Our Team

Jane Hulbert, Partner at The Jane Group, has been the NAIS (National Association of Independent Schools) crisis communications consultant since 2001. She counsels independent, international, for profit, and charter schools on crisis and reputation management issues, crisis preparation and planning, messaging, media management, and provides training for the media spokesperson. She works with schools that are not in crisis to prepare them for the possibility. She has handled hundreds of issues that have impacted schools, including arrests of teachers, past and present sex abuse, high-profile lawsuits, safety matters and many other difficult and sensitive situations. Jane conducts trainings across the U.S. and internationally.

Prior to consulting, Jane was a communications executive at McDonald’s Corporation responsible for the Crisis and Media Relations Department. She was the key spokesperson on high profile global crises including the "hot coffee” incident. Jane is a graduate of the Park Tudor School (IN) and a cum laude graduate of Boston University.   Contact Jane



Jim Hulbert, J.D., is Partner at The Jane Group and a labor and employment lawyer by training. Jim manages the firm’s ongoing caseload and he is the lead consultant on governance and board matters and complex legal matters in the U.S. and throughout the world. In his role with boards, Jim works closely with board chairs and their executive committees, both remotely and on-site. He advises boards on complex issues involving leadership challenges and best practices in governance. Jim also oversees the firm’s international business. He has presented at numerous international education conferences for independent schools, including NESA, EARCOS and at The International Task Force on Child Protection in Dubai. Internationally, the firm also works with CIS, ISS, AAIE, ECIS, ICMEC, NESA and others. Jim assists international school leaders and boards in implementing crisis plans, including communications and protocols, child protection plans, risk management, employment and HR policies. He trains school leadership in crisis management including sexual misconduct issues and other highly sensitive matters.

Jim graduated from Culver Academies (IN). He was a Morehead-Cain Scholar at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and graduated magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, with a degree in American Studies. In 1982, he earned his law degree at Boston College, cum laude. In addition, Jim has participated in the Northwestern University, Kellogg School For Nonprofit Management Executive Certificate Program, including Critical Issues of Board Governance and Nonprofit Finance, and Effective School Leadership. Jim has also received a certificate in Crisis Communications from the Northwestern University, MSC Executive Education School of Communications.  Contact Jim


Lisa Davis, a Senior Consultant/COO at The Jane Group, was most recently director of corporate development for a global finance firm where she managed communications, marketing, training and retention programs, and long-range organizational and strategic planning and development. In addition, Lisa has served on the Leadership Council of Boston College, as a board member of the DuPage Children's Museum, and on the Development Committee of the Board of Directors for the Avery Coonley School.

Lisa's previous experience includes teaching middle school science at a Chicago independent school and as a consultant on an international cultural festival.  Lisa attended ACS International School (Cobham, UK) and is a graduate of Visitation Academy (MO). She received a B.S. in Education, minoring in Special Education from Indiana University and has pursued post-graduate continuing studies at the University of Chicago.  Contact Lisa



Maureen Irwin Maguire, Senior Consultant at The Jane Group, managed her own marketing and communications firm, where she provided a full range of communication services and results-driven marketing strategies. She handled numerous crises, including a train crash and an exposé – complete with hidden cameras – on a cardiac surgery program of a major teaching hospital which aired on network television. She has also served as chief operating officer for three organizations: two in the field of healthcare and one in financial services.

A long-standing and ardent supporter of education, Maureen has been a member of the boards of trustees of various independent schools for 25 years, serving students from pre-k to grade 12. Her many roles have included chair of the board, chair of the marketing and communications committee, and member of the strategic planning and institutional advancement committees. Recently, as a board member, she oversaw the planning and management for a school in crisis, and serving as their spokesperson. Maureen provides crisis management, strategy, and communications services to clients of The Jane Group. She holds a B.A. in Spanish from College of New Rochelle.



Melanie Hightower is a consultant with The Jane Group.  Melanie served as director of communications and a member of the administrative team at River Oaks Baptist School, with responsibility for strategic and executive communications, crisis communications, marketing, branding, publications, website, social media, and media relations.  She handled significant and sensitive communications about issues ranging from leadership transitions and strategic planning, to the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, to the sudden death of a key employee.  Her work has earned awards from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, including gold and silver CASE Platinum Awards. Before entering the field of education, Melanie practiced law for ten years with JP Morgan Chase and Locke Lord.  Her experience as an attorney proves beneficial in crisis situations with legal angles such as employment issues and matters of student safety. Melanie also has she served as senior vice president and director of corporate diversity for JP Morgan Chase in Texas, where she spearheaded efforts to foster more equitable and inclusive business practices.  She graduated from Duke University magna cum laude with a B.A. in Religion and Russian, followed by a J.D. with honors from The University of Texas at Austin.



Phyllis Kanekuni joins The Jane Group after 17 years as director of marketing and communications at Hawaii Preparatory Academy (HPA), an independent coeducational K-12 boarding/day school on the island of Hawaii. As a member of HPA’s senior administrative team, Phyllis provided strategic communications counsel and support to all division heads and worked with school attorneys on legal issues. She directed all school communications and marketing initiatives, including electronic and print publications, media relations, community outreach, branding, website, and social media. She launched and managed the school’s emergency notification system and directed communications and media relations for a range of issues and crises, including a 6.7 magnitude earthquake that caused extensive damage on campus, an alumna’s high-profile arrest on the East Coast, sexual misconduct, sudden death of a student, leadership transitions, and numerous hurricanes and tropical storms.

Prior to joining HPA, Phyllis was a public relations consultant for nine years, serving corporate and non-profit clients in Hawaii and Oregon. She previously was vice president and director of special services at Hill and Knowlton/Communications-Pacific, Inc.

Phyllis is accredited by the Public Relations Society of America and earned an Advanced Social Media Strategy Certificate from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University and Hootsuite in 2017. She is a graduate of the University of Oregon, where she majored in journalism and telecommunications.



Lily Field is our accounts manager.  In addition to The Jane Group, Lily manages all the financial matters for the Unitarian Church of Hinsdale and law firms. Lily always loved math but discovered accounting relatively recently in life. Prior to her accounting positions, Lily was an ESL teacher at a business college in Puerto Rico, a teaching assistant at a local junior high school, and a facility coordinator at a corporate business training facility.

Lily has a B.A. in English Literature from University of Illinois, Chicago.





Alison Bennie has been of counsel for The Jane Group for many years, providing writing and consulting services on an as-needed basis. Alison and Jane have known each other since first working together in 1986. As associate vice president for communications at Bowdoin College, Alison is responsible for the leadership and supervision of the conceptual and creative processes. She maintains the College’s brand, works to ensure excellence and consistency across all platforms, and serves as executive editor of the alumni magazine and as college editor for official publications. Her work has earned awards from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, including a Circle of Excellence Gold Award. 

Alison is also co-principal of Whitney MacDonald Communications Consultants, a consulting group specializing in marketing, crisis communications, writing of all types, and development of photographic resources.

Before joining Bowdoin in April 1993, Alison worked for nine years in book and magazine publishing, marketing, advertising, and public relations. She earned her A.B. in English and American literature and languages at Harvard and is a graduate of the Radcliffe Publishing Course.