Starting Point is the AGN podcast that features interesting people from across the world of annual giving and educational fundraising. Tune in with host Dan Allenby to find out how each guest got started, who inspired them, mistakes they made, decisions that mattered, and why annual giving is important to them. Listen to episodes below or wherever you get your podcasts.


E16: Christy Moss, Vice President of Membership & Marketing at the University of Illinois Alumni Association, talks about dealing with hallucinations, using Artificial Intelligence, recognizing the next big thing, continuing to learn, planning like Taylor Swift, and more.

E15: Mary Risner, Chief Development Officer at Westover School, talks about choosing a side, being comfortable talking about money, understanding the mission, doing the hard stuff, picking favorites, and more.

E14: Mae Parker, Director of Annual Giving at Grinnell College, talks about changing a life, finding inspiration in failure, approaching the hiring process, helping donors get from “either/or” to “and”, giving a lift to annual giving, and more.

E13: Gina Fiorillo, Assistant Vice President for Annual Giving at NYU, talks about being an inch wide but going a mile deep, understanding everyday people, the art of storytelling, dealing with change, trusting your inner voice, and more.

E12: Adam Bradley, Senior Director of Annual Giving at the University of Michigan, talks about asking stupid questions, searching for talent, thirty-one flavors of remote work, having too many giving days, being an annual giving advocate, and more.

E11: Tyrell Warren-Burnett, Senior Director of Annual Giving at the Oregon State University Foundation, talks about being a sponge, knowing what you don’t know, building a personal board of advisors, applying lessons learned in other fields, and allocating an hour of each day to doing research on industry trends, and more.

E10: Greg Knedler, Associate Vice Chancellor for Development at Troy University, talks about questioning the pastor, making time to learn and think, using big data, staffing around AI, hiring people who use both sides of their brain, and more.

E9: Amanda Lazarus, Co-Executive Director, Annual Giving at Brown University, talks about co-piloting a program, teamwork, using technology to facilitate broader alumni connections, being intentional about prospect visits, the significance of giving days, and more.

E8: Dan Levine, President and Founder of Engaging Minds Inc., talks about developing executive functions, learning to learn, getting things done, the importance of focus, the new skills needed for success, and more.

E7: Gloria Goosby, Director of Annual Giving at Furman University, talks about the importance of having a mentor, being a player-coach, establishing workflows, using technology to build relationships, the future of phonathons, and more.

E6: Amy Bronson, AVP for Advancement Resources and Strategic Talent Management at Boston University talks about thinking beyond salary, recruiting and retaining great employees, stay interviews, adapting to change, having mentors, and more.

E5: Amy Burke, Senior Director of Annual Giving Programs at Wellesley College, talks about loving your work, drinking from the firehose, taking risks, learning from failure, adapting to change, and more.

E4: Meredith Johnston, VP of Philanthropy at Scripps Research, talks about finding true north, the difference between leaders and managers, leaving a place you love, annual vs. major gift strategy, dumb luck, and more.

E3: Nky McGinnis, Executive Director of Annual Giving Programs at the University of Rochester, talks about believing in yourself, being a student caller, the differences between public and private institutions, managing large teams, the first 30 days on a job, and more.

E2: Colin Hennessy, VP for Alumni & Donor Engagement at the University of Iowa Center for Advancement, talks about opening the door to possibility, feeling stuck in annual giving, technology, teaching, consulting, and more.

E1: Fritz Schroeder, VP for Development & Alumni Relations at Johns Hopkins University & Medicine, talks about setting the stage for his own career, starting out in annual giving, learning through osmosis, the job he didn’t take, holding himself accountable, and more.

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