Kirsten Lavin is a classically trained musician who began her career in arts administration. In her tenure at Johns Hopkins University, she has led communications teams at the Peabody Institute and the Office of Alumni Relations before helping to build the strategic communications and donor recognition platform for the $6 billion "Rising to the Challenge: The Campaign for Johns Hopkins."
As director of stewardship in the Office of Donor and Volunteer Engagement, Lavin guides the stewardship, recognition, and engagement of top donors to both Johns Hopkins University and Johns Hopkins Medicine, and leads a team working on discreet projects for principal level donors. Additionally, she calls upon her expertise in project management and constituent engagement to champion the mandatory stewardship program with the goal of building and enhancing relationships with donors at all levels. She has presented at the Association of Donor Relations Professionals International Conference and the CASE District II conference.
Sarah has been responsible for building new and innovative donor relations programs from the ground up at three different higher education institutions and now heads the donor relations team at the University of Florida as they embark on the University's first $3B capital campaign.
With more than 10 years of experience in donor relations and frontline fundraising in a variety of higher education and non-profit settings, Sarah focuses on building strategic donor relationships while forwarding the mission of the organization. Her specialty areas include top donor strategy, program development, fund stewardship, and major gift development.
Sarah is a nonprofit consultant and active industry volunteer with positions held on the CASE IV Board of Directors and with the Association of Donor Relations Professionals. Sarah earned her Certified Fundraising Executive(CFRE) in 2013 and is a frequent presenter for CASE, ADRP, DRG, and Academic Impressions.
Leslie Carmona is the director of donor relations at Wayne State University in Detroit. She has worked in philanthropy for more than nine years and proudly serves on the executive committee of the local AFP Chapter. She is an experienced speaker with a keen understanding of philanthropy and the field of donor relations. Prior to joining the Wayne State team, she raised funds for the Humane Society of Broward County, the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo, and Michigan State University.
She graduated from the University of Michigan with a bachelor's degree in sociology and completed her graduate work at Michigan State University.
Matthew S. Helmer is committed to elevating the way donors experience mission-driven organizations. His philosophy is that every experience should be designed from a meaningful, well-articulated purpose—without it, the moment becomes something that just happens.
A higher education advancement professional with a background in experience design, fundraising, team development and constituent engagement, he currently serves as assistant vice president for university advancement at Colorado State University. In this role, he provides leadership to the Engagement team in creating strategy and tactical implementation of communications, donor relations and event experiences for CSU's community of donors, alumni, and friends.
Known for a love of novel ideas, Helmer led an innovative reorganization at CSU in 2010, consolidating responsibility for all alumni, donor and university events under the CSU Events umbrella. This organizational shift opened the door for a candid conversation about the power of purposeful events, leading to a more strategic approach to engagement and significantly contributing to more than five consecutive years of record-breaking fundraising results. CSU recently surpassed the $1 billion goal in its "State Your Purpose" campaign—nearly two years ahead of schedule in a campaign that has set new benchmarks for giving, including total number of donors, alumni participation rates and the largest single gift.
A frequent speaker for industry associations and a nonprofit consultant, he specializes in experience design, ideation and innovation, and crafting purpose-driven, metrics-based programs.
Adrienne Seitz is the Assistant Vice President of Constituent Relations at Gettysburg College in Gettysburg, PA. She oversees the offices of Alumni Relations, Parent Relations and Donor Relations. It is her responsibility to ensure that the relationship between Gettysburg College and donor, alumni, and parent constituencies are positive and enduring. Prior to this role she spent five years as the Director of Donor Relations during which she planned and produced all campaign events and coordinated stewardship efforts for a successful $150 million campaign. Adrienne has expertise in giving society stewardship, donor events, high-level prospect stewardship, and creative impact communications. She is focused on strategic partnerships with front line fundraisers and campus collaborators to facilitate effective donor relations and retention. Adrienne has experience in prospect management and previously worked in international education, arts administration, and the film industry. She has a B.A. from Johns Hopkins University and M.Phil from Trinity College, Dublin.