Each year, our Executive Search team solves dozens of complex puzzles, partnering with organizations to piece together the big picture. From seasoned higher education fundraisers to CEOs with a passion for conservation, Campbell & Company helps find the right candidates to fit their individual culture and needs.
These leaders continue to drive impact long after their onboarding period, so we make a point to check back and see how they’ve helped move the mission. This quarter, we’re highlighting Lane O’Shea’s work as Director of Development & Alumni Programs at John Burroughs School, a college preparatory day school in St. Louis.
Read on to find out how she’s been able to make a difference for this vibrant community.
Learning about a long history
John Burroughs opened its doors in 1923. When Lane joined the team in April 2016 from Washington University in St. Louis, she had a great deal of catching up to do. The staff embraced her wholeheartedly, giving her a thorough background on the school’s history and all the areas development touches—from annual giving to alumni programs.
“There’s a lot of energy here: students and faculty members hold impromptu meetings in art galleries; kids build super-high mileage vehicles; Shakespeare is read, in costume, in an English class; assembly is held every morning; and our new Science, Technology & Research building is under construction,” Lane remarked. “It’s a special place.” To better understand the School’s ins and outs, she met with staff and faculty across the institution, including college counselors, admissions officers, and department heads.
Asking questions and making meaningful change
From the outset, Lane engaged in open, honest conversations to understand established processes and look for pain points. With the exception of Lane, everyone on the 10-person development team has a connection to the School, which brings another rich layer to relationship building efforts. It also means that, prior to her tenure, development staff primarily stored this knowledge in their memories.
Since joining, Lane has challenged her team to use their donor database to its fullest capacity—recording detailed information, conducting prospect research, and creating contact reports. This change has kicked off an invaluable feedback loop, as Lane explains: “We can demonstrate to our Head of School that the staff is talking to, meeting with, stewarding, and cultivating alumni, parents, and friends, so we can have important conversations about next steps.”
Looking forward to the next 100 years
As John Burroughs approaches its centennial, the Head of School, Lane, and her staff are busy completing the fundraising for the $30 million Science, Technology, and Research Center. After its dedication next fall, campaign planning to mark the School’s 100-year anniversary will begin in earnest.
This initiative will carve out the future for John Burroughs, reinforcing its commitment to the joy of living through learning, providing a supportive and inclusive environment, and strengthening programs from the arts to athletics. “Burroughs is a very thoughtful place," Lane emphasized. "I’m looking forward to working with the Head of School, Trustees, faculty and staff, parents and alumni—really listening and discussing the next century of the School.”