Jessica is from Sacramento, CA, a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. since 2004, and attended Grambling University in Louisiana for her undergraduate work. She has her Ed.D. in education leadership and has been an adjunct professor and previously lived in Phoenix.
Jessica has worked in alumni relations for more than 6 years. New to the advancement profession, Jessica works for the K-State alumni association and the focus of her work is on diversity and international programs.
What is your management style?
She has a “hands off” approach. She enjoys empowering her team to do their best work aligned with expectations that are set at the beginning of a project.
What is it like to be a millennial in today’s workplace?
As a millennial one has to be willing to be a part of the system and understand that change does not happen overnight. It is important to understand the culture and norms for an organization, be flexible, persistent, understanding and patient. In addition, in order to build rapport with colleagues and stakeholders it is key to educate them on new ideas and concepts that may be “outside” of the box.
What are the major challenges in your role as an alumni relations professional?
As a new advancement professional in the industry the main challenge in her work is gathering data on constituents. It can be difficult to build meaningful relationships with alumni when you don't have good information on them. Also, balancing cultural norms.
What success have you seen in the alumni relations efforts at K-State in the last 5 years?
An increase in alumni multicultural relationships and increased participation in engagement activities.
What lessons have you learned?
It is important as the lead for diversity work in the alumni association to be authentic and pay attention to details when engaging with alumni from different cultures. Furthermore, continuing to expand my knowledge base on the multicultural alumni relations and advancement trends in the industry.
Why is it important to have a strategic plan in your role?
It provides a roadmap for an organization and an accountability structure. In addition, when executed it can assist in building a case for additional resources to support the work of an organization.
What's next for Jessica?
Continuing to expand her knowledge base of the advancement profession to include fundraising. Her goal is to be the advancement "complete package" and use those skills to impact her passion of working with HBCU's and diverse constituents.