Michelle Paul and Debbie Hodin Join the CourseStorm Board of Directors in Q4 2020
CourseStorm, a Maine-based class registration software company, is pleased to announce that Michelle Paul and Debbie Hodin have joined its Board of Directors. They, along with Jerry Weissberg (Senior Program Officer, VentureWell), Brian Rahill, CEO and Matt James COO of CourseStorm and observers from Maine Venture Fund, the Maine Technology Institute, and Coastal Ventures provide experience, wisdom, and accountability to the CourseStorm management team.
“We are excited to add two incredibly driven and engaging leaders to our Board during this time of challenge and opportunity at CourseStorm. The addition of their expertise in growing and scaling SaaS companies and deep experience with CourseStorm’s market will increase our ability to serve educational organizations across the spectrum of lifelong learning,” said CEO Brian Rahill.
Michelle Paul is a smart, motivated leader with 16 years of experience as an early employee and eventual Managing Director of PatronManager —a ticketing and donor CRM platform for arts organizations. During her tenure, Michelle guided PatronManager to impressive profitability while becoming the leading non-profit fundraising and ticketing platform for the arts. (Michelle is also a two-time Jeopardy! Champion and co-author of Breaking the Fifth Wall: Rethinking Arts Marketing for the 21st Century.) Michelle’s background in scaling technology products will help inform CourseStorm’s growth plans.
Debbie Hodin is an expert in marketing across the spectrum of EdTech organizations, from large international organizations to early-stage startups. Debbie is a founding member of the EdTech Advisory Group, a team of experienced and results-driven leaders who drive educational technology companies’ success. Her skills in strategic planning, branding, positioning, database analytics, and campaign effectiveness will help CourseStorm better communicate with existing markets and approach new ones while honing the messaging of the unique benefits of CourseStorm.
CourseStorm is the developer of an intuitive and user-friendly online registration and class marketing platform. CourseStorm’s robust software suite for education providers has helped streamline access and grow enrollments for thousands of local classes at community organizations, higher education programs, libraries, hospitals, and museums across the country.
CourseStorm is pleased to announce the promotion of two staff members, Amy Farrell and Monique Bouchard, in the third quarter of 2020.
CourseStorm is a focused, optimistic, mission-driven, and hard-working team. We believe all types of education should count and that varied educational experiences are necessary to meet students’ diverse needs across a lifetime. We do our best work at the intersection of education, technology, and human connection and are building our company to have an impact throughout the long-term.
CourseStorm is expanding its Board of Directors and is seeking an energetic board member committed to furthering our mission of streamlining access to lifelong learning. We are continuing our high-growth trajectory to increase our impact on students while at the same time, we are focused on building a sustainable, profitable company with a solid base of delighted customers.
To Our CourseStorm Community,
The events of the last several weeks have deeply saddened us at CourseStorm, and we stand in solidarity with the Black community in being outraged at systemic, ongoing abuses of power. We have taken time to gather, reflect, and discuss how our team can be part of creating a more just future for all. We understand that we need to start by recognizing our own privileges and how we have benefitted from racism, as well as our responsibility to undo it.
As a company with a mission to streamline access to education, we firmly believe that education is vital to a more socially just world. While refusing to be silent is an important first step, we also recognize that it is more important to take meaningful action. Our commitment will not only be in words but in actions as well.
With that in mind, we are committed to:
- Amplifying the educational opportunities offered by our customers who, through their organizations and classes, are working for social justice.
- Financially supporting organizations and individual classes that address systemic racism and work to end discrimination in all its forms.
- Annual training for our staff to recognize and combat discrimination, and strengthening our company anti-discrimination policy.
- Actively recruiting to build a diverse staff, advisors, and board.
We recognize that these steps at CourseStorm are simply a beginning and that we have a long way to travel. We are committed to continuing this work, and I believe firmly that through our actions, we can and will make a difference.
Brian Rahill is CEO and Cofounder of CourseStorm.
Here at CourseStorm, we’ve been carefully watching how lifelong education programs are being affected by this unprecedented situation brought about by the COVID-19 outbreak.
We know it’s hard to find answers to the big question that nobody expected to ask, “How do I manage my educational program during a pandemic?”
We’ve been working hard to provide resources and materials to CourseStorm customers as they’ve responded to the needs of their students. We know that every lifelong learning program has been working to adapt to closures.
We listened to our customers’ questions and we’ve done the research. We know that every lifelong learning program has been working to adapt to closures and social distancing during this unprecedented situation. It’s a challenge, and we’re meeting it together.
And so we’ve created a resource to help, the COVID-19 Recovery Guide: How to manage your educational program during a pandemic. This guide contains advice on how to manage your education program in this troubled time —from transitioning to online classes to finding financial assistance— so that you’re well-positioned to come out the other side stronger than ever.
We are streamlining registration for online classes.
From the beginning, our mission at CourseStorm has been to streamline access to education. It’s what drives our entire company every day. It’s built-in to our pay-as-you-go business model, the smooth design of our software, and the deliberate decision to focus on lifelong learning. In short, it’s in our DNA.
And we’re confident that the customers we’ve served across the US would agree we’ve done an excellent job. On average, CourseStorm customers have seen a 12% increase in registrations year-over-year as we continually add new ways to help them reach more learners.
In our continual effort to expand access to education, today we are announcing yet another way to help programs reach more learners: deeper integration with online classes.
From our founding, CourseStorm has prided itself on being a committed partner with each program we’ve served. As we witness the unprecedented effect the COVID-19 situation is having on educational providers across the nation, our team has been working around the clock to identify ways we can help our customers through this difficult time.
The vast majority of our customers are small, non-profit organizations that lack the financial cushioning of larger institutions and are, therefore, feeling a disproportionate impact on their programs. We have been awed by the creativity and determination of our customers to adapt to the situation rapidly, but we’re also keenly aware that more help is needed.
In honor of that spirit, CourseStorm has created the COVID-19 Education Relief Fund to help alleviate economic injury related to the disruption of our customers’ programming.
I had been running my own web development company for several years when I hired an enterprising young software engineer named Matt James. I didn’t realize at the time that this programmer would not only become the leader of our product development team but, ultimately, the designer of what would become CourseStorm, a business we would cofound. In 2015, Matt became CourseStorm’s first employee and has kept his eyes on the horizon since — always growing in ways to best impact and guide the company. As his leadership skills have expanded, so have his responsibilities, and today, I am excited to name Matt the Chief Operating Officer of CourseStorm!
This occasion has provided me with a chance to reflect on our decade of work together across two different companies. Growing a startup is hard work, and having Matt as a co-founder has made all the difference in our success. I’d like to share some of the essential lessons I have learned from Matt during our time working together. They’re excellent lessons for both business and life.
Orono, ME, February 12, 2020: Maine technology company CourseStorm announced a partnership agreement with leading ticketing, fundraising, and marketing solution for the arts, PatronManager, a Patron Technology product. The partnership will enable PatronManager clients to register students for classes and workshops with CourseStorm while automatically bringing in customer data to PatronManager with a planned integration.
Syncing contact and registration information from CourseStorm’s streamlined class registration system into PatronManager will provide a more detailed picture of an organization’s supporters, helping create stronger, more profitable relationships for programs in the arts.
AUGUSTA, ME: Governor Janet Mills recognized four Maine businesses as recipients of the Governor’s Award for Business Excellence during a ceremony at the Blaine House in Augusta on December 18, 2019, joined by Maine Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Heather Johnson.
Maine technology company CourseStorm received the Innovation Award, which celebrates and recognizes business excellence through entrepreneurship and innovation. The 2019 award seeks to celebrate and highlight elements of the State’s ten-year strategic economic plan, with four new award recipient categories. Other businesses recognized were Rwanda Bean with the Welcome Home Award, Luke’s Lobster with the Heritage Industry Award, and Bigelow Brewing Company with the Rural Revitalization Award.
“We are very grateful to be recognized,” commented Cofounder and CEO Brian Rahill. “We’re excited to be helping with the State’s economic plan in a couple of ways. We are creating high-skilled jobs as we build our own great team, and we’re helping people continue to train and retrain for new work by connecting them to continuing lifelong learning here and all across the US. We started this idea in Maine and are proud that CourseStorm is connecting people to critical educational opportunities across the entire nation.”