Donor Outreach Manager, Baystate Health Foundation; Age 31
Jenna Conz says a career in the world of giving is a natural fit.
“I grew up in a family that was really involved in the community; our family culture was giving back,” she said. “That was ingrained in me from an early age, and it followed me through my experience at UMass. When I was job hunting, I had a real passion for being involved in the community and seeing the impact of what fund-raising can do.”
A development position opened up at the Jimmy Fund, and from there she made her way to Baystate Health Foundation, where she spent her first five years fund-raising for Baystate Children’s Hospital, which involved another of her loves, event planning, and saw her managing some of the health system’s signature events, from the Children’s Miracle Network Radiothon to the Max Golf Classic.
In that role, she got to hear plenty of patient stories, both heartwarming and heartwrenching, and occasionally inspiring, like the young patient who was transported in an adult-sized wheelchair and started a fund-raiser to purchase pediatric wheelchairs — one that took off when he shared it on the Radiothon.
Since 2015, Conz has taken on the role of donor outreach manager, overseeing stewardship of foundation donors across the health system, in so doing exposing herself — and others — to a wider range of patient success stories.
“I am so appreciative of the relationships I’ve formed, personally and professionally,” she said. “I get to meet people who have had amazing care at the children’s hospital or the Cancer Center, and hear life-saving stories from the Emergency Department. I feel so honored to share those stories in the community, letting people know about all that’s going on here.”
But Conz is doing much more than soliciting gifts. Outside the workplace, she’s doing plenty of giving herself — of her time and energy, to organizations like Northampton Dollars for Scholars and the Easter Seals. All the while, she’s thankful for a career that continues to bring her face to face with life-changing stories.
“It’s incredible to see the high level of care right here in our backyard; it’s incredible,” she told BusinessWest. “My job is to make sure people continue to choose Baystate as their charity of choice.”