Speakers for the 2019 Carolinas Annual Giving Conference will be featured here as they are added- so check back!
Jenny Gilson Alstad
Jenny Gilson Alstad is Director, Annual Giving Programs at College of Charleston. In her role, she assists with setting the strategic vision of Annual Giving Programs, carries a portfolio of leadership level prospects and oversees a team of three leadership annual gift officers. Before joining the College of Charleston in 2014, Jenny served in fundraising roles as the Director of Special Events at the Medical University of South Carolina and Director of Development at the American Heart Association. She is a graduate of the College of Charleston with a B.S. in Business Administration and a B.S. in Hospitality and Tourism Management.
Corbin Bradford is Stewardship Coordinator at North Carolina Central University.
Keep checking in to learn more about our CAGC 2019 speaker, Corbin Bradford!
Tucker Branham, Ed.D., CFRE. is a leader in nonprofit leadership and philanthropy. Tucker began her career at Emory University in their central annual fund office working with all nine schools and units. Tucker then moved into consulting with CDM (formerly Corporate DevelopMint), where she worked with national and international nonprofits on every facet of nonprofit development available. Over the years, Tucker has become a specialist in facilitating campaign management, development assessments, strategic planning, board restructuring, foundation implementation, executive and leadership coaching, campaign planning, and organizational culture and change management. After six great years with CDM, Tucker became the Executive Director of the Porter-Gaud Foundation. During this time, Tucker created a foundation, built a board, and launched a campaign. Tucker is a member of Charleston’s 40 under 40 class of 2017, has a black belt in Tae Kwon Do, served on the alumni boards of The Asheville School and Warren Wilson College as well as the board for the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Lowcountry and Atlanta Chapters. With a Bachelor’s degree in English from Warren Wilson College in Asheville, NC, a portfolio in Advertising, Art Direction from the Portfolio Center in Atlanta, GA, a Masters in Philanthropy and Development from St. Mary’s University of Minnesota, and a Doctorate in Organizational Leadership from Northeastern University, Tucker is able to approach challenges with a fresh, creative eye and offer solutions that drive our clients’ success.
Jonathan Brooks was born and raised in Charlotte, NC and received a degree in history from the University of North Carolina – Wilmington. He spent over six years working in fundraising for global non-profits before transitioning to higher education in 2012 via Ruffalo Noel Levitz. Joining the University of Houston System (UHS) in 2014, he spent four years leading annual giving through the public phase of their $1 billion campaign. Also, while working at UHS he spread-headed the first independent advancement department for the Downtown campus. In 2018 he moved back to his home state to take on his current role at Western Carolina University, where he is building the university’s first advancement division. He has managed the full spectrum of development, operations, and advancement services activities, but enjoys direct marketing and data management the most.
Bob Burdenski is an internationally-recognized annual and regular giving programs consultant for schools, colleges, and universities. He is a prolific writer and published author, often appearing in CURRENTS Magazine, the member magazine of the Council for the Advancement and the Support of Education (CASE). Bob is the author of three CASE books: Innovations in Annual Giving: Ten Departures That Worked, which presents ten U.S. case histories of advanced annual giving strategies; More Innovations in Annual Giving, Ten Global Departures That Worked, which features case histories from institutions around the world; and a new CASE book, Online Innovations in Annual and Regular Giving, Ten Dozen Departures That Worked. In 2013, Innovations in Annual Giving was published by Fudan University in Shanghai, becoming the first CASE book translated into Chinese.
Bob is a recipient of the CASE Crystal Apple Award for Lifetime Teaching Excellence as ranked by his audiences. He has educated (and entertained) at presentations throughout North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia, including numerous CASE Europe Annual and Regular Giving Conferences and Masterclasses. He presented CASE’s first-ever annual giving training programs in India, Japan, Ireland, Singapore, Hong Kong, New Zealand, and Australia, and he is also a frequent contributor to CASE’s Online Speaker Series on the subject of annual and regular giving. Bob will serve for the third straight year as Chair of the 2019 CASE Institute for Senior Annual Giving Professionals.
Since 2002, Bob has served as the moderator of FundList, the largest fundraising e-mail discussion listserv in the world, with nearly 4,000 development professional subscribers.
Peggy Cieslikowski is the Director of Planned Giving at the College of Charleston. Peggy advances philanthropic relationships with individuals who seek to leave a legacy at the College through their estates. Peggy partners closely with colleagues in Institutional Advancement, members of the Executive Leadership Team, deans, Marketing & Communications, Athletics, and campus volunteers to increase planned giving at the College and celebrate its impact. Peggy came to CofC in 2013 as a Senior Development Officer, where she built a major gifts program in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences as well as in the Mid-Atlantic region of the country. Peggy began her career in non-profit development with the Delta Gamma Fraternity and Foundation before transitioning to higher education fundraising at MUSC. At MUSC, she worked in their Annual Giving Office before being promoted to their Office of Gift Planning where she managed planned giving prospects and donors in support of the university’s 6 colleges and 8 medical centers. Peggy graduated from The College of William and Mary with a B.A. in Government and Art History and earned her M.A. in Philanthropy and Development from St. Mary’s University. She is Past President of the Association of Fundraising Professionals South Carolina Lowcountry Chapter and is currently on the South Carolina Planned Giving Council Board of Directors.
Kate McDonough Cominsky
Kate McDonough Cominsky has represented Cathedral Corporation in fundraising solutions for nonprofit organizations since 2012. Kate received her B.S. in Management from SUNY Geneseo and her MS.Ed. from Utica College. She holds NYS Teacher Certification in k-12 Business & Marketing and has over thirty years in higher education enrollment management and sales and marketing management with two Fortune 500 consumer product companies. During her tenure in higher education, Kate was the Director of Graduate, Continuing Education, and International Admissions at Utica College where she continues as an Adjunct Professor in Teacher Education Programs. Kate served on the Educational Advisory Subcommittee for U.S. House of Representative Richard Hanna(NY22), 2010-2014. She recently published a memoir about caregiving for a parent with dementia: Breakfast Memories ~ A Dementia Love Story.
Shannon Dale is the Director of Annual Giving for the University of North Carolina Asheville. She holds a B.A. in English and French from Elmhurst College and earned her M.A. in English with a specialization in rhetoric and composition from Colorado State University. In her role at UNC Asheville, she provides strategic leadership and management of a comprehensive, integrated annual giving program for the University. Prior to joining UNC Asheville, she most recently served as the Assistant Director of Development for the College of Liberal Arts at Colorado State University, where she leveraged her communications and public relations experience to develop annual giving materials and programming for the College, crafted development communications, and wrote proposals. Her deep appreciation for the Liberal Arts was born out of a childhood spent writing stories for her grandfather, performing in musical groups and in local theatre productions, and from many hours spent in the library where she fell in love with reading.
Jaclyn Pingel Day
Jaclyn Day is the Annual Giving Manager at UNC School of the Arts and oversees all aspects of the annual giving program, including direct mail, UNCSA’s annual Day of Giving, the Giannini Society – UNCSA’s outstanding leadership gifts program – and more. As a professional fundraiser with ten years of fundraising experience, she found her love for annual giving as a student caller at Brigham Young University. Working for UNCSA has blended her love for the arts and passion for higher education. Jaclyn obtained her M.S. in Nonprofit Management and Philanthropy from Bay Path University and a B.S. in Psychology from Brigham Young University.
McKenzie Durham is Phonathon Director at Clemson University. McKenzie has been with Clemson University’s Annual Giving Office since 2011. As the Phonathon Director, she coordinates all hiring, training, scheduling and daily operations of the Student Phonathon Program. Her experience as a previous caller gives her a unique perspective into the call center environment she strives to maintain. McKenzie understands the value of a student-led call center and continues to meet the needs of her students while exceeding fiscal year goals.
Scott Fry is Vice President of Digital Philanthropy at Community Funded.
Keep checking in to learn more about our CAGC 2019 speaker, Scott Fry!
Gloria Goosby is the Director of Annual Giving at Georgia Southern University. She is a higher education fundraising professional with more than a decade of progressive experience in annual giving and constituent relations. Loves to track metrics, set and achieve big goals, “do new stuff,” and encourage colleagues to do the same!
Amanda Hamilton is the Associate Director of Digital Philanthropy at the University of South Carolina.
With a primary focus on digital philanthropy, Amanda oversees the university’s crowdfunding platform, email campaigns, and online giving initiatives. A graduate of UofSC, Amanda has lived in Columbia, South Carolina since 2003 and started her career in nonprofit management before returning to her alma mater in 2016 on the Annual Giving team. In her spare time, she is an avid reader and loves to go on “adventures” around town with her 4 year old daughter, Eliza and husband, Bill.
Lauren King is the Director of Annual Giving and a 2004 graduate of the University of North Carolina Wilmington. Lauren has 10 years of experience as an annual giving professional and currently oversees the day-to-day operations of the annual giving program. As someone who embraces new ideas and technologies, she’s helped develop a CASE award-winning student philanthropy program, implement crowdfunding, and spearhead UNCW’s one-day giving challenge, now in its 6th year.
James Kopp currently serves as vice president for nonprofit programs at the Cathedral Corporation. In this capacity, he has developed innovative and award-winning annual programs for numerous public and private institutions of higher education. Prior to coming to the Cathedral Corporation, Jim served as senior managing director at Changing Our World, where he supervised comprehensive campaigns and development audits for such organizations as the United Nations Foundation, the Sesame Workshop, the United States Presidential World War One Centennial Commission, the Catholic Foundation of Eastern Missouri and the International Society of St. Vincent DePaul. Jim served as a dean and chief advancement officer of several private and public institutions of higher education and was a senior grant reviewer for both the United States Department of Education and the Fund for the Improvement of Post Secondary Education. He holds an M.A. from the University of Maine.
Kim Lebar is the Director of Annual Giving at the University of Richmond. She joined the Office of Annual Giving in August 2014 as senior associate director, working with members of the Tower Society and reunion classes. She currently serves as director of annual giving. Kim is a 1981 graduate of the University of Virginia with a bachelor’s degree in Commerce, and a 1984 graduate of UVA’s School of Law. Following law school, Kim practiced corporate law with McGuireWoods, an international law firm headquartered in Richmond, and in 1989-90 served as President of the Metropolitan Richmond Women’s Bar Association. After taking a break to raise her children, Kim joined the Development Office at St. Catherine’s School, a JK-12 girls’ school in Richmond, first as director of annual giving and later as director of development.
Nicole Lindberg is the Assistant Director of Annual Giving at the University of South Carolina. She focuses her efforts on young alumni, senior class gift, and matching gifts in addition to launching UofSC’s robust recurring giving program. Nicole also plays a big role in #Give4Garnet where she oversees student giving and events. She started her career in fundraising as a student caller at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. That job led her to be a Program Center Manager through Ruffalo Noel Levitz at the University of North Dakota and the University of Georgia before transitioning away from the call center to her position at the University of South Carolina.
Kestrel is the Co-Founder and CEO of GiveCampus, the social fundraising and engagement platform trusted by more than 600 educational institutions for giving days, reunions and class giving campaigns, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer fundraising, and volunteer management. A recognized leader in digital innovation and entrepreneurship, Kestrel speaks regularly on the evolution of web platforms, social media, and online marketplaces; the dynamics that drive user adoption and retention across different demographics and social networks; digital engagement and best practices; and the future of advancement amidst rapid technological change.
Christina Nichols, CFRE and bCRE-Pro, has a passion for making the world a better place for all and loves a good “why.” After nearly two decades in non-profit and higher education fundraising, she has joined the team at Marketing Communication Resource, Inc. (MCR) to leverage her skills and experience on behalf of MCR clients. She was a first-generation college student who is fiercely committed to providing post-secondary education to those who choose it. She firmly believes that showcasing causes that are meaningful and connect with donors is important to work.
Alberto Perez is currently the Annual Giving Officer at the University of North Georgia (UNG), one of six senior military colleges in the nation. Since starting in September 2016, Alberto has implemented a centralized annual program that has resulted in a 16% increase in Annual Fund gifts and 11% increase in Annual Fund donors. Alberto was a panelist at Reheer’s Vista conference and received the Peak Performance Award in August 2018. Prior to UNG, Mr. Perez fundraised for the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the second largest performing art venue in the nation. Over the course of 10 years, he has accumulated a range of fundraising experience and knowledge in areas of prospect research and data analysis, institutional giving and corporate sponsorships, giving societies, and implementation of communication plans as well as cultivation and stewardship events. Alberto has a Master’s degree in Arts Administration from Boston University.
Emily Porter is the Assistant Director of Annual Giving at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, where she oversees student and young alumni giving initiatives. While focusing on increasing current student and young alumni participation through year-round crowdfunding projects, Emily also assists in the planning of #NinerNationGives, UNC Charlotte’s giving day. In efforts to reach the young alumni audience, Emily created a texting campaign for FY19 to bolster the communications for a constantly moving group of alumni. After starting the text conversations with the graduates of the last 10 years, Emily now manages all text communications to a variety of campaigns including urgent projects that need support, alumni engagement, donor stewardship, event information, and other initiatives throughout the year.
Kathryn Sherrod is the Director of Annual and Major Giving at Porter-Gaud Foundation. She has been with the Porter-Gaud Foundation for 9 years and currently serves as the Director of Annual and Major Gifts. Her previous role, as Director of Alumni Relations, allowed her the opportunity to engage with our alumni all over the Country. Prior to coming to PG, Kathryn worked in the Development Office for MUSC Children’s Hospital Fund for 10 years. She is a graduate of the College of Charleston with a B. S. in Business Administration and earned her M. H. A. from the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC). She and her husband, Will, have twin daughters who are in the Class of 2022 at Porter-Gaud School. She grew up in the Lowcountry and has a passion for education, running, and animals.
Laurie Soenen serves as the Executive Director of Annual Giving Programs and the Parent Advisory Council, and has over 15 years of experience in development. She provides leadership and oversight to the office of Annual Giving Programs and serves as a liaison to the Foundation Board Development Committee and leads the Parent Advisory Council (PAC) as the Executive Director of PAC. Laurie also manages a portfolio of donors and serves as a strategic annual communications partner for schools/units/ and campus collaborators and is responsible for the marketing, creation and carefully calibrated messaging of direct mail, digital strategy, and stewardship of the 17 annual giving priority funds. Laurie began her career at the College of Charleston as the director of annual giving programs in 2009. Prior to coming to the College, Laurie held the positions of director of development with the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Central and Western N.C., director of annual giving at Queens University of Charlotte, and development associate at Charlotte Advocates for Education.
Rebecca Thomas is the Director of Outreach and Transitions at Stetson University. She oversees the development of on-campus philanthropic culture, education, and participation. Some of her responsibilities include developing, implementing and managing internal campus-based fundraising projects; overseeing the Green, White & YOU student philanthropy group; and fostering dynamic traditions of philanthropic collaboration and giving with both internal and external constituencies. Rebecca previously worked as the director of community development in Orlando with the Orlando City Soccer Club and Foundation, developing and implementing health and wellness programs for the Central Florida community. Rebecca earned her M.S. in Sport and Exercise Science and B.S. in Education at the University of Central Florida and holds a Certificate in Nonprofit Management from Rollins College’s Edyth Bush Institute for Philanthropy & Nonprofit Leadership.
Chandler Thompson, Associate Director of Annual Giving at Elon University, graduated from North Carolina State University in 2012. At NC State, she served as Student Body President, a role that ignited her passion for higher education and university advancement. In 2014, Chandler graduated with her M.Ed. in College Student Affairs Administration from the University of Georgia. Chandler has been at Elon since June 2014. As coordinator she worked with young alumni celebrating class reunions and grew Elon’s senior class giving from 42% to 59% in 2 years. Chandler now leads the affinity and class milestone reunions team as Associate Director and is responsible for overseeing and leading reunion fundraising and events, Alumni Engagement Officers, and peer-to-peer volunteer fundraising, including Elon Alumni Peer Agents and Elon Day Champions. Chandler serves as an active member for the Junior League of Greensboro and is usually found running, biking, or swimming in her free time.
Jonathan Van Oss
Jon Van Oss (PledgeMine) brings over 30 years of in-depth knowledge and hands-on experience gained from various senior data analytics and market research positions for organizations, such as the American Medical Association and World Vision. Jon has also served for more than 15 years as Vice President of Data Analytics at several advertising agencies that served a wide range of national and international non-profit organizations. He is nationally recognized for his insightful marketing and fundraising database analytics, decision-tree modeling, segmentation, testing, and attrition strategies and analyses.