Positioning Yourself for Your Next Move: Recruiters Share Their Inside View
Session 3C

Wednesday, October 3 | 1:30–3:00 PM

Presented by: 
Gail Freeman, Kathleen Casanova, and Chris Spagnola
Moderated by: Jen McGrath

Session Description: 

What qualities do organizations look for in candidates when they’re seeking to fill leadership roles in donor relations and stewardship?  What skills and talents should you develop to best position yourself for growth – in your own organization or to make a career move?

Come hear from top talent management professionals who recruit for advancement roles in various sectors about the trends they’re seeing in what makes candidates attractive in today’s searches. 

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About the Speakers:


Gail Freeman
Founder and President
Freeman Philanthropic Services, LLC

Gail L. Freeman is founder and President of Freeman Philanthropic Services, LLC (FPS), a national leader in executive recruitment for the not-for-profit sector, specializing in recruiting leaders for higher education institutions, hospitals, academic medical centers, social service, cultural, performing arts, and advocacy organizations.

As a recognized leader in the sector, Ms. Freeman brings more than 25 years of experience as a not-for-profit executive, development professional, executive recruiter, and consultant. Her broad experience and multi-faceted knowledge base bring a complete perspective to FPS’s numerous clients, including: Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Tufts University, American Red Cross National Headquarters, Harlem Children’s Zone, National Council of La Raza, Massachusetts General Hospital, Yale University, and Americans for UNFPA.


Kathleen Casanova
Executive Recruiter and Director, Talent Development
The University of Texas at Austin

Kathleen Casanova is a fundraiser-turned-recruiter who loves to bring her diverse knowledge from the frontline into her talent management work. She is currently the Executive Recruiter and Executive Director for Talent Development at the University of Texas at Austin and works as a Consultant for the Donor Relations Guru Group. Kathleen previously served as the Director of Strategic Recruitment and Retention at the University of Colorado System Office of Advancement. Prior to that she held fundraising positions at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Texas Tech University, and a small nonprofit in Brooklyn, New York. She currently lives in Denver, Colorado.


Chris Spagnola
Lead Recruiter

Chris Spagnola recruits nonprofit professionals nationwide, specializing in attracting top-caliber executive leadership and development talent for her clients. 

Prior to joining the ThinkingAhead Nonprofit practice in 2011, Chris spent twelve years recruiting in-house for ThinkingAhead and its sister company: Great American Opportunities, Inc. She graduated with honors from Hillsdale College with a B.A. in mathematics and French.  

Chris currently serves on the Board for CTK Cares. She and her husband, Joe, have two children and live near Cleveland, Ohio. When she’s not connecting talented nonprofit professionals with exceptional mission-driven organizations, you can find her enjoying time with her family—which often involves watching one of her kids move a ball down a field or court; volunteering with local children-focused organizations and church; cooking; or traveling.


Jen McGrath
Senior Director, Donor Relations and Stewardship
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Jen McGrath is the senior director of donor relations and stewardship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her team of nine is responsible for fostering the relationship between the institute and its donors through activities that acknowledge, recognize, and report on gifts to MIT, engaging donors in the life of the institute in support of MIT's $5B Campaign for a Better World. Prior to joining MIT in February 2017, she served as Boston University's director of stewardship & donor relations. 

As a past conference presenter and a Hub newsletter contributor, Jen has addressed giving society launches, online donor recognition, ideas for productivity, comprehensive reporting programs, and other topics of particular interest to seasoned professionals. Jen joined ADRP in 2010, and has been honored to serve as a session host, presenters coach, and presenter for several international conferences, a past member of Archives Project and Nominations Committee, and as a member of the board of directors, beginning in 2015.