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 23-25, 2023
The Westminster Schools
Atlanta, Georgia  

The Azure Summit is an annual conference designed to prepare Heads of School for a campaign, hone fundraising skills, or both. Our faculty comprise experienced Independent School practitioners, Marts&Lundy consultants and Heads who have been through a campaign. We encourage you to attend with your chief development officer.

The Azure Summit 2023 will begin with our Keynote Address by Peter Upham on Sunday at 5 p.m. ET at the Hotel Indigo, followed by cocktails and dinner. We will continue the Summit’s curriculum beginning Monday morning on the campus of The Westminster Schools and will conclude the Summit on Tuesday at 1 p.m. ET.


The Curriculum

Keynote: What Strategy Is, Why it Matters, and How it Works: A Primer for School Heads


Keynote: What Strategy Is, Why it Matters, and How it Works: A Primer for School Heads

In the recurring exercise of school “strategic planning,” one crucial concept often gets lost along the way: strategy itself. In this session, we’ll cut through process and politics to isolate strategy as a core idea in business scholarship and practice. Then, we’ll explore strategy in the context of a mission-driven, value-laden school. What are the key business decisions Heads and Boards must make in order to ensure institutional vitality? And how can Heads begin to establish mechanisms for making sure strategy remains a central, not a peripheral, consideration?

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.

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 important, this will give you a clear sense of the roles you, your Board and your advancement team should play.

The CEO/CFO/CAO Relationship


The CEO/CFO/CAO Relationship

We will share scenarios and a case study in which the CEO, CFO and CAO relationship is crucial for a healthy institution, discussing what works and what does not—ultimately charting a course to the best partnership.

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.

Mastering a Donor Meeting


Mastering a Donor Meeting

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.

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.

Keynote Speaker

Peter Upham

Pete completed a 15-year run as Executive Director of The Association of Boarding Schools (TABS) in the summer of 2022 in order to revive a school consulting practice he paused for his work at TABS.

TABS is the voice for college prep boarding schools, with approximately 215 member institutions in the United States, Canada, and around the globe. As a “community of communities,” TABS partners with school leaders—particularly Heads and Assistant Heads of School, Residential & Student Life Practitioners, and Admission & Marketing Professionals, as well as CFO’s, Advancement leaders, and other key administrators—to drive excellence, innovation, and collaboration so that every student thrives. TABS hosts an annual conference, as well as other site-based and virtual workshops and symposia; produces industry research; supports schools and families through Tuition-Net, the association’s tuition insurance plan; and has a robust website for educators at TABS.org and for families at BoardingSchools.com.

Earlier in his career, Pete spent thirteen years in boarding school administration and teaching, six as Assistant Head of School at Asheville School in North Carolina. Before his appointment at TABS, Pete was the owner and principal of CWJ Consulting, a firm assisting schools, educational organizations, and non-profits in the areas of strategy, advancement, and planning. His current consulting and scholarly interests include educational leadership, school strategy, institutional risk management, workplace learning, organizational culture and change, advanced data analytics, and total resource development. He is a frequent speaker and presenter at education conferences, board meetings, and school ceremonies.

Pete is former Board President for Hanger Hall, an independent school for girls, and former Vice-President of the Board for the Diocese of Charlotte Schools, a regional Catholic school system. He is also a poet; his work has appeared in a number of national and international journals.

Pete was educated at Hotchkiss School. He did his undergraduate studies at UNC-Chapel Hill as a Morehead Scholar, and earned his M.S.Ed. from the University of Pennsylvania, where he is currently completing his doctoral dissertation. He lives just outside of Asheville, North Carolina with his wife and children.

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Hotel Indigo
Historic Vinings Neighborhood

2857 Paces Ferry Road SE
Atlanta, GA

Make Reservation Get Directions

About the Hotel

A unique, boutique-style hotel with unexpected touches that reflect the distinct charm and character of the historic Vinings neighborhood.


Marts & Lundy Faculty

About Liz Ball

Liz currently serves as the Associate Vice President of Strategic Communications and Partnerships at The Westminster Schools in Atlanta, Georgia. She has spent 15 years leading marketing and communications programs as well as providing consulting support for independent schools in the Southeast. Prior to working in the nonprofit sector, Liz worked in the advertising industry as media planner and strategist representing a variety of small and mid-cap corporations and household brands.

Liz Ball


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 Emilie Henry

Emilie has deep experience in donor strategy as well as planning for and conducting several successful independent school campaigns. As Vice President for Institutional Advancement at The Westminster Schools in Atlanta, GA, Emilie is responsible for leading development and communications operations at one of the country’s largest independent day schools.

Emilie Henry


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 Taylor Stockdale

Taylor has 30-plus years of experience with independent schools and has served as Head of Schools at The Webb Schools since 2010.

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Taylor Stockdale


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 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



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

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

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

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.