Archive for the ‘New Member Interviews’ Category

Members: Tracey D. Crocker & Marla D. Grant

January 20, 2011

(L-R) Tracey Crocker, Margaret Djekovic and Greg Williams

Last year, I invited Tracey Crocker to come to a meeting. She liked it so much she became a new member of AFP and the AFP Suncoast chapter. Her energy and enthusiasm for the fundraising field has made her exciting to be around. When she introduced two guests at lunch on January 18th I felt compelled to tell you the story.

Tracey is Director of the NCH Florida Project for the Homeless Coalition of Hillsborough County. She encouraged her colleague Margaret Djekovic to join AFP and they brought their colleague Greg Williams, who also works for the Homeless Coalition of Hillsborough County. I had the pleasure of talking with them about volunteer opportunities and that led me to introduce them to Marla Grant, who is the primary administrator of the AFP Suncoast page.

Marla D. Grant

Marla has been interested in starting a new initiative within the chapter to help people who are new to the fundraising field get acclimated. Already, Marla does a GREAT job of posting resources on the Facebook page. She filters through the massive amounts of information available online and posts only the resources she finds most valuable.

Getting involved in AFP is like turning a little snowball into a mighty army of snowpeople (forgive me but it is winter even if we don’t get snow in Florida!) What started with me inviting Tracey and working with Marla on Facebook is now likely to turn into a great sub-community for new fundraisers. See how easy that was? What an amazing chapter we have!

So share the love and invite people you know who would benefit from all that AFP Suncoast has to offer.

P.S. And if you want to talk with Marla about resources for new fundraisers, why not give her a post here:

Spotlighting Melanie Lachs

August 29, 2010

Melanie Lachs

I tracked down Melanie Lachs, Grants Manager at The Florida Aquarium at the August 17, 2010 AFP Suncoast chapter luncheon. Why was I stalking an innocent member of our chapter? Because she is a NEW member of course! Read on to learn more about Melanie.

Why did you join AFP Suncoast?

Melanie has been grants manager for years now. But she has attended a number of the AFP Suncoast chapter meetings and it has helped to expand her interests in fundraising. She thought it was time to join officially.

What was your favorite vacation ever?

She took a vacation to New York City with her sons, ages 15 and 18 years. Her family is from New York and she wanted to share some of their heritage with them. They stayed in the theatre district and one of her most memorable moments was when they visited the John Lennon Memorial.

What do you like best about your work?

Melanie loves her job! Through her grant writing she gets to learn about many different areas of the Aquarium such as the coral ecosystem, conservation and children’s programs.

New Member Spotlight in July

August 1, 2010

Bob Krouse and Cheryl Hedrick

Your roving reporter tracked down three new AFP Suncoast members at the July meeting and gave them a BIG welcome! Now I’d like to introduce them to you so that you can do the same when you see them at the next event.

Cheryl Hedrick and Bob Krouse are both Associate Directors of Development at the Hillsborough Education Foundation.

Linda Jo McDonald is Grants Manager at the Suncoast Hospice Foundation.

Linda Jo McDonald

I had the privilege of interviewing Linda and am happy to share with you.

Why did you join AFP Suncoast?
Linda was previously a consultant helping nonprofits with strategic planning, grants and board development. When she stepped on board at the Suncoast Hospice Foundation she felt like it was time to rejoin AFP and her local chapter.

What was your favorite vacation ever?
One year Linda traveled to England just after Christmas with her son and daughter-in-law. They visited friends in a small village and celebrated the millennium!

What do you like best about your work?
Linda enjoys developing new programs – especially for worthy organizations like the Suncoast Hospice.

All Aspects: AFP New Member Interview

June 1, 2010

Beth Creed Fontes

Beth Creed Fontes
American Cancer Society

1. What is your current position and how long have you been with the organization?

I am the Director of Leadership Giving for the American Cancer Society and I have been in this position for 2 and a half years.   I was also with the American Cancer Society for six years from 1992 to 1998 and left for nine years to raise my children and open my own business.  I am glad to be back and have a total of 8 and a half years with the American Cancer Society.

2.      Why did you join AFP Suncoast Chapter?

After closing my business and deciding to return to non-profit I made the decision that this would be my career path and would dedicate myself to it.  Therefore, I joined and became active in the AFP Suncoast Chapter.

3. How do you keep donor support and interest in your organization?

I love to share our mission with our donors by taking them to our Hope Lodge, a 42-suite facility owned and operated by the American Cancer Society where cancer patients can stay during treatment free of charge.  I am preparing to take a group to visit our R.O.C.K. (Reaching Out to Cancer Kids) Camp.  Anyone who would like a visit to our new office and patient service centers is welcome to stop by.  I would be happy to give you a tour!

4. What was the worst fundraising idea you’ve ever had?

Fortunately, I can’t think of one.

5.      What was the first cause or organization you ever raised funds for as a non-professional? Girl Scouts – the cookies

6. Name a situation in which you would answer, “I’m so sorry, but we cannot accept your $1 million gift at this time.”

If it was from a tobacco company.

7. If you won the lottery we know you would give a portion to your organization, what would you do with the rest of the moolah?

Buy a beach house and a mountain house and split the time between both.  See the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone Park.

8. Please name your:

Favorite Book: Memoirs of a Geisha –  I am also a big fan of the Twilight Series

Favorite TV series: LOST – so sad it is over

Astrological Sign: Sagittarius

9. Do you have a fantasy job other than being a fundraising professional?

Can’t say I do.

Table Domination

October 27, 2009

On October 20, 2009 at the monthly meeting of the AFP Suncoast chapter I went looking for Mary David, a new member. What I stumbled upon was another instance of table domination! Mary was a new member of this chapter, but her organization, Suncoast Hospice Foundation, has been around.Founded in 1977 as an all-volunteer organization, today the hospice serves tens of thousands of individuals every year.

Six members of the organization dominated a table and were joined by their consultant, Paul Dietrich. Here they are (in random order):
Mary David, Capital Campaign Manager
Melissa Baumann, Donor Services Assistant
Karen Van De Putte, CFRE, Planned Giving Manager
Mike Bell, Executive Director
Timothy Beams, Foundation Relations Coordinator
Bryn Warner, Director of Annual Support

Suncoast Hospice Foundation

Suncoast Hospice Foundation

Moving members

September 16, 2009

This month we really do have some members moving. Brett Hagerman is moving in and I am moving about. If you’ve changed jobs or been promoted, send me an email! Here’s what we know is happening:

I had the pleasure of talking with Brett Hagerman, Regional Director of Development with the Indiana State Foundation. I asked him the big three questions:

Brett Hagerman

Brett Hagerman

What is your reason for joining?
Brett is already an AFP member and is transferring to the Suncoast chapter. Indiana State is working with Brett to see if it makes more sense to have him resident in Florida to cultivate alums. It sounds like a good plan to me!

Describe an ideal day in your life.
A beach, a sunset and a cigar.

What was your favorite vacation ever and what made it so good?
Brett and his wife and two children spent 10 years living in Spain. Just before they came back to the U.S. they took a vacation on the beautiful beaches of Portugal and Spain. It was a great way to make the transition.

Jen Filla (yes, that’s me!) is happy to announce that she has been elected as president-elect of the Association of Professional Researchers for Advancement  (APRA) – Florida chapter in 2009-2010. In this position I am working to bring more prospect research continuing education to Tampa Bay. Save the date October 16th and visit for more info!

These new members are all wet!

August 25, 2009

I missed the July chapter meeting, but you couldn’t keep me away from sunny Florida in August! And I learned how some new AFP Suncoast chapter members are keeping their cool. They are staying wet at The Florida Aquarium. They were so enthusiastic they brought colleagues and nearly dominated an entire table at the meeting!

Mark Haney

Mark Haney

What is your reason for joining the chapter?
Mark G. Haney
is Vice President of Advancement at the Florida Aquarium. He recently relocated to the Tampa Bay from Miami. Mark joined AFP when it was called NSFRE and he didn’t think twice about joining the Suncoast chapter after moving here.

Describe an ideal day in your life.
A good day for Mark is one spent with donors, but any day of the week he enjoys getting to know people.

What was your favorite vacation ever?
Without hesitation, Mark told me his favorite vacation was to the Ozarks in Missouri. He called it hill-billy country with such affection that I might have to check it out for the future.

Judy Anderson

Judy Anderson

What is your reason for joining the chapter?
Judy M. Anderson
is Manager of Annual Giving at the Florida Aquarium. She joined AFP in February. She comes to The Florida Aquarium from the corporate world and is looking forward to getting connected through the Suncoast chapter.

Describe an ideal day in your life.
Judy is just excited to start getting to know the people, places and ideas that are in her new world of philanthropy.

What was your favorite vacation ever?
To say that she went on a “cruise” would be misleading. Judy spent seven days in the Caribbean on a boat whose only occupants were the crew, Judy, her husband and a few of their friends. Perfect for snorkeling and scuba diving!

More than six new members in May!

June 22, 2009

There were so many new members in May that I went right to the airport and flew to Europe in a panic! Well, I did fly to Europe and missed a month, but I have quite a few to introduce.  Please welcome some of our many our new members:

Ann W. Madsen

Ann W. Madsen
What is your name, organization, and reason for joining?
A former journalist, Ann is Director of Development at The Poynter Institute where journalists are born. The organization, located in St. Petersburg, was founded by Nelson Poynter, publisher of the St. Pete Times, who willed the controlling stock of the Times Publishing Company to the Institute. An AFP member since 1992, Ann joined the Suncoast Chapter to get connected and benefit from the sharing of ideas.

Describe an ideal day in your life.
Ann’€™s ideal day starts with coffee, sunshine, working with wonderful people, and fabulous views from her home and office.

What was your favorite vacation ever and what made it so good?
Ann took her son and daughter to southern Ireland. She’€™s Irish and it felt like going home again!

Theo Renaud

Theo Renaud

Theo Prodromitis Renaud
What is your name, organization, and reason for joining?
Theo is the force behind CTU Events, which stands for Creative Talent Unlimited. CTU Events provides comprehensive and dynamic corporate promotions and events services. With over 25 years of experience in event management, Theo joined the AFP Suncoast chapter to expand her network, but also to keep current in fundraising and learn from the speakers and other members.

What was your favorite vacation ever and what made it so good?
Theo took a golfing vacation in Hawaii that had the best of everything, including the food. She especially liked the spectacular waterfalls.

The University of South Florida had four new members: Emily Ley, Asst. Director of Development; Caz Hodge, Asst. Director of Development; Ruth Bannhard, Sr. Director of Annual Giving; and Elizabeth McNamara, Asst. Director of Development. I didn’t catch up with this crew at the meeting, but Liz jumped right in and introduced herself virtually!

Liz McNamara

Liz McNamara

Liz McNamara
What is your reason for joining the chapter?

Since I am new to Tampa and fundraising, it is a wonderful opportunity to network with other individuals within the industry and to share tricks of the trade.

Describe an ideal day in your life.
Traveling to any of the places on my Bucket List with my friends and family.

What was your favorite vacation ever and what made it so good?
My trip to Rome last year.  I was able to spend a week abroad with my best friend absorbing the arts, enjoying the history and the culture as well as having a close encounter with the Pope.

New Member Terri Jelks

May 11, 2009
New Suncoast Chapter Member

New Suncoast Chapter Member

At the April chapter meeting I had the delight of meeting Terri Jelks, the new Annual Giving-Events Associate at the Bayfront Health Foundation in St. Petersburg.

She was introduced by fellow colleagues at Bayfront Health Foundation and Suncoast chapter members, Christine Sabo, Major Gifts Manager, and Deborah Williams, Annual Giving Specialist.

It’s great to meet you!

March 19, 2009

Welcome to the AFP Suncoast Chapter’s blog: Waves!

I’m Jen Filla, the Chapter’s new roving reporter. I joined the AFP Suncoast Chapter in 2009 as a new Tampa-Bay resident and I have been looking for ways to get to know other members. In this blog I’ll be interviewing new members and reporting on the “waves” our established members are making in their organizations, careers, communities – and the world!

Since I am a new member, I thought I’d start by interviewing…I mean introducing…myself. Here are the 3 big hairy questions you can look forward to seeing each month:


What is your name, organization and its purpose, and reason for joining?

My name is Jen Filla and I am president of Aspire Research Group. My company provides professional prospect research services to fundraisers who want to leverage the information edge in their major gift programs. I joined the Suncoast Chapter because networking with my fundraising colleagues has always helped me learn. Also, being new in town I knew the lunches would help me understand the fundraising environment here in Florida.

Describe an ideal day in your life.

In the morning I would walk on the beach and then deliver data screening results to a client showing a previously unidentified segment of major gift prospects and help them design a strategy for tracking this new pipeline. In the afternoon I would finish a profile on a prospect that found significant wealth and then after a dinner at home on the patio and a drink on the dock, I would watch a British murder mystery with my husband and quilt.

What was your favorite vacation ever and what made it so good?

My favorite vacation was a trip to London with my daughter. It was the first time we ever vacationed just the two of us since she left home and it was amazing to get to know her as an adult, even if she’ll always be my baby girl!