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Ops & Asks

The Musings Of A Houston Fundraiser

  • Writer's pictureJuliana M. Weissbein CFRE

AFP LEAD Takes Philly!

Last week, I had the honor of attending my second AFP LEAD conference, and, as expected, it was an incredibly enriching experience. Plus, as a kid from a suburb of Philadelphia, returning to Pennsylvania flooded me with a sense of nostalgia as I reconnected with the familiar sights and crisp autumn air. As it does each year, this event presented a remarkable opportunity for networking and learning, and I'm excited to share some standout moments with you.

Building Leadership Skills

While I wasn't able to attend any sessions myself, the conference had some stellar offerings this year. From sessions on strategy and change management to developing your entrepreneurial mindset, AFP LEAD did not disappoint.

Attending AFP LEAD is an invaluable opportunity for individuals seeking to elevate their leadership skills and impact in the non-profit sector. This premier event offers a dynamic platform for networking with like-minded professionals, gaining fresh insights from renowned experts, and delving into cutting-edge strategies that drive professional success. With a robust lineup of workshops, keynote speakers, and collaborative sessions, AFP LEAD empowers attendees to harness the latest trends and best practices in fundraising and leadership, ultimately enabling us to make a more profound and lasting difference in the causes we champion. Whether you're a seasoned non-profit leader or just beginning your journey in the sector, AFP LEAD promises inspiration, knowledge, and a vibrant community of change-makers to help you thrive and drive positive change in the world of philanthropy. Will I see you there next year!?

Board Meeting and Strategic Planning

An AFP Conference wouldn't be complete without a board meeting, and it was a pleasure to connect with my fellow board members and hear about their committee activities. I also had the pleasure of approving the slate of new board members proposed by the nominating committee. A warm welcome to our new additions!

Beyond the standard agenda, the board had a valuable opportunity to delve into the core values of AFP. We discussed our strategic focus, the diversity of decision-makers at the table, and our future direction. Being part of these discussions has been an honor and will be forever humbled by the folks in that room.

Saying Thank You To Retiring Board Members

The board dinner was bittersweet. While it was nice to gather with everyone, it also meant that it was time to say goodbye to our outgoing members. This time, myself included. Yes, after seven years of living and breathing AFP volunteerism, it is finally my time to take a step back. I plan to write more about my decision after my term is officially over in December. For now, I still carry on!

I want to thank my colleagues for their hard work over the years. It has been great to get to know you and trust we will stay in touch. Thank you thank you to: Lori Hunter Overmyer, Perihan Abou El Ela, Adrienne Taylor, Audrey M. Johnson for your tireless work.

Seeing Old Friends and Making New Ones

CCF in the house!

One of the highlights of attending conferences, without a doubt, is reuniting with old friends and forging new connections. It's been over three years since I left New York City, and I've yet to have reason to return up North. While I'm thoroughly enjoying my time in Texas, I can't help but miss my city buddies. Time truly flies; I can hardly believe it's been three years already!

I also had a chance to meet up with my Community Centric Fundraising friends, Rachel D'Souza & Liyen Chong. Here we are pictured with my fellow board members, Jonathan Meagher-Zayas and Michelle Flores Vryn.

Seemed like just yesterday!

During this conference, I also had the opportunity to catch up with my childhood friend, Victoria. We indulged in some delectable soup dumplings in Philadelphia's Chinatown and exchanged stories about our adventures over the past fifteen years. I was thrilled to learn that she has become a full-time artist and a professor at her alma mater, the Tyler School of Art and Architecture. 😄 It seems like it was just yesterday...

Walking The Walk: Supporting AFP Directly

Before I go, I did want to give a special shout-out to one of my mentors and friends, Martha H. Schumacher, CFRE, ACFRE, MInstF. As founder and president of Hazen, Martha understands the importance of philanthropy firsthand and generously offered to donate $10 for every gift of at least $20 to BE the CAUSE during AFP LEAD.

I took her up on her generosity and donated because I’ve personally seen the impact of the Foundation’s scholarships and programs on fundraisers around the world. The comments and emails I've received from fundraisers about how these programs have helped them realize they had found their life’s calling are incredibly inspiring! Will you join me in donating? As usual, thanks for walking the walk, Martha!

PS- Happy ethics awareness month everyone!


Juliana M. Weissbein, CFRE is a respected leader and decision influencer in regard to fundraising operations best practices. With over a decade of experience, Juliana thrives on professional growth, team success, measurable results, and inspiring fundraisers to utilize data-based strategies. Juliana currently serves as the Associate Director of Development Operations at Planned Parenthood Federation of America. She is an AFP Global Board Member, AFP Global's 2019 Outstanding Young Professional Fundraiser and is a member of the AFP Global Women's Impact Initiative. Juliana is immediate past chair of the AFP New York City chapter’s Emerging Leaders Committee and currently serves on the chapter’s board chairing their mentorship program. She resides in Houston, TX and never turns down a good kombucha.


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