Executive director and senior fundraiserSanta Rosa Junior College Foundation, 1501 Mendocino Avenue, Santa Rosa 95401; 707-527-4348; www.santarosa/foundation.edu

Age: 59

Residence: Sonoma, California

Professional Background: More than 17 years institutional fundraising and alumni relations experience in the University of California, California State University and California Community College systems. Additional ten years fund development and corporate relations experience for the Easter Seal Society and American Lung Association.

Education: B.A. Speech Pathology and Audiology, San Jose State University

M.S. Mass Communications, San Jose State University.

Staff: Eight dedicated professional staff

Describe your organization: The Santa Rosa Junior College Foundation was founded by former President Dr. Randolph Newman to advance educational opportunities by raising and stewarding funds to support students, programs and special projects at the College. In cooperation with the Sonoma County Junior College District, the Foundation enhances the quality of higher education in the communities we serve.

The SRJC Foundation recently ranked No. 1 in the nation for fundraising among 1,500 community colleges. That ranking says a lot about our dedicated donors, our community and the local commitment to education.

Tell us a little bit about yourself: I was born in a small town in the Central West of New South Wales, Australia. My mother raised three daughters alone. At 16 I moved to Sydney, at 17 I traveled around the world by myself. I came to California in 1971. Without the California Community College system I would not have pursued an education. I attended several junior colleges and was accepted to UC Santa Cruz’ women’s re-entry program. My husband Peter is a psychotherapist in Berkeley. We have been together 23 years and he makes life an adventure every day. We have a cheeky cat named Arabel.

What is your role in the organization?: I am the Executive Director of the Foundation and senior fundraiser for the College. I manage the operations of the Foundation and work with a talented team of professionals to implement a variety of fund development and alumni relations programs.

What achievement are you most proud of?: Undergraduate and graduate school with honors. I was the first in my family to receive a university degree. In Australia I left school in 4th Form (10th grade) at 16 years old. That was normal for Australian kids to leave school at the high school level and go out and work.

What is your biggest challenge today?: The most important challenge is to keep up with the needs of SRJC students and the College. Santa Rosa Junior College will celebrate 100 Years in 2018. That’s a great achievement, but it also means that many of our classrooms and learning centers are very old, and students are trying to learn in less than adequate conditions. The JC needs renovated and fully equipped classrooms with state of the art technology to ensure that its students are fully prepared for tomorrow’s workforce. SRJC’s faculty is amazing, but to be truly effective they need funding for instructional equipment, departmental programs, and professional development.

What is the next major project either under way or on the horizon?: In recognition of the 100th Anniversary, the Foundation will be implementing a number of fundraising efforts to assist specific areas of the College. An example is to seek program and equipment support for the Public Safety Training Center in Windsor where our community’s first responders - police officers, correctional officers, police dispatchers, park rangers, emergency medical technicians, paramedics, and firefighters – complete coursework and field training.

What product or service would/or is helping you do your job more effectively?:  Sharing of creative and best practices between advancement offices in California and nationwide.

How do you think your profession will change in the next five years? Fundraising is one of best professions anyone can choose. It is all about working with incredible people who want to help others.

I have met so many amazing and selfless individuals in my career who have given of themselves financially and in others ways to make another person’s life better.

Philanthropy is very strong in America and I think we will see more young adults emulating local and national philanthropists to change the world. Fundraising methods will need to become more dynamic and responsive to the diversity of our communities and how individuals communicate and use technology in their daily lives.

Most admired businessperson outside your organization: There are too many remarkable business owners to select just one. I know and admire many brilliant local women who have become successful businesses owners or leaders in the fields of law, accounting, insurance, engineering, retail, wineries, and nonprofit organizations.

Current reading: “Out Stealing Horses” by Per Petterson. It is a profound and beautiful novel set in Norway.

Most want to meet: Martina Navratilova. I grew up playing tennis and saw Martina play many times. She (like Billie Jean King) is not only a great tennis player, but an exceptional role model for women. Her determination and ability to overcome many difficult situations says so much about her as a person.

Stress reliever: Talking with my husband Peter.

Favorite hobbies: Tennis, Ikebana, biking, reading, travel, movies, building/design, and inventing.

Words to describe me: Happy, focused, loyal, adventurous, and misunderstood.