The list goes on once I start thinking about men and women of influence. Focusing on fund-raising consultants, top people include:
- Bill Jenkins, Phi Kappa Tau
- Steve Becker, Beta Theta Pi
- Pat Ryan, Lambda Chi Alpha
- Martin Cobb, Beta Theta Pi
- Greg Harbaugh — President & CEO of Sigma Chi Foundation prior to my tenure (taught me how to lead with an emphasis on values and character)
- Bob Johnson — Chairman my first two years in this role (taught me how to collaborate, problem solve, and set big goals)
It is the collective of FarmHouse. I could name hundreds of staff members, my legendary predecessor (Bob Off), Trustees, Foundation Chairman, Executive Coach Marc Pitman, colleagues, alumni, etc. But FarmHouse has been the greatest positive influence on my life — as a fundraising professional, CEO, wife, mother, daughter, colleague, mentor and friend.
The values, its name’s acronym and the Object of the Fraternity resonates soundly with me, especially “Progress Shall Mark Our Every Step.” I find myself saying it not just in my Foundation work but everything I do, including raising my two daughters with my husband, Nick. Because in reality, it takes one step at a time to reach the next big milestone, it’s a team effort and you need confidence to keep moving forward.
FarmHouse is a small organization that always thinks big. We have a big vision, huge goals and new aspirations along with confident donors, volunteers and staff who believe this too. I continue to work for FarmHouse because FarmHouse believes in me too. I am blessed to have amazing mentors of Trustees and alumni – so many who call just to check in to see how the Foundation, our team and my family are doing. I often say, “The grass isn’t always greener on the other side. And the FarmHouse grass is pretty green.”
My first Chairman at Phi Kappa Tau helped shape my professional career a lot. Bill Jenkins early on was a god to me and was always a joy to sit by his side and listen to his wealth of information and stories.
Alpha Chi Omega’s past National President Ellen Vanderbrink, who didn’t always agree with me but constantly supported me, and AXO past National President Donna Chereck, who is one of my best friends and always believes in me.
Three groups and several specific individuals have been most influential in my career. In general those groups include my board of Trustees, donors whom I have grown close to and my fellow co-workers. I’m constantly challenged by those I work with, particularly a group of those individuals who believe so strongly in the work we do that they wake each and every day thinking of new and innovative ways to grow our network of supporters. The other two audiences include the last two immediate board chairs who have encouraged me to grow and lead me down a professional developmental path and finally a handful of donors who consistently showing their gratitude and appreciation for the work of the Foundation. They are infections positive influences on all, particularly me, as they inspire me to want to spread their same care for Phi Psi to others.
From an industry perspective, Jonathan Brant and Ben Nicol because of the authentic, creative, hard-working and successful professionals they are.
Overall, I have to go way back to the Alpha Gam volunteer who trained me as a chapter consultant — Dee Smith Evans. From her I learned two key lessons:
- I can’t teach you all the answers, but I can teach you how to find them.
- The mantra, “If not me – then who?”
Our leadership, especially at the Board and Council level, who have believed in me truly have empowered me to work harder and learn more. Our wonderful Foundation staff has incredible skills that I learn from every day. Our past Council and Board (BOT, FAB) who have given historical value to Delta Gamma are the perfect mentors for me to reach out to for questions and conversation. They are a wealth of information and experience.
Most importantly, however, are my family members who are proud of me and support me through long days in the office and on the road, understanding that I absolutely love what I do.
Irv Chase, who served as President of ZBT and appointed me to the Fraternity’s board as an undergraduate. He and his wife Nancy (who met through ZBT as undergraduates) have shown me over the years the importance of relationships, persistence and trust. They are wonderful examples of being philanthropic while leading and serving as volunteers for organizations they believe in.