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Meet Your 2024 Cascade User Conference Strategic Track Speakers

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CUC24 - Strategic Speakers 

After a great response to our Cascade User Conference call for speakers initiative, we're pleased to offer over 20 sessions covering a wide range of topics. There will be a rich mix of strategic and technical presentations given by education marketing and web thought leaders you might recognize.

As a token of our appreciation, we'd like to honor those who offered their time to participate in this year's conference by introducing them to you in a "Meet the Speakers Spotlight" series.

This week, we're excited to highlight the speakers from the #CUC24 strategic track:

Day 1 - February 21, 2024



Eddie Francis is a brand strategist who led marketing and communications at Southern University in New Orleans, Paul Quinn College, and Dillard University. He hosts "I Wanna Work There!" a higher education employer branding podcast. Because of his work, Eddie was also nominated twice for the AMA Foundation's Higher Education Marketer of the Year.

Eddie earned his master's degree in strategic leadership from Tennessee State University and his bachelor's degree in mass communication from Loyola University New Orleans. Eddie is a member of the American Marketing Association, the International Leadership Association, and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.


From Careers Webpage to Where You Wanna Work!

In the challenging landscape of higher education, institutions face a dual dilemma:

Attracting and retaining top talent!

The 2023 Higher Education Employee Retention Survey reveals critical trends:

  • 71% of employees look at other academic roles
  • 61% contemplate shifting to the private sector
  • 49% seek opportunities outside higher education, primarily due to inadequate pay, and
  • 33% consider changing jobs within a year

Amidst these challenges, colleges must prove their value to both staff and students.

Join Eddie, higher-ed marketer and host of the Enrollify podcast "I Wanna Work There," at his presentation on employer branding and learn how to:

  • Define an effective employer brand in academia.
  • Strategize content for career microsites to attract talent.
  • Collaborate across departments to communicate employer brands effectively.

By understanding and implementing these strategies, your institution can enhance its appeal, retain skilled professionals, and ensure a superior student experience.

When: February 21, 2024, 10:05 a.m. (EST)


April Hobbs Nutter headshot

April Hobbs Nutter is the Director of Strategic Communications for Morehead State University. April oversees the website, digital marketing, and other strategic communications. She works with an effective team, a team that works hard to share MSU's stories and successes. April is a two-time Morehead State graduate and works as an adjunct sociology instructor.

headshot of toni hobbs

Toni Hobbs is the director of digital and brand strategy at Morehead State University. She is an illustrator and graphic designer who has exhibited nationally and internationally and has been an adjunct art instructor. She's a two-time graduate of MSU, has an MA from the University of Kentucky (UK), and will graduate from UK with a Ph.D. in 2024.


How to Redo a Website in One Year and Live to Talk About It

In 2021, MSU's office was tasked with redesigning its university website – all 5,000+ pages. April and Toni will discuss the process and the importance of working as a team, from RFP to focus groups and training on a new CMS to launching mid-semester. The duo will also discuss how to select a good partner and the project's success, including improvements in engagement, SEO, user experience, and more.

When: February 21, 2024, 11:00 a.m. (EST)


Headshot of elisa choy

Elisa Choy is the Senior Web Developer at Southern Alberta Institute of Technology's (SAIT) Marketing department.

Since joining the team in February 2019, Elisa has distinguished herself as a dynamic and insightful web development leader. Her experience, understanding of complex systems, and analytical problem-solving skills have made her an essential part of every successful web project and are integral to the continued evolution of SAIT's digital experience.

With a year and a half of Cascade development under her belt, Elisa constantly works with a team of front and back-end development specialists to deliver solutions in a fast-paced environment and enhance the platform's functionality.

heashot michaela morrison

Michaela Morrison is SAIT's Marketing department's senior Web Content and Analytics Specialist.

She constantly explores innovative ways to improve content delivery and processes and turn heavy academic copy into web content students can understand and relate to.

As a SAIT alumni herself, her work is not just about maintaining the website's efficiency and relevance but also about creating meaningful engagements with students and helping them navigate their educational journey at SAIT.

As a system administrator with a year and a half of Cascade content and user management experience, she is dedicated to fostering a seamless and constantly evolving experience for both current and future students.


Putting Students First: Navigating the Org Chart Maze in Your User-First Web Refreshes

Big institutions think and operate based on their departments, faculties and divisions. But the people you market to - your most important audience – don’t give one tin hoot about your org chart. Your future students want to find and receive information in a way they can easily understand!

Learn how to really listen to them and craft killer higher-ed websites. Join Elisa and Michaels as they share how they prioritized the wants of future SAIT students, moved beyond the trappings of an IA informed by organizational structure, and based their decisions on meeting real user needs. The pair will show you how they cultivated this user-first journey and the lessons they learned along the way, including how they avoided stakeholder angst and the different ways they continually seek success in our web projects.

When: February 21, 2024, 11:55 a.m. (EST)


headshot jenny martin

Jenny Martin is the web and digital communications director at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. She oversees a team of six who manage the university website and social media. She has over 15 years of experience working in higher education digital spaces and is always excited about fixing problems and learning new things.

headshot tim wombles

Tim Wombles is the web and digital communications manager at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. He primarily works on the day-to-day maintenance, upkeep, and advising of site managers for UMSL’s 200 sites and has worked with Cascade for 12 years.


Reclaiming Your University Website

Digital spaces were not a priority at the University of Missouri-St Louis for many years. The website was managed by over 400 people across 300 separate sites with little administrative or campus buy-in for a central digital strategy.

In 2020, the university established the first central web team, and since then, the team has worked to bring order and purpose to its website through cohesive branding, a reimagined structure, and modern features.

How did the UMSL team shift to a more centralized model? How did they determine priorities when so much needed to be done? How did the team communicate strategy and the reasons for change? Join Jenny and Tim to find out!

When: February 21, 2024, 1:45 p.m. (EST)


headshot abu noaman

Abu Noaman is the CEO at Elliance. Abu grew up in the rare childhood air of Pakistan’s Karakoram range (earth’s highest concentration of 25,000 ft. peaks). Along with his passions for search engine algorithms and Jungian philosophy, he enjoys combining diverse talents in pursuit of creating better digital marketing experiences.

Abu holds degrees from Cornell University (BS in Computer Science) and Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon (MBA) and was named eMarketer of the Year by the Business Marketing Association. He has spoken at the American Marketing Association's Symposium for the Marketing of Higher Education, CASE, NAGAP, NACAAP, eduWeb and Council for Independent Colleges.


SEO for Growing College Enrollment and Reputation

Google page one is destiny! Colleges and universities that pursue and achieve top organic Google rankings using search engine optimization (SEO) techniques prosper and thrive. They build a reputation with thought leadership content.

Their best prospective students prefer to “discover” the college of their choice through “accidental finds” on Google Page One.

Their best donors “discover” them when looking for institutions that are aligned with their values.

Abu will give you an SEO overview for colleges and show examples of how colleges were able to dramatically grow their enrollment and reputation with SEO.

When: February 21, 2024, 2:40 p.m. (EST)



Sandra Fancher is the Chief Innovation Officer at Stamats.

With more than 25 years of experience in digital strategy and account management, Sandra provides strategic guidance in analytics, ROI measurement, innovation, and digital planning. 

While working with national colleges and universities, medical health centers, and national health care clients, Sandra serves as strategist, advisor, and client sponsor.  


Doreen Fagerheim, AVP Digital Media and Web Marketing at Belhaven University

With a tenure of 26 years at Belhaven, Doreen has been instrumental in leading a highly skilled team dedicated to driving the University's growth through various digital channels. 

She oversees key areas such as social media, video, e-mail, web, search engine optimization, and search engine marketing. She actively explores new approaches to connect with potential students, tests innovative ideas, and strives to enhance qualified leads, focusing on ROI.

Beyond her professional commitments at Belhaven, Doreen finds joy in outdoor activities such as kayaking, gardening, and hiking. She also enjoys traveling and values quality time spent with her family.


Brick by Brick: A Smarter Way to Build Your Web Content Strategy

It never fails: Weeks after you make a system-wide change on your site, users start finding pages with the old content. Text updates can be a nightmare for web content teams - but they don't have to be anymore!

Content bricks, a Cascade CMS feature, is similar to a mail merge code.

A user can edit content in one location and reflect it in multiple design components (different font, color, size).

Doreen Fagerheim, Assistant Vice President for Digital Media and Web Marketing at Belhaven University, and Sandra Fancher, Chief Innovation Officer at Stamats, discuss how to create and implement content bricks. In this session, you'll learn what content bricks are, the strategy Belhaven used to set them up, and tips for implementing an efficient content bricks strategy throughout your Cascade site.

When: February 21, 2024, 3:40 p.m. (EST)

Day 1 Keynote



Day Kibilds is the strategy director at Ologie, an employee-owned marketing and branding agency built for education. Prior to Ologie, Day led enrollment and digital innovation work at Penn State, Cornell University, and Western University. She regularly speaks about enrollment marketing, email strategy, productivity, and stakeholder management at conferences worldwide. Day is the host of Enrollify's Talking Tactics podcast and is co-authoring a book about email marketing to be released in Spring 2024.

As a lifelong immigrant who has lived in six different countries, equity and diversity are really important to her. She sees content as a tool for equity, and part of her motivation to work in higher-ed is to help students access the educational institutions they deserve to be a part of.


Your content: The most ignored barrier to education

Your website is the front door to your institution. And that door can be open — or closed! Your web content can be an effective tool to support equity-deserving students. Or it could be the barrier keeping them from understanding instructions, following processes and feeling welcome at your institution. Drawing from a personal story in higher education and supported by recent industry research findings, this talk will showcase how traditional admissions websites can exclude the very groups you want to include — and it will arm you with the arguments to convince your institution to do something about it.

When: February 21, 2024, 4:20 p.m. (EST)

Day 2 - February 22, 2024


headshot kat liendgens

Kat Liendgens is Hannon Hill's Chief Executive Officer.

Before joining Hannon Hill in 2009, Kat gained extensive experience in the higher education and government sectors, holding positions such as Associate Dean and IT Director. She frequently speaks at conferences about topics such as content strategy and content marketing. 

Kat strives to make Hannon Hill the place with the happiest employees and the happiest customers. To that end, she often holds one-on-one feedback sessions with customers in order to understand their needs optimally. 

Learn more about Kat in her CEO Spotlight.

headshot bradley wagner 

Bradley Wagner is the VP of Engineering at Hannon Hill.

Bradley is the brains and strategic vision behind Cascade CMS and Clive. A graduate of Rice University, Bradley has been with Hannon Hill for 19 years and has seen the product through many iterations. 

He always keeps clients' best interests in mind when it comes to deciding which features will be implemented in future versions of the product. Bradley's main goal is to ensure that Cascade CMS is a great product for technical users and strategic users alike.

Learn more about Bradley in his spotlight


Cascade CMS & Clive Roadmap

The Product Roadmap has been one of the most anticipated sessions for many years. Hannon Hill’s CEO, Kat Liendgens, and VP of Product, Bradley Wagner, will share Hannon Hill's product philosophy and themes, provide a quick summary of recently released features, and give attendees a sneak peek into what’s on the horizon for Cascade CMS and Clive.

When: February 22, 2024, 10:00 a.m. (EST)


headshot charlie holder

Charlie Holder is Hannon Hill's Head of Customer Success. He proactively reaches out to check in with clients, gathers feedback, and shares the product roadmap. He leads quarterly webinars for the entire customer base, showcasing what's new with all of our products. He does so many things, all of them to ensure that every customer is happy and successful.

Learn more about Charlie in his spotlight.


Recent Releases

Join Charlie as he will walk you through recently-released features, polishes, and fixes in Cascade CMS and Clive.

When: February 22, 2024, 11:15 a.m. (EST)


headshot of Matt Herzberger

Matt Herzberger is the Vice President of Digital Experience and Analytics at VisionPoint Marketing. He supports client partners working through web development initiatives with expert consultation in information architecture, content strategy, SEO, and website governance and management.

Matt has more than two decades of experience working with public and private higher-ed institutions and has expertise in digital strategy and planning and e-marketing and management. Under his leadership, the VisionPoint team is constantly innovating and improving its services to ensure VisionPoint's web offerings are custom-made for their higher-ed client partners’ needs and goals.

Before joining VisionPoint, Matt worked at four higher-ed marketing agencies. Matt has also worked at and managed the web strategy of schools such as Purdue University, Creighton University, Texas A&M, Florida International University, and the University of Iowa. Matt is the chair of the Leadership Academy for the HighEdWeb Association.


Crafting Strong Academic Program Pages at Scale: A Comprehensive Approach with Content Governance, Systems Thinking, and Content Modeling

This presentation explores a systematic methodology for building robust academic program pages through the integration of content governance, systems thinking, and content modeling at scale. We will delve into the importance of content governance in maintaining consistency, discuss the holistic perspective offered by systems thinking, and showcase how content modeling at scale streamlines information organization.

Attendees will gain practical insights to enhance their institution's online presence, attract the right audience, and elevate the success of academic programs in a competitive educational landscape by leveraging the talent and inputs of academic leadership, marketing, and developers. 

When: February 22, 2024, 1:15 p.m. (EST)


headshot of bart caylor

Bart Caylor is the co-host of the Higher Ed Marketer Podcast and President of Caylor Solutions.

As a first-generation college student, Bart has developed a passion for education with first-hand experience of how it can change the course of lives.

Bart has worked with global brands such as AT&T, IAMs Pet Food, Motorola, RCA, Schlage, Roche, and GE. With nearly 35 years in design and marketing, he has spent almost 30 years in web design and digital marketing and 25 years working with education clients.

Bart graduated magna cum laude from Anderson University, where he has served as Alumni Council president and most recently served on the board for the $125 Million capital campaign cabinet.

He lives in Fishers, Indiana, with his wife and four children and continues to stay ahead of the curve for the future of marketing to consult and deliver solutions in both print and digital for his clients.

His goal is to partner with his clients to provide them with expertise and solutions for facing the challenges of the ever-changing marketing and communication landscape.


Best uses of AI in Higher Ed Marketing

Join Bart Caylor, co-host of the Higher Ed Marketer Podcast and one of the leading voices on artificial intelligence in higher education. This session explores the transformative impact of artificial intelligence on university marketing strategies and delves into AI's role in personalizing communication with prospective students, using predictive analytics for data-driven decision-making, and optimizing digital campaigns. 

When: February 22, 2024, 2:10 p.m. (EST)


headshot brian piper

Brian Piper is the Director of Content Strategy and Assessment for the University of Rochester Department of Communications. Brian has been doing SEO and web content optimization since 1996. He has created online training programs for hundreds of companies including Xerox, Carestream, Kodak, and Volvo. He has spent the last eight years focusing on data analytics, digital marketing, and content strategy.

He is the co-author of the second edition of "Epic Content Marketing" and a contributing author and editor of "The Most Amazing Marketing Book Ever." When he's not creating data visualizations, he teaches wingsuit skydiving and spends time with his wife and six children.


Using Epic Content Marketing in Higher Education

Higher ed institutions create so much content on so many channels. How do you know what should take priority, and know how it’s impacting your strategic goals?

Brian will explore how content marketing is different from other marketing, why it’s ideal for higher education, and how you can use it to reach your higher education goals. You will learn how to set up an effective content marketing strategy, how to get leadership buy-in, and how this will help you better connect with your users and become a trusted resource for them.

Brian will discuss:

1) What is content marketing

2) Misconceptions about content marketing

3) How to convince leadership to support a content marketing strategy

4) How to create epic content to market your institution

5) The rise of content marketing in higher education

6) Successful content marketing strategies & case studies

7) How to track the success and demonstrate the impact

8) Using AI and data to optimize your content marketing

When: February 22, 2024, 3:05 p.m. (EST)

Day 2 Keynote


Jaime Hunt Headshot

Jaime Hunt's career in the communications industry spans more than 25 years, beginning in print journalism and transitioning to higher education nearly two decades ago.

Before joining Old Dominion University as Vice President of University Communications and Chief Marketing Officer in 2022, Hunt served as VP and Chief Communications and Marketing Officer at Miami University in Ohio. Prior to that, she was Vice Chancellor of Strategic Sommunications and Chief Marketing and Communications Officer at Winston-Salem State University.

She also served in public relations, marketing, digital strategy and media relations leadership roles at Radford University, the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh and Northwestern Health Sciences University.

She has written columns regularly for VoltEDU, Inside Higher Ed and Forbes, and hosts a podcast, "Confessions of a Higher Ed CMO," on the Enrollify network.

Headshot of Kristin Nichols

Kristin Nichols is a higher education marketing professional with a wealth of experience spanning over twenty years. Throughout her career, she has worked at several top-tier institutions in the Northeast region.

Kristin's skills in market research, brand development, digital strategies, and enrollment marketing have made a lasting impact on the industry.

Currently residing in suburban Boston with her husband Chris and their two young children, Kristin devotedly balances a dedication to both her career and family. As a strategist and leader, she continues to shape the landscape of higher education marketing by contributing to the growth and success of the institutions she guides.

headshot of Allison Turcio

Dr. Allison Turcio is a marketing consultant, marketing professor, and AVP for Enrollment and Marketing at Siena College. Her work has won numerous awards, and she has presented at the American Marketing Association's Symposium for the Marketing of Higher Education and many other conferences.

She hosts "The Application" podcast and publishes the "Higher Ed Marketer's Digest" newsletter. The Siena Marketing Team won the Emerging Marketer Award at AMA Higher Ed in 2023. Dr. Turcio received the Albany Business Review 40 Under 40 and Siena College's Excellence in Administration award in 2020.

She holds a doctorate from Northeastern University, a master's in Communications, and a bachelor's in English.


Keynote Roundtable Discussion on the Demographic Enrollment Cliff

Join Jaime Hunt, Kristin Nichols, and Dr. Allison Turcio to learn how you can safely navigate the looming demographic enrollment cliff. This is a session you can't afford to miss!

When: February 22, 2024, 4:00 p.m. (EST)

Last Updated: Jan 9, 2024 11:00 AM

Photo of Chris Rapozo

Chris Rapozo
Marketing Specialist