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From the ED 4.7.16

Dear Colleagues,

Most of your schools have had your spring breaks. I hope you all had a chance to rest, relax, spend time with family and friends, and perhaps read a book or do something you don’t find time for during your regular hectic schedule.

I am currently finishing one of the best and most energizing books I have read in years: Creative Confidence, by Tom Kelley and David Kelley, founder of IDEO. Creative Confidence is filled with thoughts, ideas and practical advice on creativity, innovation, leadership, and development (both professional and personal).

First, if you have never seen the “most-watched” TED talk by Sir Ken Robinson, “Do Schools Kill Creativity?” I highly recommend it. If you have watched it, watch it again. I believe the subject of creativity is not just important in terms of how our schools provide opportunities for our students, but also in how we as leaders in our schools, and education, can help change the industry.

Another TED talk I recommend is by David Kelley: “How to Build Your Creative Confidence”. This will help you learn some of the ideas from the book in a short video. If all of this has inspired you to purchase and read the book, I am going to highlight page 85 and the discussion about “empathy,” not a word we consider much in our busy work lives. As I was reading this text and thinking about the intersection of empathy and customer experience I was struck by something I learned decades ago when I owned and managed a number of restaurants. In order to improve the experience for our customers, it was extremely helpful to put myself into the customer’s shoes and understand the experience from their point of view. I consider the importance of customer experience daily as I travel, especially with airports, airlines, hotels, car rental agencies, etc. I wish they would spend more time understanding the experience of their customers that may allow for simple and mostly inexpensive improvements to enhance the experience.

I have spoken with a number of Heads of School recently who have spent a day or more shadowing their students to understand their student experience. I commend these leaders for the time and energy it takes to deeply empathize and understand the experience of their students, which hopefully leads to innovative and positive changes in their schools. I would encourage each of you to spend some time doing the same. Also, consider the experiences of all of your customers. Many of you that have attended my sessions at association workshops over the years know I ask groups to consider “who are your customers?” You may be surprised at the extent of your customer base and the number of constituents who have experiences with you and your school.

Of course, the natural direction this leads me to is to better understand the experience for MISBO’s members and all of our constituents. We began this process last year when we decided it was time to re-brand MISBO. This process included interviews by a third party with nearly 50 individuals who are connected with MISBO as a school member, vendor partner, association leader, and others. We learned a great deal from that information which guided our re-branding efforts. That was just the beginning. We are now looking at all points of contact (experience) for MISBO members and know we have some more work to do to make this better. We know that the Purchasing Consortium is a significant factor in the membership decision and provides significant savings for our member schools. Recently we have upgraded the search feature on the Vendor Search page allowing you to search vendors by category as well as name. We will continue to improve this feature. We have also added a new person to our staff to assist members and make better connections between vendors and member schools. Susan Flanagan began working and training this week and will be the first point of contact for questions about MISBO’s Purchasing Consortium. Susan can be reached at Dianne Sagaas, Director, Education, oversees and manages the Digital Educational Resources portion of the consortium and can be reached at Jay Danielson, Director, Vendor Relations remains the key person for all other vendor relations and can be reached at Be sure to look for our monthly publication of The Source which is dedicated to vendor news. Also, please let us know how we are doing. MISBO exists to help you and your schools. We can only improve by hearing from you.

Hopefully you have read this far because I have some important membership information to share. MISBO membership renewal season begins in May. Dues for the 16-17 school (fiscal) year are $2.15 per student. Again this year you will have the opportunity to log into your school’s MISBO account, generate your dues invoice, pay by credit card, update your school’s roster, etc. This year to make your experience more efficient, we are asking you to also vote for the MISBO Board of Directors Officers at the same time. The MISBO board meets on April 27th to select a slate of officers for 2016-17 and this slate needs approval by MISBO membership. MISBO will be sending you more information about this process as well as a savings report detailing your school’s purchasing history with MISBO vendors. Look for this in the mail by the third week of April.

Another important piece of the MISBO experience is our conferences. Every time, attendees tell us that the learning, connections, and networking that happens at a conference provides great experiences for them. Below is some information about our upcoming conferences. I hope to see you in Florida in a few weeks. I am looking forward to hearing from Dr. Jacobsen and others as they share their experiences and expertise with us.

  • April 24-26 will be the FISBO/MISBO Business Officer Conference in Miami, FL. Dr. Brett Jacobsen, Head of School, Mount Vernon Presbyterian School will provide our opening keynote and discuss the transformational change at his school over the past 6 years.
  • June 12-14 continues with our Intensive series.  This year’s program will be incredibly valuable for your entire business office team and your school. The Not-Just-the-Business Officer Intensive will be hosted by Woodward Academy, College Park, GA. This unique opportunity for everyone in the business office will provide both serious learning and wonderful networking opportunities. Space is limited!


Marc Levinson
Executive Director, MISBO

We power independent schools.™

From → Great Reads, MISBO

One Comment
  1. Julie Ray permalink

    I had the privilege of hearing Sir Ken Robinson speak live at a GISA conference at which he delivered a very similar keynote message. I was thunderstruck at what a simple truth he was sharing about elevating creativity to the same level as literacy and that our historical educational paradigms basically structured creativity out of the process of learning. Really an impactful message!

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