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Association of Fundraising Professionals: Southern Arizona Chapter

Overcoming the Messiah Complex© in Fundraising

High expectations abound in the fundraising profession. Sometimes expectations are even unrealistic, creating disproportionate stress for fundraising leaders that is not equally shared by the leadership and program staff around them. Have you ever worked at or with an organization where you’re supposed to raise all the money, fix the problems, or “save” the (you name it) program, staff or organization? Then perhaps you’ve experienced The Messiah Complex © in Fundraising. So, what’s a fundraiser to do? We can’t change others, but we can make a difference in the way we value ourselves, manage workplace expectations and meander challenging environments. In this session, we’ll share secrets from the ancient traditions of yoga and meditation to help you stay balanced and true to yourself amidst the chaos around you.

About the Presenters

Both Jennifer Tersigni and Gemma Thomas bring years of experience as nonprofit leaders, fundraisers and practitioners of yoga and mediation to their work and life.

Jennifer M. Tersigni, MA, CFRE

Jennifer Tersigni is the principal and lead consultant at Raise the Bar Consulting, specializing in comprehensive fundraising, organizational development and interim executive solutions. The proud holder of an unanticipated 20-year fundraising career, Jennifer has helped 72 clients reach their goals, served as an interim executive four times, and raised more than $75 million. Jennifer enjoys collaborating with leaders to transform organizations, develop new initiatives, build sustainable funding, and make a meaningful impact in the world. Jennifer’s introduction to fundraising began in the Office of the Social Secretary at The White House, where she implemented political and social events for the President and First Lady of the United States.

A recipient of Tucson’s 40 Under 40 and a Rotary International GSE alumnus, Jennifer is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals and is a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE). She holds a bachelor’s degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, a master’s degree from the University of Arizona, and Yoga Instructor & Yoga Therapy Certifications from the Paramanand Yoga Institute & Ashram in Indore, India. Jennifer has lived and traveled in thirty-seven countries on four continents to-date, brings cross-cultural experience to her work, and always looks forward to life’s next great adventure.

Gemma Thomas, MSW

Gemma Thomas is a native Tucsonan and an accomplished health and human services leader. A graduate of the University of Arizona with a Bachelor of Science degree in Molecular/Cellular Biology, she went on to complete her Master’s in Social Work with an emphasis on nonprofit administration. Her professional journey began as an office manager of a local physician practice. Joining Children’s Clinics in 2015, Gemma has served in various leadership positions and is currently the Chief Administrative Officer.

Gemma completed her RYT200 Hatha yoga training in 2013. With an interest in special populations, Gemma spent three years teaching gentle and yin yoga and volunteering with adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, teaching individualized adaptive yoga classes to bring movement into their daily routines. Though she no longer teaches, she continues her practice as a student and gives back to our community in other ways, including as a member of the Children’s Museum Board of Directors, Care Fund Tucson Advisory Council, and Children’s Action Alliance Southern Arizona Advisory Council.

Members - $26.05

Nonmembers - $36.35