Alumni: Where Are They Now? with Laura Blake Cannata

Posted August 2, 2018

Introducing a new feature where we catch up with Development Guild DDI alum and find out what our former employees are doing now! First up, former consultant Laura Blake Cannata!

Photo Courtesy of Milton Academy

What did you take away from your time at Development Guild DDI that has served you well in your career?

Great leadership = success. I learned a lot from Development Guild’s leaders and leadership at its client organizations. I felt spoiled knowing that I was working with effective and passionate nonprofit leaders who knew how to set goals, communicate, collaborate, delegate, recognize achievements and have fun.

Even after leaving, my supervisors and colleagues continue to be supportive and generous friends, providing me with inspiration, ideas and guidance throughout the years. I count myself very lucky to have worked at Development Guild!

I also developed strong skills in working with clients and a big picture understanding of Boston’s nonprofit community, which has served me well in all my subsequent work.

What have you been up to since leaving?

I still work in the nonprofit sector, focusing on donor relations/communications, institutional giving, and grant writing. My family and I have lived at Milton Academy for 15 years. My husband Paul is a faculty member and the boys varsity hockey coach; I work in Development and Alumni Relations as the Stewardship Manager; our children Caroline (14) and Will (13) are Milton students.

Tell us more about your current role.

I joined Milton Academy in February 2015. In my role as the Stewardship manager, I oversee the stewardship program to enhance communications to strengthen donor engagement and investment. I have created numerous new stewardship reports and tools aligned with the school’s $175 million endowment campaign goal (82% to goal and two years remaining!) I particularly enjoy collaborating with faculty, students, and staff in the development of stewardship communications (interviews, writing, design) and managing special events.

What is your fondest memory from your time here?

I had a great experience working at Development Guild. One of my favorite memories is working with the DDI team to advance clients’ campaigns. From interviewing clients’ constituents and collecting data, to putting the final reports together—it was gratifying to give clients information and tools they needed to be successful. I felt great pride a few years ago when visiting the Hanover YMCA with my daughter. A friend invited her to a pool party there. I worked on the feasibility study for the new location; it was a thrill to see families and guests fully enjoying the new facility!

Do you have any advice you would like to give to incoming employees?

  • Be persistent and ambitious – dive into the work and engage with your team to advance your clients’ goals.
  • Ask questions and for help when you need it – you have access to great mentors; be sure to bring some ideas for solutions!
  • Keep checking in – it is not always easy to understand expectations or where the work might go. Client work can go into unknown territory and be unpredictable! It’s important to acknowledge uncertainty and try to get everyone on the same page.
  • Smile, be enthusiastic and have fun!

Laura and her family

If you’re interested in becoming a part of the Development Guild team, you can explore our current openings here: Join Us.

Related Posts from our Blog