ISM Consultant | Advancement Academy Convener
Penny Abrahams first joined Independent School Management in 2010 as a member of the Advancement Academy’s founding faculty. As a Consultant, she specializes in marketing communications, enrollment management, and development. Her experience in these areas comes from working in private-independent schools for more than 13 years and serving various other non-profits for an additional seven years.
Her areas of expertise and passion include:
- conducting assessments for enrollment management and marketing communications programs
- completing volunteer group audits including parent and alumni associations
- building and implementing strategic enrollment management, marketing communications, and advancement plans
- developing and executing digital and inbound marketing strategies
- crafting marketing message frameworks and fundraising Case Statements
- providing advice and coaching for media relations and crisis communication planning
- constructing creative staffing structure solutions to optimize function
Penny’s duties as a Consultant also include co-leading ISM’s Digital Solutions team, which provides done-for-you inbound marketing content and advertising services for client schools. Since 2018 she has served as the Convener for ISM’s Advancement Academy, a premier professional development conference that educates and mentors Heads of School and development, enrollment management, and marketing communications professionals.
Penny leads multiple in-person and online workshops for ISM related to marketing communications and enrollment management, and she frequently speaks at regional and national education conferences. She also is a regular contributor to ISM’s flagship publication, Ideas & Perspectives.
Penny began her career in schools in 2001 at Ravenscroft, a Pre-K through grade 12 school in Raleigh, N.C. As the Annual Fund Director, she managed all aspects of the school’s annual giving program, overseeing a team of volunteers responsible for raising nearly $600,000. Penny later became Ravenscroft’s Director of Communications and was charged with building the school’s communications program from the ground up. From 2013-17, Penny served as the Director of Admissions & Marketing at Academy at the Lakes, a Pre-K 3 through grade 12 school located in Tampa, Fla., where she helped the school reach record application and enrollment numbers.
Before her time in private-independent schools, Penny worked in publications and media relations for the University of Texas, the Memphis Center City Commission, and U.S. Synchronized Swimming.
She graduated with a B.A. in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and holds a Digital Marketing Certificate from the University of Vermont. She also attained International Advancement Program—Leader certification in 2012.