Introducing: Rebekah Russell, Tambellini Analyst

Rebekah Russell |

Tambellini Analyst

Top of Mind: Introducing Rebekah Russell
Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

As the adage goes, “Knowledge is power.” I am thrilled to share my knowledge and experience as Tambellini Group’s newest Industry Analyst and Research Director for CRM and Student Solutions. Here is a bit about who I am and what I’ve learned so far.

My higher education career began in 2010 at Western Kentucky University (WKU). Before my career at WKU, I worked in the nonprofit sector for my statewide chapter of Girls Scouts of America. In many ways, educational programming has always been my focus.

Over the last 11 years, my career path led me to positions in student recruitment and engagement, parent and alumni programming, information technology, and financial planning.

In addition to working at WKU, I am a two-time alumna. I hold a BA in English Language and Literature and an MA in Organizational Communication. Reading, writing, and communicating with others have always been a core interest for me.

My favorite roles at WKU were those focused on positively impacting others. Sometimes that positive impact was implementing an improved business practice that was more efficient and less cumbersome. Sometimes that impact was simply listening. Other times, it was providing good counsel. And sometimes, it even meant doing nothing.

Some of the most fun I ever had at WKU was serving as an administrator for the ITSM solution. Some of the most humbling experiences of my career came from students. They often had a way of seeing the world in new and eye-opening ways.

I consider myself to be a servant leader. It is a professional and personal goal to elevate those around me. I strive to leave the people and places I interact with better than when I found them.

I love the ever-changing aspect of information technology. There is always something new to learn.

Higher education needs to “put its money where its mouth is” when it comes to students. Now more than ever, holistic student approaches are necessary. It is time to think beyond classroom teaching and learning and reach for mental and health wellness, career preparation, and real-world experience. Students are more than numbers on a spreadsheet, and it is past time to embrace this.

As part of the Tambellini team, I will be covering the CRM and Student Solutions space. This means everything from recruitment and admissions CRMs to housing platforms to student analytics solutions and more. This space is deep and wide, but it will be a significant focus for higher education over the next 12 to 24 months.

Institutions pressed pause on modernizing student systems in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but there is already a renewed focus on this process for 2021. Native-cloud SaaS solutions are the way forward.

Higher education information technology must meet students where they are. This means embracing mobile applications and ensuring accessibility. And, yes, that parent portal is also a good idea.

If we ever speak via video call, you will likely see one or all three of my cats. They are named after The Lord of the Rings characters that no one can pronounce, and they love being on camera. They also quality-check all my work and are my harshest critics.

When I’m not working, my husband and I adore traveling to national parks, and I bake a great deal. This year, I picked up a new hobby of trying to keep plants alive and am attempting to grow tomatoes.

Find me on LinkedIn, and feel free to connect. While it seems very cliché, some of the best advice I’ve ever been given is to not sweat the small stuff. I’m still trying to figure out how to do that every day.

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Rebekah Russell |

Tambellini Analyst

Rebekah Russell
As Research Director, Rebekah Russell researches and publishes in the student and CRM technology space, concentrating on platforms that focus on recruitment and admissions, student retention and engagement, advising, financial aid, and student management. Coming to Tambellini from Western Kentucky University, she has served in various roles at the university, including student engagement and retention, parent and alumni programming, information technology administration, and most recently, as Assistant Vice President for Budget, Financial Planning and Analytics.

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