Director of Major & Planned Giving in the Development Office Cassie Curry.
Photo by David Baldwin.
This column is devoted to highlighting staff members that play a huge role in the everyday experiences of the Lawrence community. The goal is to focus on the “Hidden Figures” of Lawrence University and their interests both within, and outside of Lawrence.
Although most students are given a fair amount of scholarship and tuition money to attend Lawrence, they know very little about where that money comes from and often take it for granted. The money is mainly funded by generous donors that love Lawrence, and this would not be possible without the people who correspond with the donors. Director of Major & Planned Giving Cassie Curry spends her time at Lawrence making sure students are given enough money to have the best college experience possible. At the end of March, Curry will have worked at Lawrence for six years.
“If I have to summarize what I do in one sentence, it would be ‘building relationships to move the Lawrence mission forward,’” said Curry. She does so by building relationships with members of the Lawrence family who live in California, Colorado, Florida, South Carolina and Illinois.
Curry loves her job because of the people she works with. She believes that team work is key. As a child, Curry loved the idea of being part of something bigger than she could accomplish on her own. Now she gets the opportunity to accomplish this goal because of the important role her colleagues play in the fundraising process, the dedication of everyone that works at Lawrence and the generosity of the Lawrence family.
Curry did not know she wanted to be the Director of Major & Planned Giving in the Development office, which she finds funny now, because it feels like a natural fit. She is thankful that she was open to taking chances and trying something new.
“If I had advice for my younger self, it would be that there is no way to be aware of every job and opportunity there is out there. If you conduct yourself professionally, and commit to learning something about yourself in every role you have, you will be prepared to make moves when the time is right,” stated Curry.
Curry’s first career was an account executive in advertising. Then, she went back for her master’s degree in higher education counseling. She has interned and worked full time as a career counselor at UW-Madison, UW-Oshkosh, Fox Valley Technical College and Lawrence. In 2014 she joined the Major and Planned Giving department. In 2017 she took her current position.
Outside of Lawrence, Curry loves cycling and trying to attend fun classes across the country for exercise while traveling. She enjoys reading biographies because she is fascinated with people’s lives. She and her husband like going to Badger basketball and football games and do volunteer board work for several non-profits in the Fox Cities. They also love walking to Seth’s Coffee Shop with Franklin, their five-year-old Golden Retriever.
Curry does not get the chance to travel often, but she loves to be in different places and this is why she loves her job so much. She is fascinated with airports because they make her feel grounded and connected with other people. Her biggest regret of her undergrad experience is that she did not study abroad.
One of Curry’s favorite questions five years ago used to be “Where do you see yourself in five years?” Over the past couple of years, she decided that she does not want to try to predict where she will be in five years. She hopes that she will still be working at Lawrence.
Curry is inspired by her parents, college experience, students and donors. She was the first in her family to go to college and her parents were completely supportive of her studying at UW-Madison.
“I see what a transformational opportunity a college education can be,” said Curry. “Seeing what a Lawrence education can do inspires me to continue having conversations with members of the Lawrence family about making an investment in the college and its students.”
She is also inspired by the leadership style of CEO of LinkedIn Jeff Weiner.
“Jeff believes in inspiring, empowering, listening and appreciating his team. He also talks about radical honesty and how to share constructive, but sometimes difficult feedback with compassion,” Curry added.
Curry is a hidden figure because of her leadership style similar to that of Weiner. She has worked incredibly hard to be where she is today, and that work ethic is exactly why she fits in so well at Lawrence.