ND Shares: Self-Care Recording and Resources

Special thanks to Heather Christophersen, Jesse Meyer, Brian Diss, and Shaheen Goldrick for leading a candid and helpful discussion on self-care in the workplace.

And thank you to the many colleagues who attended and contributed to our authentic dialogue.

We ran out of the time, but the conversation continues!

Watch the Zoom recording of the 60-minute session.


Other Self-Care Resources

Chronicle of Philanthropy: Staying Healthy While Doing Good, August 2019

CASE: Being Self-Care Aware, September 2019

The Atlantic: Give-up on Work-Life Balance, May 2019

Chronicle of Philanthropy: A Recovery Plan for Fundraisers Facing Burnout, October 2012



Innovation Spotlight – Gift and Data Management

Innovation is key to maintaining a high-performing, dynamic workplace. The Innovation Spotlight seeks to celebrate teams that are implementing creative, new solutions that not only enhance, but transform their work and advance the University’s mission. Our first spotlight shines on the Gift and Data Management team, led by Amy Schell.


Gift and Data Management is comprised of three areas: Gift Management, Advancement Records, and Gift Strategy. The team is responsible for gift strategy through gift agreements and for overseeing the biographical and gift data in Advance and crmND for every Development constituent. From creating new constituent records, eliminating duplicates, updating marriage, birth, death, and parental statuses, and recording the whole giving cycle of outright gifts, pledge payments, and deferred giving—including 15 different pipelines to give—the team manages all constituent information quite literally from the cradle to the grave. In addition, the team has key partnerships across campus that arose from creating funds, and they share the purpose of how each fund is to be used with the relevant campus stakeholders. Keeping biographical and giving records as accurate and clean as possible is essential to the success of every other Development team, making Gift and Data Management the backbone of our work.

Through a combination of retirements and early retirements, the Gift and Data Management team lost seven employees over the past two years. Facing this substantial loss of personnel and institutional knowledge, it was critical for the team to find novel ways to do more with fewer people.

Before making any changes, the team worked hard to create a culture in which each team member is empowered to ask questions, challenge existing methods of operating, and present new ideas. Through these ongoing conversations, the team was able to identify opportunities for improvement, select a few to focus on, and create detailed plans for implementing new processes.

For example, the team noticed the increasing stress on the lettershop to keep up with the complexity of gifts coming in. After reevaluating the purpose and audience of these letters, they were able to reduce the number of unique tax letters produced from 17 to 7, significantly streamlining the process. In addition, they changed the signatory on these letters from the EVP to Stacy Koebel, Director of Gift Management, allowing them to simplify the letters while incorporating more personalized giving information such as the opportunity to have gifts matched, pledge reminders, and more within the letters.

In addition, Gift and Data Management has implemented several other changes that have helped improve efficiency and collaboration among team members. Previously, the team had been split between floors, but now the entire team has moved to the 11th floor of Grace Hall, fostering better communication and eliminating excess information handoffs. Now when data is processed, the processor manages both the biographical and giving information at the same time, ensuring that no piece of information is touched more than once.

The team has developed an electronic project with the USPS that has reduced the amount of direct mail that is sent to incorrect addresses (and therefore returned to us), resulting in a more than 90% decrease in cost. Finally, Gift and Data Management is phasing in the DocuSign system, which will allow both donors and University leaders to sign gift agreements electronically. This system will ensure agreements are processed faster, development staff will be able to see the status of an agreement, and donors can fill out gift agreements whenever and wherever their schedules allow.

The goal of these innovative initiatives is to ensure that everyone’s talent and time are maximized. While these efforts have seen early success, it’s important to remember that innovation necessarily involves risk. On the Gift and Data Management team, every team member has new responsibilities, and it’s only natural that some missteps will happen along the way. But with their spirit, there is no doubt they will conquer these challenges with grace and tenacity.

Welcome Spencer John Chase!

I am thrilled to share with you that Lindahl Chase and her husband, Eric, welcomed their son Spencer John Chase into the world on Friday, September 13th at 5:53pm! Spencer weighed in at 6lbs 5 oz, 20 inches, and was ready to take on the world! Spencer, mom, dad, and his big brother Miles are doing well!
Please join me in congratulating the Chase family on their newest addition!
Brian Diss

ThinkND has launched!

Friends and Colleagues,

The Alumni Association is excited to share that ThinkND has launched today. As Sharon Keane shared during UR Summit, ThinkND has been created in partnership with the academy and includes hundreds of lectures, podcasts, and articles featuring Notre Dame faculty. It will be updated regularly with new content from across the University’s colleges, schools, centers, and institutes. We look forward to also launching our new Big Questions program on ThinkND in November. I invite you to explore ThinkND and encourage you to share it with other members of the ND family who may be interested in continuing to learn through Notre Dame. Thanks very much for your support.

All the best,

Condolences to Steve Nekic

Emilia Ann Nekic, beloved baby girl of Steve and Staci Nekic, was born into the arms of angels Wednesday, September 11, 2019 at St. Joseph Regional Medical Center in Mishawaka, Indiana. In addition to her parents, she is survived by her big brother, Dylan; her paternal grandparents, Frank and Debbi Nekic; her maternal grandparents Dan and Kristie Altman; and her maternal great grandmother, Darlene Mathers.

Funeral services will be held Friday, September 20th, 2019 at 10:30 am at Saint Pius X Catholic Church in Granger. Visitation will be held at the church at 10 am on the day of the service. A lunch at St Pius X will follow the funeral and a graveside service will be at 2 pm at Southlawn Cemetery in South Bend.

In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to The Susan Mast ALS Foundation or the NICU Helping Hands Organization.

Susan Mast ALS Foundation


2500 Waldorf Court

Grand Rapids, MI 49549


NICU Helping Hands


3023 South University Drive, Suite 211

Fort Worth, TX 76109

Welcome Jennifer Pratt to the Alumni Association!

I am delighted to announce that Jennifer Pratt will join our team as my Senior Administrative Assistant on Monday, September 23.

Jennifer has been at Notre Dame the past four years serving as the Program Coordinator in Academic Services for Student Athletes. She’s enjoyed getting to know the student-athletes and help them balance Notre Dame’s academic rigor with their athletic expectations.

Jennifer’s originally from Buffalo, NY and attended Canisius College where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Studies with a Concentration in Public Relations. She and her husband Christopher have lived in many places throughout the years — Florida, Germany, Georgia, North Carolina, Louisiana, California, Utah and now Indiana as part of Christopher’s career in the Army. They’ve been in South Bend since the summer of 2015 when her husband was given the opportunity to command the Army ROTC program at Notre Dame.

They live in Granger with their three children – Riley (16 years old), Nathan (15 years old) and Ronan (12 years old).

Please join me in welcoming Jennifer to the Alumni Association.

All the best,

The Fighting Irish (of Notre Dame y’all) in the Main Bookstore Friday!

The Fighting Irish (of Notre Dame y’all) in the Main Bookstore Friday!

Jorge “Jay” Rivera-Herrans song will be officially released tomorrow — with these events going on:
  • 2:30 PM — LIVE performance of the song at Football Friday’s at the Eck — stage located just north of the Eck Visitor Center
  • 2:45 PM — Jay & Teagan will be selling & autographing CD’s in the lobby of the Main Bookstore for one hour
  • 6:00 PM — LIVE performance of the song at the PEP RALLY on South Quad — stage in front of Rockne Memorial Bldg.

If you can — please get over and see Jay & Teagan perform the song and buy a CD (and have them autograph it) — the price is $1.99 each.
Digital downloads of the song will be available starting today on Amazon music and Spotify, and on many other online music retailers later next week.