Director of Development, Office of the Vice President, Division of Student Life & Enrollment Services at Louisiana State University.
How did you get in the fundraising/development profession?
DeShanna was introduced to fundraising through her sorority, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. She was a member of her graduate chapter and worked with raising money for their debutant and cotillion, through selling advertisement spots in their souvenir book. DeShanna truly enjoyed working the community and raising money that would provide scholarships to the students participating in the debutant and cotillion.
What are you passionate about?
DeShanna is passionate about a variety of aspects. An overarching passion she has is social justice. Under the social justice umbrella she highlighted unpacking and building more understanding of racial micro aggressions, white privilege, equal opportunity and the glass ceiling that impacts people of color, and how these components unfold in the work place. DeShanna also expressed her passion for Minority Serving Institutions and the work they do. In addition she shared her passion on African American women working and the ability to progress in the area of development and growing as global leaders.
How has advancement impacted your life personally?
DeShanna has experienced the power of advancement as a recipient and as a successful solicitor. As a college student she was a scholarship recipient. DeShanna expressed appreciation for the donors who invested in her. From her solicitor perspective she has witnessed the change philanthropic support has on a mission. In addition she thinks it is always great to hear the stories of why a donor is giving to a particular opportunity.
What has been your most challenging obstacle?
DeShanna shared that when the economic environment disrupts higher education it presents a challenge, but it also challenges her to do her best work and articulate a case for support of the organization she is representing.
What has been you greatest accomplishment?
When DeShanna was the Director of Annual Giving at Spelman College she led a fundraising team that was a part of a $150 million campaign. While successfully raising money she was able to see the impact that her role had. Spelman College was able to retain their students and graduate them. Witnessing the successes of these students changed DeShanna’s life.
What does work/life balance look like for you?
“I don’t believe in work/life balance.” DeShanna stated that work has a place in her life and it is not a balancing act. She shared that she crafts out time for her work, spirituality and overall wellness. She manages how she spends her time and focuses on what she is doing at that time.
What is something you wish you knew earlier in your fundraising career?
DeShanna shared that she wishes she knew more about the importance of creating a road map for her career. Taking steps to identify where she would want to go next, what type of institution she would want to pursue.
What goals have you set for yourself?
Goals that DeShanna have are:
- Continue to perfect her craft in her profession
- Expand her portfolio in the area of higher education
- Continue to be healthier
- Have more focus on wellness
What are two things you want people to know about you?
DeShanna would like for people to know that she is passionate about her work and that she is an advocate for social justice and equality.