Assistant Director for Development
Courtney Manuel
Employer: University of Texas at Austin

Position description:
I raise money for the School of Undergraduates Studies at the University of Texas to enhance programs and provide scholarship opportunities for faculty and students. I work with a large base of volunteers to identify others in the community who would be interested in supporting the university and our school.

Photo: Courtney  Manuel
How They Got There
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Undergrad degree:  English

Favorite class in college:  English/Women's Studies Writing Class

Changing majors:  I started as a psychology major but changed to English my sophomore year.

College to career:  After graduation I worked for a short time in a small PR/Advertising agency, but that was not my passion. I then took a job doing special events for a non-profit. From there I worked on community events for a small municipality. I loved doing special events for non-profits, but it was hard to find another job that encompassed both of those things and not fundraising. My next job, at the Red Cross focused on special event fundraising. However, the burn out on special event work is high, and after a few years my focus shifted to just fundraising with corporate partners of the Red Cross. Upon coming back to Austin, I knew I wanted to work for UT. My fundraising work now focuses on building an affinity for our school and developing a major gifts program, primarily for individuals.

Career influences:  I always participated in volunteer work as a child. I wanted to give back to the community and work in non profit but was not interested in becoming a social worker. I have been a fundraiser for over 10 years and have raised millions of dollars for academia and non-profits, including the American Red Cross. I got into fundraising because after college I wanted to plan fundraising events. After many years of special event planning, I began to focus on major gift work and moved away from events.

The Ups and Downs
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Being able to provide more opportunities for students and faculty is a huge plus; however, there are so many programs that need funding, that it can be hard to prioritize some needs over others. Everything is important to someone!

Recommendations
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Follow your heart and passions. Don't ever have regrets, and don't be afraid to take a risk!

Interested in This Career?
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