Canadian Accredited
Independent Schools

Using Data to Inform Strategic Planning

In late 2019, and through COVID, the Canadian Accredited Independent Schools embarked on a strategic planning process that resulted in a bold new strategic plan, launched on Oct 19th at the Heads and Chairs Conference.  Berlineaton provided end-to-end consulting support from rethinking vision, mission and values to reporting templates that measure progress.  In addition, our Data and Insights Team designed and administered a Member Survey to all members nationally.

A Profound Experience

In late 2019, the CAIS Board embarked on a process to re-envision the future and embody this in a new 5-year strategic plan for their association.  Berlineaton provided consulting support and partnered with the CAIS Board, Advisors, Strategic Directions Steering Committee, and the CAIS Team using our six-step methodology.  The new plan in two words:  bold and courageous – reinforcing their unique mission and importance to independent schools in Canada.

This project was highly engaging, collaborative, and inclusive.  It started out with in-person workshops and pivoted to online in March – without missing a beat. Our work included scanning the environment to understand the current context, envisaging a powerful future, mission and values, and then building a purpose-built set of goals, strategic priorities and tactics to guide next steps.

Practical Solutions

As CAIS is member-driven association, having current data about their members’ experience was critical to their understanding of members’ needs and expectations as part of setting its future direction. 

In addition to providing consulting services through each of our six steps, our Data & Insights Team designed and administered an online member satisfaction survey focused on understanding how the CAIS organization is meeting member needs and expectations – overall and across all program areas. This generated important insights about satisfaction and value, as well as future anticipated needs and desired future services – enabling CAIS to identify where to put its efforts to create greater value for members.  This along with other best-practice research and SWOT analyses set a strong foundation upon which the future could be built.

Bolder Futures

On October 19, 2020 CAIS launched its new Strategic Plan at the Heads and Chairs Conference, presenting…

  • A new Vision, “Leaders in education, shaping the future of a courageous, compassionate world” – emphasizing the important role that CAIS and its member schools play and the kind of future they will create together
  • A revised Mission of “Continual school improvement through the advancement of standards, support, and a strong Canadian network”
  • A commitment to driving member value by striving to achieve three Goals: School Improvement and Innovation; Networking and Collaboration; and Strength and Permanence.

Click here to see the full CAIS Strategic Plan.


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  • I've been most grateful for the expertise and professionalism of Berlineaton. You have a great process and the experience and flexibility to read the capacity and needs of the group both in person and online. Thank you for your outstanding work.

    Board Member,

    CAIS

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    Shelly Berlin

    BA, MBA, FCMC, ACC
    Strategist, Confidante, Entrepreneur.

    Shelly is a co-founding partner of Berlineaton and has over 25 years’ experience in management consulting in strategy, process improvement and leader development.  

    She’s worked extensively with public and private sector organizations, and she is a professional facilitator, expert in the design, development, and execution of strategy. She is a certified executive coach and a Fellow of the Canadian Association of Management Consultants. 

    Shelly’s passion is to help leaders and their organizations achieve extraordinary success through bold thinking, courageous risk taking and disciplined action planning. Dark chocolate helps too.

    Ashka Wirk

    BSc, MBA, CMC, ACC
    Architect, Builder, Crystal Gazer.

    Ashka is a certified management consultant and executive coach, specializing in board-governed organizations in the education, health care and technology sectors.  

    She is an expert in using qualitative and quantitative data to guide the development of strategy, and then developing tactics and measurement systems that help ensure an effective execution.  

    Ashka’s passion is to lead disciplined, engaging and evidence-based projects that improve organizational effectiveness. To do this, she draws on her extensive and varied background in the fields of science and business. When Ashka’s not with her two school-aged children, you can find her in her gym or garden!

    Tobias Mehra

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    Tobias is a Senior Consultant and joined the firm in early 2019. He draws on his various academic and professional experiences in business strategy, market research and corporate sustainability to provide simple and elegant data-driven solutions. 

    Tobias discovered his passion for working with people from a diverse set of backgrounds and enjoys helping organizations confront complex challenges with simple data-powered solutions. 

    Originally hailing from Austria, he moved to Victoria in 2018. Tobias loves exploring the outdoors and loves Vancouver Island as much as he loves Austria. His newest love, though, is his daughter, born at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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    Collaborator, Community Builder, Go-Getter.

    Mackenzie is a Support Consultant with Berlineaton and brings a passion for problem-solving and attention to detail to all her work. 

    Moving to Victoria post-graduation from UBC, where she earned degrees in science and business, Mackenzie is excited to begin her professional journey at Berlineaton. In her current role, she can explore the management consulting profession while learning as much as she can from the experienced team members around her. 

    When she’s not in the office, Mackenzie is passionate about spending time outdoors. In the winter, she improves her skiing skills at Whistler and Mount Washington, and in the summer, she enjoys camping and surfing in Tofino. The newest addition to her life is her puppy, Molson, who will soon be surfing with her.