1. How did you get into healthcare philanthropy?
It was a bit of serendipity that led me to my career in healthcare philanthropy. I was originally introduced to fundraising through my very first development role at Baylor College of Medicine, as part of an incredible team embarking on a $1 billion fundraising campaign to support innovations in healthcare, research, and education. This experience opened my eyes to the extraordinary power of philanthropy and important part I could play in impacting the lives of others through my work. When I later joined the team at Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center, I understood the tremendous difference I could make inspiring donors and connecting them to a remarkable mission.
2. Why did you choose to make healthcare philanthropy your career?
I care deeply about our community and have seen the many health disparities and inequities that exist around us. I truly believe every single person should have access to comprehensive healthcare and high-quality cancer care and treatment close to home. Philanthropy makes great things possible and can help reduce disparities and eliminate many of the barriers that exist to bringing us closer to advancing this aspiration. Real change and real impact require resources and support to make it happen. Knowing that I’m leaving a footprint and doing something that matters motivates me to push harder each day. I know my work is now more important than ever and I’m proud to play a small role in impacting the lives of thousands of cancer patients and their families each year.
3. Tell us about a pivot point or crucial step in your career journey.
Although there were several steps that impacted my career journey along the way, there are two that stand out above them all – the moment I had the courage to ask for a six figure gift commitment and the moment I fully understood that leadership is a team sport and not a solo endeavor. When I finally embraced that it wasn’t about me, but truly about connecting the donor’s passions and interests with the mission of the organization and allowing them an opportunity to be part of something truly special, I had a boost of courage to make the largest ask I had at that point of my career. Coupled with the fact the donor said yes, it provided me the inspiration I needed to keep going. I have been incredibly blessed to have a solid support system of mentors, friends, colleagues, sponsors and trusted supporters that make up my village. I would not be who I am or where I am without them. These relationships have propelled me to grow both professionally and personally and I’m beyond grateful.
4. What was your first job, and what is something it taught you?
I will never forget my first job–scooping ice cream as a counter attendant at our local Baskin Robbins. It taught me interpersonal skills, the importance of providing great service and how to balance my schedule with work, school and friends. As a bonus, I also learned how to make the perfect banana split.
5. What are your future aspirations?
When I look to the future, I’m grateful for the opportunity I have been granted to achieve so much. I know the work I am doing now makes a difference and will impact lives for decades to come. My hope is to continue growing as a leader and mentor while amplifying my voice to inspire young women and future leaders wishing to build a career in philanthropy in the nonprofit sector.
Find Danielle on LinkedIn.