1. How did you get into healthcare philanthropy?
I didn't even know what “development” was until one of my first internships, working at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. After four years in grant writing and sales at a medical education company, it occurred to me that health systems might have development programs, too. After some research, I found Jefferson, and everything clicked. I’ve never had more fun going to work and feel incredibly lucky to have such a wonderful team.
2. Why did you choose to make healthcare philanthropy your career?
It brings together everything I love: interacting with people, solving problems, and developing a persuasive case for partnership. The difference between my job now and what I experienced previously in sales is the direct impact that our work can have on people who need services the most. Taking a problem like lung cancer and finding corporate and foundation support to impact everything from bench research to community clinics is why I love this career.
3. Tell us about a pivot point or crucial step in your career journey.
When I got involved with the opioid task force at Jefferson, I did a lot of connecting the dots internally. There were amazing programs all over Jefferson; someone just needed to tell the story. When I saw what an impact that awareness building could make, and how it directly led to successful proposals, I was hooked.
4. What was your first job, and what is something it taught you?
I started as a grant writer at a medical education company. I prepared proposal documents for the sales team and eventually started to develop the educational strategy as well. One day, I mentioned to my boss that I might like to sell the programs I had been putting together for my colleagues. He more or less said: “Okay, go for it,”-which was equally exciting and terrifying. That early encouragement to follow my intuition and embrace new challenges has driven my entire career.
5. What are your future aspirations?
To continue to build comprehensive funding strategies within specific disease states. In lung cancer, my team was able to partner with leadership and support the full continuum of care, from basic research, to clinical research, to community outreach. I want to replicate and expand upon that model as much as possible.
Find Emma on LinkedIn.