Rebecca Tseng Smith
Rebecca Tseng Smith is the senior executive director of development for the University of California San Diego.
Previously, she served as vice president of development for the University of Hawai'i Foundation and associate dean for external relations at Stanford University's School of Education. Smith believes that the ideas of relational fundraising, as described by David R. Dunlop, provide the best principles to guide our practice, and she has had an opportunity to put these ideas to work at each of the universities she has served.
At Cornell University, she worked in the major and principal gift programs and later served as assistant dean for alumni affairs and development in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Cornell's $1 billion campaign for endowment was launched and completed during her years there and she participated in many different aspects of it, from developing strategies for the solicitations of lead givers and recruiting and motivating campaign volunteers to celebrating in the College of Agriculture when they completed the campaign at 45 percent over goal. In 1997, she joined the major gift program at Harvard University where she worked with alumni in New York City and Washington, D.C., and assisted with Harvard's campaign to raise $2.1 billion. At Stanford University she led the School of Education's participation in "The Stanford Challenge," which raised new funds directed toward solving complex problems, like K-12 school reform.
Smith served on the American Cancer Society's National Blue Ribbon Advisory Committee, which studied and advised the society on its fundraising practices and long-term goals.
She earned a bachelor's degree in English literature and a master's degree in theology at Boston University. She spent her first undergraduate years at Eckerd College, a small liberal arts college in Florida.
Danita D. Nias
Danita Nias joined FAU in October 2016 to lead the university into a new era of donor relations and to spearhead a capital campaign. Nias oversees all FAU fundraising efforts, including principal gifts, planned giving and alumni relations. Prior to arriving at FAU, she served as senior associate vice president for external affairs at the University of Florida. In that role, she was responsible for managing a portfolio of major donors and prospects while managing the university's campaign strategy and structure for volunteers.
From 1995 to 2011, Nias held numerous leadership positions at the University of Maryland, including assistant vice president for development and alumni relations. She has a bachelor's degree with a concentration in personnel and labor relations from the Robert H. Smith School of Business at Maryland and a Master of Social Science with a concentration in international relations from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University.
Ronald J. Schiller
Ron Schiller is a nationally recognized advisor to presidents, chief advancement officers, board members, and other leaders and emerging leaders in the nonprofit sector. Since 2011, he has focused his attention on executive search, strategic consulting, writing, and speaking about philanthropy, drawing on his experience as fundraising leader, executive team member, board member, and search consultant built over a 30-year career.
Ron has held leadership positions in seven educational and cultural institutions, including the University of Chicago, where he led a team of more than 450 that completed a $2.3 billion campaign and facilitated two nine-figure gifts. He serves on the faculty of the annual CASE conference, "Inspiring the Largest Gifts of a Lifetime" and has served as co-chair of CASE's Winter Institute for Chief Development Officers. He is the author of four books: The Chief Development Officer: Beyond Fundraising (Rowman & Littlefield); Belief and Confidence: Donors Talk About Successful Philanthropic Partnership (CASE), Raising Your Organization's Largest Gifts: A Principal Gifts Handbook (CASE), and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Advancement: A Guide to Strengthening Engagement and Fundraising Through Inclusion (CASE), co-authored with Angelique Grant. He is a regular speaker for regional and national conferences of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy, CASE, the League of American Orchestras, and gift planning organizations, among others, and he is a recipient of CASE’s Crystal Apple Teaching Award.
Ron has served on the Cornell University Council and on the boards of the American Friends of Covent Garden, Chicago's Harris Theater for Music and Dance, the Cornell University Glee Club, the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Aspen’s Buddy Program, the Cayuga Chamber Orchestra, the Salt Bay Chamberfest, and the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh.
Prior to founding the Aspen Leadership Group, he served as President of the NPR Foundation, Vice President for Alumni Relations and Development at the University of Chicago, and in various leadership roles at Carnegie Mellon University, Northeastern University, New England Conservatory of Music, and the Eastman School of Music. He began his career in philanthropy at Cornell during the university’s groundbreaking $1.25 billion campaign in the late 1980s.
Ron earned a bachelor’s degree at Cornell University.
Robert F. Sharpe Jr.
Robert F. Sharpe, Jr. is a nationally recognized leader and authority in the field of philanthropy. During more than three decades of service to thousands of America’s nonprofits, he has consulted with educational, health, social service, arts and religious organizations and institutions in the planning and implementation of their major, planned gift and endowment development efforts. He has mentored many of the nation’s leading nonprofit executives whose efforts have raised tens of billions of dollars that have helped fuel the transformation of the American experience.
An honors graduate of Vanderbilt University and Cornell Law School, he served as a development officer for a liberal arts college prior to practicing law with a major law firm specializing in taxation and estate planning.
Robert has been a pioneer in the area of “blended gifts” beginning in 1995 when he coined the term as part of a presentation at the national conference of the National Association of Charitable Gift Planners (CGA).
Robert is chair of the philanthropy editorial board of Trusts & Estates magazine and co-author of the CGP Model Standards of Gift Valuation. He has served on the board of Giving USA and on a number of strategic task forces for the CGP. He currently serves as an Advisory Council member for the Alliance for Charitable Reform in its efforts to preserve and expand favorable tax treatment for charitable gifts.
Heather Coleman Trippel
After receiving her doctorate in political science from Purdue University, Heather Trippel began her career in academic advancement, working closely with alumni and donors as a major gift officer at the University of Chicago and, subsequently, at her alma mater, Santa Clara University.
In 2006, she joined the External Relations team at the Stanford Graduate School of Education (GSE) where she focused on building the school's major gift portfolio and was responsible for managing the school's volunteer advisory council. In 2008, she was appointed director of development for the Stanford Initiative on Improving K-12 Education as part of the $6.2 billion dollar "Stanford Challenge," a comprehensive and interdisciplinary capital campaign. After serving the GSE as the director of development from 2012, Trippel became the associate dean of external relations in 2016.
Kathleen E. Loehr
Kathleen Loehr is a senior consultant at Aspen Leadership Group. She has 35 years of experience in partnership with university and nonprofit leaders, as well as philanthropists. She combines nonprofit expertise, fundraising, coaching, and strategy to help individuals and groups navigate change. She knows that women are more frequently in the philanthropic driver seat, given the increased money being earned and inherited, and their influence in the household giving.
Loehr translates the research on how women give into practical action fundraisers can take. Her book, Gender Matters: A Guide to Growing Women’s Philanthropy, was published by CASE in August 2018. She was a C-suite leader of fundraising for the American Red Cross, Save the Children, the International Crisis Group and key departments at Cornell University.
She holds a bachelor's degree in government from Cornell University’s College of Arts and Sciences. She is the chair of the Advisory Council for the Women’s Philanthropy Institute at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.