Attain Partners is ecstatic to welcome Jason Hunter to our expert advancement team.
Jason joined us in February as our new Senior Principal/Technical advisor with over 20 years of experience advising and leading data management and technology transformations worldwide. He’s successfully harnessed the power of Salesforce to improve relationships with constituents, increase ROI, and transform processes to fuel the future. Jason is an incredible asset to our advancement team and our higher education clients.
Attain Partners is the Salesforce.org 2022 Consulting Partner of the Year – Education and a Salesforce Summit Partner. Our team of experts is always striving to invent the future and be the best in everything we do.
Last month, we featured Matt Roush, an expert Salesforce architect, and Rainer Weissenberger, an advancement expert. Please join us in celebrating our newest team member, Jason Hunter, as he shares his expertise and the joy he’s found working in advancement.
Attain Partners (AP): How did you get into Advancement?
Jason Hunter (JH): This is definitely a laughable story because it wasn’t my initial intent.
My daughter was attending the University of Colorado and I was working on my master’s degree at the University of Colorado Boulder (CU Boulder) campus. One day, I’m sitting in class, and the professor—who I knew, and worked with many times from my days at Sun Microsystems—says, “Hey, Jason, the President would like someone to come in from the outside to evaluate our advancement technology. Would you be interested?”
President Bruce Benson gave me six months to do the evaluation, but I knew I could do it a lot faster. When I completed the evaluation in three months, the Vice Chancellor of Advancement at the System office, pulled me aside and said, “We loved your assessment report and you really clicked with all our teams. How about you like to t more of a permanent role and implement what you’ve suggested?” I jumped at the opportunity and nine years went by!
I implemented a complete remediation strategy of the advancement technologies, to stabilize the platform. From there, I got into a more progressive technology evaluation, moving the University of Colorado from older technology to newer technology.
Advancement is a mission that is unparalleled. It really is. When you get into the weeds of what advancement professionals do, it is some of the most amazing work you can see in a university. When we start applying innovation, higher education institutions see they can do so much more than they were aware they could do.
AP: What did you do before joining Attain Partners?
JH: Before joining Attain Partners, I was the CIO of Advancement for the University of Colorado. I learned so much about higher education during that tenure. It was a humbling experience, especially coming from building Fortune 50s and 100s in Big Tech the 20 years prior.
All the technology that we use here at Attain Partners helps us innovate and drive implementation. Doing it all at the University of Colorado was a really great experience, and I came to Attain Partners so I can help the maximum number of institutions.
AP: What brought you to Attain Partners?
JH: It was definitely the core values and what Attain Partners brings to the table that compelled me to join the team. I’ve known Greg Baroni, CEO of Attain Partners, and worked with the team for the last 10 years at Colorado State University. Attain Partners’ company values—The Attain Way—match my own personal values. The way Attain Partners dedicates its time and energy to innovation and to its clients is so obvious from the client side.
Moving from a university, I wanted to find a role that would allow me to continue my advancement work and help as many institutions as possible. I knew I wanted to do that work with a company that values the customer-first attitude and drive for innovation that I live and breathe. The values and people-oriented focus at Attain Partners is a rare find and I’m incredibly thankful to be part of the mission.
AP: Which of our seven core values speak to you the most?
JH: Although they all align with my personal values, my favorite is Invent the Future. I’m an innovator and always looking toward the future.
I’ve spent my life building technology for all different sectors—bringing people the right tools to be successful makes me happy. It’s a passion of mine that I cannot emphasize enough. When a university gains value from a technology solution that you’ve built to enable a new underlying process to run more efficiently, it’s more successful in its mission. Reaching that point is my joy.
AP: What do you like most about the work you do?
JH: It’s an absolute joy to see a customer succeed, and it’s been in the inner workings of my soul since I started working in technology, and even more so, when I made the lead into higher Ed advancement.
I come from a technologically driven family with two older brothers who have had very successful careers and technology. I’ve learned a lot from them. We keep stacking our learnings and achievements and are so blessed to have leaders and mentors to guide us on these paths. I started my technology career in the US Navy and jumped into the high-tech industry immediately after that. Finding joy through technology keeps me striving for improvement and innovation every day.
Moving from high tech to higher education, I was struck by how many universities were years behind the technology available to them. It’s fun to imagine jumping into the time machine and deliver technology and my expertise to universities to improve efficiencies and advancement successfully achieve their missions. Although, it’s not my imagination, I actually get to do this, and continually see growth and success with my clients.
Every higher education institution is a little afraid when we introduce new technology—until they see it and use it. When we share the technology solutions, institution leaders and employees are amazed to find they can accomplish the same task in four clicks that used to take them 35. I love being part of the process as they find joy and new discoveries in the technology. With patience, I transfer the knowledge until it’s absorbed, walking with the partner institution. That’s why the people-first mentality at Attain Partners truly stands out to me.
AP: What are the biggest ways you’ve seen Advancement efforts impact organizations?
JH: Advancement strategies are changing dramatically with technology. When I first joined the University of Colorado in 2014, it was very common for advancement development officers to pick up the phone, and that strategy is still in play today. Emerging use of technology is entering the advancement world, and merging that technology with tried-and-true people-centric strategies to better the overall university mission, is incredibly important to me.
Advancement directly impacts the university, which, in turn, impacts the community, the state, and the entire globe. Education institutions give people the ability to understand each other, affecting the communities where we live and work that goes far beyond the degree earned.
AP: What is the most challenging aspect of your job?
JH: The most challenging part of my job is recognizing patience and understanding the client while helping them understand the technology. Institution executives know education really well, but don’t always understand the technology and that’s okay. Coming from high tech, I naturally want to move fast, but that doesn’t always work for every client. When I’m doing advancement work with clients, they will sometimes look at me like I’m speaking another language. Taking that step back to pay attention to what everyone is saying, thinking, and needing helps me better meet them where they are.
Slowing down allows me to connect my love for higher education with institution leaders’ incredible knowledge and experience. I love the mission of advancement for education and could never imagine leaving it. Working at Attain Partners—where our mission is to support higher education—is a rare find and a true joy.
AP: What do you read and watch to keep current?
JH: I’m a big conference cruiser. I attend lots of conferences and am that geeky tech guy that sits in on deep dive engineering session on emerging technologies. I love to learn and discover new ways to solve problems using technology.
I travel often and enjoy hearing people’s stories as I find there’s often a lesson to be learned. I love being on a plane where I can take a book about a new business strategy or cutting-edge technology and read it end-to-end. Even when I go on vacation, I like to pop into universities, say hi, make a new friend, and absorb any knowledge I can. Talking to people, reading, and always learning constantly feed my joy in advancement for higher education.
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Learn more – Jason Hunter
Jason Hunter has over 20 years of experience expertly advising, leading, and creating visions for education institutions worldwide through advancement, data management, and technology transformations. He finds joy in using data to drive organizations, break them out of constrained solutions, and build bridges to achieve their visions and missions. He’s successfully harnessed the power of Salesforce to improve relationships with constituents, increase ROI, and transform processes to fuel the future.