Conference Presenters




Known best for 36 years of nightly news reporting on PBS, Jim Lehrer started working first as a newspaper reporter, then a political columnist and city editor. His first work in public television was as executive director of public affairs and host of a nightly news program in Dallas. He moved to PBS to serve as news and public affairs coordinator and, in 1973, partnered on air with correspondent Robert MacNeil to provide coverage and analysis of the Watergate hearings.

By 1975, "The Robert MacNeil Report" debuted with Lehrer as the Washington correspondent and shortly was renamed "The MacNeil/Lehrer Report" with Lehrer as co-anchor. The show won more than 30 awards. Renamed “The PBS News Hour,” when Lehrer retired in 2012, it continues to be a staple of the PBS lineup.

Lehrer is the recipient of the National Press Club's Fourth Estate Award, two Emmys, the Fred Friendly First Amendment Award, the George Foster Peabody Broadcast Award and the William Allen White Foundation Award for Journalistic Merit. He is a member of the Television Hall of Fame and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Lehrer also has served as moderator for 12 presidential election debates, and has crafted a second career as an author. In addition to his best-selling book, Tension City: Inside the Presidential Debates, from Kennedy-Nixon to Obama-McCain, he has written numerous fiction and non-fiction books, two memoirs and three plays. Two of his books have been adapted for film.

Lehrer and his wife, Kate, have been married since 1960. They have three daughters—Amanda, Lucy and Jamie—and six grandchildren.

NCPP Keynote Speaker


In 2005, Senator Dorgan introduced the original Public Good IRA Rollover Act (S.1366), telling his Senate colleagues, “As a Nation, we often look to a strong network of charities, large and small, to offer financial and other support to families and individuals who need help when government assistance is unavailable. That is why I think it's critically important for Congress to do everything we can to help encourage the work of worthy charities.” At NCPP, he brings unique perspective on the current political environment and advice on how nonprofit organizations can make their case for serving the greater good.

When he retired from the Senate In 2011, Senator Dorgan left on an upbeat note, saying “This country is an unbelievable place.…Where we have been and what we have done, all these things together ought to inspire us that we can do so much more.” He was born in a rural town of 250 residents and became the youngest-ever constitutional officer in North Dakota when he served as state tax commissioner at age 26. He was then elected to the U.S. House, thus beginning a 30-year career in the U.S. Congress--12 in the House and 18 in the U.S. Senate. His service provided a panoramic view of the art of the possible. During his tenure, he served as a senior member of the Senate Appropriations, Energy and Commerce Committees and Chairman of key subcommittees on Aviation, Energy and Water, and Indian issues, and on the House Ways and Means Committee for 10 years, working on economic, tax, and health policy. 

NCPP Luncheon Keynote Speaker


Relationship Manager, TIAA Kaspick

Ms. Alexander joined TIAA Kaspick in 2014 from Dartmouth College where she was the Associate Director of Gift Planning. Prior to working at Dartmouth, she practiced law with Bryan Cave LLP in the areas of securities, mergers and acquisitions, real estate, and banking. Ms. Alexander holds a BA in American Studies summa cum laude from California State University, Fullerton and a JD from Vanderbilt University School of Law. She has served as a board member of the Planned Giving Council of New Hampshire and Vermont.


Session: Real Estate Gifts: Setting Donor Expectations, with Kristen Dugdale

Track: Planned Gift Tech

National Director of Gift Planning, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc.

Dianne Armstrong, CFRE, is National Director of Gift Planning at Planned Parenthood Federation of America.  Since joining PPFA in 1999, she has inspired growth in Planned Parenthood’s legacy society commitments, estates-in-probate, and special gifts.  She has led the launch of the Planned Parenthood Bequest Challenge in June 2016, an initiative that has already resulted in 2,000+ documented bequests with a cumulative value of more than $300 million in future bequests. Dianne earned her B.A. from Rutgers College in 1980 and M.S. in Nonprofit Management from the New School for Social Research in 1996.  She has maintained her CFRE credential since 1989.   Dianne is a past board member of the Philanthropic Planning Group of Greater New York, Women in Development-New York, and the Greater New York chapter of AFP.  She is currently on the board of the American Council on Gift Annuities and the audit committee for the Greater New York chapter of AFP.    


Session: Innovations in Gift Planning:  A Bequest Challenge Case Study

Track: Summit

Director of Trusts Estates and Gift Planning, UT MD Anderson Cancer Center

Cindy joined M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in 2014 with more than twenty-five years of fund development and management experience.  Over her career she has served in regional and national capacities for the American National Red Cross, CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Foundation, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.  Her specialized experience as a gift planner includes serving as Gift Planning Officer of the American Red Cross for half a decade, Chair of the American National Red Cross Endowment Group, and Director of Trusts, Estates and Gift Planning at UT MD Anderson Cancer Center for the past three years. Cindy is a member of both the National Association of Charitable Gift Planners and the Association of Fundraising Professionals, is board President of the Planned Giving Council of Houston, and Founding Chair of Community Health Charities of Texas.  A cum laude graduate of UMass Boston, she has been a Certified Fundraising Executive since 2003.  Cindy enjoys traveling, reading and spending time with her husband Richard, their teenage son Jack, and two German Shepherds.


Session: Harness the Power of Blended Giving, with Christopher Kasavich

Track: Collaboration Lab

President, Philanthropy Solutions by Design, LLC

Since 2000, Nancy A. Baker, JD has provided gift planning expertise to various organizations, including The Nature Conservancy, the Land Trust Alliance, the California Academy of Sciences, the Alzheimer’s Association’s Northern California and Northern Nevada Region and the Hospice of Contra Costa Foundation while working with countless donors to realize their philanthropy goals through legacy gifts from simple to complex.  She has worked in states throughout the Midwest as well as Texas, New Mexico, California, Colorado, Oregon, Washington, Wyoming and Idaho providing gift planning guidance, strategies and training to fundraisers, executive and board leadership. Nancy has led general development and gift planning workshops and been a speaker on a variety of topics for many organizations, locally and nationally including the National Association of Charitable Gift Planners, the International Folk Art Alliance, the Santa Fe Community Foundation, the Taos Community Foundation, the New Mexico Estate Planning Council, the Chicago Council for Planned Giving, Nebraska PPP and Allied Fundraising Professionals Give and Gain Conference and the New Mexico Planned Giving Roundtable, the School for Advanced Research, Santa Fe Community Foundation, Esperanza Shelter for Battered Families, Menaul School, and Sandia Prep.    Nancy is a founding member of the New Mexico Planned Giving Roundtable and a member of both the Santa Fe and the New Mexico Estate Planning Councils.  She is a Board member of the New Mexico Committee for the National Museum of Women in the Arts and serves on the ARCA Planned Giving Task Force.   


Session: Think Like a Business: What We Can Learn From Nordstrom’s

Track: Marketing and Communication

Director of Gift Planning, The Rotary Foundation of Rotary International

Karena Bierman has been representing The Rotary Foundation’s fund development department since May 2004, when she joined as the foundation’s first planned giving officer. She now oversees the planned giving team as the Director of Gift Planning, and is responsible for the cultivation and administration of life income agreements and estate gifts to the Foundation, as well as the administration and marketing of The Rotary Foundation Donor Advised Fund. Karena also successfully implemented the foundation’s Gift and Estate Planning Program. She is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Political Science. She received her law degree with honors from Loyola University School of Law in New Orleans, and studied international legal studies in Moscow, Russia and Budapest, Hungary. Prior to joining The Rotary Foundation, Karena served in government as a Chief of Staff for a Wisconsin state senator and practiced as a litigation attorney at the Chicago law firm of Wildman, Harrold, Allen & Dixon. Karena is a trained mediator and a member of the 2015-16 Leadership Evanston class of XXIV. She was appointed to the City of Evanston Ethics Board in 2017. She enjoys racing vintage motorcycles and is the AHRMA 2011 Historic Production National Champion. She is past-president of the Rotary Club of Evanston Lighthouse and served as International Service chair and Rotary Foundation chair.


Session: Working With Advisors – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Track: Summit

Principal Consultant, Benz Whaley Flessner

Joshua M. Birkholz is a principal at Bentz Whaley Flessner, where he consults leading nonprofits in higher education, healthcare, and human services in comprehensive campaigning, organizational structure, data-driven strategies, and productive business processes. Josh also oversees a consulting team conducting outsourced and in-house analytics and prospect development services. He is widely regarded as a leading innovator in 21st-century development strategies, having authored the sought-after book, Fundraising Analytics: Using Data to Guide Strategy and contributing to the books A Kaleidoscope of Prospect Development and Return on Character. Josh is the Chair of the Advisory Council on Methodology for Giving USA. He is an instructor at the Rice University Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership. And he is the recipient of the prestigious Apra Visionary award for his contributions to prospect development.


Session: Gift Planner Metrics: Tracking the Numbers that Count

Track: Management and Administration

Senior Associate Director of Gift Planning, Haverford College

Olga Briker is Senior Associate Director of Gift Planning at Haverford College, which she joined in 2008 as its first Associate Director of Gift Planning. At Haverford, Olga has helped numerous donors and families realize their philanthropic aspirations by creating new endowed scholarship funds, new endowed funds  for student and faculty research, named space for capital projects, an endowed professorship and unrestricted endowment. She has co-led in-house staff training in lecture-style formats; introduced an in-house enewsletter, Planned Giving for Everyone; recruited donors to tell their stories in Window to the Future, Haverford’s Newsletter for Gift Planning; and collaborated with colleagues on individual cases.  Olga is a regular presenter at the annual Middlebury College Planned Giving Conference and has spoken before and volunteered for the Planned Giving Council of Greater Philadelphia. Prior to Haverford, Olga served ten years as the Development Director at Silver Springs – Martin Luther School; her earliest position in the field was as a Researcher/Writer at Fox Chase Cancer Center. Olga holds a Ph.D. in Russian Literature from Columbia University. 


Session: Preparing for and Optimizing Donor Visits

Track: Getting Oriented

Senior Director of Gift Planning, Northwell Health Foundation

Alexandra Pia Brovey is the Senior Director of Gift Planning at the Northwell Health Foundation in Great Neck, New York. After practicing law as an estate planning attorney for 6 years, Alex has focused on gift planning for the past 16 years at three institutions (The Pennsylvania State University, Pace University and Stony Brook University) with campaigns ranging from $100 million to $1.3 billion, before joining Northwell Health Foundation in 2008. She is currently Past President of the Philanthropic Planning Group of Greater New York, as well as a member of the (Long Island, NY) Charitable Estate Planning Council and the Estate Planning Council of Nassau County (NY). Alex was formerly a member of the Pittsburgh (PA) Planned Giving Council, and a founding member and Vice President of the Central Pennsylvania Planned Giving Council. She has spoken at the national, regional and local levels for a variety of organizations. Alex earned a B.A. from The Pennsylvania State University, Phi Beta Kappa, a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center, and an LL.M. in Estate Planning from the University of Miami. Alex is an alumni interviewer for Georgetown Law and coaches junior soccer and baseball.


Session: The Winding Road to Amy's Gift with Shawn Mroz

Track: Collaboration Lab

Director—Wealth Strategies Group, Bernstein Private Wealth Management

Anne K. Bucciarelli is a Director of the Wealth Strategies Group and is responsible for wealth management research. She provides customized advice on complex financial issues for private clients and their advisors on wealth transfer strategies and asset allocation decisions including concentrated stock exposure and planning for corporate executives. Anne is also responsible for providing investment advice and solutions to not-for-profits and philanthropic individuals as well as next-generation wealth owners. She has been the author of and a contributor to the firm’s published research on several topics. Anne joined Bernstein in 2004, became an analyst in the Wealth Strategies Group in 2006 and assumed her current position in 2014. She earned her BA in finance and information systems from Loyola University of Chicago, magna cum laude and with honors. A Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) charterholder since 2011, she is also a member of the New York Society of Security Analysts (NYSSA) and is a founding member of the American Brain Foundation Ambassador Program.


Session: Live Often, Plan Often-Fundraising Across Generations with Don Kent

Track: Collaboration Lab

Executive Director of Gift Planning, Carnegie Mellon University

Joseph O. Bull is the Executive Director of Gift Planning at Carnegie Mellon University. Prior to this appointment, he served as Senior Vice President for Community Engagement at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, leading the Zoo’s philanthropy, strategic partnerships, marketing, communications, government relations, membership, and group sales functions. Previously, he Interim Director of Philanthropy for Strategic Gifts and as Senior Philanthropy Officer for Global Priorities for The Nature Conservancy and Director of Planned Giving for his alma mater, The Ohio State University. Joe was the 2005 Chair of the Board of the Partnership for Philanthropic Planning and he is a past President of the Central Ohio and North Carolina Planned Giving Councils. He was co-chair of COPGC’s LEAVE A LEGACY program, which became the model for the national initiative of the same name. He is admitted to the Ohio and North Carolina bars.


Session: Gift Planner Metrics: Tracking the Numbers that Count

Track: Management and Administration

Partner, RHC&C

Reynolds T. Cafferata is a partner with Rodriguez, Horii, Choi & Cafferata LLP, in Los Angeles, CA. His practice is concentrated in the area of charitable tax, trust and corporate law. He has experience advising charitable organizations and individuals regarding planning complex charitable gifts and charitable trusts; creating and operating donor advised funds, private foundations and support organizations; creating policies for gift acceptance and risk management, unrelated business income taxes, and self-dealing and intermediate sanctions excises taxes; and endowment management and state law compliance. He earned his JD from the University of Southern California.


Session: Anatomy of a Gift Agreement

Track: Program Administration and Management

Director of Gift Planning, University of Virginia



Session: Plan Harder: Strategic Partnerships with Prospect Research, with Christopher Hubert

Track: Marketing

President, Charitable Solutions, LLC

Bryan Clontz is the founder and President of Charitable Solutions, LLC, specializing in non-cash asset receipt and liquidation, gift annuity reinsurance brokerage, gift annuity risk management consulting, emergency assistance funds and life insurance appraisals/audits. In the decade prior to founding Charitable Solutions, LLC in 2003, he served as the director of planned giving for the United Way of Metropolitan Atanta, national director of planned giving for Boys & Girls Clubs of America and then as vice president of advancement at The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta. He received a bachelor’s of science in business administration from the College of Charleston in Charleston, SC; a master’s degree in risk management and insurance from Georgia State University in Atlanta, GA; and a master’s degree in financial services from the American College in Bryn Mawr, PA. From 2000-2005, he served as a graduate adjunct professor for both personal financial planning and life insurance in the Department of Risk Management and Insurance at Georgia State University. He serves on the Editorial Board of the Planned Giving Design Center (2000-current), the Advisory Board for the American College’s Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy designation (2001-current), the American Council on Gift Annuities’ Rate Recommendation and Research Committee (2003-2010) and the National Association of Charitable Gift Planners (formerly Partnership for Philanthropic Planning) Board for 2007-2009.


Session: The (Baltimore) Raven Says Nevermore: Creative Advanced Gift Annuity Planning

Track: Planned Gift Tech

Vice President of Principal Gifts and Gift Planning, Oregon State University Foundation

Jeff Comfort has 32 years of gift planning experience. He currently is vice president of principal gifts and gift planning at the Oregon State University Foundation, where he provides strategic leadership to the gift planning program and oversees the staff that assists donors in making deferred, assets-based or complex gifts to the university. He spent 18 years at Georgetown University, where he oversaw university-wide gift planning efforts resulting in approximately $500 million of gift commitments and receipts in his tenure. Before arriving at Georgetown in 1995, he spent 11 years in Denver directing the gift planning program for the National Jewish Medical and Research Center. As a volunteer leader of CGP (formerly the National Committee on Planned Giving), Jeff served as president, chaired the 10th National Conference on Planned Giving and was a member of the NCPG board of directors for five years. Additionally, he was a member of the ethics committee and chaired the task force on gift valuation.


Session: How to Have the MOST Productive Conversations: From Here to Eternity

Tax Reform and Other Storms: How Gift Planners Should Respond, with Robert Sharpe, Steven Woolf and Sandra Swirski

Track: Getting Oriented

Closing Luncheon

Chair, Growth in Giving/Fundraising Effectiveness Project

Erik J. Daubert is regarded as a leader in the areas of financial development and nonprofit management. In addition to a broad based career in nonprofits, he has also served as a consultant and founding partner in multiple nonprofit and for profit organizations. He has written several publications on fund raising and nonprofit management including books and articles on topics ranging from annual to capital to endowment as well as major gifts, donor cultivation,volunteer management, grant getting and more.

His latest book (Co-Authored) is entitled Strategies and Tools to Raise Money and is published through John Wiley & Sons, Inc. (2012). Erik currently serves as Chair of the Growth in Giving Initiative and is an Affiliated Scholar with the Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy at The Urban Institute

Session: Gift Planner Metrics: Tracking the Numbers that Count

Track: Management and Administration

Consultant and Charitable Gift Planner, Davidson Gift Design

Pamela Jones Davidson, J.D., has been a nationally recognized speaker in charitable gift planning for over 29 years. She is President of Davidson Gift Design, in Bloomington, Indiana, a consulting firm specializing in gift planning, planned giving program design and implementation, and training. She is also a Senior Vice President for Thompson & Associates, offering estate planning services to nonprofits. From 1985 through 1996, she was with Indiana University Foundation, as its Executive Director of Planned Giving and Associate Counsel. Ms. Davidson received her undergraduate degree from Indiana University in 1975, and graduated magna cum laude from the Indiana University School of Law at Indianapolis in 1979. She has been an examiner in the Estate and Gift Tax Division of the Internal Revenue Service, and practiced law with an Indianapolis law firm before joining the nonprofit sector in 1985. She is a past chair of the National Association of Charitable Gift Planners (then NCPG) board of directors and served on the board in various capacities for six years. She is also a past president of the Planned Giving Group of Indiana and serves on the Community Advisory Boards of both of her local public radio and television stations, and is among others, on the Board and past president of Middle Way House, her community’s nationally recognized women’s shelter.


Session: Simpler Gift Plans All Charities Can Understand and Promote

Track: Summit

President & CEO, Pentera, Inc.

Claudine A. Donikian, JD, MBA, is the president & CEO of Pentera, Inc., and a nationally recognized expert and sought-after speaker on planned giving marketing. An expert on women in philanthropy, Claudine serves on the advisory board of the Women's Philanthropy Institute at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy and as a member of the board of directors of the National Association of Charitable Gift Planners (CGP).  Under Claudine’s initiative, Pentera sponsored the groundbreaking study on planned giving conducted by the Lilly school—The 2016 Planned Giving Study: Building Lasting Legacies: New Insights from Data on Planned Gifts.  Claudine graduated Phi Beta Kappa and with highest distinction from Indiana University, received an MA in French from New York University, and holds a JD and an MBA from Boston College. In addition to serving on the board of directors of CGP and on the advisory board of the Women’s Philanthropy Institute, Claudine has served on the Direct Marketing Association's Digital Innovation Committee, the board of directors of the Philanthropic Planning Group of Greater New York in Manhattan (PPGGNY), the Massachusetts Children's Trust Fund (a child abuse prevention agency), and the Brookview House (an organization that provides housing for homeless women and children). 


Session: Click or Skip? What About Headlines Makes Donors Want to Read More?

Track: Marketing and Communication

Relationship Manager, TIAA Kaspick

Ms. Dugdale joined TIAA Kaspick in 2013 from the University of Colorado Foundation.  Ms. Dugdale’s career at the CU Foundation spans over thirteen years in a variety of positions.  She served as General Counsel, Senior Director of Planned Giving, Associate Vice President of Planned Giving, and finally Vice President for Gift Planning.  As Vice President for Gift Planning, Ms. Dugdale was responsible for leading the development and integration of a comprehensive gift planning program into the overall development efforts of the University of Colorado’s four distinct campuses in Boulder, Denver, Aurora, and Colorado Springs.  Prior to joining the University of Colorado Foundation, Ms. Dugdale worked as General Counsel for Sovereign Financial Services, a private equity firm, and as an associate at the Denver law firm of Holme, Roberts & Owen.  Ms. Dugdale received her BA in Political Science and her JD from the University of Wyoming.


Session: Real Estate Gifts: Setting Donor Expectations, with Laura Alexander

Track: Planned Gift Tech

Director of Development Gift Planning, Oregon State University Foundation

Ryan joined the OSU Foundation's Gift Planning office in October of 2013, bringing ten years of major gift experience to the table, including consultant work, medicine, the arts, and higher education. Ryan quickly became fluent not only in gift planning, but finance and wealth management as well, and he has certainly added value as OSU’s Gift Planning Office transitioned from a small, reactive GP shop, largely dependent on referrals and co-visits with major gift colleagues, to a larger, more proactive, portfolio based GP team with individual metrics and a fully developed 5-year strategic plan. Ryan oversees marketing and reunion programming, in addition to maintaining a portfolio of his own.


Session: From Reactive to Proactive – the Evolution of a Gift Planning Program, with Jennifer Milburn

Track: Program Administration and Management

Partner, McGuireWoods LLP

J. William Gray is a partner in the Richmond, VA office of McGuireWoods LLP, where his law practice focuses on tax-exempt organizations, charitable giving, and estate planning and administration. He holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from Rutgers University and a law degree from the University of Virginia. Bill is a fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, a founding director and former president of the Virginia Gift Planning Council, and member of the board of the National Association of Charitable Gift Planners.


Session: 50 Ways to Lose Your Deduction

Track: Getting Oriented

Senior Vice President, Thompson & Associates

With almost 25 years of experience as a practicing attorney in charitable and estate planning, Johni Hays is a recognized expert on the subject of charitable gift planning. Johni served as the president of the Charitable Estate Planning Institute and is the author of the book, Essentials of Annuities and co-author of the book, The Tools and Techniques of Charitable Planning. She serves as a founding charitable planning author of Steve Leimberg’s electronic newsletter service, LISI. Johni has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal and has published charitable planning articles in Estate Planning Magazine, Planned Giving Today, Fundraising Success, Life Insurance Selling and the National Underwriter magazines.  Johni is in demand as a national lecturer on estate and charitable planning, probate, living wills, annuities, life insurance, retirement planning and IRAs, as well as income, estate and gift taxation. Johni has been engaged in the practice of law with an emphasis in charitable and estate planning since 1993.  Johni graduated cum laude with a Juris Doctor degree from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, in 1993. She also holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Drake University and graduated magna cum laude in 1988.  Johni is a charter member of CGP’s Leadership Institute. She served on the national board of CGP (formerly Partnership for Philanthropic Planning) and has been a member of the Mid-Iowa Planned Giving Council as well as a board member. Johni has been a member of both the Iowa Bar and the Florida Bar since 1993. 


Session: IRAs Win Oscar: Best Tax Performance in Planned Gift

Track: Planned Gift Tech

President and co-founder, MiniMatters

Barbara Haupt is the President and co-founder of MiniMatters, a video production and marketing company specializing in videos for nonprofit organizations, foundations, and associations. Over its eight-year history, MiniMatters has produced over 500 videos and served more than 80 diverse clients, ranging from hospitals to universities to national nonprofits to publicly traded companies. Barbara brings a particular strength in project management and team collaboration, ensuring that projects are completed on-time, on-budget, and to clients’ satisfaction.

Barbara holds a Master in Public Policy Degree from the Harvard Kennedy School and a B.A. in economics from the University of California, Irvine. She serves on the board of the Association Foundation Group, an organization that provides professional education and networking opportunities to foundations that are connected with associations.

Session: Simple to Spectacular: Integrating Planned Giving Video at Your Budget and Expertise, with Elissa Leif

Deputy Director, Digital Acquisition Marketing, The Humane Society of the United States

Cara Holland currently serves as Deputy Director, Digital Acquisition Marketing for The Humane Society of the United States where she leads the strategy, execution and analysis of digital acquisition initiatives utilizing a portfolio of paid digital channels including search, display, mobile and social media. Cara has over 8 years experience in marketing across a variety of client industries including finance, tech, nonprofit and management consulting.


Session: Grandparents are on Facebook: Social Media’s Impact on Planned Giving, with Michael Hutney and Steve Maughan

Track: Marketing and Communication

Assistant Director, Prospect Development, University of Virginia

Christopher Hubert has worked in prospect research for over ten years and has been Assistant Director of Research at the University of Virginia since 2013.  He has presented at conferences for Apra, CASE, and ARC, and focuses on using innovations in prospect research to facilitate strategic partnerships and advancement activity.

Session: Plan Harder: Building Strategic Partnerships with Prospect Research with Jason Chestnutt

Track: Marketing

Director of Business Development, The Stelter Company

Michael Hutney is the Director of Business Development with The Stelter Company and relies on his extensive background in sales, communications and marketing to spearhead Stelter’s efforts to enhance donor engagement. Throughout his career with Stelter, Michael’s passion and curiosity has been heralded as the driving force behind the successful transformation of individual donor connections into valuable, long-term relationships. Michael continues to work directly with national and international organizations such as the U.S. Fund for UNICEF, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Girl Scouts of the USA and the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution.


Session: Grandparents are on Facebook: Social Media’s Impact on Planned Giving, with Steve Maughan and Cara Holland

Track: Marketing and Communication

Senior Director of Development, UT MD Anderson Cancer Center

Chris Kasavich has been a professional fundraiser for fifteen years serving in a variety of positions and nonprofit sectors.  He began his career in fundraising at Rice University as their first Leadership Giving officer for Annual Giving before joining their Major Gifts team.  After four years he joined the Houston Symphony as Director of Corporate Relations, where he managed the Corporate Relations team in engaging and stewarding corporate partners.  Chris joined Baylor College of Medicine as Director of Annual Giving and during his tenure more than doubled the performance of the annual giving program.  Currently, as a Senior Director of Philanthropic Resources at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Chris is focused on raising major gifts to support the $1B Moon Shots campaign.  Additionally Chris is responsible for the creation and oversight of midlevel giving programs.  Chris earned his CFRE in 2009 and graduated with honors from the University of Houston Bauer College of Business with an MBA in 2010.  He earned his undergraduate degree from Trinity University in San Antonio.  Through AFP, AHP, CASE, and the Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership at Rice University he has presented seminars and coursework on corporate giving, annual giving, midlevel giving, major and principal gifts, and the recruitment and retention of development officers.  Chris lives in Houston with his wife and daughter.


Session: Harness the Power of Blended Giving, with Cindy Atmar

Track: Collaboration Lab

Assistant Vice President of Planned Giving, The George Washington University

John Kendrick joined the George Washington University in April, 2008. He leads a team of eight planned giving professionals who serve all areas of the University. Under John’s leadership, GW has expanded the university’s emphasis on gift planning and instituted a full-service real estate philanthropy program, with more than $170 million of new and realized planned gifts documented during the current Making History comprehensive campaign for GW. Previously, Mr. Kendrick was the Director of Planned Giving for the Smithsonian Institution, where he led planned giving for the Smithsonian's 19 museums and nine research centers. He also held development positions at the National Academy of Sciences and Hood College. His development work follows an 18-year career in advertising, publishing, and marketing, including positions as a Vice President at DDB Worldwide, Editor-in-Chief of Targeted Marketing Solutions, and Senior Account Executive at Young & Rubicam, Inc.   Mr. Kendrick has a BA degree in Economics and Government from Cornell, an MBA from Wharton Business School, and a Masters degree from the Medill School of Journalism.


Session: Implementing a Legacy Challenge Match Program at a Major, Multifaceted Institution, with Courtney Tsai

Track: Collaboration Lab

Principal, Bernstein Global Wealth Management

Don Kent brings more than thirty years of experience designing complex financial plans for high net worth families to his current role at Bernstein Private Wealth Management. For the past eighteen years, he and his team have worked closely with clients and their professional advisors to craft comprehensive strategies that address all aspects of their clients' wealth management needs. Don also works closely with a select group of charitable institutions in building their endowment programs and managing their planned gift and endowment assets. Prior to Bernstein, Don was a Vice President at Jewish Federation of North America (formerly CJF) and devoted 13 years to building Federations' planned giving and endowment programs. He was responsible for upgrading the investment/spending policies and implementing new development/marketing strategies for dozens of charities. He lectures widely on charitable gift planning and financial planning topics. He has taught a planned giving course at NYU and served on the national board of the National Association of Charitable Gift Planners (formerly NCPG).  Don currently serves on the Board of Trustees of Beloit College and is an officer of Maccabi USA. 

Session: Live Often, Plan Often-Fundraising Across Generations with Anne Bucciarelli

Track: Collaboration Lab

Foundation Director, SantaFe Senior Living Foundation, Inc.

David Kremer has 22 years of professional fundraising experience with 17 of those years spent helping seniors to achieve their philanthropic dreams. A long-time member of CGP, David has raised more than $28-million for several one-person fundraising shops.  


Session: Ethical Fundraising with Seniors

Track: Getting Oriented

CEO and co-founder, MiniMatters

Elissa Leif is CEO and co-founder of MiniMatters, (, a video production and marketing company specializing in videos for nonprofit organizations, foundations, and associations.  A board member of the National Capital Gift Planning Council and former development director, Elissa especially enjoys working with planned giving donors and staff. In addition to video production with an emphasis on storytelling, Elissa sees an important role in advising clients about how to leverage their video investment with smart distribution through the web, email, and social media.  

Elissa holds a Master's Degree in Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and a B.A. in history from Yale University. She enjoys teaching about technology in a user-friendly way, and occasionally presents about video marketing and storytelling. Planned giving presentations have included the National Conference on Philanthropic Planning (2013), NCGPC, PPGGNY, the Chesapeake Planned Giving Council, and Planned Giving Group of Connecticut. 

Session: Simple to Spectacular: Integrating Planned Giving Video at Your Budget and Expertise, with Barbara Haupt

Principal, Scott R Lumpkin & Associates LLC

Scott Lumpkin consults with nonprofit organizations and individuals on transformational philanthropic strategies, with a focus on planned, major and principal gifts.  Prior to launching his consulting firm in 2015, Scott had a 32-year development career at the University of Denver working primarily with high-net-worth donors to maximize their philanthropic impact.  Scott led DU's gift planning program for more than 25 years before serving five years as Vice Chancellor of University Advancement.  Under Scott's leadership the University of Denver successfully completed its $488 million ASCEND Campaign in 2014, coinciding with DU's 150th anniversary.  He was also instrumental in DU's previous $273 million campaign that transformed the campus in the 1990s. During his career at DU, Scott facilitated many of the University's largest gifts, reflecting his recognized expertise in charitable gift planning and demonstrated ability to build strong relationships with donors, helping them achieve their philanthropic dreams.  Scott holds a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Denver. 



Session: How to Have the MOST Productive Conversations: From Here to Eternity

Track: Getting Oriented

Senior Director of Planned Gifts and Estates, Humane Society of the United States

Steve Maughan is currently the Senior Director of Planned Gifts and Estates for the Humane Society of the United States where he provides the strategic vision for HSUS's planned giving program as well as its affiliates Fund for Animals, Wildlife Land Trust, Doris Day Animal League, Humane Society Intl, Humane Society Intl –UK, Humane Society Intl Canada. Prior non-profit work includes leading the national planned giving program for Oxfam America and serving as the Northern New England Planned Gifts Director for the American Cancer Society.  Steve also has more than 20 years' experience in the financial services business where he was employed in various investment sales positions with Morgan Stanley.


Session: Grandparents are on Facebook: Social Media’s Impact on Planned Giving, with Michael Hutney and Cara Holland

Track: Marketing and Communication

Senior Associate Director, Major and Planned Gifts, National Jewish Health

Kate McDonnell is a seasoned fundraiser with over nine years of experience, and a focus in healthcare philanthropy. She is a Senior Associate Director of Major and Planned Gifts at National Jewish Health, Denver, CO. Prior to this role, Kate served as a Senior Associate Director of Development at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.  In Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. Kate raised funds for arts and cultural organizations, namely the Los Angeles Opera, the Smithsonian Institution and The Phillips Collection. Kate has her Masters in Art History from American University and received her Bachelor’s degree in Art and Art History from Colgate University.


Session: Comprehensive Donor Relations: Moving Beyond Acknowledgements and Stewardship, Tools to Drive Major and Planned Gifts, with Gordon Smith

Track: Program Administration and Management

Director of Training and Education, Alumni Affairs & Development, Harvard University

Anne Melvin has worked as both a volunteer and a professional in the field of development for over two decades, holding positions of increasing responsibility at various schools at Harvard University, including Harvard College, the Harvard School of Public Health, and Harvard’s central University Development Office. In eight different positions at Harvard, her experience runs the gamut of development’s major functions, having career stops in the annual fund, major gifts, stewardship, gift planning, and operations. She currently directs the education program for Harvard’s central development office.  For the past three years, Anne has directed the fundraiser training and overall development education program at Harvard’s central development office.

Anne is a member of AFP, the National Association of Charitable Gift Planners, and the NACGP Leadership Institute.  She speaks regularly around the country to professional development organizations specializing in donor motivation, gift planning, gift solicitation, and other topics critical for successful frontline work. She trains non-profit development staff nationwide through her private practice, ATM Consulting.  Among various volunteer activities, Anne serves on the board of the Wellesley Education Foundation fundraises for her alma mater. Prior to joining Harvard, Anne practiced real estate law in the Boston area. She is a cum laude graduate of Williams College and holds a J.D. from the Boston University School of Law.


Session: It’s About Time: Managing Your Most Precious Resource

Track: Getting Oriented

Director of Gift Planning, Oregon State University Foundation

2017 marks Jennifer Milburn’s 20th year in higher education development, a path which began as Director of Annual Giving in Intercollegiate Athletics, progressed to major gift and capital campaign work first in Athletics, then academics.  She spent the middle ten years of her career serving as Director of Development for the College of Agricultural Sciences and the College of Veterinary Medicine during their highly successful $1 billion campaign. Due to the large number of planned gifts she collaborated on in her work with these two colleges, she was asked to join the OSU Foundation's centralized Gift Planning Office in 2012, where she has now served as a Director for nearly five years, overseeing Probate Administration and Prospect Triage, in addition to maintaining her own portfolio and meeting annual metrics. Her background in major gifts gave her a unique perspective as the gift planning office transitioned from a small, reactive GP shop, largely dependent on referrals and co-visits with major gift colleagues, to a larger, more proactive, portfolio based GP team with individual metrics and a fully developed 5-year strategic plan.



Session: From Reactive to Proactive – the Evolution of a Gift Planning Program, with Ryan Egge

Track: Program Administration and Management

President, Kathryn Miree & Associates

Kathryn W. Miree is the president and primary consultant for Kathryn W. Miree & Associates, Inc., where she provides a full range of planned giving, endowment, and foundation management services designed to help nonprofits build long-term financial stability through planned gifts and endowment. Kathryn received a B.A. from Emory University and a J.D. from the University of Alabama School of Law. She spent 15 years in various positions in the Trust Division of a large southeastern bank before joining a regional brokerage firm to establish its trust company and serve as its initial President and CEO. In these positions she worked extensively with not-for-profit organizations and their donors in the management of private foundations, community foundations, charitable trusts, pooled income funds, gift annuities and endowments. Kathryn is a past president of the National Committee on Planned Giving, past president of the Alabama Planned Giving council, past president of the Estate Planning Council of Birmingham, and past president of the Alabama Bankers Association Trust Division. She is a member of the Alabama Bar Association.

Session: Gift Planner Metrics: Tracking the Numbers that Count

Track: Management & Administration

Director, Gift Planning, Northwell Health Foundation

Shawn Mroz is the Director, Gift Planning at Northwell Health Foundation in New Hyde Park, NY.  After a brief career on Wall Street, Shawn has worked in planned giving for the past 17 years at several organizations (Vassar College, Columbia University and The Metropolitan Museum of Art) with campaigns ranging from $300 million to $5 billion, before joining Northwell in 2012.  He is currently the Treasurer of the Philanthropic Planning Group of Greater New York and a member of the Charitable Estate Planning Council of Long Island.  He has trained numerous colleagues in both large formal settings and individual sessions.  Shawn earned his B.A from the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA.  He is an alumni interviewer for his high school, Phillips Exeter Academy, and enjoys helping coach his son’s soccer and baseball teams as well as pretending he is a good cook for his family.   


Session: The Winding Road to Amy's Gift with Alexandra Brovey

Track: Collaboration Lab

Principal Consultant, Normandin & Associates

Prior to launching his consulting and expert witness practice, Jim spent 32 years with Memorial Medical Center Foundation, the last 10 years as President.   He has extensive experience in the design, implementation and management of complex charitable plans designed to meet the financial, estate and philanthropic goals and objectives of the client. His frequent seminars and speaking engagements to professional audiences have earned him a reputation as one of the leading specialists in the Charitable Gift and Tax Planning field.  Jim counsels individuals and families and their advisers on the best method to optimize income, minimize taxation, facilitate meaningful wealth transfer and meet personal philanthropic objectives.  He assists nonprofit organizations with the design, implementation and management of all aspects of a successful planned giving program.  


Session: Confessions of an Expert Witness: What Gift Planners Should Know

Track: Program Administration and Management

Relationship Manager, TIAA Kaspick

Tim Prosser joined TIAA Kaspick in 2009 with nearly 20 years of experience in legal practice and financial services. Prior to joining TIAA Trust Company in 2000, Mr. Prosser practiced law in the areas of estate planning, estate and trust administration, charitable giving, and business succession planning with the firms of Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal and Armstrong Teasdale Schlafly & Davis in St. Louis, MO. Mr. Prosser has served on the board of the National Association of Charitable Gift Planners (formerly Partnership for Philanthropic Planning) and is a past board member and president of the Saint Louis Planned Giving Council. Mr. Prosser received his JD degree and MA degree in Public Administration from St. Louis University in December 1990 and his BA in Russian Area Studies in 1987 from Loyola University, New Orleans.


Session: Gifts that Help Baby Boomers Build Retirement Income

Track: Planned Gift Tech

Senior Counsel for Philanthropy, Fellowship of Catholic University Students

Phil Purcell is Senior Counsel for Philanthropy for the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS), where he supervises and mentors a team of three planned gift professionals and also consults with a major gift team of fifteen. He previously served as Vice-President for Planned Giving and Endowment Stewardship at the Ball State University Foundation. He is an attorney and member of the American and Indiana State Bar Associations.  Phil teaches courses on law and philanthropy, nonprofit organization law and planned giving as adjunct faculty for the Indiana University Maurer School of Law (Bloomington, IN) and Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy and Fundraising School (Indianapolis, IN).  He has spoken before the National Conference on Philanthropic Planning, American Council on Gift Annuities National Conference as well as many other local, state and national associations of gift planners, fundraisers, nonprofit staff and professional advisors.  Phil serves as a member of the Tax Exempt Organization Advisory Council for the Internal Revenue Service (Great Lakes states) and is Vice Chair of the Legislative Affairs committee of the American Bar Association Charitable Organizations group.  He has served on the board of directors for the Partnership for Philanthropic Planning, Planned Giving Group of Indiana and Association of Fundraising Professionals - Indiana Chapter.  Phil maintains an active consulting practice.  He is a senior consultant for the Heaton Smith Group, a national legacy planning consulting firm, and serves on the editorial advisory board for Planned Giving Today.  Phil received his B.A. degree from Wabash College (magna cum laude) and his J.D. and M.P.A. degrees (with honors) from Indiana University.


Session: Creating and Implementing Effective Planned Giving Program Policies and Procedures

Track: Program Administration and Management

Vice President of Development and Senior Philanthropic Advisor, The Greater Washinton Community Foundation (formerly Community Foundation for the National Capital Region)

Rebecca Rothey, CFRE, CAP® joined the Greater Washington Community Foundation on August 1, 2016 as Vice President of Development and Senior Philanthropic Advisor. Prior to coming to the Community Foundation, Rebecca has held several charitable gift planning positions, including most recently a year at the Johns Hopkins University as a director of gift planning, as well as gift planning positions at Catholic Charities and American Red Cross of Central Maryland. However, it was her three years, from 2012-15, serving as director of major and planned giving at the Baltimore Community Foundation that sparked her passion for the crucial role community foundations play in helping donors to give back to their communities and beyond and in educating donors’ professional advisers about philanthropy. Rebecca received her undergraduate degree in philosophy from the Notre Dame of Maryland University, from which she graduated summa cum laude, and certification as a fundraising specialist from Goucher College. She became a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) in 2004 and received her designation as a Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy (CAP®) from The American College in 2014. Rebecca serves as a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of Planned Giving Today. She has been a member of the board of the Baltimore Estate Planning Council since 2012 and is a past president of the board of the Chesapeake Planned Giving Council.   


Session: Bankers and Lawyers and CPAs—oh my! Collaborating with Advisers

Track: Collaboration Lab

President, Gift Planning Development

Brian M. Sagrestano, JD, CFRE, is an author, public speaker and thought leader in the gift planning world. As the President of Gift Planning Development, Brian provides gift planning services to a wide range of charitable clients from national organizations focused on high end gift plans to local charities seeking to start new gift planning programs. Brian is also a principal of Constellation Advancement, LLC, a full-service development consulting firm. Prior to starting GPO, he spent twelve years as a charitable gift planner, directing the gift planning programs for the University of Pennsylvania, Middlebury College and Meridian Health Affiliated Foundations. 

Brian has co-authored three books with Robert E. Wahlers, CFRE, including the award-winning Philanthropic Planning Companion: The Fundraisers' and Professional Advisors' Guide to Charitable Gift Planning (Wiley 2012), Getting Started in Charitable Gift Planning and the accompanying Resource Book (Charity Channel Press 2016). He has been a contributor to Planned Giving Today, Planned Giving Mentor, Advancing Philanthropy and Planned Giving Tomorrow. 


Session: JUMPSTART 2.0: Starting a Gift Planning Program, wiith Robert Wahlers

Founding Partner and Principal Consultant, Aspen Leadership Group

Ron Schiller is a nationally recognized advisor to presidents, board members, and other leaders in higher education, arts and cultural organizations, health care, and social and community services. Since 2011, he has focused his attention on executive search and strategic consulting, drawing on his experience as fundraising leader, executive team member, board member, and search consultant built over a 30-year career. Ron previously served as Senior Vice President of Lois L. Lindauer Searches, President of the NPR Foundation, Vice President for Alumni Relations and Development at the University of Chicago, Associate Vice President of Advancement and Campaign Director at Carnegie Mellon University, Vice President for Development at Northeastern University, Vice President for Institutional Advancement at New England Conservatory of Music, and Director of Institutional Advancement at 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. He serves on the faculty of the annual CASE conference and is the recipient of CASE’s Crystal Apple Teaching Award. He is the author of two books: The Chief Development Officer: Beyond Fundraising and Belief and Confidence: Donors Talk About Successful Philanthropic Partnership. Ron earned a bachelor’s degree at Cornell University.


Session: What are Donors Telling Us?

Track: Summit

CEO, FreeWill

Patrick Schmitt has been involved with philanthropy for over ten years having founded two nonprofit organizations during his time at Georgetown University. He ran email fundraising for President Obama from 2009-2010, generating record amounts in online donations. He was also the Head of Innovation at, where he helped grow that organization to 120 million users in just four years. Patrick is now the CEO at FreeWill and relies on his extensive background in fundraising and technology to drive social good through planned giving.


Session: The Real Reason Donors Aren’t Making Planned Gifts, and What To Do About It, with Helen Zou

Track: Marketing

Chairman, The Sharpe Group

As Chairman of Sharpe Group, Robert Sharpe is a nationally recognized pioneer, leader and authority in the field of philanthropy. With more than 35 years of experience serving America’s nonprofit community, he consults nationally 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. A 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 is chairman of the philanthropy editorial board of Trusts & Estates magazine and co-author of the National Association of Charitable Gift Planners (CGP) Model Standards of Gift Valuation. He has served on the board of Giving USA and on strategic task forces for the CGP. Among other publications, his remarks have been featured in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Newsweek, Forbes, Smart Money, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, Trusts & Estates and Kiplinger’s. He is a frequent speaker at local and national gatherings of fundraising executives, financial officers and others.


Session: Planned Giving is Dead...Long Live Planned Giving!

Tax Reform and Other Storms: How Gift Planners Should Respond, with Steven Woolf, Sandra Swirski and Jeff Comfort

Track: Summit

Closing Luncheon

Managing Director, U.S. Trust, Bank of America Private Wealth Management

Ramsay Slugg is a member of the US Trust national wealth planning solutions team, focusing on philanthropic planning, and the head of art planning services for U.S. Trust.  Previously, he was the national practice manager for Bank of America's philanthropic solutions group.  He is a licensed attorney, and the author of the Handbook of Practical Planning for Art Collectors and Their Advisors, published by the American Bar Association.


Session: Charitable Planning with Art and Other Collectables

Track: Planned Gift Tech

Associate Vice President for Development, Rochester Institute of Technology

Craig currently leads the University Development team at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT).  In this role, he manages a group of 24 professionals in major and planned gifts, as well as corporate and foundation relations.  RIT field officers employ a combination of activity and dollar-based metrics to drive their success, and routinely use gift planning tools and techniques in their day-to-day interactions with donors. Before joining RIT in 2007, he served as a senior consultant with John Brown Limited.  His clients included higher education, the arts, healthcare, and cultural organizations nationwide, including the National Geographic Society, the University of Michigan, all of the campuses of the University of North Carolina, and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. He helped to develop and manage campaigns from as small at $6 million to as large as $2.5 billion. Craig is dedicated to creatively bringing together philanthropists and worthy charitable causes to assure maximum tax advantage for donors while assisting development officers in reaching their important goals.   He is best known for his leadership, personal solicitation skills, and gift planning know-how. 


Session: Extend Your Reach: How Major Gift Officers Become Active Partners in Gift Planning Efforts

Track: Collaboration Lab

Associate Vice President of Development, Planned Gifts, National Jewish Health

Gordon P. Smith, MBA, CFRE  was born and raised in Denver, Colorado. Before going into planned giving, Gordon worked as a financial consultant, where he obtained experience in estate planning, business succession planning, insurance, and investment management. This provided a wonderful springboard to planned giving and the work he does for National Jewish Health where he has been since September of 1995.   As the Associate Vice President for Development, Planned Gifts, Gordon is responsible for planned and major gifts. This includes cultivating relationships from marketing through stewardship with expertise in the areas of charitable trusts, gift annuities, bequests and gifts of complex assets and he works with supporters throughout the country.   Gordon has been a long time member of The National Association of Charitable Gift Planners and currently serves on the CGP Board.    


Session: Comprehensive Donor Relations: Moving Beyond Acknowledgements and Stewardship, Tools to Drive Major and Planned Gifts, with Kate McDonnell

Track: Program Administration and Management

Planned Giving Consultant, Law Offices of Winton C. Smith, Jr.

Winton Smith is a planned giving consultant with comprehensive services to charitable organizations whose goal is either to initiate or in some cases to improve their planned giving program to provide the best possible service to people who believe in their organization and who want to help them accomplish their important charitable mission. Planned giving services include the design and implementation of a comprehensive planned giving program, comprehensive charitable gift planning training for major gift and planned giving professionals, charitable gift planning visits with capital campaign prospects and other donors who are interesting in planning their charitable gifts to provide the best possible plan both for the people they love and also for their charitable interests. Planned giving services also include charitable gift planning seminars for donors and professional advisors, as well as estate planning seminars for donors and for professional advisors.


Session: The Best Charitable Gift Strategies in 2017

Track: Planned Giving Tech

VP of Business Development & Marketing, The Stelter Company

Nathan Stelter is vice president of business development & marketing for The Stelter Company, a leading source for gift planning marketing for the nonprofit community. The Stelter Company, which was founded in 1962, currently serves more than 1,800 organizations nationally with a staff of over 100 individuals. The home office is located in Des Moines, Iowa, with regional offices in Dallas, Texas; Chicago, Ill.; Atlanta, Ga; Hartford, CT; Washington, DC and Denver, Colo.   Nathan’s responsibilities include product development, strategic partnerships, marketing consultation, client services and corporate marketing. His primary concentration is on overseeing Stelter's consulting team and using his expertise and experience to strategize with all of Stelter's regional consultants and key accounts to develop distinct marketing solutions that meet each nonprofit's unique planned giving needs. Nathan’s expertise places him in high demand as a lecturer at national and regional industry meetings on gift planning marketing trends, relationship building skills, and cutting-edge donor and fundraising research. He has been quoted in Planned Giving Today and other trade publications and is a past board member of the National Capital Gift Planning Council (Washington, DC) and current member of the Mid-Iowa Planned Giving Council.  Nathan is a graduate of the University of Iowa with a B.B.A. degree in marketing. Nathan enjoys spending time with his family, CrossFit, playing soccer, bicycling and being a loyal Iowa Hawkeye fan. He and his wife, Nora are the proud parents of 7-year-old Benjamin Hawkeye, 4-year-old Brody and 2-year-old Brynn along with one, 12-year-old Brussels Griffon pup, Zoe.  


Session: Matures to Bommers: What Planned Giving Professionals Need to Know, with Cheryl Sturm

Track: Marketing and Communication

Marketing Research Director, The Stelter Company

With over 30 years of global communications and marketing experience, Cheryl is responsible for the overall market positioning of the Stelter brand. With strong expertise in strategic planning, market research and results measurement, she is well suited to helping nonprofits develop and execute segmented programs designed to maximize results.  Cheryl graduated from Westmar College in LeMars, Iowa with a Bachelor of Arts in Secondary Education with an emphasis on economics.  She attended the Kellogg School of Management's Marketing program for Business Executives and is also a graduate of the American Marketing Association's Advanced Market Research program taught at the University of Georgia.  She spent many years working for Young & Rubicam Advertising's Midwest office as Senior Vice President, Account Group Director, responsible for the brand building efforts of a wide range of national and international clients.  While with Y&R, Sturm was selected as an Advertising Agencies of America Educational Ambassador for five years running, an honor given to only 100 senior advertising executives nationwide.    Before joining The Stelter Company in 2013, Cheryl worked for 10 years in the biotech industry, responsible for the launch of new functional ingredient products in North America as well as responsibility for opening new markets in Japan, Korea and Indonesia.   


Session: Matures to Bommers: What Planned Giving Professionals Need to Know, with Nathan Stelter

Track: Marketing and Communication

Partner, Urban Swirski

Sandra Swirski is an attorney with almost three decades of public policy experience. She advised two senior U.S. Senators, was an executive at a Fortune 10 company, counseled multinational clients at a premier professional services company and founded two government affairs firms in Washington, DC, including Urban Swirski & Associates. Her practice focuses on advising Fortune 500 executives and leaders of nonprofit organizations on federal, state, and local advocacy, strategic positioning, crisis communications advice, and political strategy directions. She is a frequent guest speaker both nationally and internationally on public policy and political strategy, and is a regular contributor to Wealth Management’s online publication.  Sandra holds law degrees from Georgetown University and George Washington University and an undergraduate degree from Emory University. She sits on several local and national boards and advisory councils.

Session: Tax Reform and Other Storms: How Gift Planners Should Respond, with Robert Sharpe, Steven Woolf and Jeff Comfort

Track: Closing Luncheon


Jonathan Tidd is a leading lawyer whose practice is specialized in advising organizations on charitable gift planning issues. His clients include a wide range of educational, healthcare, arts, human rights and social service organizations. Jonathan's articles on charitable gift planning have appeared in the Journal of Taxation; Estate Planning; Taxes, The Tax Magazine; Trusts & Estates, and other professional journals. Formerly, Jonathan served as Planned Giving Director for New York University. Jonathan is a member of the Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, and New York Bars.


Session:  The Take Aways From IRAs – Avoiding Common Pitfalls 

Track: Summit

Director, Development, Planned Giving, The George Washington University

Courtney L. Tsai is Director of Planned Giving at GW, where she has worked since 2015. Her responsibilities include acting as the planned giving liaison for the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, the Law School, and the Mount Vernon College campus.

Courtney came to GW after working in planned giving for the University of Chicago, Easter Seals Headquarters, and Pepperdine University. She is a magna cum laude graduate of the University of Notre Dame and received her J.D. from Pepperdine University School of Law. She is a member of the National Capital Gift Planning Council and the National Association of Charitable Gift Planners. Courtney is also licensed to practice law in the State of Illinois.


Session: Implementing a Legacy Challenge Match Program at a Major, Multifaceted Institution, with John Kendrick

Track: Collaboration Lab

Vice President of Development, Meridian Health Affiliated Foundations

Robert E. Wahlers, MS, CFRE, is the Vice President of Development for Meridian Health Affiliated Foundations (MHAF) where he oversees gift planning, annual giving and the grants development programs.  Since February of 2010, he has served as the leader for the gift planning program across the Meridian Health System and also had administrative functions as the Senior Director of Development & Gift Planning before being promoted to his current role in 2014.  Robert holds a Master of Science degree in Human Development & Leadership with a concentration in Nonprofit Management from Murray State University and a BA Degree in Psychology from Muhlenberg College. 

Robert, who came to Meridian Health from Virtua where he was AVP for Major & Planned Giving, has spent the last 25 years of his career in non-profit fundraising with the Boy Scouts of America, the American Cancer Society, Virtua Foundation and now Meridian Health.  He is also an Adjunct Professor on the faculty at Columbia University for their Masters of Science Program in Nonprofit Management where he teaches the Major Gifts, Annual Giving and Capital Campaigns courses. 

Session: JUMPSTART 2.0: Starting a Gift Planning Program , with Brian Sagrestano

Track: Pre-Conference

Senior Philanthropic Advisor, Tulane University

Shannon Woodward is the Senior Philanthropic Advisor for Tulane University. She has 11 years of corporate management experience and over a decade of major and principal gift work in higher education. Four years ago she was entrusted by Tulane's executive vice president to create, implement and manage the new Office of Gift Planning for the university, which integrated major and planned gifts and changed the development culture at Tulane. As Tulane's Senior Philanthropic Advisor, she holds a principal gift portfolio, works directly with senior university leadership and creates philanthropic plans for complex high-level gifts from donors throughout the United States. Woodward is active with several civic and charitable organizations. She offers consulting and training for various nonprofit agencies and is a regular presenter on blended giving and the power of the three part ask to both philanthropic and financial professionals. Woodward attended the University of Mississippi and is a graduate of Tulane University. She lives with her family in The Woodlands, TX.

Session: Scaling the Peak of the Donor Pyramid Together

Track: Summit

Vice President, University Advancement, Humboldt State University

Craig Wruck is Vice President for University Advancement at Humboldt State University in California. He has served as Director of Gift Planning for the University of Minnesota and Vice President of Development for The Saint Paul Community Foundation. His gift planning experience includes U.S. Trust Company, U.S. Bank, and Kaspick & Company. He is past president of the Partnership for Philanthropic Planning and was chair of its Government Relations Committee. Craig is the author of Planned Giving in a Nutshell, a practical guide to planned giving for fund raising professionals. He holds an MBA from the University of St. Thomas and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Utah.


Session:  JUMPSTART: Gift Planning Fundamentals

Track: Pre-Conference

VP of Partnerships, FreeWill

Helen Zou has extensive experience working in technology and design to make complex processes simple and intuitive. She spent three years at Capital One building tools to simplify financial planning for customers and is now translating that work to make estate planning accessible to donors. She is currently a student at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and Stanford Graduate School of Education where she brings best practices across social impact, design thinking, and marketing to enhance the FreeWill experience for donors and nonprofits.


Session: The Real Reason Donors Aren’t Making Planned Gifts, and What To Do About It with Patrick Schmitt

Track: Marketing


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