2019 Speakers

Bob Burdenski
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 just served for the third straight year as Chair of the 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.

John Taylor
John Taylor is Principal of John H. Taylor Consulting, LLC.  For nearly 5 years John served as Associate Vice Chancellor for Advancement Services, as well as Interim Campaign Manager during his last 18 months, at North Carolina State University. He holds a B.A. in Mass Communications and Socio-Political Change from Vanderbilt University, and a Certificate in Nonprofit Management from Duke University. John has also served as Vice President for Research and Data Services at CASE – a position he held from its inception in late 2002.  Prior to that he was the Director of Alumni & Development Records at Duke University for nearly 15 years.

John formed one of the largest advancement-related listservs in the world, FundSvcs, now with over 3,600 subscribers.  He has spoken at hundreds of conferences across the country and received the CASE Crystal Apple Award for Outstanding Teaching. He is the Founder and Former President of the Association of Advancement Services Professionals. John received the AASP Jonathan Lindsey Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012.  He resides in Durham, NC, with his wife and children.

Armik Allen
Armik Allen has more than two decades of advancement experience; a deep understanding of what organizations need to thrive; and the insight to tailor programs for the greatest effect. She specializes in the functional infrastructure of development systems, preserving the best of existing operations while implementing improvements that enhance the organization’s potential. Armik and her teams have maximized operational efficiencies in fundraising, gift processing, reporting and analytics, constituent tracking, relationship management, fund management, and donor relations. She is currently the Executive Director of Advancement Services at California Lutheran University. Prior to her role at Cal Lutheran, she served as the Senior Director of Advancement Services at California State University, San Marcos and was the Associate Vice President of Advancement Services at the Kansas State University Foundation.

Deanna Amaya
Deanna Amaya is the Assistant Director of Annual Giving for California State University, Long Beach (CSULB).  She oversees the Beach Fund annual solicitations including direct mail, email, phone outreach, and the BEACHfunder crowdfunding platform. Deanna started her development career at The Beach as an annual giving assistant. She obtained a double Bachelor’s degree in English- Creative Writing and Film & Electronic Arts at CSULB in 2014 and an MA in English Literature in 2018. Deanna’s interests include 19th century British literature, periodic dramas, and tacos.

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!

Kelly Best
Kelly Best is the Manager of Strategic Projects for Advancement Services at the University of California, Davis.  Her focus is on internal and external communication strategy, training curriculum development, and Advancement Services brand management. One of Kelly’s passions is helping her colleagues gain recognition for the innovative work they do. Her CASE award submissions have garnered eleven awards (and counting!), including a Circle of Excellence Platinum Award. She has served the University of California development community for the past five years in a variety of positions at Davis and Santa Cruz. Prior to that, Kelly was enrolled in a Ph.D. program in ethnomusicology, a perfect expression of her love of music composition, writing, and critical thinking. She earned her bachelor’s degree in geology (with honors) and master’s degree in ethnomusicology from Memorial University, Canada.

Sean Briner
Sean Briner is currently the Director of Annual Giving Programs at California State University San Marcos.  He has been part of CSUSM’s University Advancement division for 8 years and in higher education for more than 20 years.  At CSUSM’s annual giving office (a staff of one), he manages philanthropic outreach to alumni, employees, and students; including the Student Philanthropy Council, and oversees Wilson-Bennett’s management of the Phonathon program. Sean has also led all 4 years of the university’s day of giving, CSUSM Giving Day, for which the university has received CASE District VII Bronze Awards of Excellence in 2018 and 2019 for Fundraising Campaigns.  CSUSM completed its $50 million Forward Together campaign in 2018, acquiring more than 6,000 first-time alumni, employee, and student donors.  Sean holds a bachelor’s degree in education/journalism from The Ohio State University and a master’s degree in education from Xavier University. He earned a certificate in fund raising management from the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.

Kelli Bronson
Kelli Bronson is the Associate Director of Annual Giving at Whittier College.  She has 20 years of experience building annual giving programs in higher education. At Whittier she is responsible for direct mail and email marketing, loyalty giving, and society crowdfunding efforts. Kelli earned her bachelor’s degree in english from Cal State University, Fullerton and a certificate in fund raising from UCLA. Kelli is anxiously awaiting the final season of “Game of Thrones.” #WinterIsHere

Tessa Burke
Tessa Burke is an Account Manager with iModules.  She has spent the past 15 years working in higher education and secondary education; with a focus on marketing, communications, alumni relations, enrollment, and institutional advancement. Prior to joining iModules, Tessa was the web content manager for two private college preparatory schools in the Chicagoland area. She implemented the Encompass system in 2009 and enjoys bringing the perspective of an experienced Encompass user to her role as she partners with her clients in strategic digital engagement.

McCabe Callahan

McCabe Callahan is the CEO and co-Founder of Community Funded.   McCabe Callahan began Community Funded in 2011 out of his passion to provide a platform for communities to support the things they care about. Since that time, Community Funded has been home to hundreds of highly collaborative, and in some cases, international award-winning campaigns.

Michael Cocks
Michael Cocks has been a development professional for the last 14 years and has worked with multiple non-profits over the years in both membership and development positions. Michael possesses expertise in gift administration, data integrity, project management and the documentation of departmental practices and policies. He is currently the Project Manager for Development Operations at the Los Angeles Philharmonic (LA Phil). He joined the LA Phil in 2016 as the Development Operations Coordinator. During his time here Michael has been tasked with taking existing practices and restructuring them for transparency and efficiency. This includes the reform of departmental budgeting and expense management, contribution documentation filing and storage procedures, and intranet restructuring. Prior to his work with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Michael worked with the California Science Center and Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic.

Wayne Combs
Dr. Wayne Combs is a leader in campaign and advancement management with over 20 years of experience supporting higher education. He teaches in the Organizational Change and Leadership doctoral program at the USC Rossier School of Education on the fundamentals of creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship, and the economics of organizational change. Wayne is formerly the Associate Dean of Advancement Operations and Constituent Programs for the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. Previously he served as the Director of Advancement Services & Information Management at Occidental College and was the Manager of Gift, Data & Record Services at the University of California, San Diego. Wayne began his career at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he trained their advancement staff in the use of software and fundraising technology to prepare for a $3 billion campaign.  Wayne is also actively involved as a member of the board of directors (Vice President) for the Association of Advancement Services Professionals (AASP) where works to support programming for summit and regional events; webinars; and best practices.  He is also a member of the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) where he serves as Conference Chair and Faculty.

Laurent (Lo) De Janvry
lodejanvryLaurent “Lo” de Janvry has been in higher education marketing and development for over a decade.
   He serves as Assistant Dean of College Relations & Development at the UC Berkeley College of Chemistry.  Previously, as the Director of Strategic and Direct Marketing Services at UC Berkeley, he grew the university’s annual giving department to provide direct response marketing, market research, and data mining-modeling services campus-wide. Lo has presented at numerous regional, national, and international conferences, and consulted universities on the utilization of market research and data mining-modeling to enhance their marketing, development, and alumni relations programs.   Lo has his undergraduate degree in Economics from the University of California at Berkeley, and his MBA from the University of Southern California Marshall School of Business. Before entering higher education, he worked in the private sector in marketing, brand strategy, and operational consulting for Arthur Andersen, Mars & Company, Del Monte Foods, and Prophet Brand Strategy.

Rodger Devine
Rodger Devine is the Senior Executive Director of Business Intelligence at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, including the USC Shoah Foundation, at the University of Southern California.  Rodger oversees data analytics, information strategy, advancement operations, data administration, prospect development, and leadership annual giving programs. Prior to joining USC, he served as the Director of Information, Analytics and Annual Giving at the Michigan Ross School of Business, where he managed information, analysis, reporting and business processes related to development strategy, portfolio activity, and goal attainment.  Rodger brings over 15 years of experience in enterprise information systems, software engineering, IT operations, organizational development, and cross-functional leadership. He completed his graduate studies in information, analysis and retrieval at the University of Michigan, where he was a member of the Michigan Data Sciences team and co-founded the Student Organization for Information, Analysis and Retrieval.  In his spare time, he speaks at various conferences, teaches machine learning workshops, and volunteers in data projects that benefit non-profits such as the A2 Data Dive. Rodger is excited to launch his upcoming book Data Science for Fundraising: Build Data-Driven Solutions Using R, which is scheduled to release in February 2018.

Gretchen Dobson, Ed.D.
Gretchen Dobson is the President, Global Alumni Relations, Academic Assembly, Inc. With over 25 years of experience in higher education and constituent relations, Gretchen and her team at Academic Assembly, Inc. lead institutions, governments and member-based organizations towards sustainable international alumni engagement strategies and solutions. She also provides professional coaching for international alumni relations, development, admissions and academic officers new to global engagement practices.  Gretchen is the author of Being Global: Making the Case for International Alumni Relations (CASE Books, 2011) and  the International Travel Handbook: Engaging Constituents Abroad (Academic Impressions, 2014), as well as the editor of Staying Global: How International Alumni Relations Advances the Agenda (EAIE, 2015). She was recognized by the Chronicle of Higher Education as one of the leading “Innovators in Internationalization” for her work at Tufts University (USA).  Gretchen serves as Board Chair of United Planet, a network of leaders and volunteers fostering cross-cultural understanding and addressing shared challenges to unite the world in a community beyond borders.  She received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Boston College, and her doctorate in higher education management from the University of Pennsylvania. Gretchen is affiliated with the university at Albany’s School of Education as an International Education Leadership Fellow. She is based in Australia.

Nathan Fay
Nathan Fay serves as Associate Vice President of Prospect Development at City of Hope, one of the nation’s top National Cancer Institutes, where he provides leadership for the business intelligence, prospect research, prospect management, data solutions, data management and training units.  Prior to City of Hope, he spent over 11 years in various roles at Stanford University, including 7 years as Director of Data Analytics and Prospect Research.  Nathan is a sought-after speaker in management philosophy, business intelligence and artificial intelligence. He is a scholar of philosophical systems with an emphasis on applying philosophy and technology to create a more socially just society. Nathan is the author of Precision Prospect Development and the co-author of Precision Philanthropy: Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Generosity.

Becky Ferguson
Becky Ferguson  is the Director of Customer Services at the University of California, Davis.  She manages a team of analysts focused on projects and ad hoc reporting needs of their users. In this role, Becky serves as Chief Product Owner of the development and alumni relations tech stack. She also manages the gift agreement staff and oversees the documenting of gifts; academic chairs; gift policies; and gift administration. Prior to UC Davis, Becky spent time in the development and alumni shops at Stanford University and Pennsylvania State University. When she’s not at the office you’ll catch her at the gym, a tango lesson, or the local farmers market.

Amanda Garvin-Adicoff
Amanda Garvin-Adicoff is an Applications Programmer for Advancement Services at the University of California, Davis.  She provides business intelligence support to the Annual Fund and has specialized the refining of international data.  With 10 years of experience in financial aid, auditing, and advancement services, Amanda is dedicated to developing and enforcing the rules that make data more beautiful and more valuable to her customers.  She is a polyglot with a passion for language acquisition and holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Stanford University.

Brian Gawor
Brian Gawor serves as Vice President for Research at Ruffalo Noel Levitz. His focus is research and strategy and to help propel the fundraising results of clients.  Brian has 14+ years of higher education experience in student affairs, enrollment management and development. He began his career directing the student ambassador phoning and campus tour programs at Knox College, his alma mater. His efforts supported the achievement of record enrollment at Knox which continues today. He then joined the college’s $3 million Knox Fund and, with the help of Ruffalo Noel Levitz’s on-site management, set an institutional record for alumni donors during a tough economy. Most recently, Brian served for four years as Director of Development for the College of Fine Arts at Illinois State University.  He is currently completing a doctorate at Illinois State University, where he is studying higher education donors, fundraising and the experiences of student fundraisers.

Howard Heevner
Howard Heevner joined the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC) in 2011 and is currently their Assistant Vice Chancellor of Alumni Engagement.  In this role, Howard oversees their annual giving, alumni council and engagement, special events and advancement services programs.  Prior to UCSC, Howard was the Director of Annual giving at Pennsylvania State University where he oversaw their annual giving program for the 23 campus system and 42 fundraising units. During his tenure he restructured their annual giving chargeback structure; rolled out a new online giving system; re-organized their annual giving office to meet the needs of the university; created a face-to-face high-end annual giving program; and improved the university’s donor retention and alumni donor count. Howard has also worked in various annual giving roles at DePaul University, the University of Michigan, and at the University of Iowa Foundation.

Michele Hicks
Michele Hicks has been at the University of California, Davis for over 6 years and presently serves as the Operations Manager for Gift and Data Services.  In her role, she is known as the “Train Station Master” – keeping the trains moving on time and on track through business process refinement.  Prior to her current position, Michele held positions at UC Davis as the Programmer for their Annual and Special Gifts Program and the Director of Telephone Outreach.  Prior to joining the university, Michele spent over 10 years in annual giving at Illinois State University and Eastern Washington University.  She holds a bachelor’s degree in public health education from Eastern Washington University and a master’s degree in public administration.  When she’s not serving as the “Station Master” at work, Michele is running around with her husband and 3 children.  In her spare time, she enjoys her 6:00 a.m. gym time, 5 days a week; crocheting and knitting; and baking delicious treats known to woo a certain MOTM co-host and high-profile advancement services consultant.

Chere Hooks
Chere Hooks is the Assistant Director for the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, at the University of Southern California.  Chere brings over 20 years of experience in higher education fundraising. In her current role, she manages a portfolio of 200+ alumni, parents and friends and is responsible for the identification, cultivation and solicitation of donors at the annual giving leadership level that ranges between $1K – $100K. In addition, Chere focuses on translating new leads into lucrative donors, as well as mobilizing and converting established donors to explore upgrade and planned giving opportunities. Chere holds a master’s degree in gerontology, as well as a master’s degree in communication management from the University of Southern California. In her spare time, she is a Life Coach.

Morgan Jandreau
Morgan Jandreau is a business, gift, and data analyst. During her time at UC Davis, she has been the primary gift documentation reviewer and the matching gifts coordinator. Before joining UC Davis as an employee, Morgan was an undergraduate student there. She now holds a Bachelor’s degree in Managerial Economics from Davis. When not rocking the new matching gifts program, Morgan and her new fiancé enjoy traveling and seeing their favorite bands perform live.

Pamela Jones-Tintle
Pamela Jones Tintle is the Assistant Vice President for Development at Pitzer College.

Diana Keim
Diana Keim currently serves as the Associate Vice President for Annual Giving at City of Hope.  In that capacity, Diana oversees annual giving, digital philanthropy and employee giving. Combined, all of the departments she oversees is responsible for over $10 million in revenue and more than 78,000 individual donors to City of Hope.  During her time at City of Hope, the annual giving department has grown substantially. The program has more than doubled its efforts, raised their revenue by 157%, and increased their number of gifts by 29%. The employee giving department has also grown under Diana’s supervision, where she instituted an internal employee giving campaign, “Hope Starts with Us.” Under her direction, City of Hope employees currently donate over $500,000 each year through this campaign; with 65% percent of employees participating in this effort.  Prior to joining City of Hope in 2005, Diana served for 4 years as the Director of Annual Giving at her alma mater, the University of Southern California. She also served as their Director of Telemarketing for six years prior to that. Diana started her career in fundraising as a freshman student caller at the USC Phone Program. 

Nick Kennedy
Nick Kennedy is the Senior Associate Director of Annual Giving and Direct Marketing for USC Shoah Foundation. Nick joined the Advancement team at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences in October 2015 as the Assistant Director of Annual Giving. In his current role, Nick manages a portfolio of leadership annual giving donors and develops all direct mail and email appeal letters, as well as other cultivation and solicitation projects. Nick holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics from Claremont McKenna College, and is currently pursuing his MBA at the USC Marshall School of Business.

Ryan Lawrence
Ryan Lawrence is the Associate Director of Digital Philanthropy at the University of California, Berkeley where he oversees digital fundraising efforts within university development and alumni relations.  Ryan manages the Berkeley Crowdfunding program, which raised half a million dollars from more than 4,200 donors last academic year. Additionally, Ryan is serving as a project manager for Big Give, Cal’s annual fundraising 24-hour event. He also evaluates and tests new technologies to engage and solicit the Berkeley community and has recently implemented a texting program at Berkeley’s call center and beyond. Ryan has been working for UC Berkeley since February 2016.  Previously, he served as the Assistant Director of Web Fundraising at the University of Delaware, where he also received his bachelor’s degree in English.

Anita Lawson
Anita Lawson has been a development professional for more than 20 years and has enjoyed a rewarding career supporting diverse non-profit organizations with her expertise in gift administration, process re-engineering, and database conversion management.  In April 2015, Anita accepted a position as Director of Development Operations with the Los Angeles Philharmonic (LA Phil) to build a team in support of a major campaign for the orchestra’s 100th anniversary. Prior to the LA Phil, she was the Advancement Services Manager at the RAND Corporation in Santa Monica, CA. Anita has also held advancement services leadership positions at Communities Foundation of Texas and Susan G. Komen For The Cure headquarters (both in Dallas, TX), as well as positions at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles in Los Angeles, CA and the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA.  Anita has served on the board of CASE IV and is a founding member of the Association of Advancement Services Professionals (AASP) .

Kamalei Lee
Kamalei Lee is the Associate Director of Annual Giving at Pitzer College.  She received a bachelor’s degree in public relations from the University of La Verne with a background in communications, fundraising, digital media, organizational leadership and community outreach.

Jennifer Liu-Cooper
Jennifer Liu-Cooper, is the Director of West Coast Client Support for DonorSearch.  Jennifer has 20+ years of experience in fundraising operations and her areas of expertise include prospect development (research, analysis, tracking & management); business process assessment and re-design; system implementation & management; and gift and record management.  She has helped clients meet changing business requirements in applying business best practices within the unique context of each organization. Jennifer has overseen fundraising operations at the University of Delaware and Vanderbilt University, and directed prospect development at the University of Oregon Foundation. Currently, she serves as Secretary of the AASP Board and has been a featured speaker for CASE, APRA, and AASP.

Felicity Meu
Felicity Meu is the Director of Partner Success at GiveCampus.  Felicity spent 9 years with Stanford’s Office of Development.  As Stanford’s inaugural Director of Next Generation Giving she worked closely with individual donors and volunteers but also helped craft the University’s vision for engaging its next great generation of philanthropists. Leaning into the needs of young donors, Felicity spent time consulting for Stanford’s Effective Philanthropy Lab, working on a project dedicated to taking a deep dive into better understanding the needs of millennial donors. Currently she serves as Director of Partner Success for GiveCampus where she continues to work against her goal of helping more people be more generous more strategically.

Emily Neigel
Emily Neigel is the Sales and Marketing Manager for Relay Txt.  Emily manages education sales and client success at Relay and has been one of the industry leaders on the forefront of person-to-person texting, helping 70+ independent schools, colleges and universities integrate texting into their annual giving and alumni relations programs. Prior to joining Relay, Emily worked with Upwardly Global, connecting refugees with education and jobs. She graduated from Beloit College in Wisconsin, where she worked in both Residential Life and Admissions. Emily is also a proud alumni volunteer,and has hosted current students for career shadowing and alumni events in the Bay Area.

Christina Nichols, CFRE, bCRE-Pro
Christina Nichols 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 work.

Meg Padovani
Meg Padovani is the Lead Applications Programmer for Advancement Services at the University of California, Davis. During her 6 years with UC Davis development, Meg has been the driving force behind the innovative, best-in-industry solutions that have garnered 10 CASE awards (and counting!). Meg is committed to ensuring an excellent user experience and applies her artist’s eye to all of her BI data visualizations. A 2019 CASE Rising Star Award recipient, Meg nurtures a passion for learning that extends well beyond her support for higher education fundraising.  She is a frequent speaker on the media and methods of best practice in advancement data analytics. When she is not busy winning CASE awards for UC Davis, Meg enjoys training for half-marathons, creating functional pieces of textile art, and spending time with her husband and two children. Fluent in SQL and with mad chops in JavaScript and Tableau, Meg is a Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA).  She also has a bachelor’s degree from the University of the Pacific.

Jean Pembleton
Jean Pembleton is the Director of Higher Education at the peer-to-peer texting company, Hustle.  Prior to joining Hustle, Jean worked as an annual giving fundraiser and volunteer manager at the University of Chicago before relocating to the Bay Area where she worked as a Major Gift Officer at Stanford Law School.

Michelle Poesy
Michelle Poesy joined the development and alumni relations team at the University of California, Davis as their Senior Director of Annual and Special Gifts in September 2014.  Prior to joining UC Davis, she was the Director of Annual and Special Gifts at the Washington State University Foundation.  Michelle also has 15 years of event management experience overseeing presidential-level university events at Washington State University and local community festivals and events in the Washington area. Michelle has also managed city and county tourism promotions and programs at the Pullman, Washington Chamber of Commerce and at the Moscow, Idaho Chamber of Commerce. During her tenure at the Pullman Chamber of Commerce, Michelle was also a co-founder of a state scenic byway program, The Palouse Scenic Byway, which encompassed over 200 miles and eleven communities. Michelle received her degree in communication-advertising from the University of Idaho.

Alex Popescu
Alex Popescu has over 12 years of experience in development and is currently the Director of Annual Giving at Whittier College.
In his role, he oversees traditional annual giving programs like direct mail and phonathon, as well as newer, digital frontiers including crowdfunding, day of giving campaigns, and mobile payments. Alex began his fundraising career as a student caller at Chapman University, where he also earned his bachelor’s degree in communication studies and master’s degree in leadership development. Outside of the office, Alex enjoys running, reading about cryptocurrencies, and exploring new countries.

Dawn Roarty,  MBA, PMP, CSM
Dawn Roarty brings more than 30 years of project and change management experience to her role as Executive Director of Gift and Data Services for Advancement Services at the University of California, Davis. In her role Dawn oversees all gift processing and advancement data management, and she leads the design and implementation of business intelligence solutions in support of UC Davis’ first (and their next) comprehensive fundraising campaign.  Dawn has driven the adoption of many innovative approaches to the business of advancement services, including the implementation of Agile and KANBAN to gift & donor record processing. She has served as Project Manager for the Centralized Gift Processing System (GREAT), which earned four CASE awards in a single year, including Grand Gold and Platinum. With her expertise in automation and process improvement, Dawn has saved organizations many thousands of dollars over the course of her career. She brings this passion for efficiency to her gift processing team and fosters an environment that encourages openness and continuous improvement. She has served on the faculty for several of CASE’s Gift Processing and Donor Records Workshops and has also presented at the Association of Advancement Services Professionals (AASP )many times. Dawn holds a bachelor’s degree from UC Davis; an MBA from Golden Gate University; and is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) and SCRUM master.

Alison Roedl
Alison returned to her alma mater, the University of Redlands, as their Associate Director of Annual Giving in 2017.  In her role, alongside their alumni community relations team, Alison oversees and plans their reunion giving campaign. She is also charged with the new BOLD (Bulldogs of the Last Decade) alumni engagement effort and  oversees Greek & Athletic crowdfund projects. Before working in higher education, Alison spent 7 years in the sustainable construction industry.

Emily Parris Sandler
Emily Paris Sandler is the Senior Director of Digital Philanthropy at City of Hope.

Rob Schlitts
Rob Schlitts is the Division President of Wilson-Bennett Technology Incorporated, a nationally recognized provider of cutting edge phonathon technology and services located in Little Rock, Arkansas.   Rob began his phonathon career as a student caller at Hillsdale College in Michigan.  Over the last decade, Rob has been instrumentally involved with hundreds of phonathon programs.  This association has allowed him the experience of working with many diverse institutions; ranging from 3,000 – 300,000 callable prospects.  Rob holds a  master’s degree in organizational management.

Wilson-Bennett provides over 150 on-site managed phonathon programs, off-site calling, membership calling, admissions calling and automated software leasing; each unique to the non-profit needs.

Jessica Schrider LaBorde
Jessica Schrider La Borde is the Assistant Vice Chancellor of Advancement Services at the University of California, Davis
. She and her team develop and provide advancement services solutions with the front-line fundraiser in mind. With nearly 25 years of experience in corporate sales, political and nonprofit fundraising, and philanthropy operations, Jessica is passionate about improving both internal and external processes to drive a leaner and more efficient business while supporting UC Davis’ philanthropic goals and priorities. She serves on the Board of Directors for the Association of Advancement Services Professionals (AASP) and is active with CASE as both a speaker and an awards judge for Advancement Services Programs. Jessica recently completed an Executive MBA program and holds two bachelor’s degrees – one in mass communications and a second in English literature from Appalachian State University. When not fearlessly leading her team to new professional heights, Jessica takes pleasure at home and abroad by gardening with her tween twins; supporting farm-to-fork initiatives; and sampling family-owned wineries and microbreweries with her charming husband. She is also a voracious reader who enjoys cat napping between chapters nearly as much as turning pages.

Chelsea Speer
Chelsea Speer is the Assistant Director of Annual Giving at Whittier College.
She is responsible for increasing alumni fundraising participation through their phonathon (their student call center), senior class gift campaign, and Graduates of the Last Decade (G.O.L.D.).  Chelsea has a bachelor’s degree in business with an emphasis in marketing and a minor in economics from Whittier College and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in education. She has 5 years of customer service from In-N-Out and 3 years of sales experience from an equipment leasing and finance company. Chelsea has been able to utilize the skills and knowledge gained from her previous employers and her close affinity to Whittier College to make significant improvements to Whittier’s programs in just under two years.

Mary Stivender
Mary Stivender is Associate Director of Annual Giving at UC Berkeley, where she has worked for 9 years.   In her role, she manages the operations of the university’s direct mail and email program for 13 schools and the central annual fund. Prior to Cal, she managed marketing communications and sales support for 10 years in the hospitality and logistics industries.

Jonathan Van Oss
Jon Van Oss 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.

Tyler Varing
Tyler Varing is the Assistant Director of Annual Giving at the University of Southern California.


Raymond W. Watts, CFRE, CSPG, is ARay Watts Head Shot--2013ssociate Vice President at the University of Redlands, and has served the University since 2002.
Ray manages the Development team at the University, and oversees all University philanthropic outreach efforts, working closely with Trustees, the President and the Vice President for University Relations to achieve organizational goals.  Before assuming the role of AVP at Redlands in 2007, Ray served for 5 years as Director of Development, overseeing the major gift fundraising for the historic Centennial Campaign.

Prior to coming to Redlands, Ray spent 7 years at his alma mater, Loyola Marymount University of Los Angeles, spending the last 4 years as Director of Annual and Special Campaigns.  Prior to this role, Ray served as Director of University Relations Administration, overseeing special events, donor stewardship and worked closely with the Vice President of University Relations.  Ray received a bachelor’s degree in English literature from LMU and a master’s degree in Business Administration from LMU with an emphasis in management.  Ray received CFRE (Certified Fund Raising Executive) certification in 1999, CSPG (Certified Specialist in Planned Giving) certification in 2014 and has presented at multiple conferences on varying topics relating to development and management.  He is also an adjunct faculty member in the School of Business at the University of Redlands, teaching classes on management, leadership and working with students on their capstone projects.  Ray lives in Redlands, California with his wife, Judi, their 15-year old daughter Haven, 11-year old son Logan and 7-year-old daughter Clare.

Lynne Wester
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.

Molly Widdicombe, M.Ed.
Molly Widdicombe is the Director of Annual Giving at the University of Redlands.  Molly has over 20 years of combined experience in higher education. Prior to her role in advancement at the University of Redlands, she spent 10 years at the University of Idaho in both student and academic affairs. She also served as the Alumni Relations and Development Assistant at a small, private high school for 5 years.  In her current role, Molly oversees a small, but mighty staff who play a major role each year in reunion class giving.

More speakers will be added as sessions
are confirmed – check back!