Digitize. Connect. Get informed.

  • Joining us in Palm Springs? Help get the word out.

February 21-23, 2017

At the Omni Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa, CA

Register Now


Big Speakers. Big Ideas.

Saied Amiry

Global Director, Education Vertical Marketing, LinkedIn

Barrett Baffert

Director of Digital Marketing, The University of Arizona

Becky Bush

Agency Development Manager, Google

Megan Bys

Head of Marketing, Converge Consulting

John Clarke

Associate Dean for Graduate Programs, Tulane University

Jeff Corral

Associate VP of Enrollment & Student Affairs, Southern California University of Health Sciences
Issa DiSciullo, Converge 2017 Speaker

Issa DiSciullo

Assistant Dean of Admissions, Drexel University Thomas R. Kline School of Law

Brittney Dunkins

Director of Content Strategy, Converge Consulting

Dr. Brenda Harms

Founder and CEO, Harms Consulting

Christine Hutchins

Vice President for Communications & Marketing, Mt. Holyoke University

Yasin Id-Deen

Social Media Manager, University of Michigan

Josh Irons

COO, Converge Consulting

Scott Jeffe

Director, Aslanian Market Research

Jia Jiang

Founder and CEO, Wuju Learning

Jay Kelly

President, Converge Consulting

Ryan Lindsay

Director of Web Strategy, Converge Consulting

Debra Mitchell Benavente

Vice President, Enrollment Management & Student Affairs, Southern California University of Health Sciences

Bob Moran

Founder and President, Moran Consulting, Inc.

Dr. Richard Moran

President, Menlo College

Britney Muller

SEO & Content Architect, Moz

Brian Niles

Founder & Chief Evangelist, TargetX

Ann Oleson

CEO, Converge Consulting

Mike Petroff

Associate Director of Digital Content Strategy, Harvard University

Luke Phillips

Executive Director of Marketing, Communications and Brand Management, Southern California University of Health Sciences

Michael Schinelli

CMO, Kenan-Flager School of Business, UNC

Brendan Sera-Shriar

Co-Founder and Conversion Strategist, DayChamp

Jason Simon

Vice President and Partner, SimpsonScarborough

Hayley Warack

Vice President of Digital Strategy, Converge Consulting

Joselyn Zivin, PhD

Director, Huron Consulting

Why Attend?

Converge 2017 is the conference you don't want to miss.
Our third annual conference for higher education marketing and recruitment leaders will change your world.

New & Next Ideas

Relax. Recharge. Revolutionize. Take your marketing and recruitment to the next level.


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New & Next Ideas

Get a fresh perspective on how to attract, convert and delight prospective students.

Converge 2017 is the only inbound marketing conference specifically for higher education.

Hand-Picked Speakers

Harvard. UNC Chapel Hill. U Mich. Temple. Real stories from campuses around the world.


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Hand-Picked Speakers

Meet some of the most brilliant marketing minds and thought leaders in higher ed.

Content strategists, analytics advocates and SEO buffs come together to provide the latest information on digital marketing trends.


Get on a first-name basis with people who think like you.


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CMOs, academic deans, VPs of enrollment, web strategists, recruiters — connect with your peers in higher education.

Join the discussion in Palm Springs.

Recruitment Strategies

Connect with your peers in HEM who are rising above some of higher ed's biggest challenges.


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Recruitment Strategies

Get a fresh perspective on how to attract, convert and delight prospective students.
Brainstorm ways to advance enrollment and retention at your institution.

Interactive Workshops

Google Analytics. Digital Advertising. Recruitment. Pre-conference sessions that target the areas you want to know about.


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Interactive Workshops

Whether you're interested in measuring data with Google Analytics or setting up an advertising campaign in AdWords, there's a workshop for every member of your team at Converge 2017.

Professional Headshots

4 days in paradise. 365 days of inspiration. Professional photos to document the experience.


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Professional Headshots

Our friendly photographer, Dan Kempf, returns to Converge 2017. He'll be capturing all of the important moments and highlights to share with you later.

Say goodbye to your LinkedIn #selfie. Stop by his booth for your next profile picture.



This year’s Converge Conference will be held at the Omni Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa, a luxury hotel in the heart of Rancho Mirage, California.

The hotel is offering a discounted hotel rate of $249 per night. This rate is available until January 6, 2017. The hotel is expected to sell out, so it is in your best interest to reserve your hotel room as soon as possible by using the dedicated booking site or by calling the hotel at 760.568.2727 and mention the Converge Consulting Conference.

If you have any questions regarding your reservation, please reach out to Paige Terlaje, Reservations Manager at 760.834.2150 or Email at Paige.Terlaje@omnihotels.com.

41000 Bob Hope Drive
Rancho Mirage, California 92270

(760) 568-2727

Book Your Room Now

Things to do

  1. Play, See, Do

    Stroll the weekly Palm Springs Villagefest, catch a polo match at Empire Polo Club, enjoy a hike through Indian Canyons or ride to the top of Mt. San Jacinto at the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway.

  2. Put the 'Epic' in Epicurean

    Delight your taste buds at Workshop Kitchen + Bar, Spencer’s Restaurant or LuLu California Bistro, just to name a few.

  3. Pamper Yourself

    Relax and rejuvenate at Agua Serena Spa and Salon or enjoy natural hot mineral waters at Two Bunch Palms.

  4. Fill Your Suitcase

    Explore luxury brands and local shops on El Paseo Shopping District or find big savings at Desert Hills Premium Outlets.

  5. Explore and Learn

    Bust out of the tour bus and explore the San Andrea Fault with Desert Adventures Jeep Tours.

    Looking for more activities in Palm Springs? Here’s a full list (with discounts!) from our friends at the Palm Springs Visitor’s Bureau.



1:30 - 4:00 PM

Pre-Conference: Digital Advertising

Becky Bush, Agency Partner, Google
Hayley Warack, Vice President of Digital Strategy, Converge Consulting

This in-depth session will cover what’s new and next for digital advertising in higher education. Becky Bush, Agency Development Manager at Google, and Hayley Warack, Vice President of Digital Strategy at Converge Consulting, will share best practices, optimization tips and strategies that can enhance your current digital advertising efforts.

In addition to discussing Google AdWords, part of the workshop will cover other advertising platforms including Bing, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn. Popular programmatic display strategies like: geofencing, IP targeting, contextual targeting and behavioral targeting will also be covered. Participants will walk away with actionable strategies and tactics they can implement as soon as they get back to campus.

1:30 - 4:00PM

Pre-Conference: Recruitment Bootcamp

Dr. Brenda Harms, Founder and CEO, Harms Consulting

Are you charged with growing enrollment in your adult and graduate market? Struggling to achieve the enrollment numbers that were considered the norm of past years? Or simply looking to ensure that your current recruitment process is keeping up with your competitor set? If any of these scenarios sound familiar please sign up for “Recruitment Bootcamp” with Dr. Brenda Harms to immerse yourself in the process of improving your current approach!

From communication flow, recruitment touch-points and telephone scripts to the benefits of relational recruitment and the needed approach to convert digital leads, this session will be a great starting point to taking a serious look at what you are doing and how you can build on (or create) your existing process.

1:30 - 4:00 PM

Pre-Conference: Google Analytics

Barrett Baffert, Director of Digital Marketing, The University of Arizona
Ryan Lindsay, Director of Web Strategy, Converge Consulting

This interactive session will provide you all of the resources you need to develop an institution-wide analytics strategy to prove marketing ROI. Barrett Baffert, Director of Digital Marketing at The University of Arizona, and Ryan Lindsay, Director of Web Strategy at Converge Consulting, will present methodology on ensuring you are tracking accurate and meaningful data while addressing resolutions to common challenges facing an analytics project. Participants will walk away with actionable next steps to begin their path towards data driven marketing.

5:00 - 6:15 PM

Keynote: Developing a distributed content strategy: Where we are now, and what's next?

Mike Petroff, Associate Director, Digital Content Strategy, Harvard University

How do you thrive in a digital world that is constantly splintering? In this presentation and Q&A, Mike will discuss how Harvard's digital team thinks strategically about distributed content models, storytelling on multiple platforms and measurement. Bring your questions, stories and aspirations to this engaging conversation!

6:30 - 7:30 PM

Meet Up Cocktail Hour

​Join us for the Converge 2017 Meet Up to kickoff our third annual Inbound Marketing Conference. Light appetizers and drinks will be served on the Sunrise Terrace. See you there!

8:00 - 8:30 AM

Welcome to Palm Springs!

Converge CEO, Ann Oleson, and company president, Jay Kelly, welcome attendees to beautiful Palm Springs.

8:30 - 9:30 AM

Keynote: University Marketing and Communications in the Age of Digital Disruption

Michael Schinelli, Chief Marketing Officer, UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School

From student recruiting and philanthropic outreach to content engagement and brand positioning, higher education is facing unprecedented disruptions in the form of new prospect expectations, rapidly evolving technologies and heightened competition. Surviving and thriving in this dynamic digital ecosystem requires challenging ourselves to not only adapt to change, but to lead it. In his keynote, Michael Schinelli, Chief Marketing Officer at UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School will: 1. Provide an overview of emerging trends and challenges. 2. Offer strategic frameworks for navigating digital disruption. 3. And, highlight essential intersections between marketing, technology and data.

9:45 - 10:00 AM

Networking Break & Dedicated Exhibit Hall Time

Refuel on coffee and discover new tools to improve your marketing efforts in our Exhibit Hall.

10:00 - 11:00 AM

Track #1: Not for the Faint of Heart - Digging Deep Within Your OLD Lead Pool

Dr. Brenda Harms, Founder and CEO, Harms Consulting

While many schools believe they are in desperate need of more leads, smart schools are taking a deep look into how they can convert a larger portion of their existing lead pool by utilizing an intentional re-engagement strategy for those who do not move quickly to application status. Explore ways to maximize your lead conversion through intentional strategies focused on the OLD lead pool. In this engaging session we will discuss the myth of “qualified leads," the glory of the 30-day recruiting cycle, and other remnants of recruitment left over from the late 90’s, and take a more realistic look at what it will take to create enrollment success in today’s sluggish adult and graduate markets through dialogue around industry benchmarks and observed successes. This is not easy work, but for those willing to engage, you will find there are still nuggets of pure gold yet to be pulled from the leads of the past.

10:00 - 11:00 AM

Track #2: Conversion-Centered Design: From Idea To Test To Optimize

Brendan Sera-Shriar, Co-Founder and Conversion Strategist, DayChamp

Designing an optimized landing page isn't exactly a cakewalk. If you want to achieve a respectable conversion rate, that is. With Conversion Centered Design (CCD) we can design experiences that are specifically targeted to achieve a single business goal: download, sign-up, buy, etc. In this presentation we'll look at 7 key principles that can help us with design, copy writing and advertising. We'll look at how to test and optimize to ensure the highest possible conversion rates!

11:15 AM - 12:15 PM

Keynote: Building a Powerhouse Marcomm Team from the Ground Up and Within

Christine Hutchins, VP of Communication & Marketing, Mt. Holyoke College

Discover how Mount Holyoke College's Office of Communications and Marketing reinvented itself from silo-centric units into a true integrated marketing and communications structure. Examine several initiatives that have transformed the department and campus.  Finally, learn from its challenges and opportunities in developing a powerhouse marcomm team for the future.

12:15 - 1:45 PM

Lunch on Your Own

1:45 - 2:45 PM

Track #1: Content Strategy & The Higher Ed Marketer: A Love Story

Brittney Dunkins, Director of Content Strategy, Converge Consulting

Ever heard of content strategy? Most people know the story, but few higher education marketers are equipped to tell the tale. It takes hard work and dedication to be a campus content strategist. This session is for marketers who are willing to make it happen. We’ll walk through key terms and strategies that every campus marketer should know—like communication workflow, content calendar, user persona and more—and share case studies of schools who are applying strategy to make magical content that is usable, purposeful and compelling.

1:45 - 2:45 PM

Track #2: Ready for Disruption?: Prospective Student Perspectives on the Higher Education Value Proposition

Joselyn Zivin, PhD, Director, Huron Consulting

Does your institution really understand what it must do to compete for a student’s enrollment choice in today’s competitive degree market? Huron Consulting Group’s Joselyn Zivin will share fresh market research data from a national study with prospective students (undergraduate and Masters) about what they expect in attaining higher education degrees today and what colleges and universities must do to align to these expectations. Research findings will compare prospective student types with respect to their “readiness for disruption” – that is, their interest in non-traditional approaches (credentialing, outcome-focus, new delivery modalities) – and their brand and ROI sensitivity.

2:45 - 3:00 PM

Networking Break & Dedicated Exhibit Hall Time

Refuel on coffee and discover new tools to improve your marketing efforts in our Exhibit Hall.

3:00 - 4:00 PM

Track #1: Storytelling with the Three E’s

Yasin Id-Deen, Social Media Manager, University of Michigan

A step-by-step approach for developing strategic, thematic content. Learn how to use the three Es: educate, entertain and excite your audience to package and deliver your content. We will be unboxing social and “taking the shiny out of social media."

3:00 - 4:00 PM

Track #2: Stories, Tips and Trips: A Father's College Search Experience with His Daughter

Brian Niles, Founder & Chief Evangelist, TargetX

After more than 25 years of working for and with hundreds of colleges and universities, this enrollment professional now finds himself on the other side as a father experiencing the college search experience. During this session, Brian Niles will share his first hand experiences as a parent shadowing his daughter, Sarah, exploring the mail, email, events and other attempts to get her attention while embracing (or not) the parent in the process. In typical fashion, Brian won't hold back in hopes to spur effective change in reaching today's youth.

4:15 - 5:15 PM

Keynote: The Thing About Work: Showing Up And Other Important Matters

Dr. Richard Moran, President, Menlo College

Richard Moran is an unusual college president. In addition to leading Menlo College, he is a best-selling author, radio host and former venture capitalist. His comments about today's workplace are insightful, funny and prescriptive. He will explore some of today's conundrums in his talk.

6:00 - 9:00 PM

Wednesday Night Reception

​We're hosting a California Beach BBQ and you're invited! Beat the heat with a cool drink on the 5th Fairway overlooking the Omni Rancho Las Palmas Hotel.

8:30 - 9:30 AM

Keynote: Why Rejection is Awesome

Jia Jiang, Founder, Wuju Learning

Jia Jiang knows first-hand how the fear of rejection can hold us back. The tendency to avoid it at all costs can be detrimental to our business, our careers, our lives. Determined to change that, Jia takes us down a path where rejection, instead of being avoided, is deliberately and actively sought. Jia's session will surprise you and teach you something you have never thought about before.

9:45 - 10:45 AM

Track #1: Hello, Data. Meet, Real World.

Jason Simon, Vice President and Partner, SimpsonScarborough

In today’s digital marketing reality we’re overloaded with data. The real challenge comes in interpreting which things are most meaningful in driving your brand strategies, bringing that to life and measuring its impact on your institution’s long-term brand equity. This session will share key research insights and the steps that led to focused brand strategies, interesting creative and lasting results.

9:45 - 10:45 AM

Track #2: What Online Learners Say about Online Learning

Scott Jeffe, Director of Market Research and Operations, Aslanian Market Research

Each year, Aslanian Market Research and the Learning House conduct a national survey of 1,500 online learners. Among the data gathered there are answers to what every marketer needs to know about the “four Ps” – product, place, promotion and price. How often can you find answers to all of these from one source? Come to this session and find out all you need to know to ensure that your marketing and promotion of your online programs is as effective as it can possibly be.

10:45 - 11:00 AM

Networking Break & Dedicated Exhibit Hall Time

Refuel on coffee and discover new tools to improve your marketing efforts in our Exhibit Hall.

11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Track #1: Insights from LinkedIn: How the Student Enrollment Journey Has Changed

Saied Amiry, Global Director, Education Vertical Marketing, LinkedIn

Over the past decade, it has become increasingly challenging for marketers in higher education to convert prospective students to enrolled students. Why? LinkedIn will share insights from over 1,600 members that showcase how the higher education decision journey has changed in the digital age.

11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Track #2: Back from Converge 2017. Now what?

Issa DiSciullo, Assistant Dean of Admissions, Drexel University Thomas R. Kline School of Law

Informative conferences leave us feeling empowered, inspired and ready to take on whatever comes our way. Then we arrive home and reality starts to sink in. We take notice of all of the valuable information that we gathered at the conference – pages and pages of notes – but don’t know where to start. We resolve to file away our conference materials “for now,” yet they are never seen again. Attending conferences and trainings is only half the battle. The other half is what to do with this new knowledge once you return to your home base. This session will help you to identify simple strategies and techniques to keep the momentum going so that you can begin implementing some of these new and next ideas!

12:00 - 1:30 PM

Lunch on Your Own

1:30 - 2:30 PM

Keynote: Developing an Authentic and Market Relevant Brand

John Clarke, Associate Dean for Graduate Programs, Tulane University

You can build a brand, but what you say and what you do is how the brand will be defined. How authentic is your brand? Does how you act in the marketplace match that brand? If this isn’t really who you are, the brand doesn’t have the same value.
Join John Clarke as he tells the story of rebranding Tulane University’s Freeman School of Business and Economics. This session will detail lessons learned from personal experience with authentic storytelling in higher education.

2:30 - 2:45 PM

Networking Break & Dedicated Exhibit Hall Time

Refuel on coffee and discover new tools to improve your marketing efforts in our Exhibit Hall.

2:45 - 3:45 PM

Track #1: The Future Of Marketing For Higher Education

Britney Muller, SEO & Content Architect, Moz

Learn how data integrations can help your College or University find the right students (the right fit). We'll discuss strategic inbound content marketing, geo-targeting, social media and advanced outreach tactics that'll take your marketing strategy to the next level. The future of higher education marketing will integrate Data Science and Machine Learning (predictive marketing) and better make sense of big data.

2:45 - 3:45 PM

Track #2: Implementation: Establishing New Marketing Strategies on the Fly!

Debra Mitchell Benavente, Vice President, Enrollment Management & Student Affairs, Southern California University of Health Sciences
Luke Phillips, Executive Director of Marketing, Southern California University of Health Sciences
Jeff Corral, Associate Vice President of Enrollment Management & Student Affairs, Southern California California University of Health Sciences

Colleges and Universities are often put in a position where taking measures for patch-and-repair, stop-gap, “lets-just-get-leads” marketing is the only option. You might be in a transition. Maybe you’re waiting until a new Marketing Director is hired. Perhaps the marketing ball is in your court unexpectedly but you’ve never had to drive leads before. Fear not! This presentation will help you start from scratch. Learn how to take little time and resources and accomplish big marketing goals by pulling the right levers at the right time.

4:00 - 5:00 PM

Master Class: Gain Authentic Confidence and Become Fearless

Jia Jiang, Founder, Wuju Learning

#1 best-selling author and rejection expert Jia Jiang journeyed through 100 Days of Rejection, beat fear and became invincible. Now, he wants to help you start your own journey to gain authentic confidence and become rejection proof. Engage in conversation that will transform rejection as you know it and empower you to dream bigger, achieve higher and do more.

5:00 - 5:30 PM

Conference Wrap Up

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Converge 2015 | New Orleans

See what happened at our last conference.
Big ideas in the Big Easy.

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We are thrilled to have some of the best and brightest companies joining us in the Converge 2017 Exhibit Hall.

Spend some time connecting with these smart people during your stay in Palm Springs. They’ll be at their booths each morning and during all networking breaks.

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February 21-23, 2017

At the Omni Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa, CA

Register Now!