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    GIA Member Spotlight - Angela Alvarado

    GIA Member Spotlight: Angela Alvarado

    Angela Alvarado (she/her)
    Executive Director, Donor Relations and Communications
    UTHealth Houston

    We caught up with Angela Alvarado to discover more about her, what she’s up to, and what we can learn from her.

    Briefly describe your current role. 
    In my role as Executive Director for Donor Relations and Communications, I manage and provide strategic direction for three areas within the Development team: Development Communications, Stewardship and Donor Relations, and Development and Presidential Events. I also serve as Campaign Director, managing messaging, marketing, and engagement activities.

    Briefly describe your career journey and what led you to institutional advancement in academic medicine.
    Prior to joining UTHealth Houston, I spent the majority of my career in health care fundraising. I started at UT MD Anderson Cancer Center raising funds for pediatric cancer patients through the Children’s Art Project. After almost nine years, I transitioned to event fundraising for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. I always had an interest in working in higher education, but had a passion for making an impact in health care. When I found the opportunity to join UTHealth Houston in 2016, it allowed me to marry my passion with my interest in higher education. It was a great opportunity to expand my knowledge and return to work for a highly regarded institution in the Texas Medical Center.

    What achievement in your current job are you proud of? 
    I am proud of successfully completing our first comprehensive campaign and surpassing our fundraising goal of $500M. In my role as Campaign Director, I led the launch of the public phase of the campaign in 2021. The list of materials needed was extensive, and it was our first comprehensive campaign, so there was not a roadmap to follow. In the end, I was very proud of everything we created, from the campaign website to all of our printed materials, and ending with the celebratory event and donor stewardship project. The work our team put into this was extraordinary. 

    What innovation or trend in the field inspires or motivates you?
    My team is currently engaged in transitioning traditional architectural donor walls into digital formats. While this innovation isn’t entirely new, its potential for transformative impact is certain. What inspires me most is the potential it offers in recognizing donors, sharing compelling stories, and fostering deep connections with those who interact with the digital platform. It’s an exciting blend of art, technology, and human connection that drives my interest.

    What advice do you have for other institutional advancement professionals in academic medicine?
    Embrace each phase of your career. Recognize that priorities shift over time, whether you’re a young professional, a working parent, or nearing retirement. Stay adaptable and open to change, continuously reassessing your goals and adjusting your path accordingly. By embracing change, you’ll find greater satisfaction and unlock new opportunities for personal and professional growth.

    What is the best career advice you were given and how have you used it?
    Be your own cheerleader. It can help fuel your motivation, resilience, and confidence in your career journey. I do this in many ways. I advocate for myself. I don’t seek recognition for my accomplishments; instead, I look inward and acknowledge and celebrate my own successes, big or small. I surround myself with encouraging mentors and friends. I try and take care of my physical and mental well-being with meditation, Pilates, travel, and “me time.

    We want to shine the light on you! If you want to connect with others, share stories, and highlight best practices by being featured in the Member Spotlight, please contact gia@aamc.org for submission guidelines.