About Us

Mel Reis & Associates is a full-service consultancy specializing in the development of comprehensive plans to support advancement for independent schools, for-profit, and non-profit organizations. Our goal is to help “synergize” advancement efforts to maximize efficiencies, improve productivity, and generate revenue.

Crafted like a fine timepiece, a thorough and well-executed comprehensive advancement plan supports the day-to-day operations of a successful independent school or non-profit. The term “advancement” defines the departments that are fundamentally responsible for generating revenue and promoting the organization. They include:

Marketing and Communications



  • over 30 years of experience

    Extensive experience in corporate marketing and advancement strategy for corporations, small business, independent schools, and non-profits.

  • It’s all about THEM

    Understand Your Constituents!  Can you define your customers, clients, or donors?  Do you communicate with everyone the same way?  You should think about how you communicate with each key constituency group (i.e., faculty, students, parents, alumni, community businesses).

  • We see the bigger picture

    We have the experience to quickly grasp the distinctive advantage of your organization and develop a comprehensive advancement plan to drive awareness, increase productivity, and generate revenue. Time is money.

  • Win their Hearts

    How effective are you in communicating the “experience” of your organization? Independent schools and non-profits rely heavily on communicating the “heart and soul” of the organization. We help to craft the unique messaging required to promote your distinctiveness and relevance. Create a powerful advancement message.

  • Expertise when you need it

    We can provide targeted advancement services for a specific project (key fundraising special event, capital campaign, annual fund, advertising campaign, or new website).

What others say about Mel

Richard Ashton

One of the most exciting occasions during my seven-year term as President of Lyndon Institute was when former Headmaster Rick Hilton named Mel Reis, Assistant Head for Advancement. Her impressive background uniquely prepared her to direct all admissions and advancement functions at the school. She was well prepared for this role and started work with a well thought out plan to implement the goals of the school. Mel’s expertise, vision, enthusiasm, strong character, and professionalism helped the school to grow and prosper. Her smile and upbeat can-do attitude made working with her a pleasure. She made a very significant and positive impact and I appreciate all that she did to help our school.

Richard AshtonTrustee and former President for Lyndon Institute, Lyndonville, Vermont
Dr. Adam Norwood

Mel is a wonderful colleague who has proven to be someone who gets things done.  Mel’s work ethic and drive seem to know no limits—she is a tireless colleague who will do whatever it takes in order to help a school succeed.  Mel’s corporate world experience has been invaluable.  Her perspectives and understandings about the differences between profit and mission-driven organizations help the rest of us understand what it takes to market a school, understand how to better communicate with a diverse array of constituents, and find a common language that clearly articulates a vision.  Mel is a vivacious and dynamic character.  Her chipper disposition and effervescent personality is contagious to her peers and working with her, no matter how hard the work, is always a fun experience.

Dr. Adam NorwoodAssistant Headmaster, Lyndon Institute
Michelle Ralston

Mel is highly respected by her peers.  Her work is founded on research, but her outcomes are successful because of her positive attitude, strong work ethic, commitment, and a fabulous sense of humor.  People want to work with her.  I appreciate the knowledge she brings regarding advancement, development, and marketing.  I have learned a great deal from her as a professional and as a friend.

Michelle RalstonHead of School for the Riverside School, Lyndonville, VT
Tom Lovett

Mel Reis is a high-energy creative professional who can quickly capture the essence of an organization and develop a plan to promote it.  I had the pleasure of working with Mel when she was our Director of Marketing and Communications, and I found her to be an active listener, an innovative thinker, and an effective collaborator. Perhaps her most impressive trait was her enthusiasm for the work and the many ways she instilled that enthusiasm throughout our organization.

Tom LovettHead of School for St. Johnsbury Academy, St. Johnsbury, Vermont
Dan Fales

I had the pleasure of working with and reporting directly to Mel while she was at Lyndon Institute as the Assistant Headmaster for Advancement. She oversaw the Development, Admissions, Marketing, and Technology departments. Mel was always dedicated, fair, collaborative, and creative. She understood the value of empowering her staff to be the best that they could be. Mel was highly energetic and was inspirational to others as she sought to advance Lyndon Institute. She was dedicated to developing and expanding the Lyndon Institute brand and considered it a reflection of herself and her work. I worked with Mel on a number of challenging projects and she always threw all of her energy, experience, and creativity into the success of each.

Dan FalesDirector of Information Services for Lyndon Institute, Lyndon Center, VT
Matt Powers

Mel is one of the most accomplished development and marketing professionals that I have ever worked with. Her knowledge and experience in the corporate world, private school arena, and the non-profit sector help her to accomplish a myriad of tasks and bring together many different perspectives. More importantly, she can look at the development and marketing needs of an organization and give recommendations to better improve its financial well-being, create attainable and far-reaching goals, and to ensure that it has a place in the future.

Matt PowersExecutive Director for the Woodstock Historical Society, Woodstock, Vermont
Mel Reis

Mel Reis


Mel brings over 30 years of marketing and new product development skills from the corporate “market-driven” world and advancement skills (marketing and communications, admissions, and development) from the “mission-driven” world of independent schools. Her unique combination of corporate and non-profit experience is an advantage for a school competing within a world of fast-changing market factors and increasing competition. She understands the aspirational and nurturing environment that a high achieving school provides to its learning community. She has developed and managed the multiple advancement systems required for an academic institution to thrive as they support the needs of students, alumni, faculty, parents, and the community. She strives to increase creative and strategic thinking, expand opportunities for new business development, and works diligently to ensure a secure future for the organization.

During her corporate career, Mel worked for A&W Brands, Kraft, Cadbury Schweppes, and finally, the Snapple Beverage Group as their Vice President of Packaging. She left Snapple after it was acquired by Cadbury Schweppes and started her own packaging consultancy Packnology that became a well-recognized creative resource for a multitude of international clients including Fortune 500 companies such as Owens Illinois, Mead Johnson, and Exxon Mobil.

After a successful tenure as a consultant, Mel expanded her career by serving in positions of senior administration with several independent schools and non-profits including St. Johnsbury Academy, Lyndon Institute, King George School, St. Johnsbury Athenaeum, and the Vermont Symphony Orchestra.

Her network extends to many consumer product companies, independent schools, non-profit organizations, packaging suppliers, and design and media service-agencies. Her experience includes, but is not limited to, the development of marketing plans, websites, social media and content management, PR, advertising campaigns, market analysis, competitive analysis, marketing collaterals, development and fundraising strategies, capital campaigns, alumni relations, and new business and new product development.

She has delivered presentations to several corporate industry conventions including: Packaging Strategies, Interbev, the Beverage Forum in Tokyo, the Closure Manufactures Association, and PackExpo. She has been invited to many creative brainstorming sessions to help with the development of innovative ideas for both corporate and independent school clients.

Mel graduated magna cum laude from Marymount College with a B.S. in Business. She lives in Peacham, Vermont with her husband Rod who is a fine arts instructor and professional artist (www.rodneyreis.com).

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