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Invest in Yourself in 2023

Invest in Yourself in 2023

Chapter Leadership Brief 01.27.2023

By Jill M. Scibilia, CFRE
VP, Development, Phelps Hospital, Northwell Health

Today we have the privilege of honoring our late AFP-NYC board colleague Michele Hall-Duncan with the Ralph E. Chamberlain Award at our 2023 Annual Meeting. The award is given to a fundraiser for a lifetime of service to our fundraising community.  We lost Michele much, much earlier than any of us would have wished when we lost her to breast cancer six months ago. Her legacy of wisdom and service will live on and be a source of inspiration for all who had the pleasure of knowing her.

Michele believed in living life to its fullest. I am going to borrow some words of wisdom she shared with us just one year ago, when she wrote our Chapter Leadership Brief to congratulate the 2022 Ralph E. Chamberlain Award Recipient. Michele encouraged us to renew our commitment to AFP and to invest in ourselves and our careers.

Investing in yourself seems obvious, but that does not mean it is easy. 

I under-invested in myself early in my career. I thought because I worked at an under-resourced not-for-profit that it was important for me to spend every minute of my working hours fully devoted to that organization. That meant being in the office or meeting with donors. Training and Continuing Education were not part of this equation because they cost money and time. I told myself the training and continuing education could come later when we were doing better as an organization.  I thought I was putting my mission first.

I learned about Fundraising Day in New York from a colleague who encouraged me to attend. I am sorry to say I did not attend the first year I learned about it.  Thankfully, I did the next year.  I have never looked back. Fundraising Day in New York and all that AFP offers opened a whole new world for me. The continuing education and opportunity to meaningfully engage with other fundraisers was a game changer. 

I learned that sometimes we need to step away from the organization we serve to do our best work. Doing this allowed me to learn from others’ experiences. It gave me new ideas and tools. Most importantly, it gave me an infusion of new energy to do my best work. I became more involved with AFP, serving on committees, on the board, and as a speaker. I found that every hour I invested, I got at least one back (and often more).

It was important for me to spend my working hours fully devoted to the mission I served. What I did not initially understand is that a critical part of this is making the time to invest in myself. My organization benefitted once I started doing that.

Michele understood that.  She was the CEO of enCourage Kids, and she invested her time in AFP-NYC and in other organizations. She took enCourage Kids to new heights, including presiding over a $1.2 million EKF gala in the final weeks of her life. She also encouraged her team to pursue continuing education.

So I encourage you to join me in following Michele’s lead. Invest in Yourself in 2023.  Don’t wait. Remember that you are an investment worth making. 

Looking for ideas on how to get started? Learn more about AFP-NYC’s fundraising community and ways you get involved by visiting:

Thank you for your leadership and commitment to professional fundraising.

With gratitude,


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