University of Michigan

Staff Stories

Jeannie Moody-Novak

Photo by Eric Bronson, Michigan Photography

Stewarding scholarships: Moody-Novak outside the Office of Financial Aid

Jeannie Moody-Novak
Associate Director of Scholarship Stewardship
Office of University Development

When Jeannie Moody-Novak transitioned to higher-ed development at Michigan after 12 years in the banking industry, she felt well prepared to work with the university’s most influential donors. “I brought a lot of banking and finance experience to this work,” she says, “and I felt ready.”

Even so, she adds, “I still learn and grow every day.”

As a campus-wide stewardship officer—a newly created role when she stepped into it in 2007, after a year in the Office of Gift Planning—Moody-Novak works specifically with donors who have established one or more scholarships for students on the Ann Arbor campus through the Office of Financial Aid.

In addition to a letter of thanks, Moody-Novak ensures that these donors receive regular updates about their scholarship funds’ growth over time, along with information about the students they support. Sometimes that information comes directly from the students, many of whom write their own letters of thanks.

Moody-Novak also organizes gatherings big and small where donors and students can meet. The fall season often finds her planning a variety of outings to football games and other events. By spring she’s deep into arrangements for an annual campus-wide celebration for scholarship donors and students that was launched in 2009 and attracts some 300 people.

For donors who are unable to meet their scholarship recipients in person, Moody-Novak can sometimes introduce them remotely through digital videos, which she has learned to shoot and edit through classes at the James and Anne Duderstadt Center on campus.

Best of all, she says, “I know that the work I do at the university makes a difference in the lives of people. It makes a difference in the lives of students, and it makes a difference in the lives of donors.”


 

Casey Taylor

Photo by Martin Vloet, Michigan Photography

Going the extra mile: Taylor on the track at Ferry Field

Casey Taylor
Annual Giving Associate
Michigan Athletic Development

Casey Taylor (AB ’09) feels that her experience as an All-American jumper for Michigan Track and Field touches many aspects of her current work as an annual giving associate in Athletics.

“The passion that I have, the work ethic, the drive—it all stems from being a student-athlete at Michigan,” she says.

That’s not to mention her distinct perspective on her work, having seen firsthand the difference that donors can make in the lives of student-athletes. A course in fundraising that she took while pursuing a master’s degree in sports leadership at Northeastern University opened her eyes to how she could help make that difference.

“What drew me to development was the idea of building relationships with people who are extremely passionate about college athletics and the university in general,” she says.

Casey joined Athletic Development as an intern in June 2011 and was promoted to be the coordinator of the Victors Club and student engagement within half a year. She moved into her current position eight months later, and building relationships still plays a central role in her work. As part of her responsibilities, Casey manages the Student Ambassador Program, which allows student-athletes to work in suites at football, basketball, and hockey events and thus puts them in direct contact with donors. She modeled elements of it on U-M’s celebrated Development Summer Internship Program.

“In combination with their work responsibilities, they go through professional development and educational opportunities, whether it’s talking to our major-gift officers about how they fundraise or hearing from donors about why they give,” she says. “It’s unique, it’s working, and it’s growing. Our student-athletes love it because they’re learning how to make connections and network.”

And, as a former student-athlete herself, Casey says helping current Wolverines is a labor of love.

“I was afforded so many opportunities, and now I’m in a position to make a change,” she says. “I always keep in the back of my mind that the real reason I’m doing this is so that I can impact someone else’s life.”



Carrie Throm

Photo by Scott Soderberg, Michigan Photography

One of Throm's favorite works from the UMMA collection, the Pablo Picasso painting "Two Girls Reading" reminds her of days spent enjoying books together with her daughter.

Carrie Throm
Deputy Director for Development and External Relations
University of Michigan Museum of Art (UMMA)

“My passion for the arts is really what has driven my career,” says Carrie Throm. As a French horn player who minored in music while majoring in quantitative economics and decision sciences at the University of California – San Diego, Throm decided early on that she “didn’t want to be a professional musician, but wanted to be close to the art world.”

After earning a master’s degree in arts administration at Indiana University in Bloomington, Throm directed publicity for the school of music there. Then came a move to the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, where she eventually shifted from public relations to development. “That’s where my development career took off,” she notes.

In 2005, Throm joined the U-M development community as assistant dean for development and external relations at the School of Music, Theatre, & Dance. “What attracted me to Michigan was the opportunity to continue serving my passions for higher education and the arts at a university where everything is top-notch,” she says. “The academics are amazing across the board, and the community fits our family dynamic well. We’re raising a daughter here, and we just absolutely love Ann Arbor.” In her spare time, Throm sings alto in the University Musical Society’s Choral Union.

After a few years, Throm was promoted to the senior management team within the Office of University Development. “While I really enjoyed that time and gained invaluable experience that continues to impact my daily work, it became more and more evident how much I missed serving that arts passion.” When asked to step in as an interim development director for UMMA in 2010, Throm found herself once again connecting with her core passions. Her work as interim director led to a successful bid for the full-time position.

“Because of the rich diversity of the development community, Michigan is a place where your path can go so many ways,” Throm says. “You can find where you’re best suited and, if your work is respected and your relationships are solid, really find a home here.”  



Klementia Sula

Photo by Scott Soderberg, Michigan Photography

Helping to make magic happen: Hartwell outside C.S. Mott Children's Hospital

Mike Hartwell
Associate Director of Development, Children's and Women's Health
U-M Health System

As Acting Senior Director of Development for Children's and Women's Health, Mike Hartwell has a personal connection to his work. In 2004, Mike lost his son Eric, who was 9, to a battle with graft vs. host disease following a bone-marrow transplant for leukemia. Eric's particular type of leukemia was so rare that he was the only person on record in North America to have had it.

"We did all of our due diligence as parents to find out where we should go," Mike says. "And everyone we spoke with in medicine said to come to U-M."

After Eric passed away, Mike and his wife, Lisa, started the Eric Hartwell Foundation. The Foundation organizes an annual 5K and 10K race in the Hartwells' hometown of Brighton, Mich., to benefit C.S. Mott's Children's Hospital. It also provides amenities to bone-marrow transplant patients and their families at Mott. Through that work, Mike came to serve on several Mott committees to provide feedback from a parental standpoint. In 2009, he transitioned from his advertising and entrepreneurial background to bring his passion to the U-M Health System development team.

Now, a sign in Mike's office, sitting right above a picture of Eric, reads: Have I made a difference today? "If I didn't, I'm letting the researchers down, and I'm letting the kids down, and I'm letting the families down," he explains, "because I have that ability to connect those dots, to find that resource that can help make magic happen."

When looking for those connections, Mike describes his focus as "donor-centric."

"What do donors want to do? What are their dreams? And how can I find ways to help them realize those dreams and make them even more than what they envisioned?" he says. "To me, that's what it's all about; it's what gets me up every day. I don't mind waking up thinking about all the work that's got to be done, because in the end, it's saving lives."

And that goal resonates throughout the Hartwell family. Mike's oldest son, Matt, is currently a first-year medical-school student at the U-M. His field of study? Pediatric oncology.

 


Klementia Sula

Photo by Austin Thomason, Michigan Photography

Making a world of difference: Sula at the Literature, Science, and the Arts Building

Klementina Sula
Director of International Giving
College of Literature, Science, and the Arts

As someone who immigrated to the United States from Albania when she was 9 years old and later received a prestigious Bentley Scholarship to attend the U-M, Klementina Sula (AB '07, AM '11, MPP '11) is well suited to her role as Director of International Giving at the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts (LSA).

"I find that I connect well with international alumni, because I am one of them," she says. "And I understand, personally, what the impact of a gift is. When I have a conversation with an alum, I don't do it because it's my job; I do it because I believe in what I'm doing."

Sula started at LSA in 2007 after completing her bachelor's degree in three years. She coordinated the launch of the successful College Connections program, which strengthens ties between LSA and its more than 200,000 alumni. Her current role sees her focus not only on engaging the College's international alumni, but also on raising support for the less commonly taught languages in light of recent government funding cuts.

Taking on unprecedented challenges is a big part of what Sula says she enjoys about her work at LSA—that, and the chance to learn from dynamic, dedicated colleagues. "There's something special about this office," she says. "It's a smart, motivated team of people. We function as a cohesive unit—like a family! I'm lucky to be a part of it."

 


Byron Roberts

Photo by U-M Photo Services

Roberts at the Robert H. Lurie Engineering Center, where he and his staff are "always thinking about students"

Byron Roberts
Senior Director of Advancement
College of Engineering

"I often tell people when they start here that it's a great place because there's so much talent, and the people who work here want to be here," says Byron Roberts, Senior Director of Advancement for the College of Engineering (COE). "That combination of talent and desire really makes for a fabulous working environment." It's something the U-M alum noticed right away when he returned to his alma mater after stints in banking and in newspaper marketing. "People aren't here because they couldn't find another job," he says. "They're here because they believe in the mission of the University."

Roberts, who holds an M.B.A. from Stanford, joined COE as Director of Media and Marketing in 2001, and he's assumed increasing responsibility in the decade since. In his current position, Roberts takes pride in a team-based, strategic approach, whether the issue is who's sitting next to whom at an event or how well edited the alumni magazine is.

"But regardless of what we're doing," he continues, "we're always thinking about students. And when they become alumni, you can see that they really love this place. I'm grateful to be a part of this."

 


TJ Truskowski

Photo by Scott Soderberg, U-M Photo Services

Truskowski outside the Kinesiology Building, where he leads an ambitious team as director of advancement

T.J. Truskowski
Director of Advancement
School of Kinesiology

T.J. Truskowski came to the University of Michigan in 2007, working as a regional gift officer in the College of Engineering. In the course of his duties, he partnered with the Center for Entrepreneurship to develop a funding model and help direct a fundraising plan for a 60,000+ square-foot addition to the George Granger Brown Building for the Mechanical Engineering Department. He counts the U-M's network of impassioned alumni high on the list of things that make working in development at Michigan special.

"Often times I hear stories from alumni about the University being where they met their spouse or where they were inspired by a professor who changed their life," he says. "Alumni routinely reengage and come back to campus because of that nostalgia. They enjoy the traditions of the University of Michigan, whether it's the Diag, the Law Quad, the strong athletic program, or access to faculty to help guide them in their business. Michigan alumni are wonderful, and I feel fortunate to be able to work with them on a daily basis."

T.J. recently transitioned to the School of Kinesiology as director of advancement, and he feels the position is a perfect way to "combine the individual relationship-building skills that I've learned over the years with major-gift work. Our development team is young, and we're growing and ambitious. I'm really excited about what the future holds here."

 


Sonia Gill

Photo by Steve Kuzma Photography

Sonia Gill heads into the U-M's School of Education, where she is working toward a master's degree in philanthropy as one of the first students in a flagship program that the school launched in 2009.

Sonia Gill
Major Gift Officer, Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy 
Division of Student Affairs

By the time Sonia Gill moved back home to Michigan, she had earned a B.A. in French and political science, launched a career in banking and sales, and lived in New York City and San Francisco. "I never stopped thinking about going back to school," she says.

Gill translated her corporate skills into development at the U-M, where she completed the major gift officer training program and matriculated into the inaugural class for a master of arts degree in philanthropy, advancement, and development, a flagship concentration first offered in 2009 through the School of Education's nationally recognized Center for the Study of Higher and Postsecondary Education.

In learning how "philanthropy is woven into the fabric of this country," Gill says, she has come to see it as also "woven into my fabric as a human being." She recalls family visits to India and the orphanage near Bombay where her maternal grandmother grew up, and where her grandmother later "gave back." Gill cites the Hindi word seva, which Gill translates to mean, "You help when you can, even if it means you go without." In other words, "You don't hold onto something because you don't have enough. You give it all away," she says, "because it comes back to you."

 


Karen Isble

Photo by Steve Kuzma Photography

Hitting the high notes: Isble in front of Hill Auditorium

Karen Isble
Senior Executive Director, Campaign, Development Services & Strategic Solutions
Office of University Development

A onetime pre-med student turned opera singer, Karen Isble brought to her U-M development career both a numbers know-how and a love of performing. The University offered her the chance to premiere a new role. "It combines data and information with being out in front of people," Isble says, "working to win people over to the concept of being more strategic with their information."

"I love the stories that data can tell. And when fundraisers get as excited about the information as I do, then I know they will use it to support their work with donors."

Isble enjoys continually testing new data strategies to inform fundraising activity. "From day one," she says, "I've felt tremendous support from leadership to bring innovation to the work."

In her spare time, Isble sings with the University Musical Society's Choral Union. "As a place to have a career, the University offers so much variety and opportunity to explore," she says. "In an organization as big and complex as this one, there's a challenge to be tackled around every corner. I find that extremely rewarding."

 


Maureen Shafer

Photo by Steve Kuzma Photography

The long view on a city loved: Schafer at Ann Arbor's historic Broadway Bridge

Maureen Schafer
Director of Development and External Relations
School of Music, Theatre & Dance

An Ann Arbor native, Maureen Schafer understands the draw of a big city, having lived for short stints in both London and Florence before choosing to return to her hometown. "I love being in Ann Arbor," says the former singer, adding, "It's manageable in size and yet offers so much of what a big city has going for it. I could go to a student performance of professional caliber every single evening. And it's not unusual to find that a visiting artist has a tour schedule that includes New York City, D.C., San Francisco and Ann Arbor."

"I found my way into development through my love of the arts," Schafer says. "At Michigan, the two have come together in a way that is very meaningful for me."

Schafer finds U-M to be "really focused on people's professional growth—not only on a daily basis, working with colleagues across the university and learning from them, but also through well thought-out programs specific to a person's career development," she says.

"There's so much to take advantage of to help you grow!"

 


Tom Wamsley

Photo by Steve Kuzma Photography

Collaborating across campus: Wamsley at North Quad

Tom Wamsley
Director of Major Gifts
Stephen M. Ross School of Business 

Formerly the director of development and alumni relations at the U-M School of Information, Tom Wamsley made the move to the Stephen M. Ross School of Business in June 2012. He finds the environment incredibly exciting. “It’s alive all the time,” he said. “No matter what time of the day or night you walk through here, no matter what day of the week, there’s always something going on.

“You can change the world through business, and I think people realize that,” Wamsley added. “So people are always looking to what’s happening here at the Ross School.”
 
The wide-ranging passions of Ross alumni lead them to give across campus, Wamsley said. As a result, he and his staff of development professionals regularly partner with colleagues in other U-M schools, colleges, and programs. “Collaboration is part of the culture here,” he said. “This is what it means to be at Michigan:  You’re going to be forward-thinking. You’re going to be collaborative. You’re going to be proactive.

“We’re one of the nation’s largest institutions and most prestigious. The aspirations for greatness are exponentially greater here than at many other institutions.”

What’s next for Wamsley? “I’m just looking forward to continuing my career at Michigan,” he said. “We value philanthropy. We value development professionals. And success here is rewarded.” 


Maureen Martin

Photo by Martin Vloet, Michigan Photography

At the heart of it all: Martin spins "The Cube" in Regents Plaza

Maureen Martin
Senior Director of Foundation Relations
Office of University Development

As a former development director for arts, educational and environmental organizations around the country, Maureen Martin had done it all. "A director of development has to deal with so many aspects of the profession," she says. "Work with new prospects, handle direct mail, deal with management issues and boards…."

When she moved into U-M foundation relations seven years ago, Martin was thrilled for the opportunity to concentrate on one particular area of her expertise. She now devotes all of her time to connecting U-M's research and educational programs with their best opportunities for outside support. "What I love about this job is that you can be strategizing about funding important work designed to treat drug-resistant bacteria in a meeting one morning, and helping to develop programs encouraging community-college transfers that afternoon," she says. "After seven years at Michigan, I still enjoy my work every bit as much as I did in the first year!"

 


Kat Walsh

Teaching the next generation: Kat Walsh draws on ideas from her U-M master's degree in higher education to inspire future philanthropists and development pros.

Kat Walsh
Director, Student Engagement
Office of University Development

Kat Walsh took the long road to U-M development: born and raised in Brownsville, Texas. B.A. in theatre and history from Notre Dame. Stints as a private-school alumni relations director, admissions coordinator and teacher of geography, religion and history. Theatre choreographer. Dual master in higher education and public policy. Intern at the U.S. Navy's Center for Defense Management Reform.

While studying in the U-M's graduate program in higher education Walsh got to know a group of faculty mentors and fundraisers who encouraged her interest in a pipeline for the development profession. Their conversations eventually led her to a job in U-M development, where she helped found the Development Summer Internship Program. The program, which introduces undergraduates to philanthropy as a lifelong pursuit, has won several major awards and is now being replicated on campuses nationwide.

Walsh still directs D-SIP, she also leads the U-M's student-philanthropy initiatives and Telefund operations. Asked what drew her to her career, she says, "I absolutely love working in fundraising because development officers are by their very nature change agents. Whether we're working as frontline fundraisers or in support services, our role is to connect people's passions to the needs of the world. I can think of no more rewarding profession."

 


Judy Malcolm

Judy Malcolm outside the Gandy Dancer restaurant. Housed in the historic Michigan Central Depot building, the "Gandy" as it's commonly known, is a popular spot to celebrate special occasions.

Judy Malcolm
Senior Director, Executive Communications
Office of University Development  

Judy Malcolm had originally planned to be a college professor, but a detour into communications for nonprofits changed her focus. After consulting for organizations like the Detroit Science Center and the Michigan Cancer Foundation, she came to U-M to join  Development communications.  A typical workday might find her working with News Service on a press release to announce a gift; meeting with a dean on communications needs; planning a Development Council meeting; or writing a script for a donor event. Even after 23 years at the University, she says she still learns something new every day, and enjoys working with the "interesting, smart, and committed" people who are her colleagues. 


Paul Harkin

Paul Harkins outside the Bentley Historical Library. Behind him is a bronze sculpture by Marshall Fredericks, who also created the American Eagle sculpture outside Michigan Stadium.

Paul Harkins
Director of Major Gifts Mid-Atlantic Region

Paul Harkins has been in development at U-M for just over a year, but he's a longtime Wolverine: he earned both his bachelor's and master's degrees in percussion performance here. As director of major gifts for the mid-Atlantic region, he's constantly on the go, meeting with donors from Philadelphia to Kansas City. A typical week might include a Monday evening flight to Washington DC, an early-morning breakfast meeting on Tuesday, and three or four donor visits each day before his return to Ann Arbor on Thursday. "The days can be long," he says, "but our supporters are amazing people, so it's never dull."


The University of Michigan has 501(c)(3) non-profit tax exempt status; our federal tax ID number is 38-6006309.

Copyright © 2013 The Regents of the University of Michigan       The University of Michigan Office of Development, 3003 South State Street, Suite 9000, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1288