Integrative Thinking. Transformative Consulting.
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.
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 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.
Chris assists Connor Associates with parent and alumni surveys, interpreting and analysis of admission office enrollment feasibility studies, and prospect research for development offices.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Vicki King is based in San Diego and joins Connor Associates with 20 years experience as a trial attorney and small business owner. She was elected to the Solana Beach School Board in 2006, and is passionate about education and building next generation leaders. Combining her legal, business, and educational experience, she is now an executive business coach and consultant.
With over 38 years experience in higher education, health and behavioral research, tech industry startup, educational non-profit leadership and local school board governance, Debra brings a unique perspective to Connor Associates. Debra holds a doctorate degree in Public Health and currently serves as a 5 term elected School Board Trustee, State Delegate for the California School Board Association (CSBA) and Vice President of the San Diego County School Board Association.
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.
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 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.
Based in Philadelphia, Jill has been an agent for social change throughout her career. She has a diverse background in non-profit leadership, higher education, and social impact entrepreneurship. Jill has demonstrated herself as a natural leader with a history of improving organizational effectiveness through change leadership, strategic planning, coaching, and talent management.
Caroline Vroustouris joined Connor Associates in 2018. She has fifteen years of experience in the education industry, including roles as a classroom teacher, Tutoring Director and Education Advocate.
Based in Silicon Valley, Caroline joined Connor Associates in 2019. She brings over ten years’ experience in administration, management and cross-cultural project coordination. She is a native Portuguese speaker and recognizes the role that cultural localization can play in choosing schools.
Caroline has previously utilized analytical problem solving to optimize revenues and assist in data driven decision making by company stakeholders. She understands the importance of strategic recommendations to keep up with changing markets.
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.