75. How To Effectively Lead and Market Summer Camps Auxiliary Programs For Independent Schools with Nat Saltonstall
In this episode of Mindful School Marketing, we welcome Nat Saltonstall, Founder and Executive Director of SPARC, to discuss the strategic aspects of auxiliary programs in independent schools. Nat, with a background deeply rooted in independent education, shares his journey from teaching to directing summer programs and the eventual focus on SPARC. The conversation delves into the challenges faced by schools in terms of sustainability and revenue diversification, emphasizing the need for strategic thinking and effective leadership in auxiliary programs.
About Nat Saltonstall:
Nat is the Founder and Executive Director of SPARC, the Summer Programs and Auxiliary Revenue Collaborative. Nat is passionate about independent schools, experiential education, summer and after school programs, professional networks, and effective leadership.
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Aubrey: Welcome to Mindful School Marketing. I’m Aubrey
Tara: Bursch. And I’m Cara Klaes. Today we’re joined by Nat Staltenstall. Nat is the Founder and Executive Director of SPARK, the Summer Program’s Auxiliary Revenue Collaborative. Nat is passionate about independent schools, experiential education, summer and after school programs, professional networks, and effective leadership.
Welcome, Nat. We’re really glad you’re
Nat: here today. Thanks so much. Happy to be with you both as well. Look forward to the conversation.
Aubrey: Yeah, we’re so excited to have you here. This is a topic that I know auxiliary programs are something that schools are really talking about. And it’s such an important aspect of independent schools.
And I know our audience is really curious about kind of your thoughts on the things we’re going to talk about today. But before we dive in, can you tell us a little bit more about yourself and your work? Um,
Nat: certainly, um, I’m a lifelong independent school guy, I guess I would say I grew up. adjacent to a campus.
I was a faculty brat. I was a student at, at an independent school. And it’s about the only job I’ve known working in independent schools since I got out of college. And so I really, I really love the institution that an independent school is. And it really feels like the environment at which I’m most at home.
Um, so I started out teaching, uh, and, and, and coaching and administrating and doing all sorts of things in schools. But over time, over working at multiple schools, I, I found my, my real deepest love in the management of summer programs. And, And so having worked at a boarding school and a day school and small schools and large schools, I ultimately found my way to, to Beaver Country Day School in suburban Boston, where I spent the greatest chunk of my career over 20 years as the director of summer programs, running a large eight week summer, uh, recreational enrichment series of programs, serving a large number of students on that campus, uh, each summer.
And, and, uh, and really, I loved every minute of it. And I did that right up until, um, 2019 when I left to focus on Spark full time. Spark is an organization that I founded, and it grew out of my professional background of doing this work and becoming more and more. Experience that it passionate about it and loved every opportunity.
Every opportunity I’ve had through my career to sort of share with others. What I think is is really a great aspect to independent schools. So that’s a little bit about my professional path. You know, now, rather than being in a school each day or out, you know Running drop off and pick up in the afternoons.
Like I used to in the summer. I work from home instead of living in the northeast. I live in the southwest in Scottsdale. You can see my backyard here in Arizona. Um, and I work from home with my two dogs and my bare feet and, um, and enjoy that new chapter in my professional life as well. And devoting myself to the work of, of, of spark.
Tara: Thank you so much. That’s a great introduction. And I love hearing about your trajectory. And as an entrepreneur, I love hearing the development and the path to getting to be an entrepreneur and taking your knowledge and experience and turning it into something that you can use to work for yourself and also help others.
So I’m ready to dive in and talk about this because we haven’t had anyone that’s talked specifically about so much. This type of, you know, auxiliary stuff. We’ve been to conferences where it’s a really popular topic. So we’ve really wanted to dive into this for our audiences benefit. So we’re thrilled to have you here to kind of talk about some of the ins and outs and just kind of starting out.
Maybe you can talk about. Like a general overview of why schools should consider to implement these programs. I mean, it’s a lot of work. Right. Um, but, you know, how do you define auxiliary program? Obviously, summer is included in that. And, and, you know, why should schools consider them?
Nat: Yeah, I, why don’t we start with, with what maybe is the most.
I think accepted definition of what auxiliary programs really are. And some schools really do try and stay away from the word, which I completely understand because it’s hard to say it’s hard to spell, um, and, and it really is, is in some ways, um, meaningful that there’s a word that represents this body of work.
But it actually is a meaningless kind of word because it sounds like a bunch of other stuff that’s not as important as the core of what we exist for. So there’s a lot tied into that, that word. But what auxiliary has come to represent for most schools is the collection of Of programming and, and work that the school does outside of the primary program day.
And the biggest chunks that are most commonly under an auxiliary umbrella would be summer programming, whether that’s summer camps, summer schools, enrichment programs, uh, anything that’s happening on campus during the summer. It’s, uh, it’s after school. and enrichment programming, whether that’s extended care, um, or right up through, um, all sorts of opportunities for enrichment throughout the year for schools that offer that.
It’s often vacation programming, if schools choose to offer programming then. And then it’s the body of things that are most often called facility rentals, when schools try to leverage their, their campus and, and monetize facilities through rentals. Um, and that can happen throughout the year. And then beyond that, it’s often school store, um, and at a peril, it might fall under the oversight of an auxiliary director.
Um, and, and, and from that point on a whole host of very Interesting miscellaneous other responsibilities that might include everything from private music lessons, to tutoring, to transportation, to food service, to you name it. Uh, there’s, there’s a pretty interesting list of other things that can easily fit under auxiliary because it’s such a generic title.
But that’s what auxiliary mostly is. And these are not new things that schools are doing. But the concept of bundling them together and thinking of them as a department that is led by someone who’s actually intentionally and strategically thinking about them, that’s what’s emerging as a new development in independent schools.
And that’s what’s very exciting because a number of things have happened. I think that we hear talk in lots of different circles about the business model of independent schools. For many independent schools, uh, feels. Um, broken and the high level of tuition dependency that most independent schools feel, um, is, is a challenge for their long range sustainability.
And so almost every head of school and CFO and board and finance committee is thinking about how do we become a more sustainable business model. And ultimately, it means taking the slice of the pie that is that revenue represented by non tuition sources and thinking about how to widen those slices and decreasing the pressure on tuition.
Advancement has always been there, but there’s a limit to the capacity of advancement for many schools. Many schools don’t operate within endowment, and it feels unattainable. So what’s the alternative? It becomes these Auxiliary sources, and if they can really heighten and grow and improve what they’re doing in auxiliary, it makes a meaningful impact on the long range sustainability of schools.
So that’s happening at schools, big and small, healthy and less healthy. And, and that’s sort of the backdrop against how spark has emerged as an organization to try to serve school. Um, serve schools in developing best practices and really improve the way in which they’re making an impact in the way they want.
Aubrey: Wow. I am so excited about a lot of things that you said there. Um, I love the idea about rethinking the way we’re thinking about auxiliary programs and how you said strategically thinking like how are, who, who’s in charge of strategically thinking about that for a school? And when, I mean, as we saw with COVID, we can’t tie all our.
Revenue up in tuition fees, right? Like it’s, it’s got to come from somewhere else, right? So diversifying revenue and rethinking that and we do see those board conversations happening now more than ever. Um, so I’m so glad you touched on all those things. I’m curious. So let’s say, um, I know you obviously work with many people on auxiliary programs and support them and have seen everything, um, across the nation, I’m sure.
But what do you think, in your experience, are some of the most important considerations when running auxiliary programs from an administrative and marketing standpoint, specifically?
Nat: Let me answer that maybe by starting a little more general and then zeroing in on the marketing aspect of that. I, I would say in general, you just touched on this, Aubrey, sort of this idea of intentionality and, and, and being strategic. And historically many schools have not been that strategic with auxiliary programs.
They’ve just evolved rather unintentionally over time. And, and that’s not a recipe for success, uh, in a market that’s become more and more competitive and in, um. In an arena where strong leadership is more important than ever. And so I would say the most important thing that we’re seeing and recommending that schools do is become strategic, like they are about their school as a whole, or many other initiatives they undertake, auxiliary programs should be the same.
You should understand why, why it is you’re really Thank you. Generating these programs on your campus. Is it to serve your families? Is it to generate non tuition revenue? Or is it to become a better partner in your community as a school? Or any of the other, you know, possible reasons why? So that’s one, I think schools that have a clearer Um, foundation of understanding around that and agreement around it and have institutionalized that the better off they are, rather than just saying, let’s do the latest and greatest program that we think might be successful in our community.
Um, I think the other key piece that we’re seeing and certainly stressing in our work with schools is leadership the job and this is near and dear to me because I’ve done the job myself for so much of my career. It’s a job that very often for most schools was an add on responsibility. Maybe instead of coaching a season or teaching a section of Algebra 1, you might be the summer program director, and you could get away with doing that all right.
But leadership of these programs today, certainly in a way that generates high quality programming that succeeds in that competitive market, requires expertise and time that hasn’t always been devoted to this. And so schools are needing to become, um, more thoughtful about what the leadership structure is, who the person is.
Is this just a teacher who wants to do something else and make a few extra bucks? Or is it really, hey, let’s go out and find the person with the right skillset who knows how to run a small business under the umbrella of our independent school, um, and do all the different aspects of, of, of that work that are necessary to be successful.
And then the last piece I think really is to get more towards the marketing, it is that marketing piece. I think so many of us who did this work 10, 20, 30 years ago didn’t have to think too much about marketing. We didn’t need to know much about marketing, kind of like the schools themselves. It was just sort of what the admissions director did.
But there weren’t marketing experts. Inside the school. Um, look where we are today. There’s every school on most schools have someone in that role or focused on that role. I know it’s different from being down to small schools, but, um, but that piece of the market becoming more and more competitive, whether you’re running residential programs are running day programs in these markets where not only are you competing against other independent schools, but they’re competing against each other.
Nonprofits for profits that are investing tons of money and aggressive marketing strategies to command the dollars and time of families with kids. It’s not easy. It’s not easy. And so there really needs to be, um, very thoughtful marketing practices associated with the growth or or. Creation of new programs in the summer, especially, um, that aren’t just serving the school families that are your captive audience.
Tara: Yeah, thank you. I, I think, you know, sometimes, um, schools add these on because they need to write because they want to keep their families engaged with their communities over the summer and keep those families happy and have a place for their kids to go. Uh, so they are. Inherently connected oftentimes to the school and some schools make them completely separate, give them a separate name.
So because I’m a website person, and we’ve done summer camp websites stand alone, um, as and also as part of the main school website, I really want to chat a little bit, uh, in drill down specifically in marketing as it relates to websites, um, and summer camp websites actually, you know, and their websites.
So when we work with schools, Okay. We kind of go along with what they’ve already built, or we make recommendations for what might work best for them, depending on how aligned the summer camp is with their current, their current community, or how much broader it’s expanded to. Right. Um, and so I wanted to just kind of pick your brain and see where you fall on that.
Is there a right or wrong answer to do you have your camp website be completely separate? Or do you integrate it with your school website?
Nat: I really believe there’s not a right or wrong answer here, but there’s clearly a different way of doing it that has evolved that I think can serve some schools really well, then just the assumption that because it’s a program, a set of programs or a program run by the school that it has to fall under the larger school website and be a page or a series of sub pages under the larger site itself.
I think it has a lot to do with what’s the demographic of your school? Are you a K 12 school? Are you a K 8 school? And how much that, uh, if we’re talking about summer programs specifically, which we really are, this is less about afterschool and enrichment programs, which more naturally fit under the school’s, um, information on their primary website.
For most summer programs, you gotta Look at that question of how many like you just said to her. How many are you really serving a majority of your own families and students? Or are you trying to extend beyond that the program that I ran at Beaver for so long? I mean, 99. 5 percent of our summer participants were not students of the school.
And they were actually younger. The school that I worked at was a grade six through 12 students, uh, during the school year with 475 students, and our summer program was for three year olds through teens, and we had 800 children each day on campus. So we were twice the size of the school. We were serving families who might be a student at the school someday, but most of We’re not.
It was their first introduction to the school and their needs for what to learn on our website, how to navigate our website, how we presented information to them. It’s totally different than how the school was presenting itself. And so I lobbied heavily until I finally got the opportunity. In the early two thousands to, to break away from the school site to get independence so that we could have our own.
So we are still seeing more and more schools doing that because their goal, they want the freedom to not be bound by the structure of the school site because they feel like their goals are different when it comes to. sharing information through the website, which is their primary marketing tool for most, for most now.
Tara: Yeah. Plus if they have a separate team, separate leadership running the campsite, they want to have autonomy over that and not have to go through, probably go through the school process or the school system. It’s a school has a big CRM that’s hard to manage and hard to understand. Whereas a summer camp website is usually smaller than, than a.
Then, then the main school site, they can build something quicker and easier on a different, maybe Sorry, I
Nat: was just going to say, ultimately, and I think you’re probably both more the expert in this than I am, but, but you’re ultimately building your own SEO as well separately than being buried. School so that may well serve the schools that choose to go that route and try to boost them.
But there’s probably a whole separate conversation within that
Tara: that. Yeah, I think it can it can benefit, you know, in both ways. If the school site has a good authority, domain authority, you can really build off of that too. So at least you should have a page. You should have a page on your school website that That maybe mentions the summer camp and links to the separate site so that there’s still content coming up in search.
It’s a good thing you mentioned SEO actually because I would say in my experience you want your what your school website may have more authority than your summer camp website especially if it’s new so you can get some extra traction and traffic if you’re directing people through your school to the summer camp site.
I don’t want to make this all about websites but of course I could talk about it
Nat: and just to connect it. I feel like the conversation usually starts and I might direct the conversation to start around branding and how are you connecting the brand of your summer community to the larger school and how closely aligned do you want those or how much are you actually maybe wanting to differentiate those based on who you are as a school and your identity and who you want your summer program or how you want to project your summer program and in my case right those were two very different audiences I was trying to reach and so Anyway, we often are really recommending start with that branding conversation and figure out that alignment there.
And even if you’re going to come up with a different brand for your summer programs, think about how it’s aligned. Is it same font and color, but a little offshoot? Or is it some way now an umbrella brand for the school and, and Summer and other programs are nested under that. And from that, it starts to direct how you might think about the auxiliary or summer program specifically, whether they sit within that site or are separate.
And either way, I’m a huge believer there should be easy navigation back and forth in the header or the footer or wherever else it is between the two sites, if they are separate. Yeah, I
Aubrey: Yeah, that’s so interesting. Um, when we’re, we’re, a lot of times we see summer camps that are very different from the, the main school.
And then we see, we’re seeing a trend now, um, especially with a lot of the, the schools that I’m working with where they’re trying to align the summer camps more closely with the school so that it’s almost mirroring kind of offerings of the school or what the school. School’s value proposition or what their signature, you know, kind of ethos is, um, so that they can better, um, kind of funnel people into the school potentially.
Um, so it’s been very interesting and in those cases we’ve seen branding reflect that as well. So I really appreciate you all talking about websites and everything. Um, I’m curious, um. So having worked with a lot of independent schools on summer camp marketing, one of the things I noticed is sometimes there’s a disconnect between like the marketing done by the school and then the marketing done by the camp.
Not that, it’s almost like. As you had mentioned before, like, you know, camp marketing, you know, summer camp marketing or auxiliary program marketing, you know, it’s kind of been like living in a half area here, sort of, and, you know, it’s growing and there’s more strategy needed. But with that, like, I often see that camp.
takes care of their own marketing. And so there’s not kind of the, um, oversight of like a school, you know, someone in the school who is like their designated marketing, um, kind of working with camp. I’m curious, have you seen something like that? And, and like, what would you recommend to schools who are trying to kind of, um, Figure out, you know what to do in that position.
Do you do summer camps have marketing teams or auxiliary programs that they do they need in a marketing team, or I’m just curious what you’ve noticed in that area.
Nat: Yeah, that’s a new frontier as well because I think these marketing roles in schools are Rapidly evolving and and schools are adding capacity there and figuring out what what they focus on.
Um, and the same is true for auxiliary offices, as I described earlier. So the way in which they work together or not. And who does what? Um, I’m I’m usually imagining in. There’s just such a wide spectrum of how different schools handle this and and can’t handle it. Well, but I feel like it’s it’s usually some combination of the three, um, players involved.
It’s the school’s marketing director. If there is that person or department, it’s the auxiliary director or whatever, whomever that person is. And it’s a third party. Um, and in most cases, there’s some work being done by each of the three. But how the work is spread across those three probably varies from school to school.
The most dysfunctional schools are where there’s misaligned understanding and expectation around who does what. You know, auxiliary directors I can often hear who are frustrated because they’re being told they have to rely on the marketing person to do the work, but then the marketing person is so busy doing all the work they have to do that they never get to that.
Auxiliary or summer program work. And so they’re at a stalemate of dysfunction and frustration. And so I think communication, like so many things is key and figuring out what are the things we’re going to work on together, auxiliary director, marketing director, maybe it’s on branding. Or these are the things we’re going to run by you before we go off and go do it ourselves.
As opposed to these things, we have license to go off and do these on our own. And it’s up to me with my own budget to decide whether I’m doing it myself or hiring someone else to do it. I think most schools are trying to find a basic level of marketing expertise in the auxiliary director that they hire as one of the many areas of expertise.
As opposed to thinking about There are not many schools that are hiring, um, unless they’re sizable, some sort of marketing person in their auxiliary department. I, I don’t often see that yet, but I’m sure in some larger school settings, larger auxiliary program settings, that might well be true where maybe an assistant director’s hired and that’s maybe a big area of focus that that person or area of responsibility and they should have that skill set coming in and they can shoulder more.
But it’s some combination I feel like of those three and that there are tremendous resources out there who bring great specialized skills who know how to work effectively with summer program directors and auxiliary directors and can be a great solution.
Tara: you. Um, I’m going to ask another question that wasn’t actually on our list because I just would like to ask this question, which is, um, you know, what, what mistakes have you seen made? Are there anything to warn people against this? And that you see a lot of, we talked about. Being strategic so my guess that might be part of your answer, but maybe if you could speak a little bit to any advice that you’d give to people to organization schools who are considering launching or upgrading enhancing their auxiliary program.
Nat: I was just before this, this conversation I was on a call with a head of school as I often am who is interested in learning more about this and. And she was very self aware, I think, around this potential pitfall. I think that, that happens all too often. I feel like independent schools are fairly risk averse, understandably, and conservative in their leadership style.
Yet they’re excited about the potential that auxiliary programs hold. And, and the, the misaligned expectations of what it requires to invest to achieve an outcome is, is sometimes a real pitfall. I feel like, and, and that, uh. It takes some risk to achieve an outcome. That most heads of school would get excited about and whether that risk is turning that halftime position into a full time position because it takes more time and expertise, um, or, um, any number of things that requires sort of upfront and investment of time, money.
expertise that feels risky. Schools are usually good at adding on things to an already full plate and, and that can work, but it usually will be slower, a slower process to achieve the level of success most school leaders would want tomorrow instead of we’ll get there in five or 10 years. That’s how much we’re putting in to the process.
Tara: When, how long does it take? If a school right now, it’s, you know, maybe, I’m not sure when this is going to air. Hopefully it’ll air early enough in the year. But, I mean, can you start planning a summer camp in December and have it ready to go? What, what’s the timeframe? I know I’ll be shaking your head.
I know that’s not true. No,
Nat: I would say I’m shaking my head just because it’s all over the map, right? We have, uh, it depends what market you’re in, right? Regions of the country. I mean, in Boston, where I was, we launched registration on December 1st every year and we Um, and there was a mad rush in early December, and then we slowly fill the rest of the way up to summer, you can go to Texas and they may not play most markets in Texas and may may not launch until March 1st and or California.
So there’s just different. Paces so that I say that because that informs when you have to have your planning done by to be able to sell it and ultimately deliver it. So it’s what region you’re in. It’s whether you’re starting from actually from scratch and the market has no idea who you are or what you do and you’re trying to educate.
As opposed to whether you’re tuning up a program or fine tuning and looking to get ready to launch. So it varies so much. I mean schools, most schools have some sort of programming by this time and it’s a matter of whether a school’s reinventing itself or just trying to continually improve the quality of what they keep putting out to their community.
So it’s, it’s a, it’s another one of those kind of Wishy washy, it depends answers. But we’re advising, I mean most schools, if they really are thinking about an overhaul or a, um, a launch of a new range of programs and certainly a new identity, like they’re starting now to plan for summer of 2025. Give yourselves 18 months so you can go into this summer with a clearer sense of what it is you want to do.
Sort of refine that planning through the previous summer as you’re imagining it. And be ready to go into the final stages and a marketing plan in the fall before the summer that you’re planning on truly launching. So, far sooner than many people might think. Because it’s still an industry where most people will say to a director of summer programs, well, what do you do the rest of the year?
And it’s a hard question to hear because there’s so much to do, but you sort of understand if you don’t know the work, people would just sort of understand that there’s nothing to do from September to June until it comes time to happen again. Yeah,
Aubrey: after they get off the summer of burnout too, and then they have to pick their heads up and try to plan for the fall.
Great advice on, on how, like, when to launch, how long the launch takes. I agree with all that. Having worked with, uh, schools in Texas on their summer camps where people don’t start registering until March, whereas in the Washington, D. C. metro area, Uh, almost all the camps register, you know, open their registration in January.
So, you know, you’ve got all these different factors and how long and brand awareness in the community. Is this a beloved program? Do you have a good retention rate of current campers? Like there’s so many, uh, different things to consider. Um, I, let me
Nat: just, Aubrey, let me just barge in one moment here and say, one thing that’s really cool right now this season, cause there are many.
Programs that have launched already and some still yet to open. But there’s a lot of great energy out there across the country. Um, and schools are filling summer programs at a rate faster than they’re used to. The demand from parents is high and and whether it’s that people are running more compelling programs or what they’re succeeding at doing.
But we’re having, we’re seeing auxiliary directors have a lot of fun. Summer directors with launch parties and really exciting. feeding the excitement, even though it feeds the parent anxiety a little bit about signing up in time, but feeding the excitement and creating the energy that draws people in.
Um, so it, it, we’re, we’re riding a strong high right now, which is great.
Aubrey: I love it. And I’m personally working with a couple of camps right now and they are having a blast. Like we do priority enrollment, we do a launch thing. We do countdown to opening day. There’s like fun posts on social media, like I think camps are one of the, I think camps are like so much fun to work with in terms of marketing and everything because it’s just a different vibe, right?
I mean, not that schools are, but it’s just, it’s fun. You can do some fun like things around it. So yes, I’m so excited you said that. And you know, I’m seeing that too with the camps that we’re working with too. So yay camps. Um, I would love to talk to you a little bit. We’re kind of flipping over to a different topic.
Um, Our school. Our school, our podcast is called The Mindful School of Marketing Podcast. And through the lens of our podcast, we obviously talk about mindfulness, um, and how it applies to school marketers and administrators. How do you define mindfulness and how can mindfulness help those running auxiliary programs?
Nat: That’s a great question. I, I mean, there’s so many aspects to mindfulness and it can. Manifest itself as much in your personal life as professional life, but I guess if I put my
I know we’ve used this word a couple times today, but I really think it’s around the aspect of mindfulness that I think is important around intentionality and and and I just see that as so important and so lacking in so many schools and and that’s where a lot of our education comes in about guiding people towards more intentionality and and so just Being mindful.
There’s this whole history behind summer programming at independent schools that is a complete lack of any mindfulness around it. It’s actually the farthest thing from most people’s minds. Um, and, and so bringing that into the center and being part of the whole, um, feels like mindfulness to me in the professional setting of an independent school.
and where auxiliary programs should be. Thanks.
Tara: That’s a great answer. I appreciate it. We are going to jump now into rapid fire questions. So, uh, I’m going to start with the first one. If you could put one book as mandatory reading in the high school curriculum, what would it be?
Nat: For a high school student, there’s so many great books to read.
I’m going to go, uh, with one that I tried to get my kids to read. I can’t say I was successful about this as a parent, but, um, I’m a big fan of sort of the whole concept of a growth mindset. And, and whether using that language or variations of that language and how I want people to appreciate as they grow up, that there’s just this constant opportunity to, um, think creatively and differently about what you’re doing, what you’re engaged in, what your future is, how you think about things, just that total flexible mindset around, um, and I just wish every teenager.
Had at least a little understanding of how their brain works and how it could work. So, anyway, I said too much. It was meant to be Mindset by Carol Dweck.
Aubrey: Good one. Thank you. What is one app you couldn’t live
Nat: without? So for me, I would say it’s probably my weather app. Or any number of weather apps. I have a whole folder of apps as a camp director, which I really was for so many years, um, certainly during the summer season.
I needed to know whether like the back of my hand and be able to make decisions about whether and pick up and drop off. And should it be outside? Should it be inside? Should it be suspended? Um, and I think that’s true of a lot of Folks in the summer program industry were in tune with the weather and rainy day plans and, uh, what we do.
So I still, that’s ingrained in my DNA now and I love, I’ve always been interested in the weather. So I’m an amateur weather lover. Great,
Tara: thank you. What are you reading now?
Nat: Ironically, ironically meaning I’m on a marketing podcast with a couple of marketing experts, and I grabbed it. I’m reading this book called Alchemy, which I really enjoy.
I find this guy so smart, so funny. And, um, it’s, uh, the dark art and curious science of creating magic in brands, business, and life by Rory Sutherland and just consume the, all the consumer behavior and, and studies behind everything from Red Bull to how people make buying decisions. It’s all really interesting.
Aubrey: Awesome. Uh, yeah. Well, add it to our Goodreads list, right, Tara?
Nat: Absolutely. I forget who recommended it to me. I’ve just gotten into it, but I find it very entertaining.
Aubrey: There’s nothing like an entertaining book that you’re, yeah, learning from, right? Um, I’m curious, what is one great piece of advice you’d like to leave us with?
Nat: Well, I guess for whomever is is choosing to invest their time to listen to this conversation. I hope it’s someone who’s ready to commit themselves to the power of auxiliary programs and and the way in which they can positively impact the larger school and help school leaders achieve, um I think that’s The kind of quality experience they’re looking for for their overall school and create a school that’s sustainable for generations to come and that auxiliary programs can really be a big part of that.
And that SPARC is here as a resource if people need some guidance in that because we’re out there on the ground working with schools and serving our hundreds of members and how to. Um, and I think it’s really important for us to be able to shape and define and follow best practices in doing so.
Tara: Thank you so much for joining us today. This has been amazing, and I can’t wait to get it up and published. Where can people find you online?
Nat: Oh boy, I am probably not your most social guest, um, online, but I am on LinkedIn, and pretty much I’m of a generation that still uses LinkedIn. Email a lot. So nat at spark national.
com or our website, which is just, uh, www dot spark national. com. Great.
Tara: Thank you so much. Not have a great day.
Nat: Thanks. Absolutely. Thank you both very much. Bye.