Higher Ed Advisory Council
About the Higher Education Advisory Council
The Higher Education Advisory Council is a community-led group of Salesforce users from schools across North America. 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.
The Higher Education Advisory Council is a customer-led, volunteer body who works with Salesforce.org and the community to recognize and set common standards for the delivery of platform solutions to support education. 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, 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 fall. Complete this form to receive a reminder when nominations open. Terms begin January 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 Trailblazer 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 one voting member on the council during any term (excluding Emeriti members).
Follow @SalesforceOrg for news from the Higher Education Advisory Council.
As higher ed leaders, the Higher Education Advisory Council leads initiatives to benefit their entire community.
- Office Hours: The Higher Education Advisory Council hosts Higher Ed Office Hours regularly (Free Trailhead login required). 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 User Group, started as an initiative of the Higher Education Advisory Council and maintained by Salesforce, which manages all user groups. Presentations are given by various higher education institutions and vendors to showcase solutions.
- The PodCACHE: The PodCACHE is a podcast about the use of Salesforce in higher education. Each episode is centered around institutions with stories to tell. While we have planned segments, each interview is completely unique and collaborative with our guests and their experience.
Officers and Members
Officers and Members
Officers – 2022
Carrie Otto, Chair – University of Minnesota
Carrie Otto is the Business Owner of Enterprise Salesforce Constituent Relationship Management at the University of Minnesota. Her role is responsible for creating and fostering institutional strategy, prioritizing projects and roadmaps, leading governance, reporting on ROI, and education across campus for Salesforce products. Prior to this position, Carrie led the business side of the UMN One Stop Student Services implementation of Salesforce for many years. She has served on the council since 2016 and is currently the Chair. Carrie has a master’s degree in Organizational Leadership and Program Development and has worked in higher education for 20 years.
Frank Montoya, Vice Chair – Arizona State University
Frank is the Salesforce Product Owner /Operations Manager for the University Technology Office at Arizona State University. Frank has over 12 years of experience in Education IT. He is currently responsible for managing the Enterprise Salesforce Product teams to facilitate application support and innovative Salesforce solutions for stakeholders university wide. Frank is a member of the Arizona State University Enterprise Salesforce Governance Committee. He has previously had leadership roles over the Business Analyst and Salesforce implementation team where he contributed to establishing the CRM enterprise data models, change management policies and procedures, and data governance. Frank also contributed to the implementation of the university’s Enterprise Master Data Management which has enabled complex enterprise data integrations.
Haley Gould, Leadership Team – Smith College
At Smith College, Haley serves as the Program Manager, Architect, and Operations/Adoption Coordinator. She manages the CRM and Engagement Services Team, leads projects and implementations, coordinates the campus roadmap and adoption requests from campus partners, and works with other teams across campus to ensure best practices and resources are leveraged. She is also the lead administrator, working with campus partners to meet strategic needs for CRM, events/scheduling, and marketing.
Previous to Smith College, she was at Michigan State University as the CRM Manager and Architect (Jan 2018 – February 2020) and at University of Michigan (May 2010 – Jan 2018) in a variety of roles, including the Enterprise CRM Solution Architect.
She is a 4-term member of the Higher Education Advisory Council (HEAC) and a member of the Leadership Team. She also recently won the 2020 Community Champion award at the Salesforce.org Higher Ed Summit. She also co-hosts the PodCACHE (thepodcache.com), which is a podcast exploring Salesforce and Higher Education. Haley is a certified Administrator, Education Cloud Consultant, and Pardot Specialist/Consultant.
Brian Karcinski, Leadership Team – University of Florida
Brian Karcinski is a Salesforce Solution Architect at the University of Florida where he leads the Salesforce initiative of creating a connected campus with the University of Florida’s enterprise Salesforce solution within UFIT. With a primary focus on student success and customer service Brian has built solutions that have resulted in an increase from 100 to 580 users since 2017. In 2019 Brian was recognized as a Salesforce MVP. The Salesforce MVP program recognizes the top 1% of contributors to the Salesforce ecosystem who help other customers thrive by sharing their knowledge, leadership, and creativity within the Salesforce community.
Prior to joining UFIT, he spent five years at UF’s College of Pharmacy working to consolidate twelve siloed academic programs into Salesforce. As the director of enrollment services, Brian supervised the College of Pharmacy’s enrollment management unit which was the first attempt by a college at the University of Florida to run all of their academic programs (Master, Ph.D., Pharm.D.) under a cohesive unit. By leveraging the Marketing Cloud and Service Cloud, the College of Pharmacy is not only improving the student experience, but also streamlining business processes on the backend by eliminating competing technologies.
Prior to working in higher education Brian worked at Fidelity Investments on defined benefit and defined contribution plan administration. He received his undergraduate degree in Business Administration from the University of Florida. Brian is a Salesforce.com Certified Administrator, Advanced Administrator, Platform App Builder, Service Cloud Consultant, Education Cloud Consultant, and 2x Trailhead Ranger.
Dr. Phil Knutel, Immediate Past Chair – Berklee College of Music
Phillip Knutel, Ph.D., recently became Vice President and Chief Information Officer at Berklee in Boston, MA. Berklee Online has been the primary Salesforce user thus far, with plans to expand its use of Marketing Cloud and Salesforce across the institution. In his prior role as VP & CIO for seven years at Babson College, he oversaw the creation of a Salesforce team, Data Governance Council, and deployed and supported the platform in a variety of departments at Babson, including Graduate Admissions, Graduate Career Center, Graduate Experiential Learning, Alumni, the IT Service Center, Executive Education, the Conference Center, the President’s Office, and Babson’s campuses in Boston and Miami. He serves on the Salesforce CIO Innovation Council. 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. He served as a faculty member at Bentley University (where he was also CIO), and at the German Graduate School of Management and Law.
Members – 2021
Meredith Aronson, University of Arizona
Meredith Aronson is the IT Business Architect for Trellis, the enterprise Salesforce implementation team at the University of ArizonaMeredith Aronson, University of Arizona
Meredith Aronson is the IT Business Architect for Trellis, the enterprise Salesforce implementation team at the University of Arizona. Her team delivers product and data product leadership, as well as user experience support for Trellis product teams. The Trellis vision is a multi-constituent platform working to organize university engagement with K-12, students, alumni, donors, families, and external partners starting with scheduling, case management, events management, and communications. Meredith has worked in startups, corporate research, politics, and higher education for a number of years – with higher education efforts ranging from a University of Arizona engineering design program to regional economic development at Penn State, regional talent networks in Advanced Manufacturing at New Jersey Institute of Technology, and most recently IT leadership at the University of Arizona.
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 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.
Douglas Bennett, Harvard University Division of Continuing Education
Doug Bennett currently serves as the Senior Salesforce Platform Manager at the Harvard University Division of Continuing Education. He has 8 years of experience in the Salesforce platform and 25 years of service in Higher Education. By combining his technical background with his experience as a former Director of Admissions, he balances adoption of high-level Salesforce best practices with user-centric business solutions. Doug leads a team devoted to the design, delivery and operations of Salesforce products, including the Student Advisor Link, EDA and TargetX managed packages, Marketing Cloud, Knowledge Base and 6 Salesforce Communities. He has presented at the Salesforce Higher Education summit, Dreamforce and the Boston World Tour. Salesforce certifications include Platform Developer, Advanced Administrator, Administrator, and Platform App Builder. He has an M.B.A. from Fairfield University.
Lori Dembowitz, University of Massachusetts – Lowell
Lori Dembowitz is an Associate CIO at UMass Lowell and is responsible for strategy and leadership for a portfolio of IT functions including enterprise applications, data analytics and IT program management. Leading the university’s ‘connected campus’ strategic initiative is a core part of Lori’s role. The UMass Lowell team was excited to win the “Excellence in Student Success” award at the 2018 Salesforce Higher Ed Summit.
Lori has over 20 years of experience delivering enterprise systems, infrastructure and technology services in higher education and corporate settings. Lori received her BA and MBA from Clark University.
Dean Ernzen, University of Notre Dame
Dean Ernzen has worked in higher education for five years and currently is the Enterprise CRM Program Director at the University of Notre Dame. He is a new member of the 2020 Higher Education Advisory Council and holds a Salesforce Administrator certification.
Before being afforded the wonderful opportunity to work with Salesforce in higher education, Dean spent 22 years with aerospace and defense companies working on aircraft wheels/brakes and military trucks.
When he’s not thinking about Salesforce, you will find Dean spending time with his beautiful wife and enjoying the outdoors with his sons who are students at Michigan State University and Purdue University.
Farrah Friedrich, University of St. Thomas
Farrah Friedrich is a Senior Systems Analyst for CRM (Salesforce) at the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota. She joined the St. Thomas ITS staff in 2009, working as a Technical Process Analyst for SIS (Ellucian Banner) integration projects. In 2014, she was asked to lead a CRM evaluation project, with an immediate goal of recruitment and admissions, and long term goal of full student lifecycle. Salesforce was selected. While leading the initial implementation project, she fell in love with the platform and moved into the role of Salesforce Administrator. Farrah and the University of St. Thomas Salesforce team launched Graduate Admissions in 2016, Undergraduate Admissions, Non-Degree Enrollment, and Current Student Retention & Support in 2017, University Event Management in 2018, and University Advancement in 2019. In 2019, they began working with the Salesforce.org Open Source Community to bring their university event solution, Summit Events, to the Open Source Commons.
Farrah is a Certified Salesforce Administrator, and is working on her Masters degree in Information Technology. She is a Salesforce evangelist, driving adoption on the St. Thomas campus, as well as helping support the greater Salesforce community by actively participating and co-leading the Upper Midwest Higher Education User Group since 2016.
Kristina Garza, University of Texas at San Antonio
Kristina Garza is the Associate Vice Provost for Enrollment Marketing, Communications, and Systems at The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA). She has over 14 years of experience in higher education and provides leadership, strategy, and direction in marketing and communications to support enrollment growth and student success. Kristina led the creation of a new Enrollment Marketing and Communications department and has added CRM to her portfolio when she spearheaded the enterprise implementation of Salesforce (Service Cloud and Marketing Cloud) that focuses on recruitment, student engagement, and communications. During this time, Kristina has grown her team from three to twenty professionals and continues to support digital transformations at UTSA. She is a certified Salesforce Administrator and holds an MBA from UTSA and a BS from the Rochester Institute of Technology.
Nina Gomez-Fernandini, University of Miami
Nina Gomez-Fernandini is a Systems Administrator at the University of Miami where she is responsible for daily operations, leading and managing a student intern team, project planning, architecture and development, and anything else her team might need. She herself started as a student intern on the Salesforce team at UM over 6 years ago and was immediately taken in by the Salesforce platform as well as its incredible community of fellow administrators and developers. Nina is extremely passionate about collaborating closely with her stakeholders across campus to provide the best customer service experience, whether it be for operational or project work, and taking them along for the ride in the Agile methodology. She has worked with on-campus teams on solutions for recruitment and admissions, marketing and official communications, student success (‘Canes Central one-stop shop for Financial Aid, Registrar and Student Accounts), student career advisement (Toppel Career Center), hemispheric and global affairs, and more.
Besides her Salesforce work for UM, Nina has participated in multiple Open Source Community Sprints and is a constant advocate on the power of Salesforce for a vast array of use cases. She is an active member of the Power of Us Hub where she was selected as a Hub Hero and is a manager of the open source group: Interactions for Student Recruitment (a comprehensive solution that offers an innovative and flexible approach to recruitment and admissions processes in Salesforce, including implementation and best practice documentation).
In her free time, Nina loves to read, take care of her animal menagerie (we have one chihuahua, one blind cat, two freshwater fish tanks and six tortoises), and go exploring all the beautiful nature Florida has to offer.
Joanna Iturbe, University of Colorado
Joanna Iturbe has worked in higher education for 13 years. Currently, she is the Director of CRM Strategic Initiatives for the Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado Boulder. In addition to being the Chair of the Salesforce.org Higher Education Advisory Council, she is also a Salesforce MVP. She also received the 2019 Salesforce.org Community Champion award.
Her certifications include Certified Scrum Product Owner, Salesforce Administrator, Salesforce App Platform Builder, Salesforce Education Cloud Consultant, Database Management and Project Management.
Before diving head first into IT, she worked in marketing, recruitment and admissions in the private sector and at Baylor University. Her work with student success software applications brought the 2016 Eduventures award to Leeds for Creative Use of Technology to Drive Student Success.
When not “talking shop”, Joanna loves to ski, camp, hike and travel with her husband and two trailblazing daughters.
Becky Joffrey, Cornell University
Becky 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.
Makeda Keegan, Northeastern University
Makeda Keegan is a Business Analyst in the Office of Strategic Enrollment Initiatives at Northeastern University. She has been responsible for enterprise-level technical services across the University that include business analysis, project management, and strategic planning for Salesforce technologies, digital signage, mobile application services, and social media.
She started her Salesforce journey at Northeastern in her role as Senior Assistant Director, Undergraduate Admissions where she used R6/Social Studio as part of the division’s social media strategy, after which she launched Salesforce Knowledge at Northeastern. One of the best parts of her job is collaborating with her teammates to identify technical and process improvements that benefit learners and the people who support them as part of the University’s Salesforce Center of Excellence Operations Committee. Makeda also leads the Northeast Regional Higher Education User Group.
Makeda is a proud triple husky, receiving her Bachelors, Masters, and Ph.D from Northeastern University.
Kathy Lueckeman, Olivet Nazarene University
Kathleen Lueckeman is the chief strategy officer at Olivet Nazarene University. In addition to implementing Salesforce for the university, she oversees the university’s innovation lab, and the marketing, admissions, advising, corporate engagement and related administrative functions for ONU Global. Prior to joining ONU, Kathy served as the chief innovation officer for Maryville University, implementing Service Cloud, Community Cloud, Pardot, Einstein Analytics and Social Studio.
At Maryville, she was the lead PI for a Salesforce.org Force for Change Grant, which funded the Enterprise Application Solution for Yield (EASY) open source solution, provided at no charge to the community. Prior to that, she was higher education industry strategy director for Salesforce.org. From 2004-14, Kathy was with Wayne State University, serving as senior director of Customer Relationship Management, Graduate Admissions director, and Marketing director. During this time, she founded and hosted the first Higher Ed Summit and founded the Higher Education Advisory Council. Kathy has spoken widely on her enterprise Salesforce work, including every Dreamforce since 2012, every Higher Ed Summit, several Salesforce webinars and community “Dreamin” events, and at a variety schools as a guest speaker. Currently, she serves as user group leader for the Higher Education User Group and as moderator of Higher Ed Officer Hours.
Carrie Marcinkevage, Penn State University
Carrie Marcinkevage, Ph.D., is the Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) Strategy Director at the Smeal College of Business at the Pennsylvania State University. Following a corporate career in management consulting, she led the business school’s residential MBA and graduate programs. Seeing a need for deeper stakeholder engagement in those programs, she experimented with CRM processes and systems early in higher education use, starting with Enrollment Management Systems in 2005 and moving to Salesforce CRM in 2010. Her interest led to a Ph.D. focused on critical success factors for higher education CRM strategy and adoption. She now leads the strategy for aligning people, processes, and technology to optimize our “return on relationship” for our simultaneous and lifelong university constituent relationships.
Chris Tompkins, Indiana University
Chris Tompkins is the Director of the IU CRM Initiative at Indiana University working with the enterprise CRM since fall of 2013. He has been responsible for managing the implementation and sustainability of the single university-wide CRM platform and related components across the Institution’s eight campuses. He has served on the Salesforce Higher Ed Advisory Council, provided sessions at multiple technology related conferences, and has assisted in establishing and strengthening the Higher-Ed CRM community. Prior to this position, Chris managed the enterprise Electronic Research Administration Program at Purdue University for ten years.
Brandelle Unkrich, University of Iowa
Brandelle Unkrich is a Salesforce Administrator in the Tippie College of Business at the University of Iowa. While in a previous position, she was tasked with co-leading the first salesforce implementation on campus – a solution for admissions, marketing, and recruiting for graduate business programs. About a year after implementation, she became the solo salesforce admin for the college. Her first task was to lead another implementation, which involved moving out of a managed admissions package, moving to EDA, transitioning to lightning, and supporting the move to a new marketing automation platform. Now that the value of Salesforce is known in the college (and she has another admin on her team!), more projects are underway, including alumni engagement, corporate connections, and faculty/staff development and contributions.
Brandelle has worked at the Tippie College for more than a decade, both in graduate admissions and program management. She also earned her Bachelors and MBA from the college – go Hawks! When not immersed in the world of Salesforce, Brandelle spends her time with her husband and three young children.
Doug Wotherspoon, Northern Alberta Institute of Technology
Doug Wotherspoon serves as the Director of Enterprise CRM at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT), where he is responsible for the adoption of Salesforce across the institution, ranging from Student Success through Continuing Education. Doug has been in higher education for 20 years, serving in a variety of roles from Director up to Vice President. Common to every role has been his use of the Salesforce platform. He has been at this so long that this is his second stint on the HEAC, having served as an inaugural member back during the group’s inception.
Kathy Zimmerman, George Mason University
Kathy Zimmerman is a Salesforce Administrator at George Mason University who works in the Enrollment Management department to implement Salesforce initiatives across campus. She is responsible for the day to day maintenance of the 2 Salesforce Orgs that support Graduate Admissions, and Undergraduate Admissions via the managed package TargetX. In 2019, the Enrollment team expanded the Undergraduate Org to support “life” after the admissions funnel with student engagement activities – with Orientation, Student One Stop, Registrar, Financial Aid, and Student Accounts. Previously, Kathy served as the Director of Technology for the Office of Admissions where she was the subject matter expert and leader in all Admissions technology projects – including Banner Integrations, BDM, EDI Transcripts, test scores, CommonApp, Graduate CAS applications, and a variety of other projects and CRM tools over her 14 years at Mason.
Florence Parodi, University of Miami
Florence Parodi is currently a Rapid Application Development Director for Information Technology at the University of Miami. She leads the Salesforce enterprise strategy to implement a customer relationship management (CRM) and custom development applications for students, employees and other audiences. Prior to joining UMIT, 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 an Emeriti member of the Higher Education Advisory Council since 2015 and has served on the leadership team. She is a Salesforce MVP and is Salesforce.com certified as a system administrator and platform app builder. Florence was the university liaison for the third annual Salesforce.org Higher Ed Summit hosted in 2015 at the University of Miami. She also positioned the University to be the first to go-live on the Salesforce.org Education Data Architecture (EDA) and was the lead principal investigator for Interactions, a project funded by Salesforce.
Colleen Whelan, Providence College
Colleen Whelan is Director of Advancement Services at Providence College. She has been working in higher education for 13 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 academia, 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.
- Stewart Anderson, University of Edinburgh
- * Stephanie Brooks, Richard Ivey College
- Jace Bryan, Texas A&M University
- * Laura Campbell, Algonquin College
- Cheryl Cerny, Worcester Polytechnic Institute
- Ryan Clemens, Arizona State University
- * Chris Coppa, University of Southern California
- Dave DeMichele, Yale University
- Jeff Dixon, Queens University
- Debbie Duran, University of Miami
- * Renee Fawcett, University of Minnesota
- Ling Ge, Imperial College of London
- * James Gilbert, George Mason University
- Brian Gnatt, University of Maryland-University College
- * Vadim Gorelik, University of Texas-Austin McCombs School of Business
- Daman Grewal, San Mateo Community College
- * John Henry, Oregon State University
- Tom Kelleher, San Francisco State University
- Melissa Kwilosz, Arizona State University
- Zak Landrum, Westmont College
- * Roger Lurie, Arizona State University
- Yannick Lejeune, Ionis Education Group
- Cameron McCoy, Lehigh University
- * Brian Peddle, College for America at Southern New Hampshire University
- * Dave Perry, Western Governors University
- John Poyser, University of British Columbia
- * Amanda Rosales, Wayne State University
- * Terri Shafer, Arizona State University
- Reed Sheard, Westmont University
- Michael Slade, Western Governors University
- * Erin Smith, Northeastern University
- Corey Snow, Harvard University
- Kalman Sweetwine, University of Colorado-Boulder
- Amir Tejani, Lafayette College
- * Doug Wotherspoon, Algonquin College
- Samuel Vinet, ESSEC Business School
- * Nicholas Zinser, Northeastern University
- Nash Zgonjanin, Algonquin College
* Indicates Inaugural Member of the Higher Education Advisory Council