Higher Education Advisory Council

Higher Ed Advisory Council


About the Higher Education Advisory Council

The Higher Education Advisory Council is a community-led group of Salesforce users from 18 schools across North America and Europe. The council is supported and recognized by Salesforce.org and serves the community through volunteerism and initiatives designed to help the higher education industry in its use of Salesforce on campus.

Mission Statement

We collaborate with Salesforce and industry partners to make Salesforce work for higher ed. We fulfill this mission by:

  • Leveraging our collective higher ed, IT, and Salesforce expertise to make a difference on our campuses
  • Maintaining a collaborative community that shares code, best practices, and documentation
  • Identifying needs and advocating for solutions
  • Connecting with new and prospective Salesforce.org higher ed customers
  • Participating in outreach efforts through webinars, blogs, Higher Ed Summit presentations, Force For Change Grant applications, etc.
  • Recognizing the diversity of functionalities and needs of higher ed institutions

The Nominations Process

Membership in the advisory council is via an annual nominations process. Nominations will be accepted through an online form each spring and the nomination period ends June 30th. Terms begin Oct. 1 annually. Nominees are expected to be current Salesforce customers at a higher education institution and exhibit some or all of the following attributes:

  • Senior-level higher ed subject matter expert (administration, IT, teaching) using Salesforce
  • Active in “Power of Us Hub” and/or “Success” Community
  • Frequent reference for prospective Higher Ed clients
  • Resource for best practices
  • Guest Blog contributor to Salesforce.org
  • Presenter/speaker at Salesforce.org events and webinars
  • Presenter/speaker at higher ed conferences
  • Leader of notable Salesforce initiatives on their campus
  • Willingness/motivation to actively volunteer and participate
  • Thought leader willing to give feedback on customer experience, product and roadmap
  • Volunteer participant in council initiatives

Note: Membership is person-oriented, not school-oriented. Schools can have only two members on the council during any term, one of which is the voting member unless the second member is an officer.

Follow @SalesforceOrg for news from the Higher Education Advisory Council.

Officers and Members

Officers – 2016-17

Kathy Lueckeman, Maryville University

Vice Chair
Laura Campbell, Algonquin College

Florence Parodi, University of Miami

Committees Chair
Amjad Ayoubi, Tulane University

Immediate Past Chair
Colleen Whelan, Providence College

Members – 2016-17

Cheryl Cerny, Worchester Polytechnic Institute
Brian Gnatt, University of Maryland-University College
Joanna Iturbe, University of Colorado-Boulder
Rebecca Joffrey, Cornell University
Tom Kelleher, San Francisco State University
Phillip Knutel, Babson College
Yannick Lejeune, Ionis Education Group
Melissa Kwilosz, Arizona State University
Carrie Otto, University of Minnesota
Erin Smith, Northeastern University
Kalman Sweetwine, University of Colorado-Boulder
Chris Tompkins, Indiana University

Salesforce.org Liaison

Chris Coppa, Success Engagement Director


As higher ed leaders, the Higher Education Advisory Council leads initiatives to benefit their entire community. These include:

  • Force for Change Grant
    Unity: An initiative of the Higher Education Advisory Council, Unity is a free, open source, configuration of the out-of-the-box Salesforce Customer Community product and is intended to help higher education institutions by customizing the product for the higher education industry while cutting both the time and cost associated with implementing Communities. Unity was funded by a Salesforce.org Force for Change grant to Cornell University, which represented the Council and provided the legal standing and structure to receive the grant. The development work was informed by a subcommittee of the Council and was built by Motivis Learning, a spinoff of Southern New Hampshire University. Unity is available as a managed package and as code via a Git repository.

  • Office Hours
    The Higher Education Advisory Council hosts Higher Ed Office Hours the second Friday of every month at 12 p.m. ET / 9 a.m. PT. Prospective Salesforce users, newbies and schools currently using Salesforce have a chance to interact with and ask questions of veteran users during this monthly call-in session.

  • User Group
    The higher education community has a Higher Education User Group, started as an initiative of the Higher Education Advisory Council and maintained by Salesforce, which manages all user groups.

  • Event Volunteers
  • Council members not only present at events like Dreamforce and Higher Ed Summit, they also advise on session proposals, serve as reception hosts and facilitate birds-of-a-feather meetups.

  • Salesforce.org webinar and event presentations

  • Resource for best practices and reference calls for higher education institutions

2016-17 Term Officers’ and Members’ Bios

Officers 2016-17 Term

Kathy LueckemanChair, Kathy Lueckeman, Maryville University
Kathleen Lueckeman is the chief innovation officer at Maryville University. Reporting directly to the president, she is charged with implementing the Salesforce platform across the enterprise, pivoting from manual work to automation and enhancing the student experience. Prior to joining Maryville, Kathy served as the higher education industry strategy director for Salesforce.org. Formerly, Kathy served as senior director of Customer Relationship Management at Wayne State University and oversaw an enterprise deployment that included recruitment, service, retention, human resources and economic development, among other use cases. During this time, she was named a Salesforce MVP, a designation restricted to the top 1% of Salesforce users in the world, hosted the first Higher Ed Summit and founded the Higher Education Advisory Council. She has spoken numerous times on her enterprise Salesforce work, including at Dreamforce kickoff and breakout sessions, Higher Ed Summit tracks, Salesforce webinars, and at a variety of schools as a guest speaker.

Laura CampbellVice-Chair, Laura Campbell, Algonquin College
Laura Campbell is Manager, Digital Strategies and Solutions at Algonquin College. She has been with Algonquin College since 2012. She has worked in higher education for seven years and she was also a successful entrepreneur. In collaboration with IT and the Project Management Office, Laura is responsible for providing strategic technology guidance to her internal clients, understanding their business needs, and developing digital solutions to help them achieve their goals. Laura has expertise in agile development, use-centric design, lean methodology, marketing, recruitment, and student service. Laura served on the Force for Change Grant committee that produced the open-source product, Unity, for the higher education community.

Florence ParodiSecretary, Florence Parodi, University of Miami
Florence is an IT Senior Manager at the University of Miami and has been working in higher education for 15 years. She leads the Salesforce enterprise strategy to implement a connected campus system that supports CRM and custom development applications for prospective students and employees. She works closely with technical teams, functional leaders, institutional units, and subject matter experts to architect and develop applications that translate business requirements into scalable solutions. Her team works to engage undergraduate and graduate students in more than 180 majors and programs in 11 schools and colleges. Florence and her team rolled out Lightning Experience and positioned the University to be the first to go-live on the Higher Education Data Architecture (HEDA). The enterprise implementation included Sales Cloud, Marketing Cloud (Exact Target), and a custom event registration solution. Florence developed and initiated her department’s Cloud Platform Internship program, which provides real-world experience through multi-level administrator and developer tracks. These interns provide production support and develop enhancements for the University’s Salesforce implementation. Prior to joining IT, she was associate director of marketing for the Division of Continuing and International Education, where she led the first deployment of Salesforce at the University of Miami in 2008. Florence is a member of the Higher Education Advisory Council since 2015 and is currently serving on the Executive Committee as the Secretary. She is a Salesforce.com certified system administrator and Force.com developer.

Amjad AyoubiCommittees Chair, Amjad Ayoubi, Tulane University
Amjad Ayoubi, Ph.D. serves as Senior Associate Dean for undergraduate education at Tulane University. He oversees Academic and Career Advising, Success Coaching, Academic Support Services such as Tutoring and Supplemental Instruction and Academic Services for Student Athletes. Amjad joined to Tulane University after Hurricane Katrina and helped rebuild Career Services operations and later helped reorganize and grow Academic Advising and develop a new Success Coaching department. Amjad is a change agent, creative thinker, effective problem solver and a futurist. He supports a team of dedicated staff who helped increase the retention rate at Tulane from 87% to 92% and the graduation rate from 78% to 83% in the past six years. Amjad used Salesforce 13 years ago in a career services function and helped increase the number of employers recruiting students from 400 to 2500.

Colleen WhelanImmediate Past Chair, Colleen Whelan, Providence College
Colleen Whelan is Director of Advancement Services at Providence College. She has been working in higher education for 12 years. Previously, she held several director level roles at Yale University, including Director of Client Engagement and Director of SaaS-PaaS practices. Colleen collaborated with central IT and departmental colleagues to achieve institutional goals related to community, outreach, and administration through the use of technology. She led a project to build a custom complex events management and registration app on the Force.com platform to support the Association of Yale Alumni and their signature Yale College Reunions events. Prior to working in academe, she worked at an interactive services firm and the Federal Reserve. She served on the Force for Change Grant committee that produced the open-source product, Unity, for the higher education community. Colleen is a founding officer of the Higher Education Advisory Council. Of note: Colleen hosted the first Salesforce Foundation CIO Summit at Yale University.

Chris CoppaSalesforce.org Liaison, Chris Coppa, University of Southern California
Chris Coppa is a Success Engagement Director within the Customer Success Group at Salesforce.org His primary focus is helping higher education customers achieve success using the Salesforce platform. He has extensive experience in higher education having spent the last 14 years serving as the Chief Technology Officer for both the University of California’s School of Pharmacy and Marshall School of Business. He was also a founding member of the Higher Education Advisory Council and served on the Executive Committee as the Committee Chair.


Cheryl CernyCheryl Cerny, Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Cheryl Cerny is Assistant Vice President of Advancement Operations at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, MA. She has 19 years of leadership experience in fundraising research and technology, which includes positions at MIT, Boston Children’s Hospital and Bentley University. In 2014, Cheryl led the Advancement Information Technology team through the University’s first Salesforce CRM deployment. Today, Cheryl oversees the continual growth of Salesforce in University Advancement and serves as a champion for its expansion across campus. In addition to Salesforce, her team is also responsible for financial reporting and budget management, gift management, data quality management, business intelligence, prospect research and strategy and the administration of the technology behind the alumni community and the student call center.

Brian GnattBrian Gnatt, University of Maryland University College
Brian Gnatt is Associate Vice President of Customer Experience at University of Maryland University College. He makes life simpler for more than 90,000 students, faculty and staff by enhancing technology, communications, service, and other interactions with the university. Brian has nearly 20 years of success improving customer perceptions, knowledge and satisfaction through customer experience initiatives, public relations, advertising, marketing and journalism. He earned an undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and a master’s degree in Communication from the Johns Hopkins University. Brian holds the Certified Customer Experience Professional (CCXP) credential from the Customer Experience Professionals Association.

Joanna IturbeJoanna Iturbe, University of Colorado Boulder
Joanna Iturbe has worked with Salesforce and in the higher education industry for 10 years. Currently, she is the Senior Software Applications and Project Manager at the Leeds School of Business where she is the senior technical expert and manager in leading the development, configuration, installation, upgrade, delivery and day-to-day management and maintenance of a suite of 10 applications. She supervises a team responsible for deploying and supporting Salesforce which serves every functional area and is the school’s technological backbone. Joanna initiates, prioritizes and manages the work and projects necessary to deliver systems that meets the needs of Leeds constituents. Her certifications include Salesforce Administrator, Salesforce Developer, Database Management and Project Management. Before coming to CU, Joanna received her bachelor’s degree from Baylor University in public relations and business administration and worked in marketing, recruitment and admissions in the private sector and at Baylor. In addition to the Salesforce Higher Education Advisory Council, Joanna serves on the Girlforce Leadership Team and is Co-Leader of the Salesforce Denver User Group.

Becky JoffreyRebecca Joffrey, Cornell University
Rebecca Joffrey is IT Innovation Officer at Cornell University and is responsible for the Cornell Student Experience Initiative and other CRM-based innovations. Prior to this role, she was Director of the Career Development Office at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth where she led one of the first university implementations of Chatter for students. Of note: Becky hosted the first Chatter Summit while she was a Tuck School of Business. Becky served as the Primary Investigator on the Force for Change Grant committee that produced the open-source product, Unity, for the higher education community. She is a founding officer of the Higher Education Advisory Council.

Tom KelleherTom Kelleher, San Francisco State University
Tom Kelleher is the Salesforce Project Manager for San Francisco State University’s Enterprise Integration Solution pilot project. He has almost 10 years of experience in Higher Education IT, web development, and marketing. Tom is responsible for SF State’s enterprise Salesforce pilot project that includes two academic colleges, the colleges of Business and Extended Learning, as well as University Advancement, and University Communications. Tom has previously acted in leadership roles over web development projects, and most recently as the marketing manager for the College of Business at SF State. Tom attended SF State for his undergraduate degree.

Phillip KnutelPhillip Knutel, Babson College
Phillip Knutel, Ph.D., is Vice President and Chief Information Officer at Babson College in Wellesley, MA. He oversees the Academic Technology Innovation Center, the library, online/hybrid/blended learning, systems, networks, telecommunications, IT support services, information security, media and production services, administrative computing, application development, and project management. Babson’s Graduate Admissions currently uses Salesforce, and it will be the platform for the Babson Connector (launching June 30, 2017). Babson’s Executive Education and Conference Center, Graduate Career Center, Experiential Learning, and IT Service Center are all in the early stages of Salesforce-based projects. Dr. Knutel received his Ph.D. in higher education from Michigan, an Ed.M. from Harvard, and a B.S. magna cum laude from Vanderbilt (where he also served as president of his college student association). His 1998 dissertation, “Adoption of an innovation: The process through which faculty decide whether to use instructional technology”, focused on how and why faculty begin using technology to enhance student learning. He has served as a faculty member at Bentley University (where he was also CIO), and is on the faculty of the German Graduate School of Management and Law.

Melissa KwiloszMelissa Kwilosz, Arizona State University – Enterprise Partners
Melissa Kwilosz is the CIO-Vice President of Operations and Services with ASU Enterprise Partners, the parent organization for a network of subsidiaries that engage in development, applied research, technology transfer, realty, and collaborative research initiatives. In her role, Melissa provides leadership, strategic planning, management, and direction to Enterprise Partners’ research and prospect management, gift administration and database management, analytics and insights, and information resources management departments. Melissa holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Pittsburgh and an MBA from Tulane University.

Yannick LejeuneYannick Lejeune, IONIS Education Group
Yannick Lejeune’s educational background includes a Computer Science Degree from EPITA and a Management Science Research Master from IAE Paris, Sorbonne University. Today, he is the director of Internet Marketing & Systems at IONIS Education Group, the leading private higher education group in France. He also is a consultant on innovation strategy and web development for small businesses and large companies, (previous clients include Lotus, Microsoft, Office of the French President of the Republic…). Previously, he founded and led the Enterprise IT Innovation Institute (3IE), a structure combining a software services company and a research & development laboratory within EPITA. When he is not working on education and digital marketing, Yannick Lejeune is also a “geek dad”, a writer and a comic book editor.

Carrie OttoCarrie Otto, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
Carrie Otto is currently a project manager in Academic Support Resources for the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities campus. She has a master’s degree in Organizational Leadership and Program Development and has worked in higher education student services for 12 years. Carrie has been the leading business side of the One Stop Student Services implementation of Salesforce for the past 4 years. In the couple years her team has also on-boarded the Office of the Registrar, Office of Student Finance, and other members of Academic Support Resources. She is serving on a leadership team to help create the University of Minnesota’s CRM Center of Excellence. Carrie is very excited to bring business process perspective to the Higher Education Advisory Council and to continue learning from the exciting and collaborative Salesforce higher education community.

Erin SmithErin Smith, Northeastern University
Erin J. Smith, PhD, recently joined Northeastern University in Boston, Mass. She formerly was director for mentoring initiatives at Western Governors University, leading remote faculty through academic instruction and support initiatives. Erin holds a PhD in English from Birkbeck College, University of London and a BA in English from University of California, Riverside. She recently completed an MBA with Western Governors University and is an alumna of HERS Institute Denver 2013. Erin specializes in 18th century dance history and British literature. Her research appears in peer-reviewed publications, and she regularly presents papers at academic conferences. She was awarded a Chawton House Library fellowship in August 2010 and is a former research fellow of the University of Southampton, UK.

Kalman SweetwineKalman Sweetwine, University of Colorado, Boulder
Kalman has spent several years living abroad in various countries spanning 4 continents. He continued to find himself working with and for change driving organizations. After returning to the USA in 2005 – Kalman received his Master’s in Social Work from the University of Denver in Organizational Leadership, Management, and development. A recurring thread while working in the field was a lack of robust technology, databases, tracking, and donor management. As a self-taught technologist and after discovering the power of the Salesforce platform – Kalman took a chance – accepted a position at a newly formed startup consulting firm focused exclusively on using the Salesforce platform to assist nonprofit organizations. After 4 years of leading end to end implementations as a Sr. Consultant- Kalman was looking for a local position which would be both challenging and dedicated to building solutions on the Salesforce platform. For the past 2 yrs. Kalman has been the Lead Salesforce Analyst at the University of Colorado – Boulder. This encompasses the enterprise Salesforce instance supporting all 4 campuses, deep integrations, many 3rd party applications, and creative solutions and architecture. Kalman was selected as a Salesforce MVP in the Summer 2016 class and is a major contributor in the Power of US HUB – answering questions, volunteering for open hours, and giving advice on applications and architecture for the nonprofit vertical.

Chris TompkinsChris Tompkins, Indiana University
Chris Tompkins has been the Project Manager of the Lifetime Engagement Initiative at Indiana University since fall of 2013. He has been responsible for managing the implementation and sustainability of the enterprise CRM platform and related components across the Institution’s eight campuses. Prior to this position, Chris managed the enterprise Electronic Research Administration Program at Purdue University for ten years.

Inaugural Members

Chair Rebecca Joffrey, Cornell University
Vice Chair Jennifer Walker, Georgetown University
Secretary Colleen Whelan, Yale University
Committee Chair Nicholas Zinser, Northeastern University

Amjad Ayoubi, Tulane University
Stephanie Brooks, Richard Ivey College
Laura Campbell, Algonquin College
Chris Coppa, University of Southern California
Renee Fawcett, University of Minnesota
James Gilbert, George Mason University
Vadim Gorelik, University of Texas-Austin McCombs School of Business
John Henry, Oregon State University
Roger Lurie, Arizona State University
Brian Peddle, College for America at Southern New Hampshire University
Amanda Rosales, Wayne State University
Dave Perry, Western Governors University
Terri Shafer, Arizona State University
Erin Smith, Western Governors University
Doug Wotherspoon, Algonquin College

Salesforce.org Liason
Kathleen Lueckeman, Founder of the Higher Education Advisory Council