Our team features America's foremost strategy consultant, Ian Symmonds, several collaborating consultants and partners, and an industry best practices internal research team. Ian Symmonds & Associates is small by design, allowing us to deliver personal service tailored to the unique needs of our clients. The following is a list our team members, their bios, and a few little tidbits of interesting stuff to go along the way. Call our main office line anytime 503.843.8300 and ask for appropriate team member below.
President and Chief Strategist
Author. Speaker. Consultant. Ed-Activist. Strategist. Researcher. Tennis player. Reluctant lab owner. These are just a few of the roles that Ian Symmonds enjoys. Ian is the visionary president and founder of Ian Symmonds & Associates Inc. Over the past decade, Ian has served over 250 independent schools, colleges, universities, and non-profit organizations through enrollment, marketing, positioning, visioning, branding, and strategy counsel.
Long before a consultant, however, Ian was a practitioner. His professional practice as a senior officer, executive director, and dean spans 25 years including Pacific University, Culver-Stockton College, Saint Mary's Hall, and Trinity University. He has led independent schools, traditional undergraduate colleges, graduate schools, and adult learning programs. He also engineered dramatic enrollment turnarounds for three different private institutions during this career.
Occasionally dubbed an "ed-activist", Ian holds a high opinion of the role of education in transforming people and solving social issues. He launched the #JustCause campaign with Ian Symmonds & Associates in 2011 to raise public awareness and strategically connect ISA with organizations that are addressing structural poverty through education. He actively speaks and writes on the issue and devotes a large portion of time to consulting with organizations through the Just Cause campaign. Recent organizations served under the Just Cause campaign include Chattanooga Girls Leadership Academy (TN), Mississippi Children's Museum (MS), Village of Promise (AL), KUZA (OR and Uganda), and Children's Relief Nursery (OR).
Industry experts often refer to Ian as one of America's brightest thought leaders in education. He is fascinated by culture and its impact on education. He has published in numerous professional journals, such as the Journal of College Admission (NACAC) and On Target (College Board), and has presented at just about every national and regional educational conference. He holds a BS and MS degree from Illinois State University in Normal, Illinois. Ian's formal area of study is organizational and small group leadership, focusing his graduate program on the essential ingredients of leading individuals and organizations. He is in high demand as a conference speaker at regional and national venues.
Ian consults on several projects each quarter, speaks, and writes frequently on behalf of ISA. He lives in Portland, Oregon with his wife Lisa, daughters Makayla and Jules, and Rajah, his loving and irreverent lab. In his spare time, he is an avid tournament tennis player and enjoys exploring the beauty of the Northwest.
Kelly brings to the ISA team tremendous energy, high-level professional capability, and a contagious "can-do" attitude. She joined Ian Symmonds & Associates in 2005 as Ian's first team member and has performed multiple roles for ISA over the years.
In a word, Kelly is the consumate ISA "sleuth", always picking up on the nuances of people, place, and culture as we move through our projects. In addition to lending her extraordinary enrollment management expertise to our clients, she conducts national executive search projects, facilitates focus group and listening sessions, and executes research projects. She is also often the first ISA team member on the client scene, conducting exploratory campus visits for our strategic marketing and strategic planning projects.
She is also no stranger to working on a team with Ian, having worked with him in many capacities beginning in 2000 as Assistant Director of Admissions at Pacific University. Kelly is Ian's proverbial "right hand", managing general communication with clients, calendaring needs, and fielding inbound inquiries to our firm. Kelly is often the first voice of ISA, from our toll free voice greeting to discussing with prospective clients their project needs.
Kelly holds a BA degree from The University of Connecticut in Political Theory. Kelly and her husband Edward live in Portland, Oregon. In her "spare time", Kelly is an active community volunteer, a die hard Portland Timbers and Portland Thorns fan, and is always on the go with her two lovely girls Emma and Madeline.
Director of Research Services
Kirsten Williams is our main ISA Research Manager, handling the details on internal research, managing work flow, and coordinating the research team. She joined Ian Symmonds & Associates in January 2014, assisting front office duties, handling project research, and conducting client management. Her background in process engineering brings an organized approach to all projects and her extensive project management and documentation experience carries over to researching, analyzing, and editing reports and presentations for ISA.
Kirsten holds a B.S. in Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering from Oregon State University. She worked for over a decade in the fast-paced high tech and computer industry. She and her husband Paul keep busy raising four daughters in Portland, Oregon.
Providing research support with independent school and college clients, Jack Symmonds develops and implements client survey instruments. Jack studied psychology at Knox College and brings a wealth of understanding of qualitative research. He also possesses extraordinary people skills and brings high attention to detail to our work, proofing our presentations and managing our end product.
Jack conducts survey research, including telephone surveys and the implementation of our web surveys. He handles several other research inputs, including competitor analysis and perceptual and opinion leader data. A master of the effective use of consulting technology, Jack also manages the extensive use of our client collaboration web portals, including creating pages, teams, and issuing authorizations for our clients.
Director of Creative Services
Robert Rytter, president and creative director of Jensen Design Studio, has more than 30 years of experience developing and executing strategic marketing campaigns for colleges and universities. An advocate of integrated one-to-one marketing, Robert promotes targeted marketing efforts in all mediums: collateral materials, website and interactive design, public relations and advertising.
Robert graduated from MICA (Maryland Institute College of Art) with a degree in painting; he has served on the faculty there as an instructor of advanced graphic design. Robert also attended the MLA program at the Johns Hopkins University and the business program at Loyola College. He has been a guest lecturer for the Council for Advancement and Support of Education and the University of Maryland. His work has been recognized by the American Institute of Graphic Arts, CASE, Communication Arts, the New York Art Directors Club, the Type Directors Club of New York, the University & College Designers Association, the Washington Art Directors Club, Graphis and Print, among others.
A long-time strategic partner, Robert and his firm has collaborated with ISA on many projects, including Roanoke College, Hutchison School, Brookstone School, Westminster College, Columbia College, Altamont School, New College, Roland Hall, St. Martin's Episcopal School, and many more. Want to see the creative process? Here is a portfolio of our work.