Keynote Speakers

Abbey Davis

Abbey Davis

Abbey Davis, PhD currently serves as the Director of the Center for the Future of Work and is an Assistant Professor of Professional Practice and Eastin fellow in the Spears School of Business at Oklahoma State University. At the Center for the Future of Work, Abbey and her team help companies embrace emerging technologies and enhance organizational development through programs and consulting offered by faculty and industry experts.

Before joining OSU, Abbey worked as a corporate HR professional in energy and manufacturing specializing in the areas of talent development, organizational development, performance management and compensation. She continues her industry involvement through executive coaching, training and consulting with organizations through the Center for the Future of Work.

In June 2024, Abbey will return to the private sector as an Executive Director for Human Resources and Change Management at AAON Inc., a commercial HVAC manufacturer headquartered in Tulsa, OK. Abbey will stay engaged with OSU as an adjunct faculty member and advisory board member at the Center for the Future of Work.

Abbey has a PhD in business with research interests in the areas of organizational behavior, attention and the changing landscape of work. When not in the classroom, Abbey and her husband Evan love to explore and hike with their two minions, Eli and Zoe.

Courtland Warren

Courtland Warren

Courtland Warren is an authentic and relevant thought leader and master facilitator in large group awareness training. On stage, he looms as an intriguing combination of power, humor and empathy. Courtland’s certitude stems from his stated purpose, “to make new the thoughts of people about what they are capable of being.”

Born and raised in Idabel, Oklahoma, he saw education as a path to experiencing more of the world. With this view, Courtland has blazed a trail from his neighborhood Main St., to Johannesburg, South Africa; London, U.K.; and across North America, leveraging intelligence, charisma and voice. No matter the size of the audience, Courtland knows each person listens and hears as an individual and has an uncanny ability to connect.

Courtland studied organizational behavior and graduated from Oklahoma State University. After a short stint in the oil and gas industry, he was inspired by the need for diversity and inclusion in corporate America. As a result, he has added value to titans such as Coca-Cola, UPS, GE, Williams, Kimberly Clark and Chick-fil-A. Almost 15 years ago, Courtland decided to “hang a shingle” as a transformational speaker and workshop facilitator and is today a pertinent contributor to empowering people to raise their resilience quotient to live a meaningful life.

If you have questions about the conference schedule or speakers, please contact us.

Breakout Session Speakers

Blaire Atkinson

Blaire Atkinson was appointed the seventh President of the OSU Foundation in 2020, where she leads a staff of nearly 200 professionals dedicated to serving Oklahoma State University. She graduated from OSU with a degree in Business Administration and holds Senior Professional in Human Resources and SHRM Senior Certified Professional certifications. Blaire served as President of the OSU Alumni Association from 2018 to 2020. Prior to this, she served as the Assistant Vice President of Human Resources at the Foundation for three years, before transitioning to the role of Senior Associate Vice President of Development Services, where she provided strategic direction and oversight in marketing and communications, donor relations and special events for three years. She began her career at the Foundation in 2011. Blaire shows a deep passion and dedication for both Oklahoma State University and improving Oklahoma through quality education. She helped create the current culture within the Foundation, which assisted the organization in reaching new heights and expanding their capabilities to support OSU. She and her husband, Matt, met at OSU and have three children, Wyatt, Westin and Morgan.

Hannah Barker

Through her work in higher education and healthcare, Hannah Barker has over 10 years of experience in major and principal gift fundraising and strategy. She currently serves as Senior Director of Advancement for the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Houston and has previously held fundraising roles with Texas Children’s Hospital and Baylor College of Medicine. Hannah is a graduate of Purdue University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Linguistics.

Matthew Clark

Matthew Clark, J.D. AEP, is the Executive Director of Planned Giving at the West Virginia University Foundation (WVUF), where he oversees all aspects of estate and gift planning for the WVU system. He has nearly 20 years of experience in the field and has secured over $128 million in planned gifts across the university. Before joining WVUF in 2016, Matthew was a vice president at PNC Institutional Investments, where he administered perpetual charitable trusts and advised institutions on planned giving strategies. He is a board member and the President-Elect of the Pittsburgh Planned Giving Council, and an active member of two other estate planning councils in West Virginia and Pennsylvania. Matthew holds a Juris Doctorate from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, an MBA from Pennsylvania State University and a BBA in Economics from Mississippi State University. He is a licensed attorney in Pennsylvania and an Accredited Estate Planner.

Derrick Davies

Derrick Davies serves as Assistant Vice President of Estate and Gift Planning at the Oklahoma State University Foundation. Previously, Derrick practiced law in rural Oklahoma and has more than 16 years of experience helping farmers, landowners and family-owned businesses with their tax, estate, transition and charitable giving plans.

Jana Duffy

Jana Duffy is the Senior Director and Team Lead of the Regional team at the Oklahoma State University Foundation. She is a seasoned professional at closing six, seven, and eight-figure gifts to support the priorities of OSU in North Texas. She's been a leader on the OSU Regional Team for nearly two decades, and recently expanded her role to create a development team in North Texas to support OSU. With humor and the donor's priorities always top of mind, Jana excels at having incredible rapport with her donors in North Texas.

Russell Dunlavy

In his role as Senior Associate Vice President for University Development at the University of Houston, Russell leads a team of 56 development professionals covering 16 colleges, 3 units, the office of Corporate Relations, Office of Foundation Relations, and the Office of Gift and Estate Planning. This team is focused on major and principal level gift fundraising as part of the Division of University Advancement. Between 2012-2020, the University of Houston exceeded the $1B goal of the Here, We Go capital campaign by raising more than $1.2B. This was the university's first comprehensive capital campaign in over 25 years. Prior to joining Advancement leadership in 2017, he heavily focused on raising major and principal level gifts in the Cullen College of Engineering, and for UH STEM. A major highlight was securing the college's first eight-figure department naming gift. Before joining the University of Houston in 2008, Russell worked as a regional gift officer for Texas Tech University. Russell's team is responsible for establishing the university's annual fundraising goal, forecasting, and execution of those fundraising plans. In the 2022 fiscal year, the University of Houston secured $182M in philanthropic support. As the university continues to push towards becoming a Top 50 ranked public university, philanthropy will continue to play a critical role in the university's success. A native Texan, Russell attended the University of Houston before completing his bachelor's and master's degrees from Texas Tech University.

Chris Eden

Chris Eden, CFRE, is Assistant Vice President for Development at the University of Cincinnati Foundation. Chris has led the development of the university’s renewed vision for Student Success Philanthropy. In addition, Chris oversees the advancement operation at the Linder College of Business, the College of Education, Criminal Justice & Human Services, the Office of Academic Affairs & Provost and the Office of Foundation Relations.

Travis Egbert

As Deputy Chief of Staff for the Arizona State University Foundation, Travis Egbert oversees various central operations including operational budget management, strategic planning and coordination for various

leadership and all-staff summits. He also oversees the Foundation Initiatives team, a central project management team tasked with coordinating interdisciplinary philanthropic projects and initiatives. Travis has undergraduate degrees in business management and sustainability, a master's degree in higher and postsecondary education, and an education doctorate in leadership and innovation, all from Arizona State University.

Molly Ferguson

Molly Ferguson is the Senior Director of Parent Principal Giving at Baylor University. As a third-generation Baylor Bear, she doesn’t remember a time in her life where Baylor was not front and center! Her husband received both his BA and Law degrees from Baylor and two of their four children continued the Baylor legacy. After raising their family in Austin, TX, they returned to Waco in 2017 and Molly began her current role at Baylor. Molly is responsible for working with Baylor’s advancement leadership to develop a robust parent philanthropy program that includes strategic assigning, cultivation and solicitation cycles while also managing a portfolio of primarily non-alum parents of principal gift capacity and leading the Parent Advisory Council, a philanthropic parent board.

Shannon Ferrell

Dr. Shannon Ferrell, Professor of Agricultural Economics at Oklahoma State University, is one of America's foremost experts on farm-family transition planning. Shannon has presented to more than 33,000 people on topics important to America's farm families. With over 19 published academic articles and dozens of publications, Shannon has been invited to speak to groups such as the Texas Bar Association, Oklahoma and American Farm Bureaus, National Milk Producers Business Conference, Farm Credit Administration, and the National Conference of State Legislatures, among others. Shannon has also testified before the United States House of Representatives Subcommittee on Farm Transition Issues and is a frequent contributor to both Oklahoma Legislative bodies. Shannon also serves as General Counsel for the Oklahoma 4-H Foundation.

Jayme Ferrell

With more than 17 years of expertise in nonprofit and higher education fundraising, Jayme Ferrell, the Associate Vice President of Constituent Development at the Oklahoma State University Foundation, is a seasoned fundraising professional. Holding diverse roles, from leadership annual giving to principal gifts, Jayme possesses a wealth of experience in various aspects of development. She has a strong background in management and more than a decade of extensive leadership involvement, including steering a system-wide scholarship campaign and leading development teams for multiple colleges within the OSU System. In her current position as Associate Vice President of Constituent Development, she provides leadership for teams who focus on fundraising for Provost Priorities, including the Women for OSU program, and Constituent Fundraising teams within the university.

Rebecca Gentry

Rebecca Gentry serves as the University of Houston's Associate Vice President, Strategic Initiatives and Leadership Gifts, in the Division of Advancement and Alumni. She oversees the leadership/principal gifts program, including presidential engagement strategies, board and volunteer engagement, student philanthropy ambassadors, special projects and strategic planning, and serves on the Division of Advancement and Alumni's leadership team and Centennial Celebrations Committee. She also manages fundraising and external engagement activity for the Centennial Master Plan and Systemwide Public Art Program. Rebecca joined the University of Houston in 2013. She developed and managed the strategy, launch and celebration — as well as donor and volunteer engagement — for the university's historic $1.24 Billion "Here, We Go" Campaign (2012-2020), its first in 25 years. Throughout her career, she has held executive advancement and campaign leadership positions in museums (Corcoran Gallery of Art and College of Art + Design), historic homes (George Washington's Historic Mount Vernon), nonprofit organizations and foundations (National YoungArts Foundation) in Washington, DC, Atlanta and Miami. She has led programs in annual giving, campaign planning and management, integrated communications strategies, national and regional partnership development, board development and relations, donor relations and stewardship, events strategy and execution, and training.

Josh Goodridge

Josh Goodridge is the Assistant Director of Leadership Annual Giving at University of Central Florida, supporting the College of Engineering and Computer Science. He leverages his strong UCF spirit and positive attitude to collaborate with alumni, faculty, staff and friends of the university to support annual giving and build the pipeline of philanthropy. Previous to this role, Joshua was a major part of the Alumni Engagement team for two years, leading the regional program through a rebrand to UCF Communities, managing 30 Communities and 200+ volunteers, helping UCF Alumni exceed engagement goals.

Michelle Govani

As Executive Director of Development for Moonshot and Science Philanthropy, Michelle Govani designs significant opportunities to partner with and invest in Arizona State University and leads programs that support ASU teams to build better big ideas and to secure philanthropic investments of $10M or more to advance their ambitious proposals with the potential for transformative impact. She also serves as the lead for priority development opportunities with ASU's Knowledge Enterprise and manages strategy in science philanthropy. In addition, Michelle teaches and advances her applied scholarship in science and technology policy, public engagement, and public value science as an affiliate of ASU’s Consortium for Science, Policy, and Outcomes and the School for the Future of Innovation in Society. Michelle studied dance and biology during her undergraduate degree at the University of Iowa, and she earned her M.S. and Ph.D. in biology and society at Arizona State University.

Brent Grinna

Brent Grinna is the Founder and CEO of EverTrue, a SaaS platform modernizing philanthropy through its category-leading donor experience platform. A first-generation college student from Iowa, Brent attended Brown University and began his career at William Blair & Company and Madison Dearborn Partners before identifying an acute technology gap in the philanthropic sector. Brent founded EverTrue while pursuing his MBA at Harvard Business School. EverTrue now serves over 1,900+ colleges and non-profits by leveraging data and AI to scale more personalized donor experiences across the giving pyramid. After leading EverTrue remotely during the pandemic while traveling 12,000 miles through 34 states in an RV with his wife and three boys, Brent and his family now live in Puerto Rico as EverTrue continues to embrace remote work. EverTrue is backed by Rubicon Technology Partners and Bain Capital Ventures.

Daniel Hadley

Daniel Hadley is the Deputy Chief Philanthropy Officer at the University of Utah, where he oversees strategy and budgeting for the advancement department. His background includes roles as Chief Data Scientist at an academic center and Chief of Staff to the Mayor of Somerville, Massachusetts. Holding degrees from the University of Utah and Harvard, Daniel is also passionate about outdoor activities, including climbing and snowboarding, and enjoys coding in R.

Tyler Hewitt

A seasoned fundraiser with more than 15 years of development and sales experience, Tyler Hewitt leads the Spears School of Business development team at the Oklahoma State University Foundation in Stillwater and is a rockstar partner with the Regional Team. Tyler is a goal-oriented fundraiser who makes work fun and productive. Tyler puts strategic thought into every interaction, which results in her being a master closer.

Eric Holderness

Eric Holderness has extensive experience working in fundraising roles at Kansas State University. He currently holds the position of Vice President of Development, managing various fundraising teams. As part of the development leadership team, he and his colleagues conduct four two-day training sessions annually to promote individual fundraiser success and ensure long-term employee engagement at the Kansas State University Foundation.

Laura Ketchum

Laura Ketchum, CFRE, is the Senior Director of Development & Team Lead for the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) at the Oklahoma State University Foundation. She has served in this role for nearly five years, managing a team that supports all fundraising efforts for OSU's largest college. CAS is the intellectual core of the university, building foundations for advanced study in every field. Home to 24 academic departments, CAS offers more than a hundred undergraduate and graduate degree options in the arts, humanities, social sciences, mathematics and

natural sciences. Laura's team works closely with nearly 50 campus partners and volunteers, department heads, center directors, administrative staff, advisory board members, and dean's leadership team to identify, cultivate, solicit and steward CAS donors. Before her position at the OSU Foundation, she worked in fundraising positions at Oklahoma City Community College and Allied Arts OKC. Possessing two music degrees, Laura spent the first ten years of her professional life as a high school band director in Michigan and Oklahoma public schools.

Greg Lee

Greg Lee serves as the Interim Executive Director of Corporate Relations for the University of Houston’s Division of Advancement. In his role, he leads the corporate strategy and is responsible for developing and strengthening relationships with industry to support the areas of recruitment, research, sponsorships, university initiatives, and community programs. Greg has been with the University of Houston since August 2021. Previously, he served as a Relationship Manager of Corporate Relations during his 8-year tenure at United Way of Greater Houston. Greg has a master’s degree in Sports Administration from Wayne State University and a bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science from the University of Texas at Arlington.

Bobbi Kay Lewis

Dr. Bobbi Kay Lewis is an associate professor in the School of Media & Strategic Communications. As Associate Dean of Outreach and Communications, she oversees online courses, study abroad and many noncredit programs, as well as leading the communications efforts for the College. She holds a BS in Advertising, an MS in Mass Communication and a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Social Foundations of Education, all from Oklahoma State University. Prior to becoming associate dean, she served as associate director of the School of Media & Strategic Communications. Lewis worked in the media and advertising industry for 10 years before joining the SMSC faculty in 2004. Her research interests include social media, experiential learning, strategic communication and promoting STEM education through strategic communication. She has published numerous articles and book chapters in these areas. She has also been nationally recognized for efforts as a faculty advisor to student organizations.

Kevin Lobdell

Kevin Lobdell joined the University of Colorado Boulder Engineering advancement team in January 2018 as the college's inaugural director of alumni engagement. In October 2020, he became the senior director of alumni engagement and donor relations, and transitioned to the role of deputy assistant dean for advancement in December 2023 where he is responsible for developing and executing a comprehensive alumni engagement, annual giving and donor relations strategy for the college. Kevin's previous advancement experience includes working in alumni engagement at Binghamton University and Clarkson University and through various volunteer fundraising efforts. Prior to his work in advancement, Kevin started his career in higher education working in student affairs in the areas of residential life and student engagement. Originally from upstate New York, Kevin earned his undergraduate degree in supply chain management from Clarkson University, a master's degree in higher education and student affairs from the University of Connecticut and an EdD in leadership for educational equity in higher education from the University of Colorado Denver.

Courtney MacNelly

Courtney MacNelly is the Chief of Staff & Director of Executive Affairs reporting to the President at the Oklahoma State University Foundation. In this role, Courtney guides operationalization of internal organizational strategy as well as collaboration with the university President's office. Prior to this role, Courtney served as the Associate Director of Development for Academic & Student Affairs where she supported the fundraising priorities of the OSU Provost Office, the School of Global Studies, the Edmon Low Library, and the Honors College, as well as many other academic and student affairs partners. Courtney served for three years on the Foundation’s Staff Advisory Board, where she served as Chair, facilitating a strategic restructure of the board to improve collaboration with leadership, organizational impact and employee development, as well as spearheaded the evaluation and creation of newly embraced organizational values. During her collegiate experience, she served as President of the OSU Student Foundation and the CASE District IV Board. Courtney holds an MBA with an emphasis in Organizational Behavior, a Graduate Certificate in Non-Profit Management, and a Bachelor of Architecture with Honors and a minor in Ethical Leadership Studies from Oklahoma State University. Courtney is a proven leader who is passionate about increasing the impact organizations can have through developing their employees to produce exceptional results for their constituents.

Blake MacNelly

Blake MacNelly has worked in higher education settings for the past six years. He has been a Prospect Research Analyst at the Oklahoma State University Foundation for the past year and a half, providing strategic and actionable information to fundraisers that enable them to make informed fundraising decisions. Prior to this, Blake worked at Oklahoma State University as a Career Coach for the undergraduate and graduate Accounting and Finance programs at the Eastin Center for Career Readiness and as a Study Abroad Coordinator for the Center for Advanced Global Leadership and Engagement. He has his Master of Science in International Agriculture and a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture and Natural Resources from Oklahoma State University.

Vince Martino

Vince Martino serves as the Director of Advancement at the University of Houston, C.T. Bauer College of Business. In his role as Director of Advancement, Vince serves as the lead fundraiser for the College of Business. Vince and his team, along with their Dean and College partners, have led the C.T. Bauer College of Business to near record high fundraising totals over the last few years. Vince is an alumnus of the University of Houston, C.T. Bauer College of Business with a BBA in Marketing. Vince also holds an M.A. in Business from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Adrian Matthys

Adrian Matthys is the Assistant Vice President of Annual Giving for the Oklahoma State University Foundation. Adrian has 24 years of development and alumni relations experience gained at both large public and smaller private institutions. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from The University of Texas as well as a Master of Arts in Anthropology with a specialization in organization cultures and leadership of higher education institutions from the University of Houston. Adrian's passion for annual giving and the field of higher education advancement has led him to past service on the CASE IV District Cabinet and to teach undergraduate courses on the fundamentals of resource development during his time at the University of Texas at Austin.

Ann Morse

Following an almost 20-year, nomadic career as an attorney, Ann Morse returned to the University of Utah in 2019 where she is currently the Director of Legacy Giving.

Jessica Nelson

Jessica Nelson is the Senior Director of Legacy Giving at the University of Utah and has been in Utah's Advancement Office for over 10 years. Jessica is a licensed attorney with a love for nonprofit and public interest law. She is actively involved in the legal and advancement communities in and around Salt Lake City and is a member of the Salt Lake Estate Planning Council and currently serves on the board of the ACLU of Utah. Jessica is also a veteran of the United States Air Force Reserve, receiving an Honorable Discharge in 2009. She loves to travel, loves her dogs, and loves all things Disney!

Erik Rapp

Erik Rapp is an Enterprise Account Executive at EverTrue, where he excels in driving sales and fostering client relationships. With a robust background in sales leadership from his roles at Brightcove and Enterprise Holdings Inc., Erik brings a wealth of expertise to EverTrue. He holds a degree in Public Policy from Hamilton College and is based in Newburyport, Massachusetts. Known for his strategic approach and dedication to client success, Erik contributes significantly to EverTrue’s mission of modernizing fundraising through innovative technology and data-driven insights.

Matt Rhea

Matt Rhea has worked at the KU Endowment Association for the past 13 years in medical development. Prior to his work in higher education, he worked for the March of Dimes, National MS Society, and was a professional political fundraiser working various campaigns across the country.

Ty Ropp

Ty has a 17-year career in higher education development, with experiences in corporate and foundation development as well as constituent development for various academic units. Today, he leads the central development units for the Oklahoma State University Foundation (Estate & Gift Planning, Corporate & Foundation Relations, Regional, etc.), coaching a team primarily comprised of AVPs charged with supporting constituent development units throughout the university. In 2014, Ty joined the OSU Foundation as the Senior Director and Team Lead for OSU’s College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology. Additional development leadership responsibilities have included OSU’s Center for Health Sciences, OSU’s Branch Campuses and the McKnight Center for the Performing Arts. Ty completed his undergraduate degree at Lamar University and holds a PhD from the University of Kansas in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies.

Kim Sargent

Kim Sargent is the Associate Director of Prospect Management at the University of Central Florida Advancement and Partnerships. She has six years of experience in tracking and reporting constituent activity, prospect pools and strategy development in the nonprofit sector and fundraising events. She has 10 years of experience in non-credit and professional development program management.

Olivia Thompson

Olivia Thompson joined the University of Houston in March 2014 as executive director of constituent development and soon thereafter as chief development officer for major gifts and international fundraising before becoming assistant vice president for development. Olivia has 20 years of experience in higher education and development. Prior to joining the University of Houston, she held various fundraising roles at The University of Texas at Austin and Texas State University. At the University of Houston, she collaborates across university colleges/units to secure gifts at the $2.5 million level and higher and has experience working with alumni and donor audiences across the nation. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Art and a minor in Art History from The Ohio State University and a Master of Public Administration from Texas State University.

Christina Walker

Bringing a wealth of experience and a proven track record in higher education development, Christina Walker is a trusted and reliable professional in the field. With a comprehensive background and an Oklahoma State University education, Christina has served on the leadership team of a capital campaign, excelled in project management, and provided invaluable advice and support to senior leadership. Her expertise extends to fostering internal departmental relations, extensive collaboration with principal gift donors, university board members, and volunteers. Christina's dedication to collaboration is evident in her involvement in developing new programs and enhancing existing ones. With a passionate commitment to donor stewardship, Christina has spent over eight years working closely with development communications, donor stewardship colleagues, and chief development officers and has played a pivotal role in the creation of North Carolina State University's Wolfpack Women in Philanthropy.

Annie Wells

Annie Wells is the Senior Director of Development and Team Lead of Academic and Student Affairs for the Oklahoma State University Foundation. Annie has eight years of experience in higher education fundraising. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Leadership from Oklahoma State University and a Master of Science in Higher Education Administration from the University of Kansas. Annie is passionate about uniting donor passions with university priorities through major giving as well as developing the next season of major gift officers.

If you have questions about the conference schedule or speakers, please contact us.