1. How did you get into healthcare philanthropy?
I fell into health care philanthropy by happenstance. My first job was with Blackbaud as a consultant for Blackbaud CRM, and my first assignment was a healthcare client. I was instantly hooked on healthcare after helping them find inventive ways to reach grateful patients and donors. After that first project, I requested that all future work be focused exclusively on the healthcare vertical. In 2015, Dignity Health (now a part of CommonSpirit Health) posted a newly created Manager of Philanthropy Systems position. The opportunity to create a position from scratch mixed with my new found passion for healthcare made CommonSpirit Health philanthropy a perfect fit. The position opened my eyes to future roles within the organization that mixed a combination of strategy, creativity, technology, and innovation.
2. Why did you choose to make healthcare philanthropy your career?
The passion that drives me in the healthcare vertical, specifically at CommonSpirit Health, is the opportunity to help vulnerable populations. While I’m certainly not a frontline caregiver or programmatic officer, I can help the organization by bringing innovation, efficiency, and strategy to our fundraising efforts. Being embedded in the healthcare space has limitless opportunities in terms of improving connection between the art and science of fundraising. Helping to maximize organizational and donor investments in philanthropy also means more resources to accomplish our mission of serving those most vulnerable in our communities.
3. Tell us about a pivot point or crucial step in your career journey.
A pivot point in my career was accepting the Director of Technology & Innovation position with my current organization that also required a significant move from Charleston to the San Francisco Bay Area. The Director position propelled me outside the comfort zone of databases and Excel spreadsheets into the role of strategy and leadership. I was able to see and connect things I wouldn’t have otherwise been privy to in previous roles. I was also blessed to be surrounded by leaders who took the time mentoring me as a new leader.
4. What was your first job, and what is something it taught you?
My first job was with Blackbaud as a solutions consultant with the Blackbaud CRM product. The solutions consultant position allowed me to jump feet first into the not-for-profit world and learn every aspect of fundraising from major gifts and marketing to data input. The position also provided sight into how each area was interconnected. I listened to each department talk through their business processes and pain points. The process of active listening and problem-solving has carried forward into my current role and helps me operate from a solutions-first orientation. It was also during my time with Blackbaud that I developed a process for creating solutions that often fall outside the box to better help our clients.
5. What are your future aspirations?
As I move forward in my career, I want to continue pushing innovation across the entire not-for-profit healthcare vertical. I hope to drive new philanthropic ideas that utilize technology to enable all healthcare organizations to serve their communities most effectively and efficiently possible.
Find William on LinkedIn.