Prior to joining Development Guild, you were a former client of ours while Vice President of External Affairs and Advancement at The Greater Boston Food Bank. What initially attracted you to the firm?
There were three things that attracted me to Development Guild – that nature of the work and clients served, the quality of the work, and the expertise of the staff. While at The Greater Boston Food Bank, I partnered with Development Guild twice, and through those partnerships, I was able to observe the vast expertise of the Development Guild project teams for both an executive search and an assessment for a major gifts fundraising program. I learned about the analytic rigor with which they conducted their work and how they were helping many other non-profit organizations achieve their missions through a benchmarking analysis they conducted. I grew to understand the variety among Development Guild’s client engagements and the vast client base across all non-profit sectors, and I knew it was something I wanted to be part of and something I felt I could contribute to in a meaningful way.
Now, what do you love most about the firm? Has anything surprised you?
What I love most about Development Guild are my colleagues and my clients! The team at Development Guild is phenomenal – bright, dedicated, thoughtful, strategic and highly experienced. The project teams we are able to assemble are highly talented, allowing us to deliver exceptional results to our clients. And my personal clients have been an absolute pleasure to work with. This past year, my clients ranged from higher education to human services, to arts and culture, to a think tank! Having the opportunity to serve so many different organizations and help them achieve their respective missions has been exceedingly rewarding. And while I thought I had a good understanding of the depth of our clients and the breadth of our work when I started, I have been pleasantly surprised by the even greater number of clients we’ve helped and variety of projects and searches completed.
You have worked with an array of extraordinary clients. What have you enjoyed most about these client engagements?
I have been very fortunate to work with some amazing clients, and what I’ve enjoyed most is the opportunity to get to know them really well and help them on numerous levels. Recently, I served as interim Vice President/Director of Advancement for two of my clients–Fitchburg State University and Huntington Theatre Company–while we conducted searches for the new VP/Director. I’ve also recently served as interim Vice President of Advancement for The Museum of Arts and Design. With these engagements, I was onsite with my clients 2 days each week for a number of months, managing the advancement team and getting completely immersed in the fundraising function with each of my clients. This type of arrangement allowed me to not only develop a deep working relationship with my clients, but also become extremely familiar with my clients’ fundraising functions, staff, processes, data, prospects, etc., which in turn allowed me to conduct a thorough, comprehensive fundraising assessment with actionable recommendations to help my clients advance their work and mission. Further, working closely with clients in this way leads to seamless transitions with the new VP, and I’ve been able to transition nicely to providing campaign planning counsel. These types of deep engagements provide clients with quality counsel of many fronts and are extremely gratifying and rewarding for me.
As part of Development Guild, and as a member of the firm’s Principals, you have an opportunity to contribute to the field of non-profits. Which issues are you most eager to address? Which opportunities for change do you believe exist?
One of the most rewarding aspects of my work is being able to help so many non-profit organizations address the various opportunities and challenges that come their way, and now I’m excited to be involved in shaping the strategies around these opportunities. Two specific opportunities that many of our clients are eager to address right now are Board Recruitment and enhanced promotion of their organizations and missions.
Having just the right Board make up is critical to success for non-profit organizations, and many of our clients have made this a priority and are asking for our help in recruiting and attracting new Board members who are committed to their cause, philanthropically engaged, and enthusiastic about their organization’s future and continued growth. Developing the frameworks and approaches to address this issue has been quite fun.
On the promotion front, the more clients we work with, the more we learn about the amazing and diverse work of so many wonderful organizations, and we want to be sure that more people know about the important work that is being done. I see a lot of opportunity in the sharing of compelling stories about these organizations’ missions and achievements with broader audiences, and I’m currently working with three clients on new ways to communicate their unique stories in a way that is compelling and able to capture the attention of new audiences.