Home / Emerging Leaders / Workshop

October 26, 2021
11:00 AM – 4:00 PM Eastern

Calling all emerging leaders and young professionals! Join us online for this exciting half-day conference geared toward helping you develop your fundraising skillset and advance your career. We’ll cover topics related to virtual stewardship and donor engagement, how to craft a strong development plan and more!

Member Price: $89.00
Nonmember Price: $159.00


The Emerging Leaders Workshop is approved for 3 CFRE CE credits.

Please note: This Workshop is being offered through AFP's Blue Sky Learning Management System (LMS) platform. To register, you will need to first sign in using your AFP Global username and password. To learn more about the new process for members, non-member Blue Sky account holders, and those new to Blue Sky, click here.

Emerging Leaders Initiative Sponsor:

Blackbaud Logo

Our Host

Kishshana Palmer CFRE
CEO, Kishshana & Co.

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Our Schedule

October 26, 2021 | 1:00 AM – 4:00 PM Eastern

  • 11:00–11:15 AM – Welcome with our host, Kishshana Palmer, CFRE
  • 11:15 AM–12:00 PM – Education Session: The Invisible Touch: Stepping up Your Virtual Stewardship Game (Presented by Jonathan Meagher-Zayas and Gerianne Puskas, MBA, CNPM, CFRE)

    The COVID-19 pandemic shook up a lot of things, especially the ways we engage donors. Even though things have changed, the principles of donor stewardship are still the same. Fundraisers must commit to good donor stewardship to build strong relationships, increase donor retention, and generate the needed revenue to advance our missions. The nonprofits that generated resources they needed during the pandemic included fundraisers who listened to their community and adapted their engagement practices.

    • Learn about fundamentals of stewardship
    • Strengthen your strategic planning to build effective donor stewardship plans
    • Discover creative ideas that have led to successful engagement

  • 12:00–12:15 PM – A Conversation with Adrienne Taylor
  • 12:15–1:00 PM – Education Session: Education Session: Development Plans: Data-driven, Donor-centric, Mission Forward (Presented by Tammy Zonker)

    “Organizations with a development plan raise more money,” says Dr. Adrian Sargeant, Institute for Sustainable Philanthropy. So why don’t all organization have a development plan, or use it once it’s created? Join this session to learn the critical components of a strategic, data-informed, donor-centric plan to move your mission forward.

  • 1:00—1:05 PM – Morning Wrap-Up with Kishshana
  • 1:05–1:35 PM – Lunch Break / Bonus Content
  • 1:35–1:50 PM – A Conversation with Mike Geiger, MBA, CPA
  • 1:50–2:35 PM – Education Session: Equitable Fundraising: The Future is Change and it Needs You! (Presented by Juan McGruder, Casey Saunders, CFRE, Jeannie Infante Sager and Marco Corona)

    This session will discuss how philanthropy and donor demographics are changing (and must change) and what we will need to do to ensure we fundraise effectively. Emerging leaders in philanthropy will need to be diverse and lead with inclusive and equitable practices. Organizational change requires strong leaders guided by the same values and principles. With topics ranging from community-centric fundraising to career trajectories and donor work, this panel and moderated Q&A will help ensure you are able to be the equitable philanthropic leader that our future needs!

  • 2:35–3:00 PM – A Conversation with Jonathan Meagher-Zayas
  • 3:00 PM–3:45 PM – Education Session: Heads or Tails: Why You Don't Need to Choose Between Marketing and Fundraising (Presented by Michelle Vryn, CFRE)

    When marketing and fundraising work in sync, your fundraising efforts are more successful. This session will share insight on motivating your donors to give through engagement and storytelling, and the importance of crafting a message that motivates them to act.

  • 3:45 PM–4:00 PM – Closing with Kishshana


Please note: This Workshop is being offered through AFP's Blue Sky Learning Management System (LMS) platform. To register, you will need to first sign in using your AFP Global username and password. To learn more about the new process for members, non-member Blue Sky account holders, and those new to Blue Sky, click here.

Questions? Contact us at professionaldevelopment@afpglobal.org


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Marco A. Corona

Marco A. Corona is the Director of Development and Donor Engagement at Education Leaders of Color (EdLoC). He is responsible for diversifying EdLoC’s funding sources and growing its endowment.

Prior to joining EdLoC, he worked on enriching educational opportunities for students with intellectual disabilities through Best Buddies International; cultivated philanthropic support to bolster STEM offerings to students of color through the Level Playing Field Institute (now SMASH); and was the Director of Development for a youth development organization in the heart of the Mission District of San Francisco at The Jamestown Community Center. Most recently, Marco was the Chief Development Officer at One80 Place, an organization ending and preventing homelessness across the state of South Carolina; among his key accomplishments was a successful multi-million-dollar capital campaign to build affordable housing in the heart of Charleston, SC

Additionally, Marco has been on the board of directors of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) Global since 2020. He was born and raised in Los Angeles, California, attending UCLA before embarking on a career in non-profits. Marco lives in Charleston, SC with his wife, Kat, and daughter, Grace.

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Juan McGruder

Juan is Vice President for Advancement at Oglethorpe University. Serving as a key member of the President’s Cabinet, he is responsible for designing and executing the overall strategy for advancement. He leads Oglethorpe’s Advancement team, which includes Alumni Relations, Corporate and Foundation Relations, Donor Relations, Annual Fund, and Major and Principal Gifts.

Most recently, he was Senior Vice President & Chief Development Officer at Junior Achievement of Georgia (JA), where he managed JA’s statewide comprehensive resource development activities throughout Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Dalton, Gainesville, and Savannah. Prior to joining JA, he was Director of Development for Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts at Georgia Institute of Technology—while the Institute launched and successfully completed its historic $1.5 billion Capital Campaign, the largest university campaign in the State of Georgia, surpassing the goal by over $300 million. Higher education administrative experience also comprises his tenure as the former Assistant Vice President for Institutional Advancement at Morehouse School of Medicine, serving on the Administrative Cabinet as Special Assistant to President Thomas W. Cole, Jr., and later as Director of Alumni Relations at Clark Atlanta University (CAU). At CAU, he also served as Director of Development and Adjunct Professor in the School of Education. Prior, he served on a national level as Asst. Director of the Consortium for the Advancement of Private Higher Education at the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) in Washington, DC—managing and providing technical assistance on multimillion-dollar grant programs for small liberal arts colleges throughout the country.

Juan completed a doctorate (Ph.D.) in Higher Education Administration and Human Development at Vanderbilt University in 1999, where his research included HBCUs and institutional advancement—dissertation entitled: The Impact of Intuitional Collaboration on Mission, Character and Financial Stability: The Case of the Atlanta University Center. McGruder earned a master’s (Ed. M.) at Harvard University’s School of Education in Administration, Planning, and Social Policy (APS). He holds a master’s (M.A.) in Counseling and Human Development from Clark Atlanta University, an Education Specialist (Ed. S.) in Student Affairs from Western Kentucky University, and a Certificate in Romanesque and Gothic Architecture in Britain and Europe from University of Cambridge, England. His baccalaureate (B.A.) is in Political Science/pre-law from Clark College. He also holds the Certified Fund-Raising Executive (CFRE) international professional designation.

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Gerianne Puskas, MBA, CNPM, CFRE

Gerianne Puskas joined the leadership team at the Villa as a Vice President in July 2015, and is now Chief Advancement Officer. She brings to the Villa over 25 years of experience in fundraising, non-profit management and strategy design and implementation. She has served in various positions with national nonprofit agencies where she focused on diversifying fundraising portfolios; building and developing new teams; marketing; and managing regional and national accounts. Bringing those skills back home to Villa of Hope has earned Puskas and her team several American Marketing Association awards since 2018, and the nonprofit “Marketer of the Year” award in 2021. Since 2018, Puskas has been a Certified Fund Raising Executive through CFRE International.

Puskas also serves on SUNY Empire State College’s Business Management & Economics Residency team helping to educate and coach the next generation of nonprofit leaders. In addition to adjunct duties, Puskas helps develop residency curriculum and evaluates students’ prior learning to award undergraduate non-profit management credits. Her volunteer activities include leadership positions with Greece Rotary, Penfield-Perinton Kiwanis Club, Association for Fundraising Professionals, Alliance for Strong Families and Communities, PUSH Physical Theater, The Collaborate Summit and most recently on the Monroe County Commission on Racial and Structural Equity Addiction Workgroup.

Puskas and her husband, David, are proud parents of Rich Farrands, and two rescue dogs.

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Jeannie Sager

Jeannie Sager is director of the Women’s Philanthropy Institute at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. WPI believes that gender matters in philanthropy, and that solving the world’s complex problems requires perspective, leadership and generosity from women and men. WPI focuses on conducting, curating and disseminating rigorous research that grows women’s philanthropy. Jeannie is a seasoned nonprofit executive with over 25 years of experience in health care, higher education, and independent school leadership.

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Casey Saunders, CFRE

Casey Saunders, CFRE, (he/him) is a director of planned giving with The ALS Association's National Office. He manages their national planned giving program, a portfolio of donors and prospects, and acts as a consultant for the Association’s chapter network. Prior to The ALS Association he helped manage the national planned giving program at the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Casey is a CFRE and has 6 years of experience as a fundraiser. He’s a member of the AFP DC Chapter and is active with AFP Global

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Michelle Flores Vryn, CFRE

Michelle Flores Vryn, CFRE (she/her/ella) has worked in almost every area of development: major gifts, institutional giving, membership, capital campaigns, consulting, special events, and annual giving. She is trained in environmental anthropology and has used that knowledge as an environmental conservation fundraiser. In her career she has led both development and communications teams.

Before joining Bat Conservation International as the Director of Institutional Giving, she led communications and development at a nature center in Houston and, as a board member, also helped form Exploration Green—a 200-acre green space for conservation, recreation, and flood detention in Greater Houston. The following conversation topics energize her:

  • How to enhance workplace culture
  • Efforts to decolonize philanthropy
  • Greater inclusion for Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) staff in the nonprofit sector
  • Integrating behavioral science research and applied anthropology into social impact work

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Jonathan Meagher-Zayas, MSW,MPA

Jonathan Meagher-Zayas (He/Him) is a Queer Latinx Millennial nonprofit strategist dedicated to addressing equity issues, building capacity, engaging the community, motivating new impact leaders, and getting stuff done. Jonathan wears many professional hats including Director of Agency Advancement at Villa of Hope, Founder for the Emerging Nonprofit Leadership Accelerator, Leadership Development and Equity Trainer, Social Sector Career Coach, and Immediate Past Board Chair of Mission Accomplished Transition Services. A fundraiser for over ten years, Jonathan has raised over $3.75 million through major gifts, corporate relations, special events, foundation and government grants, and annual giving initiatives. He has extensive experience managing leadership development programs and advancing diversity, inclusion, and equity initiatives. Jonathan also has expertise in community engagement and communications including managing and enhancing social media, digital communications, newsletters, public relations, and marketing campaigns for various nonprofit organizations. Lastly, he has been a career counselor for many years helping individuals interested in public service and nonprofit work with resumes, interviews, job search strategies, mentorship, and networking.

Jonathan has been a member and active volunteer with the Association of Fundraising Professionals since 2012, where he started as a Communications Intern for the AFP, NY Genesee Vally Chapter. He moved to Albany and become involved with the AFP, NY Hudson-Mohawk Chapter where he served many roles including most recently as Chapter President & IDEA Chair from 2019-2020. Starting this fall, he is getting back involved with the Genesee Valley Chapter and serving on the chapter's IDEA Committee. In addition to local involvement, he also serves on the Emerging Leaders Task Force and the Membership Dues Force for AFP Global. In 2019, Jonathan was named one of AFP Global's Outstanding Young Professionals at AFP ICON in San Antonio.

Jonathan earned his Master of Social Work and Master of Public Administration degrees at the University at Albany, SUNY, and his bachelor’s degree in Religion, Linguistics, and Gender Studies from the University of Rochester. He currently resides in Rochester, NY with his husband and three adorable pets.

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Tammy Zonker

Recognized as one of American's Top 20 Fundraising Experts, Tammy is an inspiring international speaker and trainer in the discipline of transformational philanthropy. She has led, trained and coached nonprofit social service organizations, private schools, colleges and universities and healthcare organizations to raise more than a half billion dollars including a single gift of $27.1M. When she's not speaking at conferences or fundraising, she's leading webinars, online masterclasses, private workshops and retreats or training and coaching her online membership community of Fundraising Transformers.