Member Spotlights

June 2024

New Member Highlight

The Membership Committee is pleased to share this month's New Member Highlight, profiling one of NACRO's newest members: Dave Reynolds, Director, Foundation Relations at the UMass Chan Medical School.


What do you enjoy about developing and stewarding partnerships?

I love people, and I love working in teams. I think it is why I am drawn to institutional philanthropy while still using the skillsets of individual giving. The UMass Chan Medical School and the institutions I have served before identified the combination of my outgoing nature and analytical thinking as key to my success in developing and stewarding partnerships. I thoroughly enjoy working with internal and external stakeholders in thoughtful, sequential ways to preserve and grow our philanthropic support—even when I am on the 9th iteration of an agreement or document!

Why did you join NACRO?

I joined NACRO because I am now more formally charged with corporate philanthropy than I have been in the past. I was truly impressed with NACRO’s and CASE’s “Adapt-Mitigate-Perish: Exploring a Value Proposition for CFR” paper from 2020 and learning more about it at subsequent CASE CFR conferences. Now with corporate fundraising more prominently on my plate, I want to immerse myself in the community that helped drive this great piece of scholarship for our industry—bolstering the value I already find with CASE.

What is your role at your institution? How did you get involved with corporate partnership work?

I serve as the Director of Foundation Relations at the UMass Chan Medical School, in our Office of Advancement. My predecessor used the title “Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations,” and I have found that I end up doing significantly more corporate partnership work than I anticipated. I am excited to take it on, and that is why I value becoming a NACRO member. While I have always engaged in some level of corporate fundraising across my career, I now have the agency to help us think strategically and drive stronger and larger partnerships.

Pick three words to describe this past year. Pick three words your boss would use to describe your year. Pick three words your spouse would use to describe your year.

I actually solicited the words directory from my boss and partner—having started at UMass Chan about a year and a half ago. Activities like that are always fun to me and a good reminder to be self-aware in our constituent-driven work. My three words for the last year at work: firehose, surprise, and fulfillment. My boss’ three words (and I will hold him to these at my next performance review): strategic, productive, and knowledgeable. My partner’s three words: novel, challenging, and proven. It is good to have support like that at home and at work, and I do not take it for granted. 

Member Spotlight

A conversation with Yolanda Norman, Regional Director, Corporate Partnerships - Houston Hub at Vanderbilt University

Tell us a little bit about your current role with NACRO and the work that you’re doing to impact member experience?

Currently, I serve as the Chair of the New Member Subcommittee and have the incredible opportunity to welcome our newest members to the NACRO community alongside my dynamic fellow committee members. From one-on-one new member phone calls to putting on meet-up events for our newest NACRO colleagues each semester, our focus is to make sure they feel welcome, connected, and engaged with the great and vast resources that our organization has to offer. Since December 2023, our small-but-mighty subcommittee has engaged with nearly 100 new members, and we are looking forward to welcoming and connecting with even more as we prepare for the 2024 Annual Conference. It has been a joy (as a new member myself) to be able to serve in this capacity and connect with my fellow corporate partnership leaders.

What advice would you give to new NACRO members on resources or best practices that support your work?

Connect with others, volunteer for at least one NACRO effort, and seek/share advice in our NACRO Members-Only Forum on LinkedIn. With each interaction that I have within this community, I am reminded of the wealth of experiences, knowledge, and support that we bring to one another and that is what makes this membership experience so strong. We get out of this experience what we put into it and I’m excited to see how our new members help us build capacity and impact this community.

Why did you join NACRO? 

I actually never knew NACRO existed. Although I’ve been in higher education for over 20 years, I come from the student affairs and faculty background and was involved in NACE, ACPA, and NASPA. Switching to corporate partnerships in 2023 was a new and eye-opening experience for me and it was not until our Assistant Provost, Scott Paja, Ph.D., told our Vandy team about NACRO that I started to understand the focus of the organization as well as the benefits I could glean with this career switch. It has been a great year of meaningful engagement, intentional learning, and purposeful service so far and I am looking forward to the future of more NACRO experiences to come.

What is your role at your institution? How did you get involved in corporate partnership work?

I serve at VU’s Regional Director of Corporate Partnerships in Houston, Texas to create and deepen enterprise-level corporate partnerships with Vanderbilt University. As the energy capital of the world and the largest medical center as well, I have the chance to foster collaborative and purposeful relationships with companies that thrive in energy, life sciences, aviation, maritime, aerospace, and more; all while introducing them to the vast partnership resources that Vandy can offer as a part of our collaborative efforts. Within my previous role at another university, I oversaw our Career Center and didn’t realize that I was already doing the corporate partnership work, but it was probably one of the most enjoyable parts of my role when I had the opportunity to represent our Student Affairs division by building deeper engagement opportunities with employer partners.  

If you plan to attend the 2024 NACRO Conference, what aspects of the conference are you most looking forward to?

I am looking forward to presenting one of the opening conference presentations alongside 3 other NACRO colleagues and focused on welcoming our new members and getting them connected to one another. I hope you sign up! Additionally, I’m interested in learning from other presenters, connecting with everyone there, and enjoying an experience focused on lifting our community as we all come together with that same goal of building successful partnerships!

BONUS: What’s something about you (a fun fact) that not many people know?

Well, since everyone already knows that this Texas girl is a dedicated member of the Beehive, I’ll focus on my love and passion for interpreting for the deaf and hard of hearing community. While in elementary school, I taught myself sign language to communicate with one of my new classmates who transferred to our school in the middle of the year. That started my passion for sign language, and I haven’t stopped yet. Buzz, buzz.

2024 Member Spotlights