is reaching
new heights.

About our Leadership Initiative

Missions are advanced and visions realized when the passions and talents of individuals are engaged in a common goal. This requires exceptional leadership as well as generous donors.

Though there are many experienced fundraising professionals working each day to engage new donors and steward existing ones, the magnitude and pace of philanthropic giving are amplified when the institution’s top leader becomes its top philanthropy champion.

Marts&Lundy created The Azure Summit so that leaders of mission-driven organizations can experience the highest-quality teaching on the critical role they can play in developing a deep and broad culture of philanthropy. The Summit’s leadership curriculum is tailored to high-performing professionals who expect to gain significant knowledge that drives their expertise and action to new heights.

The Azure Summit for Heads of School

July 14-16, 2024
The Hamlin School, San Francisco, California 

The Azure Summit curriculum builds on the distinct expertise possessed by heads of schools and complements their skills with campaign best practices. The curriculum is tailored to include chief advancement officers who attend with their heads, energizing and optimizing this important partnership.

At the conclusion of the Summit, you will possess a strategic campaign planning and implementation roadmap that ensures you attract and retain visionary donors and secure gifts that advance your school toward new heights of excellence.

The Summit kicks off on Sunday, July 14 at 5:30 p.m. PDT with registration and a cocktail reception followed by dinner at the Fairmont San Francisco. Summit sessions will be held on Monday and Tuesday at The Hamlin School and will conclude on Tuesday at 12:30 p.m. PDT.


The Curriculum

Preparing for a Personalized Learning Experience


Preparing for a Personalized Learning Experience

The schools represented by Summit attendees with be in various stages of campaign readiness and will each have distinct areas of focus necessary to move forward. We will begin the Summit with a discussion on the characteristics that signal both challenges to and opportunities for preparing for a campaign, allowing you to approach the curriculum with a more acute understanding of how to adapt your learning to the particular needs of your school.

Planning a Campaign


Planning a Campaign

Before hitting the go button, ensure that your School is ready to take on the rigors of a campaign. This session will take you through an assessment to determine the readiness state of your school.

Case for Support


Case for Support

We will focus on best practices in case development, reviewing the many paths to a case. There is no one way to get there, but there are core fundamentals to consider. This session will be infused with examples of strong cases and will provide you with worksheets to guide your thinking about building the case.

Executing a Campaign


Executing a Campaign

Few campaigns follow a linear path. This session will provide an overview of what to expect in each phase and examples of course corrections when necessary. Most importantly, this will give you a clear sense of the roles you, your Board and your advancement team should play.

Campaign Realities: From the Head of School Perspective


Campaign Realities: From the Head of School Perspective

A campaign impacts the head differently and more deeply than any other person in the organization. We will identify and discuss these stressors and pressures to help position you to thrive in this new role.

The Role of the Board in a Campaign


The Role of the Board in a Campaign

Boards are central figures in campaign success. In this session, we’ll explore the role of the board as a whole and the expectations for individual board members, ensuring all understand that philanthropy is a primary responsibility.

Mastering the Art & Science of Fundraising


Mastering the Art & Science of Fundraising

Understanding what motivates donors to invest deeply in your School is critical to achieving new heights in your fundraising program. We will position you to develop effective strategies for engaging your constituents in a meaningful and ultimately productive way.

Creating Your Action Plan


Creating Your Action Plan

We will close out the Summit with a session in which you will create a plan for implementing the knowledge and insights you’ve gained once you return to your school.


  • Current Clients

    $2,250 Head of School Registration

    $2,025 Chief Advancement Officer Registration

  • Non-Clients

    $2,500 Head of School Registration

    $2,250 Chief Advancement Officer Registration

Register Today

To register, please complete the form below. Your chief advancement officer, if attending, can be registered now or at a later date.


Map of the location

Fairmont San Francisco

950 Mason St
San Francisco, CA 94108

Make Reservation Get Directions

Exclusive Azure Summit rates at the Fairmont are available July 13-July 17 to allow for early arrival and an extra night’s stay.

About the Hotel

Discover the most iconic luxury hotel in San Francisco, a beacon of style and grandeur for over a century. Since its grand opening in 1907 as the very first Fairmont hotel, Fairmont San Francisco has nurtured its reputation for offering guests truly memorable experiences. A regal Beaux Arts landmark, our 5-star hotel combines timeless elegance, peerless comfort, and unparalleled service to guarantee an unforgettable stay, turning moments into memories for leisure, romance, and business travelers alike.


Marts&Lundy Faculty

About Karen Callahan

Karen spent 25 years leading advancement programs at Northfield Mount Hermon School and Brooks School and has served more than 40 schools across the country in various stages of campaigns.

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Karen Callahan


About Shannon Clearly

As Vice President of Institutional Advancement at Mid-Pacific Institute, Shannon is dedicated to supporting innovation in education and ensuring the school’s financial sustainability. With over 20 years of experience in building schools, program development, and advocating for educational innovation, she has led various advancement efforts, including blended-learning initiatives. Shannon has served as director of advancement at several schools, and is a founding faculty member and administrator at Maui Preparatory Academy. She also is an appointed charter school commissioner for the State of Hawaii with a portfolio of 40 public charter schools.

Shannon Clearly


About Charlie Melichar

Charlie has worked extensively in the independent school sector, focusing on issues related to strategic communications and building the case for support.

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Charlie Melichar


About Martha Voegeli

Martha has worked in advancement for over 30 years, serving a variety of educational institutions. Her consulting experience includes strategic counsel to more than 20 independent schools.

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Martha Voegeli


About Melissa von Stade

Melissa has more than 40 years of experience helping to advance nonprofits through the design of effective fundraising strategies and strategic planning. Most recently, Melissa served as Director of Development of The Pennington School in Pennington, New Jersey.

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Melissa von Stade


About Jim Zimmerman

Jim has spent three decades leading advancement programs at Middlesex School, Cate School, The Lawrenceville School, Francis Parker School, and currently The Branson School. He served as a trustee of his alma mater, Bucknell University. In 2021,Jim accepted the Chief Advancement Officer position at The Branson School and became a Marts&Lundy Consulting Partner.

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Jim Zimmerman



The importance of focusing our overall fundraising approach on our unique strategic position hit home for me. I’ve already started digging in more specifically there. Also the networking was on point, which of course has everything to do with how open, bright, and collegial the Summit attendees were, as well as how wonderfully generous and coordinated our hosts were.

  • Eric Jones, Head of School
  • Community Partnership School

As we are entering a campaign and have done a feasibility study with Marts&Lundy, this felt tailored to where we are in the process, and it laid out a great roadmap for the next steps. I would recommend that Heads attend after their first year in the role. I just finished my fifth and I absolute wish I had attended 3-4 years earlier.

  • Jennifer Galambos, Head of School
  • Kent Place School

The balance between the theoretical and the practical was particularly well done.

  • John Bracker, Head of School
  • Polytechnic School

Each presentation got me thinking about what I need to do as Head of School to prepare my community for a campaign. I walked away with many ideas and direction that I would have never thought about without the Summit.

  • Jim Detora, Head of School
  • Avon Old Farms School

Presenters were fantastic, and it was wonderful to learn several new things. I really enjoyed the size of the group and look forward to staying connected with everyone!

  • Beth Giese, Director of Development & Community Engagement
  • Visitation School

The Marts&Lundy staff have been a wonderful resource to our school throughout our campaign process – and this conference continued to show what a great partner and first-rate organization they are.

  • Chris Webb, Director of Institutional Advancement
  • Avon Old Farms School

The benefit my Advancement Director and I received from attending The Azure Summit was far greater than I had imagined! I’ve been to many local, state and national conferences focused on the topic of building a philanthropic culture and capital campaign and this was by far more helpful and personalized. We both walked away feeling more knowledgeable, empowered, and prepared to create and lead the way in advancing my school! It was superb! Thank you!

  • Arvi Balseiro, Head of School
  • The Cushman School

Was the best 2 days of learnings I have ever had from a conference. The presenters were spot on and the topics very well chosen.

  • Peter Wilson, Director of Development
  • Trinity Grammar School

My experience with the Azure Summit was nothing but positive. I felt that it was designed to help someone like me who has spent her career on the academic side of the program. It gave me the opportunity to learn from the experts, who have been in the trenches with schools across the country during their strategic planning and all stages of their capital campaigns in all cycles of the economy. The shared anecdotes, the role play with potential donors, and the opportunity to ask questions and dig in were invaluable.

  • Jess Hill, Head of School
  • Harpeth Hall

Many takeaways. I loved connecting with my peers. The program covered what I wanted to learn.

  • Sebastian Robert, Head of School
  • Ecole Bilingue de Berkeley

The most useful part of the summit was hearing about the campaign planning metrics and the information on gaining support of internal stakeholders.

  • Felicia Smith, Director of Institutional Advancement
  • Saint Andrew's School

As a new head of school, the Azure Summit proved an invaluable professional development opportunity. The Marts & Lundy team took the time to prepare a program that met the individualized needs of each of us in the room, and I left the Summit feeling prepared and more confident in my ability to lead my school’s upcoming campaign.

  • Noni Thomas López, Ed.D, Head of School
  • Gordon School

The Azure Summit provided myriad opportunities for me as Head of School to think strategically about inspiring meaningful gifts, strengthening my partnership with my Director of Advancement, and creating a vibrant culture of philanthropy in my school community. Most importantly, it developed my confidence as a fundraising leader who inspires donors’ generous support of my vision and my school’s mission.

  • Laura Konigsberg, Head of School
  • Turning Point School

I thought many of the sessions were engaging and helpful. I especially liked the session on strategic thinking. I appreciated the opportunities to brainstorm around challenges or scenarios.

  • Theresa Smith, Associate Head of School/Head Elect
  • The Webb Schools

Attending Marts&Lundy’s Azure Summit was the most outstanding learning experience I have had in this area. The Summit brings Heads of schools together with experienced and expert fundraising consultants and professionals for a small-scale conference focussed specifically on fundraising campaigns and culture. Sharing this two-day conference experience with my newly-appointed Director of Development gave us a common language, a common framework and a sense of direction that has been invaluable and that has begun to bear fruit.

  • Tim Bowden, Head Master
  • Trinity Grammar School

Contact Us

If you’d like more information on our curriculum and presenters, please contact Karen Callahan at kcallahan@martsandlundy.com or by phone, 978-476-1270.


For questions or assistance with your registration or lodging, please contact Angie Sheffer at sheffer@martsandlundy.com or by phone, 434-996-8220.

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