“At 19, I cold called the Associate Vice President of Development at Duke to ask him to hire me as a summer development intern – when there weren’t any job openings. That phone call to Bob Shepard changed my life. He hired me for the summer, hired me back the next summer and remains one of my most treasured mentors all these years later.
Today I am the Associate Vice President for Individual Giving at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. I lead a team of 25 people who raise money for research, clinical care and programs at one of the best children’s hospitals in the world. As I started to think about how I may want to leverage my strengths and grow my career before making this most recent move, I sought Bob’s counsel. I talked about jobs that were one level above in the org chart and he listened and thoughtfully offered advice. During one of our conversations, he offhandedly said, ‘You know, I think you could be looking at AVP jobs, if you wanted to.’ I remember thinking in that moment how much his feedback meant to me. This was, after all, the role he had been in when I first met him – the job I wanted to have ‘someday’ – and he thought I was ready.
Women can tend to downplay our skills and accomplishments; we do not think of our own achievements as special compared to others. The value in Bob suggesting this idea to me is that I learned to consider it for myself, and what it really meant. It wasn’t about a title for me; it was the opportunity to lead an organization at the enterprise level with all the challenges and learning that came with it. My own thinking had been limiting me from doing exactly what I wanted to do and Bob reminded me of my strengths.
Throughout my career, Bob has been a sounding board, an advocate and a sponsor. From the very beginning, he took a chance on me. He challenges me to think broader and bigger, sharing his insights while encouraging me to follow my own path. Bob is the kind of person who says great things about me to other people when I am not there. He believed in me and I learned to believe in myself.”
– Shanna Hocking, Associate Vice President, Individal Giving, Children’s Hospital of Philadephia
Shanna Hocking writes about leadership and fundraising and has been featured in Forbes and Huffington Post. Learn more about Shanna’s exemplary work at www.shannaahocking.com