In 2015, Development Guild partnered with Boston Children’s Hospital Trust on their executive search for an Assistant Vice President, Principal and Major Gifts. We placed Lisa Slater in the role. We recently caught up with Lisa to discover how her position and the institution have evolved over the past six years.
What initially attracted you to this position?
The mission was a huge draw; Boston Children’s Hospital (BCH) is a destination for families in search for answers and hope regarding the rarest and complex illnesses in pediatric healthcare. Layered onto that is BCH’s research mission. We have leaders in research who are anchored at BCH, and who are driving change and breakthroughs globally. Researchers at BCH brought about the first remission of leukemia, the first polio vaccine, the first measles vaccine; the breadth and depth of research is beyond the imagination. We attract people from all over the world to come here and collaborate to fuel brilliant ideas.
I was also attracted to the opportunity to shape major and transformational giving at BCH. I met with so many special people during the interview process, including Trust colleagues, faculty and leadership, and was excited by the opportunity to work with them and make new possibilities a reality.
What do you enjoy most about Boston Children’s Hospital now?
It is an exciting time to work at BCH. Our new CEO, Kevin Churchwell, MD, started in April, rising from an extraordinary tenure in leadership at BCH. Our new Chief Scientific Officer, Nancy Andrews, MD, PhD, will join us in early 2022. She is a scientist, a leader, and a trailblazer. I am delighted to work with our new and growing leadership team to help them achieve their goals for the hospital.
In the past year, a number of priorities have emerged that are very exciting. We are expanding our collaborations nationally and globally; we want to bring the BCH community to faraway places and drive great change. Another key priority centers around collaboration and the mental health crisis. We are working with exceptional partners to create a campus around mental health not only to more effectively treat the entire spectrum of mental illnesses, but also to build upon developments around prevention and detection.
In addition, BCH launched the Sandra L. Fenwick Institute for Pediatric Health Equity and Inclusion upon our beloved previous CEO’s retirement, This institute builds upon Sandi’s legacy and our united mission to advance pediatric health equity locally, nationally, and around the world.
Lastly, with COVID and the many ways in which our world has evolved over the past few years, I feel that there are emerging opportunities to drive change in a way like never before. There is tremendous momentum underway at BCH.
How has your role changed since you started?
I have had the opportunity to partner with hospital leadership to grow key efforts and to lead these efforts from the Trust. One such opportunity was the launching of our Brain, Mind & Behavior Center, a hub just down the street from the main hospital campus. This center brings together clinical and research expertise from Developmental Medicine, Psychiatry, Neurology, Genetics and Genomics, and Neurobiology. The goal with bringing these disciplines together under one roof is to drive new approaches and solutions in neurodevelopmental and neuropsychiatric care.
During my time at Boston Children’s Hospital Trust, I have also been able to grow my team, expanding the role of gift officers and their efforts across the hospital. Our team is responsible for raising deeply impactful levels of revenue for the hospital, and we are constantly thinking creatively to reach new heights.
What would you consider the greatest achievement for your team and the foundation in recent years?
This has been an incredible time for the Trust at BCH. Our previous campaign, Dream Dare Deliver, raised over $1.5 billion dollars to transform the Boston Children’s Hospital campus, fuel our research enterprise, and support our five centers of care and discovery: Heart, Brain Newborn Medicine, Cancer, and Orthopedics and Sports Medicine.
Fiscal year 2021 was one of the strongest years we’ve ever had; our office closed over $200 million of gifts. Despite our team being separated during much of the pandemic and having to navigate numerous obstacles presented by COVID, we remained creative, nimble and collaborative. We discovered new ways to engage one another and our donors in deeply impactful ways. We were able to partner with extraordinary people who generously gave the hospital four transformational gifts for key priorities. These gifts will support brilliant teams of experts and their plans to drive new breakthroughs. I am proud to be a part of those achievements.
What do you hope to achieve in the years to come?
I hope to continue to grow our Boston Children’s Hospital community of partners and supporters. While we keep our patient families close to our hearts, we recognize there are many other kinds of people who share our determination for solving the most complex challenges in pediatric healthcare and who have never stepped foot in the hospital. I want to continue to develop pipelines for new kinds of donors to join our community.
Lastly, I will continue to help make BCH Trust a top destination for talented fundraising professionals – people who are passionate about our mission, are strong collaborators, can bring different kinds of expertise and can help us shape a bold, extraordinary future for kids and families everywhere.