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Member Profile: Mariana Herrera

Mariana HerreraMariana Herrera is a giving day coordinator for the annual fund programs office at Columbia University. She was hired by the university after her time as a CASE advancement intern in the summer of 2017. 

If you are interested in hosting an intern at your institution for 2018, please contact Robyn Neeley.

How did you end up in a development role at Columbia?

I was lucky enough to receive a full-time position with the Office of Alumni and Development at Columbia after completing the CASE Advancement Internship Program. I was offered to extend my time here and come onto the annual fund programs team as the Columbia Giving Day coordinator.

What are some of the milestones you've achieved since your arrival?

One of my milestones I am excited about since joining the team is that I was able to create a student engagement piece for Columbia Giving Day. It's the first year we have tried to incorporate students into our day. I am excited to work with them to promote a philanthropic culture across our campus.

What has been your greatest challenge in your current position?

My biggest challenge since taking this post has been learning how to differentiate between what is urgent and what is important. There are so many tasks at hand in any department, that this is key to make sure I am being as efficient as possible. This has also helped me learn how to communicate better with a team to be sure we are hitting all of our marks.

What do you like best about your job?

What I like best about my job is definitely the people with whom I get to work. A wise mentor once told me why he does what he does. He said, "I get to work with highly accomplished people, on their best intentions, for a cause that I believe in." The response holds true for me, as well. From the people on my team to the constituents we serve, the people that I get to share this job with are so gifted and I am thankful that I have the opportunity to learn from them.

What attracted you to advancement?

What most attracted me to advancement was that it is a small field of which not many people are aware. I have always been intrigued by business development. This was a way to do that for something about which I'm passionate. My alma mater gave me so many incredible opportunities to soak up as much knowledge as possible that when it came time to graduate I wasn't quite ready to be done. Now I have a career in this field, and I could not be happier about it.

Any thoughts on your first year on the job and plans for the future?

I never imagined my first year in a professional setting would be as fulfilling as it has been. I am ecstatic about being invested in my work and finding ways to thrive in the challenging moments. Columbia and New York City have made me grow in many ways, and I hope to be here a little longer. I want to pursue a master's degree and continue in this field.

This article is from the BriefCASE 2017 issue.