Asset 12@5x.png

April 17–18, 2019    Portland, OR

ListenUp EDU 2018 in Chicago was a success! Next stop: Portland. Explore how a culture of listening, service, and trust-building accelerates student success, marketing and communications, alumni engagement, and advancement.

Switchboard Listen Up Chicago Conference 184 - By Bill Healy - 181017.jpg


Higher education is facing a crisis of trust. When members of your community feel heard, invested in, and served by your institution, they’ll trust you, volunteer, and donate. Without their trust, our institutions can't survive. The stakes couldn’t be higher: Democracy and the next generation’s economic mobility depend on higher education's ability to get this right.

At ListenUp EDU, we will ditch the typical conference agenda of prosaic presentations and sleepy panels to chart the path ahead for higher ed together. Join us to explore how adopting a culture of listening, service, and trust-building can accelerate student success outcomes, alumni engagement, marketing and communications, and advancement.

You will:

  • Learn listening and service strategies for creating lasting change at your institution
  • Help build a movement to solve higher ed's most daunting problems
  • Form lasting working relationships with the best of the best in higher ed

Learn more about why we chose this conference format here.


2018 Speakers

ListenUp EDU 2018 was a success thanks to the help of these speakers:

 Khristina Gonzalez

Khristina Gonzalez, Ph.D

Associate Dean of the College and Director of Programs for Access and Inclusion

Princeton University

 Tim Jones

Tim Jones

Chief Communications & Integrated Marketing Officer

Beloit College

 Briand LeDuc

Brian LeDuc

Chief Experience Officer, Mssn

Board Member, Roger Williams University Alumni Association


Karyn McCoy

Assistant Vice President, Career Center

DePaul University


Melissa Beckwith

Vice President, Strategy & Innovation

Butler University

 Linda Pantale

Linda Pantale

Associate Director, Career Development

University of Chicago

 Jennifer Brandel

Jennifer Brandel

Co-founder & CEO


 Martin Sickafoose

Martin Sickafoose

Vice President, Alumni Digital Strategy

Purdue Alumni Association

 Chris Dellarocas

Chris Dellarocas

Associate Provost for Digital Learning and Innovation & Richard C. Shipley Professor of Management

Boston University

Devon Moore

Assistant Dean of Students in the College & Director, Center for College Student Success

The University of Chicago

 Ashley Budd

Ashley Budd

Director of Digital Marketing, 
Alumni Affairs & Development

Cornell University

 Bill Campbell

Bill Campbell

Vice President, Marketing and Communications

Chatham University

 Amma Marfo

Amma Marfo

Writer, Consultant, Coach

Fun Enterprises


Kourtney Cockrell

Director of Student Enrichment Services

Northwestern University


Why ListenUp?

"To take my abilities to the next level in higher education listening, I need a conference that allows me to be an active learner and contributor in exploring opportunities and challenges through its multiple layers—tools, workflow, and culture. Everything about ListenUp EDU from the speakers, format and, location, looks to help me do just that."

Matt Duncan
Academic Digital Engagement Strategist
University of Colorado Boulder


"I’m drawn to the focus of ListenUp EDU on listening as a way to better understand an audience and meet their needs. Working with university alumni—they’re a diverse group—and I look forward to learning strategies to engage them in the best ways possible."

Adam Sylvain
Assistant Director, Career Development
Alumni Relations & Development | The University of Chicago


What to Expect

What: One and a half days of sessions, breakout discussions, and networking.
Dress code: Casual dress for windy fall weather.
Who is it for?: We invite innovators at all levels in marketing and communications, enrollment management, career services, student services, alumni affairs, and advancement to attend.


You'll Learn To...


Ask your community what they need by creating a simple, scalable, and straightforward needs assessments


Listen deeply to community needs, prioritize them within institutional workflows, and respond appropriately


Serve the community with agile and cost-effective programs and services, from staff trainings to lightweight software solutions


Discover the unique needs of first-generation and low income students and alumni


Identify and measure successful community outcomes and giving opportunities


Share and amplify success stories into authentic marketing campaigns that drive retention, donations, and innovation


Align marketing and engagement activities with your organization’s goals, objectives, and bottom line


Avoid enrollment melt and identify best-fit students


Contact Us

Email us at with questions or comments about the conference. We welcome your input and speaker recommendations.