Member Profile: Durice White Galloway
That, says Durice White Galloway, is one of the best pieces of career advice she's ever received.
"If you have a new idea or vision, go for it!" says Galloway, Associate Vice President for Alumni Engagement and Annual Giving Strategies at Arcadia University in Philadelphia. In her many years in advancement, Galloway's been proud to plan creative, fresh, bold initiatives that build alumni connections—including installing a Ferris wheel in the middle of a homecoming tailgate.
Here, Galloway—chair of CASE's Homecomings and Reunions conference, June 7-9, 2022—shares more about fostering alumni ties, collaborating with teammates, and connecting in person again.
You’ve spent many years in advancement. What’s something you love about your work?
I love the opportunity to foster and deepen the relationships of alumni, donors, and families with the institution and its students. As a first-generation college student, I deeply understand the transformation you can experience through a higher education institution, from both highly engaging experiential learning opportunities but also lifelong learning and relationships. I will never forget my undergraduate and graduate experiences and I feel very fortunate to be able to reconnect others to that feeling as well.
What’s a project or achievement you’ve been most proud of in your time so far at Arcadia?
I am most proud of two projects that my team and I launched at Arcadia University. First is the Women Who Lead Forum that we hosted on Saturday, March 25, 2022. It is always an incredible experience to bring together, uplift, and build fellowship with strong women who lead in various areas of their lives. We were able to honor three amazing women and celebrate the intersectionality and diversity of the women who lead at Arcadia from our president's cabinet and our volunteers. There was such an invigorating sense of energy, passion, and connection that you couldn't help but be inspired throughout.
Second, we've hosted our Take a Knight to Work program for two years, despite the pandemic. The Take a Knight to Work program allows us to venture back to the days of “bring your child to work” day, with a bit of a refreshed perspective, of course. We connect students with alumni who work in their dream or aspirational careers and give them a chance to meet for a day of activities. It's a phenomenal opportunity to allow students to safely explore their potential career path while also reconnecting alumni with their alma mater. Alumni are thrilled with the talent they see in our students and proud to have been a part of students' career journeys. Students are able to make lasting connections with alumni in their field. It's a win-win-win for the university, alumni, and student relationships!
What are you most looking forward to for the Homecomings and Reunions conference?
I am so excited to connect in person with passionate professionals doing the critical work of connecting alumni with their alma maters through homecomings and reunions. This will be my first in-person conference since the pandemic began, and I'm sure that will be the case for many attending. I can already anticipate the buzz in the space! It'll be great to just have the opportunity to sit side by side with other professionals to talk about the new and existing opportunities (and the challenges) with hosting engaging and meaningful programming that produces results. This will give us an opportunity to assess the return on investment of our programs. We can then course-correct through new ideas and strategies to implement the best homecoming and reunion experiences for both our alumni and the institution.
Do you have a favorite memory or story about a homecoming or reunion event you were part of?
One of my favorite stories about homecoming is tied to launching UC San Diego's nontraditional homecoming weekend. I had this vision to put a Ferris wheel in the center of the field where we would host our version of a tailgate and concert. I can remember the looks I received when I pitched this idea. But the great thing is that everyone supported this vision. I was prepared with "the why," the data, and the words to articulate how this large visual display (which was also a very fun ride) would draw a community to the place we were hosting an experience they were unfamiliar with.
Well, it worked! Even a few senior team administrators took a ride. We drew in a great crowd and had a line of enthusiastic riders all ready to enjoy their new tailgate and concert experience.
What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve ever received?
It's hard to pick one piece of advice; I have received so much incredible advice from some of the greatest leaders in this industry, including many of the mentors who helped coach me to the person I am now and hope to be in this field. Overall, what I have gleaned from all my mentors is to be bold! If you have a new idea or vision, go for it! Do your research and do the work but make your idea come to life. Learn from the setbacks you face and come back stronger and bolder the next time. I think sometimes in this work we can allow a mistake to haunt us. Everyone makes mistakes in this industry. You just have to allow yourself to learn from that mistake, grow from it, and move on. It is important in this work to not be afraid to take a strategic risk. If you want to launch an innovative initiative that will catapult your program forward, you have to be able to take a strategic risk.
Most importantly, collaboration is key! You don't have to do it alone. In fact the best work you will do will be through working collaboratively by others.
Finally, what’s a book or resource that you’ve found helpful in your career?
There are so many great books out there. I have found the following three to be influential in my leadership, fundraising and overall approach to diversity, equity, and inclusion in advancement.
- Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Advancement: A Guide to Strengthening Engagement and Fundraising Through Inclusion by Angelique S.C. Grant and Ronald J. Schiller
- The Future of Fundraising Adapting to Changing Philanthropic Realities by James M. Langley
- The Carrot Principle by Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton