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Building Bridges to Everywhere: Tips for Identifying and Maximizing Opportunities Within Your Networks

Session Description

Whether used as a noun or a verb, the term "bridge" infers a type of connection. As professionals guiding families through the college search, preparation and funding processes, our roles are full of opportunities for bridge-building and connecting. In this talk, we'll discover ways to build bridges within our local, professional and social networks, and identify pathways for outreach and collaboration. Attendees will leave with a list of bridge-building opportunities - locally, nationally and internationally - to help grow their businesses and expand their professional circles.

Kristina L. Dooley

Speaker Bio

Kristina L. Dooley is a Certified Educational Planner (CEP) and founder of Estrela Consulting, an Ohio-based independent educational consulting firm. Kristina has 20 years of experience working with students from around the world navigating the complex college and school search processes. A first-generation college student, she is a graduate of Hiram College (B.A.) and Kent State University (M.A.).

In addition to her work with students, Kristina is an instructor for the University of California Irvine teaching College Consulting Resources and also serves as a faculty member of the IECA Summer Training Institute for aspiring educational consultants.

Kristina is a Professional Member of the Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA), the Higher Education Consultants Association (HECA), and the Ohio and International Associations for College Admission Counseling (OACAC & IACAC). In addition, Kristina is a member of the Hiram College Board of Visitors, the IECA Board of Trustees and IECA Foundation Board, volunteers for Beyond Type 1 and JDRF, and serves as a mentor for College Now Greater Cleveland.

Kristina and her husband and Estrela Co-Founder, Greg, currently reside in Northeast Ohio with their 9-year-old triplets.

Insights and Real Life Examples of How to Build Solid Partnerships that Last and a Practice that Attracts Ideal Clients

Session Description

In this session, fee only college planner Joe Messinger will explain why going deeper and not wider with your partners is the key to building a thriving college practice.  As he says "it is better to stay in your lane and be a specialist in your area of the college process like a surgeon, rather than being a general physician.  By staying focused, you will be more profitable and have a group of people that constantly refer you business."   
Whether you are on the admissions side or the funding side of college, the tenants all apply - do what it takes to attract, acquire, and retain ONLY ideal clients for your practice.  This really starts with finding and nurturing key partnerships.  Joe will walk everyone through his modern sales and service funnel and will talk through what he calls his "Chipotle model". He will also describe how he and his team leverage technology that systematizes every process and workflow which in turn creates an ideal client experience.  This includes how he consistently communicates with his partners, prospective clients, and existing clients. 

Joe Messinger

Speaker Bio

Joe Messinger, CFP®, ChFC®, CLU® is on a mission to end the student loan crisis one family at a time.  A proud graduate of Penn State University, Joe is Partner and Director of College Planning at Capstone Wealth Partners.  A fee only RIA based in Columbus, OH that specializes in financial planning for college bound families.  Joe created the innovative College Pre-Approval™ system to seamlessly guide families through the college funding maze and ensure that every student graduate with manageable student loan debt without robbing retirement. 

Now, Joe is raising the bar in college funding advice across the industry with educational workshops and practice management solutions to help advisors excel in college planning.  In addition his team recently launched College Aid Pro®, a groundbreaking financial aid planning software that streamlines the college funding process for advisors. 

He is known as an industry thought leader in the area of college financial planning.  He regularly speaks at industry conferences for the Financial Planning Association (FPA), National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA), and the XY Planning Network (XYPN). His work has been featured in The Journal for Financial Planning, Financial Advisor Magazine, US News, and Bloomberg to name a few. 

NCAG membership can have great value for you!

NCAG Mission

Provide education and resources for college planning professionals, students and families.

Helping you help others

NCAG is accepting new members and is growing quickly. Membership is inexpensive, but the information that you gather and community that you will form will be invaluable as your practice continues to grow and evolve to meet the needs of those you serve.


The NCAG is a member-driven organization. We look to our members to take an active part in NCAG by electing board members, working on committees and doing presentations if they wish.