Chief Business Officer Leadership Academy

Program begins August 27 & 28 in Albany

About Academy

This five month-long academy includes a combination of in-person and online learning events. The experience begins with an opportunity to meet their mentor, academy colleagues and program facilitators in-person at the two-day opening retreat in Albany. Three  online virtual growth sessions take place throughout the fall semester (three hours each). The program concludes with a full-day capstone/graduation event where they present their applied learning projects.

Intended Audience

  • New and aspiring Chief Business Officers or Vice Presidents operating in a college or university setting.
  • Current CBOs, vice presidents, directors, managers, or coordinators with significant responsibility for leading business administration at their institution.
  • Those who provide the administrative support and leadership for ensuring quality and success of business operations of their campuses.

Colleges and Universities require strong business administrators, and in the current climate where more than 40% of the workforce is 55 or older, a strategy must be in place to prepare the next generation of leaders. The role of the Chief Business Officers (CBOs) in the university and college setting is demanding and ever-evolving. Higher education business administrators are critical leaders, part of an institution’s core leadership team engaged in discussions of strategy and tactics about how to best utilize assets to advance the campus’ mission and goals.

The Chief Business Officers Leadership Academy enables current and aspiring leaders to strengthen their leadership ability by:  

  1. Gaining new understanding of their personal leadership style;  
  2. Knowing when to use different leadership skills based on the situation;  
  3. Learning how to build and lead a team;
  4. Understanding the changing demographics of college students and campus colleagues;
  5. Being able to articulate a vision for their institution’s strategic and financial plans and move the vision to implementation;  
  6. Developing a broader awareness of the environmental context, as well as an ability to lead and navigate within this complexity.  


Virtual Growth Session 3
December 4, 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Communicating as a Chief Business Officer
Includes a Panel Discussion with the Mentors

Capstone / Graduation Event
January 7, 2020

Rockefeller Institute for Government, Albany

To be successful, such individuals need to be visionaries, communicators, implementers, and collaborators. To meet the demands of the role, they must also be able to lead cross-functional teams. The modern CBO needs to have a solid mastery of the six domains of knowledge for higher education leaders:

    1. Know Yourself
    2. Know Your Skills
    3. Know Your Team
    4. Know Your Students
    5. Know Your Institution
    6. Know Your Context

After attending this program, participants will be able to:

  • Understand their personal leadership style and behavioral impact on others; 
  • More effectively use communication and relationship-building skills for motivating others; 
  • Lead and develop teams within complex organizations; 
  • Understand the position of the CBO/VP as a senior leader in their setting; 
  • Identify new and future challenges confronting higher education business administration leaders and develop proactive action plans; 
  • Create a unifying vision for their organization and learn strategies to use data effectively to drive their leadership decisions.

Instructional Philosophy

This cohort-based program moves participants through a journey of self-discovery, skill development and knowledge creation. A variety of pedagogical approaches are used to ensure that learners of all styles are able to engage in and contribute to the program. The program is largely interactive, using a variety of small group discussions, leadership assessments, panel discussions, case studies, role-playing opportunities and simulations, all situated within the context in which the modern CBO exists. The faculty for the program will be a combination of leadership development experts and experienced CBOs/VPs.

Program Structure

The program is designed with a face-to-face opening retreat. This retreat allows for the building of a network and trust among the cohort participants, as well as facilitating instructional opportunities (e.g., simulations, discussions of personal leadership assessments, connections with their mentors, and small group engagements) that benefit from face-to-face interactions. This is then followed by three online virtual growth sessions that allow for a focused learning opportunity on particular leadership topics. Following the concept of the flipped-classroom, these sessions include a modicum of advanced work by the participants so that the tthree-hour session can be spent in discussion and dialog, rather than delivery of content. The program concludes with a one-day capstone event that reconvenes the cohort in a face-to-face forum focused on supporting participants in articulating their applied learning project that will benefit their campus. Additionally, participants develop a personal change-management strategy to guide them in implementing the new skills and knowledge they have acquired into their role as a leader and the graduation event empowers them in their leadership role.  

Applied Learning Experience

As part of the learning experience, each participant will be expected to develop a plan to lead the implementation or development of an initiative, project or sub-project on his or her campus. Participants should come to the opening retreat with an idea for a project that they could move forward in a three- to 12-month time-frame. A planning framework will be provided and discussed during the opening retreat and participants will be expected to work on the development of the plan with pre-assigned learning groups during the duration of the academy. Each participant will present his or her project/action plan as part of the capstone event.


There are several options for lodging in downtown Albany near the event location. We recommend the Morgan State House, which is a very short walking distance to the meeting location at 411 State St in Albany (offers government rate). There is also a more traditional hotel across from Washington Park (a little further of a walk but still walkable).

Parking and Transportation: The Hilton offers a shuttle.  Albany also offers Uber and Lyft for transportation services. We will get parking permits from the City of Albany as we get closer to the event, so you will be able to park on the street (in adjacent Washington Park) without a time limit, too.

Morgan State House                                                                                                                  393 Street                                                                                                                        Albany, NY                                                                                                                            (518) 427-6063                                                                                                                Located just one block from the Rockefeller Institute, however they do not have rooms available for the state rate. They also offer a parking lot for an additional fee ($10/day).

Hilton Garden Inn Albany Medical Center                                                                            62 New Scotland Avenue                                                                                              Albany, NY  12208                                                                                                               (518) 396-3500                                                                                                                               


The foundation of leadership lies in understanding oneself, which is why several leadership assessment tools are built into the academy design in order to provide personal leadership data for each participant.

  • SUNY360 Leadership Skills Inventory
  • DiSC Work of Leaders
  • StrengthsFinder


The program fee for the five-month academy is $1750. Note: Travel expenses are separate.
Note: If you are attending the SUBOA annual conference at Turning Stone in May 2019, SUBOA is offering a special subsidy ($330 off) for their attendees to enroll in the academy! Coupon code is: SUBOA

Are you interested in serving as a mentor?

Learn more by listening to the information session!

Michele Halstead
Vice President – Administration & Finance
SUNY New Paltz

Stephen Storck
Interim Vice President for Finance & Administration
SUNY Geneseo

Wendy C. Gilman, Vice President for Business and Finance SUNY Cobleskill