colleges.

Thom Greenlaw

Finance Associate

Thom has served over twenty years in varying senior roles in independent schools. He was Chief Operating Officer of Ethel Walker School from 2013-15. At EWS, Thom was responsible for finance, advancement and operations at this century- old boarding and day school, which serves girls in grades 6-12. At EWS he led the strategic changes to the school’s Centennial Campaign, and raised over $20 million in two years. This enabled the school to embark upon a capstone building project, The Centennial Center, which is now under construction.

Chris Connor

Data Analyst

Chris assists Connor Associates with data analysis--from Alumni Surveys to the quality and interpretation of predictive modeling data marketing lists. His work is designed to prove your school’s value in the marketplace and to get more mission appropriate full-pay families into the admission funnel.  

Karen Trayser

Research Associate

Based in Chicago, Karen Trayser has worked with Connor Associates intermittently for the past five years. Karen works in Educational Publishing as a writer and editor for a variety of developers and publishers including Loyola Press, Corwin Press, Creative Teaching Press, RCL Benziger and Rainbow Educational Concepts, Inc.  She has authored, co-authored, and edited an assortment of classroom materials in various subjects and grade levels. 

Amy Connor

Research Associate

Amy Connor of Encinitas, California, joined Connor Associates as a Research Associate in 2015 following a career as the Australia Director of Camp Counselors USA, and Aspect Foundation for Student Exchange in Sydney, Australia. Both organizations encompass international education and student placement.

Armin Hamidi

Research Associate

Based in Chicago, Armin joined Connor Associates in 2015.  Previously, she has had a dynamic career in the education field, with a focus on integrating private educational facilities into communities.

Fiona May

Research Associate

Fiona May joined Connor Associates in 2017.  She comes to the team with a background in business, including many years of experience as a marketing consultant. Originally based in the United Kingdom, she worked with numerous international companies including Volvo, Ford, Holiday Inn and IBM to research, analyze, create and implement marketing solutions to fulfill clients’ business objectives.

Emily Griffiths

Research Associate

Emily joined Connor Associates in 2017 with over 10 years of research and analysis experience, during which she presented the market health/opportunities and customer experience in various businesses and industries. With a graduate degree in business, she has worked in client services, at public companies and with private practice and nonprofit groups.