Member Story

AFP Mentorship Spotlight: Danielle Mack, CFRE & LaKesha Lockett, CFRE

Career Development: Your Fundraising Career
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LaKesha and Danielle

Danielle MackDanielle Mack, CFRE (Mentor)
Vice President and Chief Development Officer
Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center

It's hard to believe that just three short months ago, this year's Women's Impact Initiative Mentorship Program launched. Since our initial connection at AFP ICON, I've enjoyed getting to know LaKesha and learning about her future goals and aspirations. As we continue to work together over the next year, I'm excited to gain insight from her fresh perspective and knowledge of emerging trends in fundraising and development.

Throughout my career, I've benefited greatly from exceptional mentors and sponsors who generously shared their time and knowledge.

Looking back, one thing I wish I had learned earlier was the true importance of building and nurturing both internal and external relationships.

I've since learned that maintaining genuine relationships is crucial for success in any career and one of the most valuable career investments. Having a strong network of colleagues, mentors, and contacts has provided valuable support, guidance, and opportunities.

Like many other career fields, fundraising and development have evolved and seen significant change over the past decade, particularly increasing recognition of the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Many organizations are now actively working to create more diverse and inclusive workplaces and to ensure that their fundraising efforts are more equitable and representative of the communities they serve. 

Furthermore, there is a growing recognition of the importance of addressing gender inequality in the fundraising profession. Despite playing a significant role in fundraising for years, women have been historically underrepresented in leadership positions. As a female leader in the field, I am proud to be part of a growing group of women who are leading development and advancement efforts throughout the country.

However, there is still more work to be done to ensure that all fundraisers, regardless of gender or background, are able to succeed and make meaningful contributions to the nonprofit sector. I look forward to playing a small part in helping advance that work through my role as a mentor.

LaKesha LockettLaKesha Lockett, CFRE (Mentee)
Director of Development and Communications
EPIC Academy

I believe mentorship is valuable at all career levels. Although I am not new to development, there are still immense growth opportunities for me professionally. Through participation in this program, I want to work on building trust, building consensus, and board development, all skills required for effective leadership in the field of fundraising.

Future success for me looks like a leadership role where my insight is trusted, relationships with staff and board leadership are strong, and organizational goals are achieved as a result of my guidance.

I have already gained valuable insight and feedback from my mentor Danielle through initial conversations. I look forward to building our relationship, learning from her, and attending the professional development sessions. I want to continue my pursuit of knowledge for my professional and personal growth and utilize what I've learned to increase fundraising revenue and bring new ideas to whatever organization I am employed with.


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