Cooley Dickinson Health Care, Massachusetts General Hospital Affiliate
Why is a 40 under 40 winner
1. During his two-year tenure in charge of annual giving at Sisters of Providence Health system, Nathan surpassed annual goals by 60% (raising $684,000 annually with a $425,000 goal).
2. In his current role at Cooley Dickinson Health Care, Nathan has continued to exceed annual giving goals while also designing a comprehensive direct mail program and developing a robust grant portfolio.
3. While maintaining his role at Cooley Dickinson, Nathan volunteered for a year and a half as interim executive director of the Zoo in Forest Park & Education Center, a 125 year old Springfield icon. During his tenure, he implemented significant organizational change, overhauling operations and identifying new internal leadership, strengthened programming (from fundraising and education to community outreach), and instituted new events to engage the community. Following the appointment of a permanent executive director, he returned to the board and assumed the position of President, where he continues to drive substantial change to the mission of the organization, helping to shape and ensure its future.
4. In 2018, Nathan was recognized with the BusinessWest 40 Under 40 Award, which honors young professional leaders in western Massachusetts for career achievements and service to the community.
Q & A
1. How did you get into health care philanthropy?
In development, I’ve learned that people either know that it is their career from an early age or they fall into it. Of those, I’m in the latter grouping. One of my earliest mentors, Brenda McCormick, took a chance on someone from a completely different field (hospitality management) and offered me a role on her development team at the then Sisters of Providence Health System, now a Trinity Health community hospital system in western Massachusetts. I’ve been fortunate to have several mentors in my career who were willing to take a wildcard chance on me. She was the first, and I can honestly say I would still be lost without the opportunity she gave me; one that truly shaped my future.
2. Why did you choose to make health care philanthropy your career?
It really began to form as my career when my current Chief Development Officer, Diane Dukette, laid out all of the possibilities in our field. She provided direction, challenges, and growth opportunities that would otherwise not have been possible. And, she has been patient as I’ve navigated between different roles and responsibilities during our stints at two different health care systems. It’s one of the benefits of working on smaller development teams – I’ve gotten to touch all parts of our work from annual giving, grants, communications, planned giving, major giving, etc. In my current role, I enjoy a mix of annual fund activities (writing appeals, employee campaigns, etc.) and grant writing for a range of programs and services at Cooley Dickinson. Every day is completely different than the one before it, which is what keeps me so engaged and passionate about our work.
3. Tell us about a pivot point or crucial step in your career journey.
The moment a close family member was saved by an amazing team of doctors and nurses and, specifically, a hospital service that was supported largely through fundraising and the generosity of our community. It’s one thing to talk about the impact of a service line when we’re asking donors to make a gift. Your perspective changes completely when you know that your loved one is here today because of those donors.
4. What was your first job, and what is something it taught you?
I wholeheartedly believe that everyone’s first job should be in customer service in some capacity. For me, that was working for a private country club as a busboy, and then a waiter. It taught a shy, introverted kid much needed people skills, organization, time management, and how to deal with a range of personalities. Ultimately, I had the privilege of managing day-to-day operations for the business which, at 25 years old, wouldn’t have been possible without the support and guidance of several mentors who pulled me out of my shell and coached me every step of the way.
5. What are your future aspirations?
There is always a constant drive to become stronger in this field and soak up as much knowledge as I can. Today, in this moment, I love where my life is. I have the privilege of working with an amazing team of people at a community health care system that is leading the way in providing inclusive and accessible care to every person.
Outside of career, giving back at any capacity, especially through volunteer work, is a key cornerstone to my personal values. I had the extreme honor of serving on the Coalition to Ban Conversion Therapy for Minors in Massachusetts, which saw a bill pass in our state this year. Helping where I can to extend additional protections for LGBT populations and, more locally, becoming involved in smaller non-profits in my region, are of current and future interest to me.