Outreach Symposium in Portland emphasizes collaboration with coaching center
Brandman University’s outreach team members are always on the move. With community events, webinars, education fairs and establishing new partnerships, their daily commutes are more abstract than simply to-and-from. This week, however, their mileage spiked and their window views were from 30,000 feet when team members flew to Portland International Airport for their annual Outreach Symposium.
The theme for this year’s gathering was “The Art and Science of Outreach.” Brandman’s Enrollment Coaching Center (ECC) colleagues hosted the three-day retreat at their offices near Portland’s Pioneer Square. The first day was exciting, jam-packed and full of energy with many outreach members putting faces to emails and names for the first time, and others being reunited for the first time since last year’s event in Walnut Creek.
“I want to personally thank each and every one of you for all of the work you do for Brandman University and for our students,” said Dr. Shelly Neal, vice chancellor of Strategic Initiatives, as she kicked off the symposium. “It’s a rare treat for me to have the opportunity to express my gratitude face-to-face with all of you here and I want you to know that you are changing lives every day.”
Presentations began with team members talking about their areas of expertise and sharing best practices and success stories from the field. The day went by quickly and ended with an interactive activity and another heartfelt “thank you” from Neal before sending the team members off to explore Portland’s downtown and waterfront.
On Thursday, Alby Salsa, associate vice chancellor of Enrollment Operations, and Dana Gelfand, director of Enrollment Services, met with the group to discuss the coaching center’s current goals, operational systems, enhancements and future milestones that they look forward to reaching.
“Every year we meet to learn best practices, train more on various programs and discuss recent updates,” said Matthew Venegas, assistant vice chancellor of Corporate Relations. “The most important aspect of the three days is to gather as a unit and get to know one another better so that the Outreach Division sustains its collaborative spirit. It was really special to formally include ECC in this environment.” To celebrate this collaborative spirit, outreach team leadership gifted Brandman University jackets to team representatives to wear while encouraging others to “build their brand” and achieve their goals.
The group spent lunch at the Portland Food Truck Experience, an entire square block surrounded by parked trucks carrying food from around the world. Some sat on nearby benches, while others walked back to Pioneer Square. There a crowd gathered for the pairing ceremony to find out which players from USA and Croatia would meet this weekend at the Davis Cup, also known as the World Cup of Tennis. The weather was perfect for a community event, which all Brandman University’s outreach team members, who attend similar events daily, could appreciate. Kids and volunteers from a local organization called Portland Tennis and Education entertained the crowd while promoting their mission to develop the academic, athletic, and life skills children need to succeed in school and beyond. It was a fitting surprise given Brandman University’s mission to provide adult learners with the education and skills they need to succeed.
In the afternoon, outreach team members toured the ECC offices and shadowed coaches as they took calls from prospective students. It was an eye-opening experience for many since they had never visited the Portland offices before or met directly with ECC representatives. As the day went on, presentations covered topics of consultative support strategies and new systems enhancements for internal processes.
The grand finale of the day culminated with a delicious pizza party and an artistic team building activity, directed by Bottle and Bottega, where they were able to show their true colors and talents in their own production of a piece of art. “The room was filled with positive energy,” said Barbara Bartels, assistant vice chancellor of Community Relations, as she recalled the activity. “I am reminded every day how the people with whom I work can make such a difference in the lives of others. They inspire me daily and I cherish the team so much!”
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