Education Marketing and Advancement

Objectivity, transparency, and a collaborative spirit

Integrative Thinking. Transformative Consulting.

Mike Connor

President

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.

Emily Griffiths

Director of Client Relations and Market Research

Emily joined Connor Associates in 2017 with 10 years of corporate research and analysis experience, during which she presented the market health, business 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.

Thom Greenlaw

Finance Associate

Thom has served over twenty years in varying senior roles in independent schools, and partnered with Connor Associates in 2017 to handle Financial Modeling and Finance Assessments. 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.

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.

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.

Julie Union

Research Associate

Based in San Diego, California, Julie brings her passion for students and multifaceted experience in education and marketing to Connor Associates. She is currently serving as an elected School Board member for Solana Beach (CA) School District, which also includes Carmel Valley, Rancho Santa Fe, and Pacific Highlands Ranch.  She regularly participates in developing goals and managing budget priorities for the public school District.

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. 

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.

Chris Connor

Data Analyst

Chris assists Connor Associates with parent and alumni surveys, interpreting and analysis of admission office enrollment feasibility studies, and prospect research for development offices.

Erika Orsulak

Research Associate

Erika joined Connor Associates in 2018. With an 18-year career in the nonprofit sector, a graduate degree in public and nonprofit administration, and extensive experience in program management, fundraising, and marketing, she is well poised to help support our clients' growth. 

Carolyn Stiles

Director of Special Projects

For more than 12 years, Carolyn has partnered with Connor Associates overseeing External Image Audits and Competitive Analyses, and Enrollment Feasibility and Forecasting. In 2016, she was named Vice President for Client Relations and Marketing Research, but stepped back from day-to-day operations in 2018 to spend more time with family and volunteer activities in her local community. She is now Director of Special Projects, focusing on research and writing.

Susan Zwillinger

Enrollment Feasibility and Forecasting Analyst

Susan a certified Geographic Information Systems professional and a self-proclaimed “data geek”. Her goal is to uncover blind spots and opportunities by showing companies and organizations their data on a map. In her role as Principal Consultant for 4CGeoWorks, she has partnered with Connor Associates since 2014 to provide forecasting analysis for a variety of private schools across the country. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Science with a Secondary Education Certificate from Cedarville University, with graduate courses in GIS from Ohio University.