- Jeff Alderson, Principal Analyst
- Brian Fleming, Senior Analyst
- Kenneth E. Hartman, Ed.D., Principal Analyst
- Heather O’Leary, Principal Analyst
- Mark Rooney, Senior Analyst
- Kelley Ross, Research and Data Senior Analyst
- Max Woolf, Senior Analyst
- Youme Yai, Senior Analyst
- Tony Friscia, President & CEO
- Laura Boothroyd, Vice President, Consulting Services
- Nancy Gendron, Vice President of Operations and Strategy
- Chris Johnson, Vice President, Technology Strategies
- Cara A. Quackenbush, Vice President, Core Research
- Ellen Slaby, Vice President, Marketing
- Cara Palmerino, Director, Finance
Jeff has over 15 years of education technology experience. Prior to joining the team, Jeff was Lead Architect at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and spent 10 years in a variety of senior management roles including the Boston-based startup ConnectEDU . He advises several non-profits in the education technology sector, most notably the P20 Education Standards Council (PESC) and the Schools Interoperability Framework Association (SIFA). Jeff is a US Air Force veteran and is a graduate of Worcester Polytechnic Institute.
Brian focuses on issues such as online program development, innovation, educational technologies, strategic planning, pedagogy, and issues affecting adult learners. Brian brings five years of experience in higher education, with background in teaching, administration, and research. Prior to joining Eduventures, Brian worked as an instructional designer for Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in South Hamilton, MA. Brian has also worked as a corporate trainer and technical writer, and is currently an adjunct professor at Gordon College in Wenham, MA. Brian earned a B.A. in English and History from Texas A&M University and M.Ed. from the Lynch Graduate School of Education at Boston College.
Ken is a Principal Analyst advising clients in Online and Continuing Education who are seeking to grow and improve their online enrollments and offerings. He has 30-years of experience as a university professor, senior academic administrator, and consultant at several leading universities. Most recently, Ken served as president of Drexel University Online, a for-profit subsidiary of Drexel University, where he was responsible for the overall operational and fiscal performance of a multi-million dollar company serving nearly 8,000 online adult learners in over 100 fully online degree programs. He has designed and taught graduate-level online courses within Drexel University’s School of Education, where he earned the Drexel School of Education’s Faculty Fellow and Associate Award.
Ken is the author of numerous books and scholarly publications related to educational technology, and is an active presenter at industry conferences. He serves on several boards, including the Sloan Consortium. Additionally, Dr. Hartman served as a commissioned officer in the United States Army. Dr. Hartman holds an undergraduate degree from The State University of New York at Geneseo, a master’s degree from Michigan State University, and a doctorate degree from the University of Pennsylvania.
Heather is the Principal Analyst for Enrollment Management and advises clients in areas including marketing and recruitment, branding, communications, and retention. She plays a lead role designing and executing the annual research agenda and on client consulting engagements, helping our clients to identify, plan for, and navigate emerging trends. Heather has over 10 years of experience as a practitioner in enrollment management, specializing in strategic planning, marketing, and program management. She has a proven track-record of creating and implementing recruiting programs to drive growth and exceed business performance objectives and is a creative strategist who informs her work through in-depth research and analysis. Prior to joining Eduventures, Heather spent 11 years in admissions and student services for the University of California, Davis Graduate School of Management, most recently as Director of Admissions. She also held marketing roles for Hasbro, Inc. and the March of Dimes. Heather has an MBA focused in marketing and strategic management from the University of California, Davis and a BS in psychology from Roger Williams University.
Mark Rooney is a Senior Analyst and is responsible for employing a range of qualitative and quantitative research methodologies to assist institutions with their decision-making. Prior to Eduventures, Mark worked as a Senior Analyst at RKM Research and Communications, where he executed custom research projects for clients across dozens of industries. He has helped clients develop new brand identities, measure pricing effects, evaluate return on investments, identify growth opportunities, and maximize market share by identifying drivers of consideration and customer loyalty. For several long-term engagements, he participated extensively in qualitative data collection, deploying metaphor elicitation and other in-depth interview techniques to reveal consumers’ non-conscious associations with products, services, and ideas. Mark earned his B.A. in English from Vassar College.
Kelley currently oversees the production of custom research for Knowledge Community Clients and coordinates the delivery of research projects across the research team at Eduventures. In addition to this role, he also leads full-scale consulting engagements and employs a range of qualitative and quantitative techniques to support the decision-making process across client institutions. Kelley assists clients with shaping institutional strategy, enhancing brand and market position, and building operational excellence. Recently, his work has focused on strategies within our Online and Continuing Education practice, with a particular focus on transformative pedagogy, online quality assessment, and best practices in operational structure. Before starting at Eduventures in 2012, Kelley was a Senior Analyst at Observant LLC, a pharmaceutical market research and advisory firm. Kelley earned a BS in Economics and Finance with a minor in International Studies from Bentley University.
Max is responsible for delivering qualitative and quantitative research methodologies to drive online strategy, innovative solutions, and education technologies for higher education and industry clients. Max brings five years of experience spanning across both K-12 and higher education in operational management and strategic analyst roles supporting education technology and publishing companies develop business models, go-to market strategies, and financial models in order to navigate the competitive landscape for K-12 and higher education. Prior to working at Eduventures, Max was the Senior Analyst/Education Technology Partner at Good Harbor Partners, a boutique education and publishing M&A advisory and consultant firm. He also previously served as the General Manager of the Daily Jolt, a network of 200 college community and news websites. He graduated magna cum laude from Amherst College with a B.A. in Economics and Political Science.
Youme is a Senior Analyst and helps our clients stay ahead of higher education philanthropy trends, create high-performing fundraising organizations, and achieve fundraising goals by engaging alumni and key stakeholders. Youme’s previous fundraising and consulting experiences allow her to bring unique perspectives to her role creating content that guides our clients. Prior to joining Eduventures, she was a development officer at an arts and cultural museum where she was responsible for managing donor relationships and also played a key role in acquiring feedback from donors to better align outreach efforts with donor preferences. She has also helped higher education institutions attract, retain, and engage top talent in her work with a boutique consulting firm, WFD Consulting. While earning a B.A. in history from Wellesley College, Youme received departmental distinctions, served as a captain of the rugby team, and completed a Historic Deerfield summer fellowship in early American history and material culture. She is active in the non-profit community and regularly volunteers with WGBH and Community Servings.
President & CEO
Tony Friscia is a successful entrepreneur with extensive experience in business leadership and in providing strategic advice to senior executives. Tony founded AMR Research in 1986 and served as President & CEO until the company was acquired in December, 2009 by Gartner Inc. (Stamford, CT). During his time at AMR, he oversaw the company’s strategy and all day-to-day operations. Under his leadership, AMR Research grew to 200 employees and close to $50 million in revenue. It was the leading firm providing research and advice to operations and IT executives on global supply chain and enterprise technology strategies. For the last three years, Tony followed his passion for higher education and served as a special advisor to the President of The New School in New York City, on the Vassar College Board of Trustees and as a member of the Barnard College President’s Advisory Group. Tony graduated with an A.B. degree in English from Vassar College in 1978.
Vice President, Client Research
Laura brings over two decades of product development and management experience to Eduventures and a deep understanding of higher education. From a Consulting leadership perspective, her projects cross a variety of strategic impact areas including devising international expansion strategies; evaluating the ROI of new product and platform launches; and benchmarking enrollment processes, sales strategies, pricing, curriculum, and student support services. Laura’s work with clients across a variety of industry verticals—including financial services, human resources outsourcing, technology, travel, and loyalty and incentives—informs her new product development and consulting with broad and deep perspectives on the business world. Before joining Eduventures in 2007, she was vice president of the Financial and Business Services practice at Fuld & Company, a leading competitive intelligence firm. She also launched and led three business units at Dalbar, Inc., a financial services research and consulting company. She holds a B.A. from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in communications and economics and has completed graduate-level coursework in statistics at Harvard University.
Nancy Gendron joins us with over 20 years of leadership and executive management experience in the end user research field. During the past four years, Nancy was responsible for building a global supply chain sales team of 70 sales associates while more than tripling the annual contract value for the supply chain end user business at Gartner, Inc. Prior to that, Nancy spent 12 years at AMR Research where she held many roles and ultimately was responsible for the go-to-market strategy for the entire end user business – including sales, client services, peer forums and contract negotiation.
Prior to joining AMR Research, Nancy served as the vice president of worldwide contracts and special bids at Marcam Solutions, Inc. While there, she was responsible for all worldwide software and service contract negotiations, development, rollout and maintenance of worldwide pricing, multinational sales and special bid programs in all direct and affiliate operations. Prior to her tenure at Marcam, Nancy served in various management roles at Dun & Bradstreet Software and McCormack & Dodge.
Nancy holds a B.A. Degree in Political Science from the University of Massachusetts. Nancy and her family live in Boston’s North End and on Cape Cod.
Chris Johnson brings 28 years of sales and management experience, 20 of those years in the technology research industry, to his role at Eduventures. In his current role, Chris is responsible for Eduventures worldwide client base consisting of technology vendors and service providers.
Previously, Chris was the Executive Vice President for AMR Research’s Global Technology Business Unit. From leading global sales to serving as part of the senior management team for eight years, Chris held various positions during his 15 years with AMR Research. In addition, he led AMR Research’s initial sales launch into the EMEA region. Prior to AMR Research, as well as after the acquisition of AMR by Gartner, Chris spent in all three years with Gartner in sales related roles.
Chris holds a BS in Systems Planning and Management from the Stevens Institute of Technology.
Cara A. Quackenbush
Vice President, Core Research
Cara is the Principal Analyst in the Development Knowledge Community, assisting clients with key strategic and operational decisions to support their fundraising success. Among other initiatives, she helps development organizations optimize their operations to attain a greater return on investment, engage boards, deans and other key stakeholders, effectively manage frontline staff, and stay on top of new and developing trends in advancement.
Cara is an advancement professional with more than a decade of fundraising, management, marketing, and accounting experience at institutions of higher education. Cara’s experience spans annual giving, major giving, volunteer management, alumni engagement, parent fundraising, and planned giving. She has also conducted research on management practices and strategies in higher education, including higher education accounting practices, presidential leadership techniques, and legal policies affecting planned giving. Cara is a frequent presenter at industry conferences and events, including CASE, and her work has been published in CASE Currents. Prior to joining Eduventures, Cara was the Associate Director of Gift Planning at Boston College, where she helped launch the university’s $1.5 billion capital campaign as well as its first-ever legacy gift campaign. Cara also worked in both the annual fund and the office of planned giving at her alma mater, Santa Clara University, where she earned her B.A. in journalism. Cara holds an MBA and an MS in accounting from the Carroll School of Management at Boston College.
Vice President, Marketing
As vice president of marketing, Ellen is responsible for demand generation, brand strategy, public relations, corporate communications and strategy execution. Ellen is a seasoned marketing executive with 20+ years of experience building brands, executing winning communication strategies and generating revenue through innovative demand generation programs.
Her experience as a senior marketing executive in both B to B and non-profit organizations has provided organizations with quantifiable results through targeted media and social outreach, public relations and brand strategy execution. Her experience includes managing and mentoring teams, recruiting employees and managing contractors. She has directed all facets of marketing at both early-stage and mature companies including strategy, planning, budgeting and execution. She has held vice president and senior marketing roles at Harvard Business School Publishing, Centra Software, Saba Software, VDC Research Group and SandPoint Corporation. She was named one of the top 20 public relations professionals by PR Week magazine.
Director of Finance Cara Palmerino directs and executes the company’s accounting; sales; and financial planning, reporting, and analysis functions. Cara brings experience from a variety of financial, sales, and marketing management roles in the high-tech market and has served clients in the infrastructure, security, vendor, and education sectors. Before joining Eduventures in 2013, she spent more than eight years at Forrester Research, where she managed the sales planning and analysis team and helped establish the financial planning and analysis team to support the company’s diverse business units. Cara earned a B.A. in business management from St. Anselm College and an MBA in finance from Bentley University.