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Higher Education Team

Staff: Jeffrey L. Ashley
  Mark Rountree
  John J. Guthrie
  Colleen Thomas
  Mimi Ward
Associates: Mary Cohron Dr. Richard H. Dorman


Jeff Ashley

Jeffrey L. Ashley
Founder, President & Senior Consultant

With over 20 years of leadership giving fundraising experience, Jeff has assisted numerous organizations in raising over $500 million throughout his career. Previously he served as Vice President for University Advancement for Spalding University in Louisville, Kentucky (The University subsequently became a client of Ashley & Associates). During his tenure, Spalding completed its first comprehensive capital campaign, raising $15.3 million on a $10 million goal. Prior to that Ashley served as Director of Major Gifts for the University of Louisville's "Challenge for Excellence" Campaign. He played a leadership role in directing the silent and public phases of the campaign that raised over $340 million on a $200 million goal. He also served as Executive Director of the Trinity High School Foundation, Inc. setting goals for funds raised in annual fund, major gifts and endowment.

After a career in education, Jeff sought an opportunity to apply the entrepreneurial skills that made him successful at these and other institutions to start his own business. In 2002 Jeff began to offer his consulting services full-time and later that year established Ashley & Associates. Since then Jeff has worked with hundreds of organizations throughout the community and region to improve their management operations and comprehensive fund development programs. Jeff graduated from the University of Kentucky with a Bachelor's degree in Journalism and earned a Master of Arts in Business from Webster University.

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Mark Rountree

Mark W. Rountree
Vice President, Partner & Senior Consultant

Mark Rountree has made a career in development and institutional advancement for the past 30 years, serving as both a consultant and development officer for several educational, cultural and health organizations. Prior to joining Ashley & Associates, Mark was Vice President and Senior Consultant at RuffaloCODY and supported nonprofit clients with their annual fund campaigns, including: Indiana University, Ohio University, Bowling Green State University, University of Chicago, Washington University in St. Louis, Butler University and University of Cincinnati, among others. He also assisted campaign planning for the Detroit Institute of Arts, Art Institute of Chicago, Cleveland Clinic, Phi Kappa Tau Foundation, Sigma Chi Foundation, Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and Special Olympics Illinois.

Prior to joining RuffaloCODY, Mark served as Director of Development for the University of Louisville’s College of Arts and Sciences where he was responsible for directing the major gifts efforts for 23 departments. Prior to this, Mark served as Senior Fundraising Counsel for Capital Consortium, Inc., where he planned and directed capital campaigns and conducted feasibility studies for organizations such as North Carolina Museum of Art, Lower Cape Fear Hospice, Tanglewood Park, Special Children’s School, Blue Ridge Health Services and the North Carolina Arboretum.

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John Guthrie

John J. Guthrie
Consultant & Director of Campaign Planning

John has over a decade of experience in nonprofit management, fundraising and organizational development. He joined Ashley & Associates in 2005, and since that time has worked with more than 50 different organizations throughout Metro Louisville in planning and executing campaigns, strengthening annual funds and building boards. One of John's strengths is his understanding of the capacity of different organizations, recognizing the uniqueness of each and designing solutions that will work best for them.

John served as Development Director for the Community Partnership of Arts & Culture in Cleveland while earning his MBA at Case Western Reserve University's Weatherhead School of Management, including course work at the Mandel Center for Nonprofit Organizations. As a graduate student he had the opportunity to work on projects with Cleveland Botanical Garden, the St. Clair-Superior Development Corporation and RED (an Orchestra).

Prior to his time in Cleveland, John served as Community Service Director for United Way of Muncie and Delaware County, Indiana for almost four years. He managed a portfolio of corporate, employee and individual donors as well as volunteers and had staff responsibility for half of the $2.7 million annual campaign, which grew more than 23 percent during his time there. In addition he managed relationships with 28 different nonprofit agencies, as well as the media relations, communications, events and marketing for United Way.

John is a graduate of Indiana University (Bloomington), with a Bachelor's degree in Journalism. After graduation he worked in the communications department at The Museum of Modern Art in New York City. John's extensive background in a variety of nonprofit organizations allows him to relate to the staff and challenges faced by our clients every day.

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Colleen Thomas

Colleen Thomas
Operations Manager

Colleen has more than 14 years of experience in both the corporate and nonprofit sectors. After working with Jeff Ashley on the successful $15.3 million capital campaign for Spalding University, Colleen joined Ashley & Associates in 2003. Her experience as an administrator and project manager provide the foundation of her success as a grants manager. She works with clients to ensure information flows smoothly, deadlines are met, and reports to funders are accurate and timely.

Previously Colleen worked at Luckett & Farley, an architecture firm in Louisville, organizing project managers and architects and ensuring that clients stayed informed about the relevant details surrounding their work. Tight deadlines and coordinating information from a variety of sources has been part of Colleen’s work for years, and our clients appreciate her ability to get things done.  Colleen earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Business from Spalding University.

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Mimi Ward

Mimi Ward
Senior Consultant

Mimi began her career over 30 years ago after graduating from the University of Kentucky with a Bachelor’s of Science degree majoring in Community Health Education. After an internship with the American Cancer Society, Kentucky Division, she was hired by ACS and for the next 18 years she was dedicated to program development, volunteer training, grassroots and event fundraising, unit leadership and planned giving. From there, Mimi became Director of Planned Giving for the American Printing House for the Blind, executing over 100 charitable gift annuities in less than 18 months. In 1999, Mimi returned to her alma mater as a Major Gift Officer, serving as an intregal part of the team that developed UK’s centralized major gift program.

In 2004, Mimi took the reigns as Senior Development Director of the College of Arts and Sciences at UK initiating a portfolio and metrics system and increasing staffing. With her leadership, A&S increased endowment and planned gifts by almost $5 million, while meeting annual fund goals of up to $2 million per year. After 11 years with UK, Mimi became Senior VP of Advancement with Hosparus, Kentucky’s largest hospice provider with operations spanning 33 counties and based out of Louisville overseeing a successful comprehensive capital campaign and all fund development operations for this $45 million organization. Mimi returned to educational fund-raising by joining Sacred Heart Schools in Louisville, KY as the Executive Director of Institutional Advancement with primary responsibility for all fund-raising and management of staff for alumnae affairs, communications/public relations, special events, annual fund, and enrollment marketing.

As a veteran development professional, Mimi teamed up with Ashley | Rountree and Associates in mid-2015 specializing in educational clients of all sizes. From large-scale universities and college campaigns to private secondary schools, and small, specialized school systems, Mimi brings extensive fund-raising expertise and experience across a broad range of areas including annual fund, major gifts, planned giving and capital campaigns

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Mary Cohron

Mary Cohron is president of Mary Cohron & Associates, a business transformation consultancy.  Mary’s specialties are focused within the disciplines of business strategy, change management and board development.  With a depth of experience working closely with publicly held corporations, varied boards of directors, nonprofit and public entities, she devotes her professional life to the challenges and ultimate successes of a variety of groups.  A highly respected and experienced business leader and strategist, Mary thrives on witnessing the improvement that happens as a result of constant change and growth within an organization.

An active nonprofit and civic leader for over 30 years, Mary has served as chair and president of The Kentucky School Boards Association, Bowling Green United Way Campaign, Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce, Warren County Economic Development Authority, Bowling Green Board of Education, Phoenix House, The Bowling Green East Little League and American Cancer Society/Warren County. Also notable was that Mary was the first woman elected to the Bowling Green Board of Education where she served from 1979 to 1990 in roles as Chairman and Vice-Chairman.  She was also the first female president elected to the Kentucky School Boards Association.

In addition to her long service on the above boards, Mary also has served on the boards of: Western Kentucky University Foundation and WKU Campaign Cabinet, Pritchard Committee for Academic Excellence, Kentucky Advocates for Higher Education, Capitol Arts Alliance, Bowling Green Housing Authority Live the Dream Board, Bowling Green/Warren County Arts Commission, and Bowling Green/Warren County Medical Society.

As a board development specialist, Mary has significant experience as a public company director.  While president and CEO of Citizens First Corporation (NASDAQ: CZFC) and Citizens First Bank, she participated in raising an initial $7 million in capital to qualify for a bank charter and an Initial Public Offering to raise $15 million to acquire Kentucky Banking Center.  From its organization in 1999, Citizens First Bank grew to $362 million in assets under Mary’s leadership. Prior to organizing Citizens First, Mary served for 19 years as a director of Trans Financial Bank and Trans Financial Inc. (NASDAQ: TRIFI).

Mary has an MBA from Vanderbilt University’s Owen Graduate School of Management and is also designated an expert witness by Westlaw Round Table Group.

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Dr. Richard Dorman

Richard H. Dorman, D.Ed.

Dr. Richard Dorman recently retired as the 14th president of Westminster College (PA). During his term as president the College was named the “#1 College or University in America for Women in S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) by and was recently listed among “The Top 25 Best College Values in America” by the New York Times and a “Top Ten Best Value” by USA Today. Dorman led Westminster’s first comprehensive campaign in decades and exceeded the initial $40 million goal by 32%. His strategic plan for Westminster won a bronze medal in a national competition from the publishers of Higher Education Marketing.

Prior to serving as president for 8 years, he was vice president for Advancement at Otterbein University in Columbus, Ohio, completing the largest capital campaign in that institution’s history. From 1990-96, Dorman successfully headed Development operations for the University of Louisville’s Health Sciences Center. Earlier, he served as the Associate Executive Director for Alumni Relations at Penn State where, during his tenure, the Association won the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education’s Grand Gold Award for best alumni association in America an unprecedented three years in a row.

Dorman is co-author of the best-selling higher education management book “Academic Leadership and Governance in Higher Education”, published by Stylus Publishing in 2013. He has served on the faculty of Penn State’s Academic Leadership Academy and is a frequent speaker on academic governance issues.

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