40 Under 40

Michela D'Eramo

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute & the Jimmy Fund
Brookline, MA

Why is a 40 under 40 winner

1. Michela leads a six-person annual giving team that raises over $5 million annually, supporting adult and pediatric cancer care and research to improve the chances of survival for cancer patients around the world.

2. Michela has received accolades for overseeing and launching unique and award winning naming opportunities for annual giving donors, including the Gene Display, Jimmy's Junction, and the Zebrafish Display. She is currently working on launching new naming opportunities at Dana-Farber and its satellite campuses to support an upcoming campaign.

3. She has received 6 promotions during her tenure at Dana-Farber due to strong performance.

4. Michela has served on the alumni association board of directors for her alma mater, Assumption College, since 2008, and recently concluded a two-year term as board president.

Q & A

1. How did you get into health care philanthropy?

During my senior year of college studying human services, I completed an internship at a small non-profit and learned that I wanted to get more involved in the administrative aspects of a non-profit and fundraising, and overall wanted to be a part of an organization that helped others.

2. Why did you choose to make health care philanthropy your career?

I was very fortunate to start at Dana-Farber out of college, and to have grown in my career over the past 13 years. I knew this was an organization where I wanted to stay and learn, and I am honored to still be working toward our lifesaving mission each day.

3. Tell us about a pivot point or crucial step in your career journey.

After being on Donor Relations for six years and really loving the project work, I was looking for a role that offered a bit of donor interaction. Dana-Farber’s Division of Philanthropy offers a wonderful shadow program. I took part in it and learned more about our Annual Giving team and had sights on my ideal job that offered a mix of project and program management as well as working with a small portfolio of donors. About eight months later, the position became available, and I was lucky to land this dream role overseeing special fundraising initiatives. 

4. What was your first job, and what is something it taught you?

My first role in the Division of Philanthropy at Dana-Farber was supporting two incredible fundraisers on Principal and Major Gifts. I learned so much including the basics of fundraising, how to work with faculty and other colleagues, and saw how each of my managers had their own style of raising crucial funds for the Institute.

5. What are your future aspirations?

Working in health care has especially taught me that life is full of surprises, and, ultimately, I am grateful for the chance to do such fulfilling work. I hope to continue to grow and learn from my talented colleagues across Dana-Farber, and from time-to-time I think about possibly going back for my master’s degree and making a shift into health care administration to continue to help patients and families in a different way. 
Michela Mesa

Fun Fact:

My parents were born in Italy and my sisters and I are dual citizens.