Speakers and Sessions Details

Opening Plenary Session

For-Profit, For-Purpose: New Currency in a Borderless World  
Chicago Ballroom D & E - 8:30 a.m. - 10:00 a.m. 

Presented by Adam Braun, Founder and CEO of Pencils of Promise  and New York Times Bestselling Author of The Promise of a Pencil: How an Ordinary Person Can Create Extraordinary Change


The AFP Chicago Midwest Conference Committee is pleased to announce that Adam Braun, founder and CEO of award-winning non-profit organization Pencils of Promise, will open the conference on November 5 with his inspiring story of a boy, a pencil, and the chance he took early on in his entrepreneurial journey that catalyzed a movement.

“A vivid, heartfelt account of the power of education and the ability of one person to impact the world” – Wendy Kopp, Founder of Teach for America and Co-Founder & CEO of Teach for All

Braun’s session For-Profit, For Purpose, New Currency in a Borderless World will describe how Pencils of Promise merged two traditional and disparate industries into an intersecting space—one in which individuals, families and companies further their own wellbeing, all while creating social good. An initial $25 investment has now raised millions and built more than 150 schools across Africa, Asia, and Latin America and delivered more than 10 million educational hours in its first five years.

Adam Braun's story is one of an ordinary person creating extraordinary change—something he believes everyone can do. On November 5, Braun will share his experience as a model for how to get “unstuck,” outlining ten key steps that can actively transform even the smallest ideas into a big reality.   

“A rockstar in the entrepreneur and nonprofit space” – Entrepreneur Magazine

Adam Braun graduated magna cum laude with a triple major from Brown University. He began working at hedge funds at the age of sixteen, hurdling towards a career on Wall Street until he met a young boy begging on the streets of India and asked him what he wanted most in the world. The answer—”A pencil.” Braun eventually launched Pencils of Promise, which in 2013 was awarded “Education Organization of the Year” through the Empact100 showcase held in the United Nations General Assembly Hall.

Braun has been featured at Clinton Global InitiativeGoogle Zeitgeist, and Wired Magazine’s 2012 Smart List of 50 People Changing the World.  His book, The Promise of a Pencil: How an Ordinary Person Can Create Extraordinary Changedebuted at #2 on the New York Times Best Seller List this past spring. 


Feature Presentations 

Feature Presentation 1 -  Salon A & B - 10:15 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
An Inside Look: The Art of Securing Major and Transformational Gifts 

We all want “more” for our institutions and organizations – more philanthropic support, more earned income, more staff, and more clients and customers.  One of the most enticing ideas for achieving “more” is securing major and transformational gifts.  This session will explore how to increase your institution’s share of significant gifts.  The interactive discussion will focus on topics central to closing major and transformational gifts – negotiation, communication, leadership, creativity, and stewardship.   Donor motivation, recognition, and the role of the donor in the project s/he is supporting will also be examined.  Case studies and stories from the field will be shared by two of the most experienced and accomplished fundraisers in the profession.

By the end of the session, participants will learn how to:

  • Communicate effectively with major gift prospects
  • Create a strategy that appeals to the prospect’s passions
  • Close on major and transformational gifts
  • Maximize gift results


Edith Falk, Chair, Campbell & Company



Jamie Phillippe, Vice President of Development and Donor Services, Chicago Community Trust



Feature Presentation 2 - Salon F & G - 10:15 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
Data Driven Fundraising – How to Use Your Data Effectively

Information about your top donors & volunteers is an invaluable resource.  Many nonprofit organizations don’t even realize they are not fully leveraging their fundraising data tracking system to support their individual donor fundraising. This energetic and interactive session will train fundraising professionals to use and analyze their own donor data and build predictive models focused on their organization's needs.

Real-life case stories will be examined. Participants will also examine where to focus staff and board member’s time in their annual development and communication plans based on the information they’ve collected about their donors.  Tips and strategies presented will be applicable to most donor tracking systems.

As a participant you will walk away with a new appreciation for data mining and how it can improve your work and challenges in your day-to-day fundraising work.

By the end of the session, participants will learn how to:

  • Build their own predictive models
  • Use data to the best of your ability
  • Apply specific principals and techniques


John Clese, Senior Sales Director, Abila 




Jim Emlet, Principal and Co-Owner, Integral, LLC



Marilyn Foster Kirk, CFRE, Vice President, The Alford Group




140Chris Hensley, President, Cadence Health Foundation




Leadership Track

Leadership Track - Los Angeles & Miami Rooms - 10:15 a.m. – 3:15 p.m.
Presented by Karen Osborne, President of The Osborne Group in collaboration with CCS 

This year the AFP Midwest Conference is proud to present a full day track designed specifically for fundraisers who occupy management positions in the field. Karen Osborne and Travis Carley will guide attendees through workshops pertaining to the unique challenges they face as fundraisers and leaders. Topics for discussion will include:

- The role of leadership in campaigns
- Management and leadership IQ
- Managing through strategic questioning
- Time management and work/life balance

Separate advanced registration was required. This session is sold out.  If you have any questions regarding the content of this session, please contact Tanya Stanfield at
[email protected].

Karen Osborne
Nationally and internationally recognized as an excellent consultant, executive coach, and presenter, Karen receives invitations from all over the United States and the world including Asia, Australia, Africa, Canada, Europe and Mexico to make presentations and consult with large and small, national and international advocacy, arts, education, faith-based, federated, healthcare, justice and social service not-for-profits and institutions.

For 18 of her 34 years in the business, Karen led outstanding philanthropy operations and successfully managed campaigns as large as $200,000,000. As a consultant and campaign counsel, her experience is wide and varied including helping organizations and institutions develop and engage high performing boards, build internal capacity and achieve campaigns as large as $500,000,000.

Considered an industry thought leader, Karen has many published articles, serves on leadership panels, and is often featured in industry magazines and blogs. The Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) awarded Karen the Crystal Apple for Outstanding Teaching and Public Speaking. Karen serves on the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation board, and is an adjunct faculty member for Johns Hopkins University's graduate certificate program, teaching philanthropy to aspiring nonprofit CEOs and board leaders.

Travis Carley

For more than a decade, Travis Carley has provided strategic guidance and hands-on management to healthcare, human and social service, civic and religious institutions.  He has assisted organizations in planning for and managing capital campaigns, conducting planning studies, designing and implementing custom learning programs and providing interim executive leadership. Travis’s areas of expertise include development audits and assessments, board and development training and custom learning, major gift planning and strategy and international fundraising.

Travis has assisted a wide range of non-profit organizations including Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF), Feeding America, University of Chicago, Advocate Charitable Foundation, and Rogers Park Montessori School, among many others. He serves on the boards of AFP Chicago and Journeys Within Our Community, a non-profit organization working in Southeast Asia to improve living conditions in local communities.

Founded in 1947, CCS provides fundraising, development services and strategic consulting to nonprofit organizations worldwide. With offices throughout North America and in London and Dublin, CCS designs successful and sustainable development initiatives for organizations across every nonprofit sector. CCS is wholly owned by its partners and retains the largest and most experienced permanent staff in the industry. To learn more, visit www.ccsfundraising.com



Workshop #1 - Salon A & B 12:30 p.m. - 1:45 p.m.
Proper Alignment: The Power of Strategic Corporate Relations

The landscape for corporate charitable support has changed significantly over the past decade.  Beyond simply doing good in their communities, companies look to align their giving in ways that enhance their overarching business goals.  Nonprofit organizations must operate in a strategic fashion in order to build and manage relationships with these donors.  Join this interactive panel to gain successful strategies for engaging potential corporate partners, and ways in which your efforts can result in a winning partnership. 

By the end of this session participants will learn:

  • What strategic issues impact partnerships between nonprofits and corporate supporters
  • How corporations evaluate requests for support, and what puts successful solicitations over the top
  • Ways to assess their organization’s preparedness for a corporate engagement program
  • The distinction between corporate philanthropy and corporate sponsorships, and how requests for support can be formulated based on that distinction
  • How to engage corporate partners and their employees most effectively over the long term


Laura Coy, Senior Manager, Corporate Social Responsibility at Grainger

Cheryl Cooke, Manager of Civic and Cultural Giving at Allstate Insurance Company

Steve Solomon, Vice President, Corporate Relations, Exelon and President, Exelon Foundation

Eric Weinheimer, President and CEO, Donors Forum of Illinois


Workshop #2 - Salon H - 12:30 p.m. - 1:45 p.m.
Small Shops, Big Results

Being the head of a one-person development shop at any organization can actually be considered a great advantage. You can be nimble, make quick decisions and develop a truly comprehensive development plan. You CAN develop a donor-centered environment that starts with your board and filters through to all parts of your organization. As the head of a small shop one of the most powerful things you can do is interact with your existing donors and provide them with hands-on attention.

Regardless of your organization’s budget, if it’s just you, or you and maybe one other person (interns, anyone?) panelists will provide you with valuable knowledge on best practices of small shop offices.

By the end of this session participants will learn:

  • How to turn perceived “weaknesses” into “strengths”
  • How, regardless of where you are in your role, beginning, middle and end, what are the most important things one can implement that will have the most impact
  • How other small shop experts divide their time between major gifts, annual giving, donor visits,  events, grant writing and public programs


KJ Hardy, Director of Development, Communities in School of Chicago

Kenda Lovecchio, Director of Advancement, Chicago Children's Choir

Julie StogsdillDirector of Capacity Building Programs, DonorPath

Workshop #3 - Denver & Houston Rooms - 12:30 p.m. - 1:45 p.m.
Think on your Feet: Improv for Fundraisers

Improvisation isn’t just about comedy. It’s about actively listening and quickly reacting in the present moment. For fundraisers, the ability to improvise can be a powerful tool for working with donors. Award-winning playwright, director and stand-up comedian Jamie Campbell will lead an active role-playing session that explores the art of improvisation and discusses how improv techniques can be applied to your fundraising practice.

By the end of this session, participants will:

  • Learn the basic rules of improv and how to apply them to your donor interactions.
  • Develop strategies to “think on your feet” and deal with unexpected donor situations.
  • Attain new tools to help you actively listen and better respond to your donors.

Jamie Campbell
, Jamie Campbell Comedy


Workshop #4 - Salon F & G - 12:30 p.m. - 1:45 p.m.
Strategies and Tools for the Qualifying Visit 

With the emphasis on increasing private revenue, knowledge about your donor base has never been more important.  While data can provide valuable information and highlight trends in giving, nothing is more effective or can replace a face-to-face meeting with a donor.  Yet for many nonprofits without experienced major gift officers or for development professionals new to the field, securing that initial meeting can be difficult.  Some donors have never received these types of calls and need to be put at ease.  Educated donors may be aware of your purpose, yet still hesitate at a meeting. This session will explore how fundraising professionals can secure an initial meeting; know what cues to listen for and how to evaluate the success. 

By the end of this session, participants will learn:

  • Strategies to secure an initial meeting with a donor
  • What to say during the call
  • Determine the goals for the meeting
  • What to say during the discovery visit
  • How to identify and evaluate the physical and verbal cues of the donor
  • What tools can be used to help with follow-up
  • How to evaluate the success of a first meeting


Carolyn Nopar, Director of Development & Communications, Family Focus, Inc.


Kathy Gregg, Director of Philanthropy and Major Gifts, Wellness Place

Kadee Tseitlin, Research Development Analyst, The Nature Conservancy

Dan Winter, Director of Institutional Advancement, The Ancona School

Workshop #5 - Salon A & B - 2:00 p.m. - 3:15 p.m.
Avoid GPS (getting professionally stuck) With Career Mapping 

Planning one’s career is important at every stage, but how many of us go from role to role without taking a deliberative approach to identifying what we want from our careers? How do we make the leap from tactician to leader? How do we branch out to greater responsibility? How do we scale back? What are our career-end plans? A leadership coach and executive recruiter will facilitate a group discussion taking participants through practical approaches to charting the course for their careers – whether they’re looking for that first development job or, maybe, their last.

By the end of this session participants will learn:

  • The basics of career mapping, planning.

  • Participate in self-assessment to understand what they possess – and what they need – to achieve their career objective(s).

  • Practical approaches for shoring up deficient areas and identify action steps.

    NOTE: If you are considering attending this session, please take five minutes to complete this survey (by October 24th).  The results will be analyzed by the presenters and used to customize this session to best meet your needs.


Karen Dorece, SPHR; Vice President, TalentGenesis, Inc.

Heather Eddy, CFRE; President & CEO, Alford Executive Search


Workshop #6 - Salon C - 2:00 p.m. - 3:15 p.m.
Feeding the Pipeline: Long term investments in Millenials

With more than 78 million in their ranks, millenials, born 1980-2000, are the largest generation in American history, outnumbering generation X by far, and even the baby boomers by over a million.  This generation, statistically highly educated, diverse, and globally aware, engages organizations and causes differently than previous generations. While battling negative stereotypes of entitlement and self-interest, many millenials do seek meaningful relationships with causes and charitable organizations, but are greeted by communications and engagement programs designed for generation X and baby boomers. Join our panelists in a case-based discussion illustrating how to capture the millennial demographic to harness their size and unlock their potential for your organization.

By the end of this session participants will:

  • Learn how to adjust your communication language and content for millennial audiences
  • Learn which types of events appeal most to millenials
  • Learn how to recruit and retain millennial volunteers


Michael Bumbry, Assistant Director of Young Alumni Reunions and Class Giving, University of Chicago

Daniel Mathis, Associate Director for Alumni Engagement, Michigan State University Alumni Association

Jackie Orihill, Managing Digital Editor, Interactive Marketing, Easter Seals, Inc.


Workshop #7 - Salon H - 2:00 p.m. - 3:15 p.m. 
Content Marketing Bible: The 10 Commandments

This session provides attendees information on how to effectively engage donors in a meaningful way through social media. Successful social media campaigns employ compelling story-telling through blog posts, webinars, infographics, tweets, pins and more. Strong content should be at the core of all social media posts and with that comes a set of rules or better yet, commandments.  

By the end of this session, participants will learn how to:

  • Design a focused social media strategy
  • Develop consistently strong and meaningful social media content  
  • Cultivate engagement opportunities through social media with donors 


Mana Ionescu, President and Resident Problem Solver, Lightspan Digital


Workshop #8 - Salon F & G - 2:00 p.m. - 3:15 p.m. 
Active Listening Workshop - Create Engaging Conversations and Deeper Relationships

Are you fully present during a conversation or are you simply waiting to speak? Are your conversations a series of one-way statements or robust interactions? At the end of a conversation are your intentions and those of the other person clear?

As a fundraising professional you have honed your communication and presentation skills in order to be persuasive in communicating and selling your point-of-view. Have you sharpened your ability to listen and interpret a situation? Ostensibly, without active listening you’re missing half the conversation, the part that isn’t being said. In truth, you are not alone; most of us are blindly unaware of our bad listening habits. But don’t despair.

By the end of this highly interactive session, participants will learn:

  • The difference between hearing and listening
  • How to active listen with your ears, your eyes and your body
  • Six ways to increase your understanding and comprehension
  • How to employ powerful questions
  • Tone versus message
  • How to avoid listening missteps


Peter Diamond, Executive Coach, The Diamond Edge 

Closing Plenary Session

When the Apple is Ripe it Will Fall: Getting to the Core of the Matter -
Chicago Ballroom D & E - 3:25 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Presented by:  Joshua D. Hale, President and CEO, Big Shoulders Fund 

Joshua Hale is President and CEO of the Big Shoulders Fund.  Big Shoulders has helped establish a trajectory of success for the 90 inner-city Catholic schools it supports, which runs contrary to the national trends of mass Catholic school closures.  Over the past ten years, Big Shoulders more than tripled its donor and volunteer base, supported the unprecedented growth of enrollment in its elementary schools for four consecutive years, and increased the number of students it supports with scholarships from 2,000 to more than 6,000.  Big Shoulders recently broke fundraising records with more than $10.5M raised for its Joseph Cardinal Bernardin Humanitarian Award Dinner in May 2014.

Mr. Hale will provide an inspirational take on our work here at home, focused on creating the right conditions for our work in philanthropy and re-centering on the purpose of our work.

By the end of the session, participants will:

  • Learn how the link between data and outcomes has helped create conditions ripe for new donors and new programs at Big Shoulders
  • Develop strategies to foster the support of a new donor in their network
  • Leave inspired to use our roles in philanthropy to help tackle today’s greatest challenges