2020 Conference Speakers

Lynne Wester (Keynote Speaker)
lynne-westerLynne Wester is a frequent conference speaker and well-known resource for donor relations and fundraising expertise.  
She has been featured in The Washington Post, CURRENTS magazine, The Chronicle of Philanthropy and other industry publications. Lynne also created the website and blog www.donorrelationsguru.com where she shares her expertise, opinions, and collections of samples on a variety of topics.  She also hosts a monthly webinar series.  It is Lynn’s personal philosophy that the goal of any great fundraising operation is to use strategic communications and interactions to foster the relationship between the organization and its constituents and friends. Using her expertise and hands-on approach, she works with many organizations to help them keep their focus donor driven, technologically savvy, strategic, and always with a splash of good humor.  Lynn received her undergraduate degrees from the University of South Carolina and is a loyal gamecock alumna, donor, and fan.

Bob Burdenski (Opening Session)
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 GivingTen Departures That Worked, which presents ten U.S. case histories of advanced annual giving strategies; More Innovations in Annual GivingTen 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.  In 2019, Bob was named a CASE Laureate for his volunteer service to the profession.

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.

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.

JD Beebe
JD Beebe is the co-Founder and CEO of ThankView.  Originally designed to help him and his wife thank their wedding guests with personalized videos, ThankView quickly evolved to a stewardship platform embraced by over 600 universities, non-profits, hospitals and beyond. JD regularly presents at CASE, ADRP, AFP and other fundraising conferences and is honored to be presenting here. He loves his team, his wife, his dog Smokey, and a great number of other people and things, all of which he’s more than happy to chat about – swing by the ThankView booth and say hello!

Jonathan Brooks
Jonathan Brooks is the Director of Annual Giving at Western Carolina University where he also received his master’s degree in Innovation Leadership. He spent seven years working for global non-profits before transitioning to higher education in 2012 via Ruffalo Noel Levitz. Joining the University of Houston in 2014, he spent four years leading the annual giving department through the public phase of their $1 billion campaign. In 2018 he moved back to his home state to take on his current role. Throughout his career, he has managed the full spectrum of development, alumni engagement, operations, and advancement services activities.

Erica Burroughs
Erica Burroughs is Senior Director of Family Engagement and Annual Giving at High Point University.



Tracy Coleman
Tracy Coleman is the Associate Director of Strategic Annual Campaigns at the University of South Alabama.  Tracy has worked at the University of South Alabama for 18 years in the Development and Alumni Relations office. She has served in several development positions. In her initial role she was Development Specialist with USA Health Children’s & Women’s Hospital Development where she focused on Children’s Miracle Network sponsors and donors. After two years she was promoted to Associate Director of Medical Affairs concentrating on annual giving for the medical units, including initiating a grateful patient program.  In her current position, Tracy manages the University’s efforts with the Employee Annual Giving Campaign, with a cumulative fundraising impact of more than $13 million. In addition, Tracy plans and organizes the University’s Employee Annual United Way Campaign. She also assists with alumni annual giving, including the USA Giving Day.  A 1997 graduate of the University of South Alabama with a bachelor’s degree in Marketing Management. She is a life-time member of the USA National Alumni Association and a member of the 1974 Society, which is one of the major sources of funding for the USA MacQueen Alumni Center.

Jenny Cooke Smith
Jenny Cooke Smith is a senor strategic consultant for CASE, with a focus on AMAtlassm, the global resource for educational advancement-related metrics, benchmarks and analytics. Jenny specializes in analyzing advancement trends, interpreting comparison benchmarks, and helping people understand the “stories behind the data.”   Prior to joining CASE, Jenny spent 15 years in a variety of positions within Blackbaud’s Target Analytics, most recently leading donorCentrics™ benchmarking cohorts, which provide opportunities for institutions and organizations globally to review and discuss direct marketing and annual giving trends.  During her time in this role, she built and expanded the Higher Education cohort groups, spurred development to analyze the impact of newer initiatives within fundraising, such as giving days, crowdfunding and mid-level giving analysis, and partnered with offices in Canada, the U.K., and Australia to deliver results specific to NGO’s in those fundraising markets. Jenny has also been a CASE volunteer and frequent speaker at CASE and other industry conferences.

Colin Cumming
Colin Cumming is the Director of Leadership Annual Giving at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Colin has seven years of professional fundraising experience and currently works with members of Georgia Tech’s unrestricted giving society, Leadership Circle. A proud Michigander, he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Social Policy from Michigan State University and a master’s degree in Nonprofit Management from Grand Valley State University. He has served on the boards of the Association of Fundraising Professionals West Michigan and the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network Grand Rapids. Colin currently lives in Midtown, Atlanta with his husband, Chris, and two cats, Cooper and Cosmo. 

Shannon Dale
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.

Gloria Goosby
Gloria Goosby is the Director of Annual Giving at Furman 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!

Cameron J. Hall
Cameron J. Hall serves as Senior Director of Annual Giving for Institutional Advancement at the Texas Tech University System
(TTUS), which is comprised of Angelo State University (ASU), Texas Tech University (TTU), Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) and Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso (TTUHSC EP). In this role, he serves as the chief annual giving officer for TTU overseeing advancement marketing strategies and as an annual giving consultant to TTUHSC and TTUHSC EP providing insight and expertise in their respective annual giving programs. His department’s focus is to develop programs aimed to retain donors for more than 3 years consecutively, and his department oversees direct and digital marketing, social fundraising and the TTUS Tele-engagement center.

Heather Kopec
Heather Kopec is the Director of Annual Giving at Virginia Tech University.  She brings an entrepreneurial perspective to developing annual giving strategies, and integrating new technology to propel giving at Virginia Tech. Heather is responsible for developing an innovative one-to-many fundraising program aimed at increasing the alumni giving rate from 12% to 22% by 2022 while also sustainably growing current-use funds. Her strategies are deeply rooted in marketing analytics, behavioral segmentation, and encouraging a test-and-learn team environment.  In her career, Heather has worked for numerous universities at RNL, and then at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she was the Director of Annual Giving. Heather worked to align campus partners and cross-functional teams to be at the forefront of best practices.

Reshunda Mahone
Reshunda Mahone is the Assistant Dean for Advancement and Alumni Engagement and Senior Director of Development at the Goizueta Business School at Emory University. With over 20 years of development experience, Reshunda comes to Emory University having served most recently as the Vice President for Institutional Advancement at Virginia State University. She is no stranger to Atlanta, as she previously held fundraising roles at both Spelman College and Georgia State University. She began her development career at the University of Florida and also spent time at the University of Central Florida and the University of Miami.  She is an active member of the Council for the Advancement & Support of Education (CASE) and was appointed to their Commission on Philanthropy, the Minority Serving Institution Advisory Board, and District III Boards. Reshunda also serves on the African American Development Offers (AADO) Network board and the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) board. She is a Certified Fundraising Executive and is currently a candidate for her Doctor of Education from Virginia Commonwealth University.

Brittany Neely
Brittany Neely is the alumni engagement coordinator for the Winthrop University Alumni Association in Rock Hill, SC.  She has been with the university since Nov. 2015. In her role she oversees parts of Homecoming & Reunion Weekend, alumni chapters, alumni engagement events and the Legacy Program. Prior to her role as the alumni engagement coordinator she was the campus relations coordinator and over saw student and young alumni programming for the alumni association. Brittany received her bachelor’s degree in Integrated Marketing Communications from Winthrop in 2014. Brittany is an active member of the university as well as the Rock Hill community.  She completed Leadership York County with the York County Regional Chamber in 2018, a planning council member for Young Professionals of York County and served as a team leader for Rock Hill’s ChristmasVille Festival. Brittany resides in Rock Hill with her husband and they are expecting their first child in October.

Christina Nichols
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.

Laurie Soenen
Laurie Soenen serves as the Executive Director of Annual Giving Programs and the Parent Advisory Council at the College of Charleston, 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.

Rachel Spencer
Rachel Spencer is a true phonathon expert benefitting from a long and varied career in tele-fundraising. Over the last decade she has graduated from student caller, to professional tele-fundraiser, to phonathon manager and now phonathon advisor and consultant. In her present role at VanillaSoft she works closely with more than 80 universities around the world on a wide variety of telephone-based campaigns.

Kirk Swenson
Kirk Swenson is UNC Asheville’s newly-appointed vice chancellor for University advancement beginning June 1, 2020.  He is responsible for strategic leadership and oversight for all areas of advancement, including alumni and parent engagement, leadership giving, planned giving, annual giving, research and corporate, government and foundation support.  He comes to UNCA from Dickinson College, where he served as vice president for college advancement, and he previously held development positions at Cornell University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Ithaca College, St. Mark’s School, and the University of Rochester. 

In his first two years at Dickinson support grew by 247% over 2016 totals. He has developed the prospect pipeline to support continued growth, which is projected to quadruple to over $25 million this year.  During his tenure at St. Mark’s School, annual gifts and commitments increased from $2.6 million to $15 million and alumni annual fund participation increased from 26 percent to 32 percent. He led the school’s inaugural strategic planning initiative, which focused on initiatives in global citizenship, STEM education and the creation of a center for innovation in teaching and learning.  Swenson served as director of graduate alumni programs at MIT, where he led staff responsible for alumni activities and annual fundraising for more than 50,000 graduate-degree holders. He was comprehensive campaign director of Ithaca College’s $145 million campaign. As assistant vice president at the University of Rochester, he led the team that planned the university’s first billion-dollar campaign.