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About Us

Our Team

The CAEL team draws great strength from its varied set of backgrounds and skills. But we hold one very important quality in common: dedicated expertise in forging the connections between learning and work that adult learnersand their communitiesdepend on for social mobility and economic equity.

Elizabeth Brandes

Vice President, Marketing and Communications

Elizabeth Brandes has 25 years of experience in collaborative marketing and communications, strategy development, and program management. As the Vice President, Marketing & Communications, Brandes is responsible for advancing CAEL’s nonprofit mission, impact, and organizational growth through the development and implementation of strategic brand and community building, thought leadership initiatives, strategic content, and digital marketing efforts that drive membership, engagement, revenue, and fundraising growth. She also supports CAEL's industry-education coalition partners, EPCE and NACTEL.

Before joining CAEL in 2018, Brandes was vice president of marketing for Student Connections, a former Strada Education Network affiliate. Previously, she held leadership positions at Strada Education Network, Sallie Mae, Sallie Mae UK, JPMorgan Chase, Bank One, and Southwest Student Services Corporation. Brandes led marketing and communications teams that supported $3B in education lending at Bank One and $6B at JPMorgan Chase. She was a founding team member for Sallie Mae International, Sallie Mae’s UK-based international education lending arm. Brandes also interned in the reunified German parliament in 1994 with Rainer Eppelmann, who was Minister for Disarmament and Defense in the last cabinet of the German Democratic Republic.

She is a member of the American Marketing Association and served as longtime chair of the Music Academy Board of Directors at Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis (IUPUI). Brandes currently volunteers with Starbase Indy, which promotes humanitarianism and STEM education and is active in leadership and the chancel choir at Northminster Presbyterian Church. A 2015 Indiana Leadership Forum graduate, she also is a member of the Greater Indianapolis Progress Committee, supporting the work of the Indianapolis-Cologne Sister City Partnership.

Brandes holds a master’s degree in Germanic Languages and Literatures from the University of Illinois and earned a bachelor’s degree with honors in German and French from Indiana University.



Board Members

Advisory Council