Digital Marketing Solutions for Higher Education | Converge Consulting

We’re bold thinkers
who propel the new and
next in education.

 

BOLD
& VITAL

Converge is a bold, indispensable partner for colleges and universities. Our thought-provoking digital strategies connect the next generation of learners with right-fit programs.

EXPERT
& ENTERPRISING

We employ sharp perception, data acumen and digital dexterity to carve a clear path to ROI while revolutionizing the marketplace with New & Next ideas.

Data is the roaring engine behind all of our efforts. We thrive at the forefront of every MarTech trend to help our clients translate the value from industry to EDU.

Our Team

ANN OLESON CEO & Founder
Ann is the heart and soul of Converge. Ann's true passion is education and helping individuals to realize their true potential. Her 20-plus years in education juxtaposed with her drive and desire for what’s new and next gave her the confidence to start Converge. She led the company in writing the first book on Inbound Marketing for Education and made the Inc. 5000 list the past three years. Ann has worked with more than 200 colleges and universities across North America and is eager to discuss hot topics like Blockchain and reminisce the days of CD-ROM viewbooks. When Ann’s not leading the Converge team in Cedar Rapids, Philadelphia and Raleigh-Durham, she’s leading the cheer section of her kids’ softball and baseball games on the weekends.
ANN OLESON
ANN OLESON CEO & Founder

JAY KELLY President & Co-Founder
Jay Kelly was a true Madman before co-founding Converge. While working on Madison Avenue, he helped develop world-renowned brands like Ford Motor Company and Nissan Motors (he fondly remembers the cutting-edge technology days of car phones). Now as a partner at Converge, Jay combines his passion for business development and the mission of higher education to help cultivate the best college brands in the world as they seek the right-fit students.
JAY KELLY
JAY KELLY President & Co-Founder

Jay Morrissey Chief Financial Officer
At Converge, Jay Morrissey is fondly known as Jay$ (Jay-Money). The keeper and balancer of books, he’s far from a Scrooge as his passion for collaborating with teams and shaping the ultimate customer experiences makes him a pivotal player on the Converge team. When he’s not managing budgets, balancing books and crossing t’s and dotting i’s behind the scenes at Converge, Jay$ enjoys volunteering and giving back to Cedar Rapids area, which he has called home for more than 25 years.
Jay Morrissey
Jay Morrissey Chief Financial Officer

Michael Schinelli Chief Strategy Officer
Michael's passion lives at the intersection of strategy, marketing and innovation. His vision, creative and analytical skills have been honed through more than twenty years of results-oriented roles in industry-leading higher education, corporate retail and design organizations.
Michael Schinelli
Michael Schinelli Chief Strategy Officer

Susan Harris Vice President of Operations
Susan is the chief cat herder responsible for the day-to-day operations of Converge. Part wrangler, part process maven, part numbers geek, part fixer, Susan has been working in the digital agency realm for two fantastic decades. You may never see her, but she'll be there making sure the right team is assembled and ready to meet your business challenges.
Susan Harris
Susan Harris Vice President of Operations

HAYLEY WARACK Digital Marketing Principal
Behind Hayley’s cool demeanor and understanding tone is a wealth of knowledge of all things digital. Whether it’s creating dynamic advertising strategies or integrating engaging storytelling and content in digital strategies, Hayley keeps the pulse on all things new and next. In addition, she serves as the point person for our strategic partnerships with Google, Facebook and LinkedIn to bring the best and innovative solutions to the table for product development, training and workshops.
HAYLEY WARACK
HAYLEY WARACK Digital Marketing Principal

BRIAN CONNELLY Business Development Director
Brian is the guy you want to talk to at Converge. He’s a true solutions guy, helping hundreds of universities build successful student yield campaigns. When he was 14 years old, Brian learned the value of hard work and the dollar when he was slipped an extra $2 for helping clean the deli room at his first job. This set the foundation for a career in account management and sales at LinkedIn Edu, EducationDynamics and McCann Erickson. Now at Converge, Brian ensures a perfect partnership with our clients by being there every step of the way and still to this day uses that valuable lesson that a little extra hard work will pay off for our clients.
BRIAN CONNELLY
BRIAN CONNELLY Business Development Director

Connor Kelly Business Development Associate
Connor, the young gun with cool hair, spends most of his time building and fostering important relationships throughout the higher education community. Oftentimes playing the Zen master, he’s able to understand and strategize with higher ed marketers and help them reach goals and KPIs. Don’t be fooled, Connor is not new to the game as he certified in Hubspot Inbound Marketing, Inbound Sales and Google Analytics.
Connor Kelly
Connor Kelly Business Development Associate

MEGAN BYS Marketing Director
The biggest question for Megan is which she likes more: crafting killer content experiences or curating the perfect Spotify playlist? She loves the challenge of finding the next big idea for our blog just as much as searching for the perfect song to energize the team during the work week. Overall, Megan champions Converge’s B2B marketing initiatives and cultivates long-lasting partnerships with some of the best brands in education. Although she lives and breathes all things Converge, she still enjoys the hunt of the perfect microbrew (coffee in the a.m. or beer in the p.m.) and riding the euphoria of attending music festivals. Yes, 2018’s Beychella was that life changing.
MEGAN BYS
MEGAN BYS Marketing Director

GiaPhu Dao Data Analytics Director
GiaPhu reads data like a book, with an eye for detail and an understanding of what it really means. As the Data Analytics Director, he helps clients optimize yield on their marketing spend and harness data to create solutions. A New York native with a decorated history in consulting, technology, data analytics and more, GiaPhu combines his expertise with his confident, can-do attitude to lead the analytics charge alongside new and next innovation at Converge.
GiaPhu Dao
GiaPhu Dao Data Analytics Director

Michelle Rhatigan Omnichannel Director
Michelle is an advertising expert responsible for managing comprehensive marketing campaigns for some of the leading brands in education. She is an avid reader that always has her finger on the pulse of new and next approaches across every channel. Michelle appreciates the occasional Sauvignon Blanc, but she is also a sommelier of digital marketing helping her clients choose the best strategies that drive results.
Michelle Rhatigan
Michelle Rhatigan Omnichannel Director

Daniel Gardner Client Services Director
Daniel understands the importance of on-task project management and brings 10+ years of digital experience to Converge. With a creative mindset grounded in technical expertise, your website is in good hands with Daniel behind the wheel. His past endeavors include project management for custom web design firms all the way to project management for one of the largest companies in the world. Daniel approaches each project as an opportunity to push the boundaries of success.
Daniel Gardner
Daniel Gardner Client Services Director

Lisa Loftus Client Services Director
Lisa has both the creativity to push big ideas forward and the tactical focus to bring them to life. She brings 12+ years of marketing, communication and project management experience to her role as Client Services Director, and she's not afraid to use them. With a passion for building strong relationships, she is energized by collaborating with clients and to find the best New & Next ways of making their dreams come true.
Lisa Loftus
Lisa Loftus Client Services Director

Scott Sorensen Client Services Director
As the point person for numerous projects and client relationships, Scott has officially traded in his college water polo gear for a Converge quarterback jersey. He loves listening, collaborating and solving difficult problems both internally and externally. He ensures the whole team maximizes their output and acts as a chief point of contact for clients, skills he honed while working for one of the largest propriety data companies in the country.
Scott Sorensen
Scott Sorensen Client Services Director

STACEY MCGURK Client Services Director
With great social media comes great responsibility. Stacey's love of staying connected and unwavering pull toward lifelong learning help her bring the best ideas to her role as Client Services Director. Her uncanny ability to understand people and build relationships is clutch in her day-to-day job. Stacey is relentless in her pursuit of client success, and she has her 9+ years of experience to prove it.
STACEY MCGURK
STACEY MCGURK Client Services Director

Amanda Tower Proposal Manager
Not only is Amanda an English expert, but she’s also fluent in RFP. She tackles proposals like an Egyptologist cracking a hieroglyphic code. Amanda is a writer at heart and loves creative concepting for seemingly daunting digital projects. She discovered her love for EDU early in her career and hasn’t looked back. When she isn’t contemplating Oxford commas or 62-page RFPs, you’ll find Amanda in a coffee shop with a book – probably still contemplating – or adding to her massive vinyl record and shoe collection. Amanda dreams of writing the next great American novel or making the perfect cup of Genmaicha tea, whichever comes first.
Amanda Tower
Amanda Tower Proposal Manager

Jennifer Slaymaker Operations Manager
Over the course of her career, Jen has run the gamut of traditional and digital marketing techniques. Her philosophy as a Senior Digital Strategist is to be equal parts advisor and collaborator with her clients. Outside of client relationships, Jen tackles thoughtful process improvement and knowledge transfer to empower her colleagues and build a better/faster/stronger marketing organization.
Jennifer Slaymaker
Jennifer Slaymaker Operations Manager

Ben Ross Digital Manager, Strategy
Given the chance, what would you @AskBenRoss? He's a Digital Strategist who's known for finding hidden value in the market. He's mastered the art of display, SEO, email marketing and sometimes even [redacted] to help companies like Microsoft and AOL see uncharted success. For him, New & Next is just the beginning. Follow Ben and see just how far he'll go.
Ben Ross
Ben Ross Digital Manager, Strategy

Cassie Hansen Digital Manager, Analytics
Technology and higher education are the two sides of the coin that represent Cassie's extensive marketing experience. She is a magician in the way she translates complex sets of data, target audience information and user behavior into data stories with meaningful insights designed to optimize client campaigns that exceed their goals.
Cassie Hansen
Cassie Hansen Digital Manager, Analytics

DANIELLE KIRKPATRICK Digital Manager, Strategy
Danielle's background in account management, project management, digital strategy and marketing make her a Swiss Army Knife of talent. She holds a strong belief that data is the foundation of every strategy. Her mantra: "The story is always in the numbers no matter what you want to learn!" Discovering the surprises and details data reveals, and breaking them down into manageable, actionable insights helps Danielle initiate dynamic and meaningful collaborations.
DANIELLE KIRKPATRICK
DANIELLE KIRKPATRICK Digital Manager, Strategy

Laura Paulsen Digital Manager, Analytics
Laura is a thrill-seeker that finds adventure in exploring mountains of data to discover valuable stories and strategic recommendations. Since writing her first webpage in HTML in the public library when she was 12, she has worked with everything from < a href > to APIs. She is driven by efficiency, analysis and finding optimal solutions for new challenges. Laura applies her love of data to generate optimal results for her clients. < /p >
Laura Paulsen
Laura Paulsen Digital Manager, Analytics

Niki Seggerman Senior Digital Strategist, Trainer
Niki is what we call a Digital Powerhouse. With over 1,500 hours logged in optimizing client campaigns, digital marketing is actually her preferred language. Her experience working in education and with tech companies fuels her training philosophy at Converge, shaping the minds that keep this machine humming.
Niki Seggerman
Niki Seggerman Senior Digital Strategist, Trainer

Aaron Schrock Senior Digital Strategist
Aaron is the synapse that connects best-fit students to their dream schools. (The nerve!) As a Digital Strategist, he has already launched hundreds of superstar campaigns for organizations and higher ed institutions. His certifications as a Google Specialist and a Bing Ads Accredited Professional are only the tip of the iceberg. Trust Aaron to take your campaigns to the next level, then sit back and watch him work his magic.
Aaron Schrock
Aaron Schrock Senior Digital Strategist

Ben Achtabowski Senior Content Strategist
There’s more to Ben than just a man bun, beard and love for whiskey (Hmm, sounds like a persona for a micro-batch distillery.). In fact, he brings more than 10 years of professional writing experience, which includes journalism (Ben's claim to fame is meeting Mohammed Ali.), marketing (He used to name nail polish colors, like “Best Pink Since Floyd.”), project management and corporate communications (Who doesn't love a good press release on the Affordable Care Act?). When Ben’s not crushing content for clients, he’s crushing the pedals on one of his many bikes (Ugh, add that to the micro-batch distillery persona.). P.S. Ben shamelessly wrote this bio. #truestory
Ben Achtabowski
Ben Achtabowski Senior Content Strategist

Chike Lawrence-Mitchell Senior Digital Strategist
Chike is more than just three first names. He's a problem solver, fixer and strategist that goes well beyond marketing. With experience in digital, lead generation and content development for leading brands, he uses communication tools to make waves in mission-driven environments. Digital advertising is more than just his speciality, it's what Converge considers his gift to mankind.
Chike Lawrence-Mitchell
Chike Lawrence-Mitchell Senior Digital Strategist

Christian Larsen Senior Content Strategist
Christian cares about your message. From finding out what makes your offerings unique to matching them with the people that want and need them. With a mind for marketing and a heart for content, Christian has worked with educational institutions of all stripes throughout the country and looks forward to collaborating with even more of the most innovative brands in education.
Christian Larsen
Christian Larsen Senior Content Strategist

Colleen Wood Senior Designer
The avant-garde of Converge, Colleen uses a keen eye for design to create captivating work for our clients. She takes two parts mind-blowing graphic design skills, one part established university branding and a dash of general awesomeness to concoct wonderful visual advertising and brand solutions. Not to mention she’s always making the office happy by bringing in actual delicious recipes that range from maple bacon cupcakes to Irish potatoes. Yum!
Colleen Wood
Colleen Wood Senior Designer

Maddie Shepard Senior Omnichannel Analyst
Maddie's a true Renaissance woman. She sees data and analytics like no other, putting them to work in not-so-mysterious ways. Her specialities include data visualizations for campaign performance, including user-friendly dashboards that help clients' campaigns run smoothly. Maddie is Google AdWords and Analytics certified, and she's guaranteed to knock your socks off.
Maddie Shepard
Maddie Shepard Senior Omnichannel Analyst

Mel Doudna Senior Digital Strategist
Mel's number two goal in life: to connect students with their dream schools. She uses the perfect messaging and laser-focused strategy to elevate the marketing landscape. Her decade of experience in digital marketing and communications is evident through the blood, sweat and tears that go into her work. Her number one goal in life? You'll have to ask her yourself.
Mel Doudna
Mel Doudna Senior Digital Strategist

Alyse Slaughter Digital Strategist
Well versed in integrated marketing communications, Alyse unlocks powerful messages that help universities anticipate what students are looking for and how to delight them with New & Next ideas. As a recent Northwestern grad who's Google AdWords certified, she now reigns over some of the best campaign implementation and optimization we've ever seen.
Alyse Slaughter
Alyse Slaughter Digital Strategist

Hannah Burks Content Strategist
Hannah is a content marketing machine with a knack for fueling the funnel, writing killer copy and ruling the content calendar. She’s developed content of all magnitudes and comes with experience from large public companies and nimble agencies, which means she’s ready for whatever challenge pops up next.
Hannah Burks
Hannah Burks Content Strategist

Kory Boebel Digital Strategist
Kory is more than just a soccer fanatic, outdoor enthusiast and owner of the cutest puppy in the office. He is those things, but he also optimizes, builds and manages digital campaigns for some of the best colleges and universities in the country. Kory brings energy and passion into every account and he is driven by seeing how minor campaign adjustments can make major impacts for his clients.
Kory Boebel
Kory Boebel Digital Strategist

Maddie Cantrell Data Analyst
Maddie Cantrell is a self-described data nerd with a knack for making people laugh. When she is not analyzing campaign performance, you can find her performing comedy at ComedyWorx in Raleigh. She knows your data is no joke, and seriously takes everything into consideration when crafting the best data analytics and SEO strategies. Before Converge, she worked in various digital analytics and SEO roles for companies large and small.
Maddie Cantrell
Maddie Cantrell Data Analyst

Samtha Reddy Data Wrangler
Samtha is passionate and self-motivated to use data analytics and machine learning models to build high-quality products/process/solutions that are useful for people. Before Converge, she worked in the IT sector designing and building CRM (Customer Relationship Management) applications. She is a keen advocate for more women in tech and worked as outreach ambassador encouraging female students to take up careers in computing.
Samtha Reddy
Samtha Reddy Data Wrangler

Sarah Stanis Digital Strategist

Sarah journeyed to Iowa from Michigan after graduating in 2016 with a Bachelor of Arts in Advertising Management + Media.  She loves designing her house, designing her closet with the latest trends, but most importantly loves designing the best strategy for our digital campaigns. As a digital strategist, Sarah works to create a great relationship between clients and prospective students. If in need of great recipes or design advice, Sarah is the first person you should call. 

Sarah Stanis
Sarah Stanis Digital Strategist

Scott Lederer Content Strategist
Scott's digital marketing career has afforded him the opportunity to work on both the east and west coast. He has never admitted which coast he prefers, but he has mentioned that he hates cold weather. He is a culinary master of taking complex ideas and boiling them down into their most essential and powerful messages. Scott trusts the process of using top-notch content strategy to help schools tell compelling stories.
Scott Lederer
Scott Lederer Content Strategist

Taylor Gehrls Data Analyst
Taylor has a passion for all things digital. At Converge she is able to drive innovative strategy by leveraging her love for analytics and reporting into effective campaigns with tangible results. Taylor is an artist that paints beautiful masterpieces of data for her clients to visualize, but when she takes the time to put down the paint brush you might find her at one of the local farmer's markets, fairs or outdoor concerts.
Taylor Gehrls
Taylor Gehrls Data Analyst

BECKY VARDAMAN Data Analyst
Becky is naturally curious about all things MarTech and incorporates the latest trends into her recommendations for Converge clients. She supports our agency analytics projects and helps some of the best institutions in the country expand their knowledge of Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager implementation and Google Data Studio reports.
BECKY VARDAMAN
BECKY VARDAMAN Data Analyst

Karin Frantz Accounts Payable Manager
If anyone at Converge is confused by the finances, we can always turn to Karin. She is an experienced accountant that assists the team with contracts, pricing and collections. Her passion for numbers and organizational skills are unmatched and set her apart. Karin's motto: Integrity, compassion, kindness, a smile and a positive attitude will always lead to success!
Karin Frantz
Karin Frantz Accounts Payable Manager

Meri Pusteoska Contracts/Invoicing Manager
Meri's considerable experience makes her a connoisseur of project management and client relationship building. She can be seen the genesis of every new partnership we form at contract signage and she remains present throughout implementation. Meri has a not-so-hidden talent for keeping us all in line and making sure projects launch on time, within scope and on budget.
Meri Pusteoska
Meri Pusteoska Contracts/Invoicing Manager

Morgan Diestler Account Associate
Morgan is a junior at the University of Iowa studying Business Analytics and Marketing. In her role as an account associate, she helps with implementing and optimizing digital advertising campaigns across search and social media. Morgan is passionate about taking data and turning it into useful information that connects right-fit students with our client partners.
Morgan Diestler
Morgan Diestler Account Associate

Dane Cronbaugh Digital Marketing Intern
Dane is a senior at the University of Iowa studying Marketing. As a bold thinker, he is constantly looking for new and next ideas. His love for staying on the cutting edge allows him to take our client's digital strategy to next level. He thinks optimizing campaigns is the best thing since sliced bread and has a passion for generating meaningful leads to help you reach your enrollment goals. In his free time, you can find him on the basketball court, watching re-runs of The Office or working through a large pepperoni and sausage pizza.
Dane Cronbaugh
Dane Cronbaugh Digital Marketing Intern

Evan Kelly Digital Marketing Intern
Evan is a rising junior at Rowan University with a Marketing major and a passion for numbers and analytics. As an intern at Converge, he brings a new set of "Kelly" eyes and a different perspective as to how we as a company can connect with right fit students. Although Evan is new, he has certifications in HubSpot Inbound Marketing, Google AdWords, and Google Analytics. In his free time, you can catch Evan hanging out at the Jersey Shore or stuffing his face with a Philly cheesesteak.
Evan Kelly
Evan Kelly Digital Marketing Intern

Harrison Schultz Digital Marketing Intern
Harrison is forty-nine percent iced coffee, twenty-three percent Spotify playlist, and one hundred percent passionate about utilizing data-driven decision making to deliver the best results to any of our partner clients. As he enters his third year of college, he wishes to help our clients help their prospective students. Always wanting to move forward and never backward, Harrison is dedicated to pursuing whatever may be #NewAndNext and being able to justify those pursuits with the right information.
Harrison Schultz
Harrison Schultz Digital Marketing Intern

Olivia Schmidt Content Marketing Intern
Olivia is a senior at the University of Northern Iowa studying Public Relations and Digital Media. Her role as a Content Marketing Strategy Intern provides her with the ability to showcase her skills through creating internal marketing materials for Converge. Olivia's passion for "making up for lost kindergarten naps" has never hindered how hard she works for us and our clients and with an extreme amount of coffee, she's always ready to take on new projects.
Olivia Schmidt
Olivia Schmidt Content Marketing Intern