News About The Napa Group and Our Clients

The Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) has launched a year-long strategic planning process. In their announcement, CASE President Sue Cunningham and Board Chair Mike Goodwin said “this vitally important project will help CASE define our vision and aspirations for the next 10 to 15 years and create an initial five-year roadmap to achieve our objectives.” They encouraged institutional, organizational and professional members to participate in the “highly engaging, interactive and inclusive” planning activity “to help shape the future of CASE.” The membership association includes more than 3,600 institutions and organizations globally serving more than 81,000 members in 82 countries.. The Napa Group will facilitate the process, working closely with the executive team, board of trustees and a special project steering committee.


The Nittany Lions’ Intercollegiate Athletics program has begun a strategic planning process to establish a “compelling and clear vision of success and a set of strategic goals for the next five years,” says Athletics Director Sandy Barbour. The project will be aligned with Penn State University’s strategic planning project that is being championed by President Eric J. Barron, who assumed his position last year.


Mike Goodwin, who is nationally recognized for his fundraising expertise, was named the 2014 recipient of the Allan Price Award for Distinguished Service to the Fundraising Profession by the Association of Fundraising Professionals Oregon and SW Washington Chapter. With more than 39 years of experience in institutional advancement, Goodwin is president and CEO of the Oregon State University Foundation and oversaw Oregon State University’s recently completed $1 billion campaign, the university’s first campus-wide fundraising campaign, which exceeded its goal. Prior to that, he led Georgetown University’s first successful $1 billion campaign and directed the first comprehensive campaign at Washington State University. Goodwin is chair-elect of the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), an international higher education advancement organization. Goodwin is highly regarded for bringing solid business principles and a strong emphasis on relationship-building and teamwork to nonprofit organizations.


Sandy Barbour and Phil Esten are leading the new team for Penn State Intercollegiate Athletics. Barbour, who began in August as the first woman to lead the Big Ten program, took with her more than 30 years of experience, most recently as director of athletics at the University of California-Berkeley for the past 10 years, and previous positions including Notre Dame and Tulane. Phil, who was deputy director of athletics for external relations for the Calbears, joined her in October as deputy director and chief operating officer for the Nittany Lions. They oversee a 31-sport athletics program with 850 student-athletes and a staff of more than 300. Barbour has also played key leadership roles in the NCAA and Pac-12. Esten, who began his career in intercollegiate athletics at both the University of Minnesota and Ohio State, also has a strong presence in university advancement as the previous president and CEO of the University of Minnesota Alumni Association.


The Napa Group is pleased to announce that it is working with BoardSource, the only organization in the U.S. focused exclusively on nonprofit governance practices, to expand board leadership and governance expertise to our clients. “As the dynamic changes in higher education require more productive partnerships between institutional leaders, faculty and boards, our relationship with BoardSource will allow us to bring more extensive resources and tools to our clients and colleagues,” said RJ Valentino, president of The Napa Group. “These include presidents, leadership teams and governance and advisory boards for colleges and universities and units within them as well as institutionally related foundations, alumni associations and other non-profit organizations.”

Established in 1988 to address nonprofit sector needs, BoardSource focuses its mission on advancing the public good by building exceptional nonprofit boards and inspiring board service through hundreds of widely used publications, training programs, assessment services, consulting and the annual BoardSource Leadership Forum. A bi-annual leadership initiative, the BoardSource Nonprofit Governance Index, is the only large-scale, cross-sector governance survey that includes responses from both board members and executive staff; it collects responses from more than 1,300 nonprofit organizations including higher education institutions. BoardSource’s customizable, solutions-oriented expertise has enabled boards to reimagine their roles and align their practices with industry standards and to optimally drive organizational performance through engagement around mission objectives and financial outcomes.

“At BoardSource, we are deeply committed to ensuring that nonprofit organizations have access to board leadership resources and consulting services that are rooted in best practice. It is for that reason we are so pleased to have the opportunity to work more closely with organizations like The Napa Group who are committed to strengthening nonprofit governance and leadership,” said Anne Wallestad, president & CEO of BoardSource.

Under the leadership of new dean and senior vice president Lee Hamm, MD, the Tulane School of Medicine has announced Vision 2020, the result of an intensive six-month strategic planning process.

Vision 2020’s strategic priorities include expanding translational research, enhancing value in lifetime education and identifying other areas of distinction through cross-institutional collaborations between the School, the Primate Center and the Tropical Disease Center. Chaired by Tonette Krousel-Wood, MD, associate dean and associate provost for health sciences, the planning project engaged nearly 1,000 alumni, students, trainees, faculty and staff earlier this year in stakeholder surveys. More than 100 faculty, staff and students served on planning committees that developed specific activities to bring the plan to life. As the University prepares to welcome a new president, this plan provides the School’s defined areas of focus and priorities to further enhance its position in the dynamically changing environment of Academic Medical Centers. . As a result of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the School of Medicine temporarily relocated to Baylor University in Texas, and as part of its reestablishment in New Orleans has been a major partner in the city’s and region’s renewal.


The Board of Trustees of Regis University in Denver has approved key elements of the Jesuit institution’s strategic plan, including the formation of two new colleges to take advantage of market opportunities in the dynamic higher education market. The establishment of the college of Computer & Information Sciences involves combining academic units from Regis’ three existing colleges and university investment to support growth in areas such as cybersecurity, health informatics and data science, which are strong economic drivers in Regis’ market. Establishment of a College of Business will also be launched with components of existing programs to respond to some of the largest enrollments in schools and divisions across Regis.

President John Fitzgibbons, S.J., led a collaborative and inclusive process that engaged the full university community, existing and new members of his executive team and the university’s board in exploring and addressing bold goals and structural changes that leverage Regis’s core liberal arts college and its pioneering positions in online education and health sciences. The university is creating an implementation blueprint that actualize these decisions over the next several years. Regis’ strategic plan website is one tool for keeping its community informed.


Jane Whitfield, who held senior positions in the nonprofit world for the past 20 years, was named president and chief executive officer of the Pentagon Federal Credit Union Foundation, or the PenFed Foundation, a nationally recognized nonprofit organization working to meet the unmet needs of military personnel and their families in financial literacy, housing and support for the wounded. Coming from a military family as well as careers in sales, marketing and nonprofits, Whitfield, as the first female head of the foundation, is poised to bring new perspectives to PenFed leadership and service through a strategic planning project.


President James A. Donahue, a theologian who is the first lay president of Saint Mary’s College of California, launched a comprehensive strategic planning process to position the college around a vital future of intellectual vibrancy, financial strength and innovation. Through a leadership driven, yet highly inclusive and collaborative process, this plan will integrate other major initiatives, such as academic blueprint, master planning and its marketing and branding program. These activities when linked together will not only provide a runway for accelerated outcomes, but also for market distinction and growth.

As the first non-Christian Brother to lead Saint Mary’s in 150 years, Donahue described his vision for the liberal arts college in his inaugural address in October 2013 – a college that “illuminates the landscape of higher education.” The San Francisco Bay Area institution is one of only 40 liberal arts colleges in the nation with the distinction of “Colleges That Change Lives.” Donahue is the former president of the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, and previously was vice president of student affairs at Georgetown University.


“I’m generally anti-process, anti-strategic planning, but I recognized the need for our School to think strategically about our future. The Napa Group experts brought their vast skill set to the project – from strategy to communications to project management. They also understood the particular culture of public universities and were able to deftly communicate with our varied constituents and adapt accordingly. We came away with a detailed road map for our future, which we use every day.”

Frank D. Gilliam Jr., Dean, UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs