USC Institute for Creative Technologies (ICT)

Support of the Institute for Creative Technologies at USC enables the study of basic and applied research in immersive technology, simulation, human performance, computer graphics, artificial intelligence, and narrative by leveraging multi-disciplinary research to develop advanced prototypes and pilot projects that solve real-world problems facing service members, students, and society.

Coming Full Circle in a Career She Loves

Chloe Reid

Chloe Reid

Senior Director of Development
USC Gould School of Law

Chloe Reid has been at the USC Gould School of Law for almost 18 years, and always remembers the day in January that she started, since it was her birthday.

She spent her first 10 years at USC Gould as dean of admissions, and derived great enjoyment from working with students and helping them make their dreams come true.

“Truth is, they were like an extension of my family. I’ve been to countless weddings and even watched their children grow. And now as a fundraiser, I get to see them as alumni with successful careers. It’s like I’ve come full circle with them; many still call me ‘Dean Reid,’ even though I no longer have that title.”

Chloe has now moved up to senior director of development. After a decade in her previous job, she was looking for a new challenge. She consulted with the then brand-new dean at Gould—Andrew T. Guzman (now USC Provost Guzman!)—about exploring a different position.

“He was open to it, and so was our chief development officer, Robin Maness. With their support and the belief and that I could do it, I transitioned over to the Development and Alumni Affairs office.” 

Chloe also credits her promotion to hard work, caring about what she does and doing her “absolute best.” In addition, she notes, “I played well with others in the sandbox. I was innovative and creative and always tried to make things better and more efficient. I stood up for colleagues and shared information and knowledge. And I helped students and staff along the way, by doing a lot of mentoring.”

“For my entire career after finishing law school,” she continues, “I’ve worked in legal education, primarily student affairs. I’ve always found myself working with alumni in some capacity. I’m intrigued by the work and aware that it’s all connected: alumni relations, stewardship, giving, all of it.” 

“And one more thing,” asserts Chloe. “I love my staff and co-workers at Gould, plus all the friends I’ve made across campus. My colleagues at USC are extraordinarily supportive and giving folks!”

Coming Full Circle in a Career She Loves

Chloe Reid

Chloe Reid

Senior Director of Development
USC Gould School of Law

Chloe Reid has been at the USC Gould School of Law for almost 18 years, and always remembers the day in January that she started, since it was her birthday.

She spent her first 10 years at USC Gould as dean of admissions, and derived great enjoyment from working with students and helping them make their dreams come true.

“Truth is, they were like an extension of my family. I’ve been to countless weddings and even watched their children grow. And now as a fundraiser, I get to see them as alumni with successful careers. It’s like I’ve come full circle with them; many still call me ‘Dean Reid,’ even though I no longer have that title.”

Chloe has now moved up to senior director of development. After a decade in her previous job, she was looking for a new challenge. She consulted with the then brand-new dean at Gould—Andrew T. Guzman (now USC Provost Guzman!)—about exploring a different position.

“He was open to it, and so was our chief development officer, Robin Maness. With their support and the belief and that I could do it, I transitioned over to the Development and Alumni Affairs office.” 

Chloe also credits her promotion to hard work, caring about what she does and doing her “absolute best.” In addition, she notes, “I played well with others in the sandbox. I was innovative and creative and always tried to make things better and more efficient. I stood up for colleagues and shared information and knowledge. And I helped students and staff along the way, by doing a lot of mentoring.”

“For my entire career after finishing law school,” she continues, “I’ve worked in legal education, primarily student affairs. I’ve always found myself working with alumni in some capacity. I’m intrigued by the work and aware that it’s all connected: alumni relations, stewardship, giving, all of it.” 

What does she tell fellow employees about moving up the USC ladder? “I believe you first have to have a love for higher education and the power that it has to enrich people’s lives. Second, you can’t be afraid to ask questions, so network and get to know your colleagues. Don’t confine yourself to a silo; who knows when you’ll need someone from another department or unit. And third, avail yourself of the wide variety of resources in central advancement—workshops, conferences, the great books we can check out at our advancement retreats—just to name a few.”

All told, Chloe loves her staff and co-workers at Gould, plus all the friends she’s made across campus. “My colleagues at USC are extraordinarily supportive and giving folks!”

Don’t Look for Success—Prepare for It! 

Sabrina Espinoza

Sabrina Espinoza

Executive Director, Alumni Relations Annual Giving
USC Viterbi School of Engineering

Sabrina Espinoza currently serves as the executive director of alumni relations and annual giving for the USC Viterbi School of Engineering. Through events, programs and other strategies, she leverages partnerships with Viterbi constituents and alumni, here and abroad, to encourage engagement with and philanthropic support of the school. In addition, Sabrina manages the Viterbi Emerging Leaders Board and collaborates with regional boards and ambassadors to connect the alumni community.

Sabrina has been at USC for 13 years, the first 11 at the USC School of Cinematic Arts (SCA), where she started in 2010 as an associate director of annual giving.

At SCA, she says, “I was able to delve into the various functions of philanthropy before being promoted to a major gift officer. I came to understand the make-up of our constituents, their needs and wants, and learned to build upon the strengths of the school. Through that, my career flourished, and I was promoted numerous times.”

“My career,” she adds, “has operated at the intersection of opportunity and intent. I’ve always strived to excel by being prepared—constantly learning and absorbing knowledge from mentors, colleagues and friends so I can do better each day.”

“It may sound cliché,” Sabrina continues, “but there’s something so meaningful about working at USC: the students, faculty, alumni and staff, plus the university’s rich history. Yes, there’s nothing like walking across campus on Game Day, but from my perspective as an alum and employee, USC is also about lifelong friends I met in the classroom, and colleagues across campus who are always excited and passionate about their work. This is what inspires me every day.”

Don’t Look for Success—Prepare for It! 

Sabrina Espinoza

Sabrina Espinoza

Executive Director, Alumni Relations Annual Giving
USC Viterbi School of Engineering

Sabrina Espinoza currently serves as the executive director of alumni relations and annual giving for the USC Viterbi School of Engineering. Through events, programs and other strategies, she leverages partnerships with Viterbi constituents and alumni, here and abroad, to encourage engagement with and philanthropic support of the school. In addition, Sabrina manages the Viterbi Emerging Leaders Board and collaborates with regional boards and ambassadors to connect the alumni community.

Sabrina has been at USC for 13 years, the first 11 at the USC School of Cinematic Arts (SCA), where she started in 2010 as an associate director of annual giving.

At SCA, she says, “I was able to delve into the various functions of philanthropy before being promoted to a major gift officer. I came to understand the make-up of our constituents, their needs and wants, and learned to build upon the strengths of the school. Through that, my career flourished, and I was promoted numerous times.”

Sabrina concluded her stint at SCA as a senior director of development, focusing on major gift strategies for scholarship and student support initiatives. She then accepted a position as the executive director of corporate and foundation relations at her alma mater, the USC Price School of Public Policy.

“Because of my years at SCA, I was a bit of a chameleon,” she says. “I understood annual giving, alumni relations, major giving and corporate/foundation relations, which gave me different perspectives and allowed me to grow.”

“My career,” she adds, “has operated at the intersection of opportunity and intent. I’ve always strived to excel by being prepared—constantly learning and absorbing knowledge from mentors, colleagues and friends so I can do better each day. When I’m prepared and an opportunity arises, I know I can seize it and thrive. As they say, ‘Stay ready, so you don’t have to getready.’”

As proof, Sabrina cites the master’s degree she earned in nonprofit leadership and management from USC Price prior to accepting her current position at Viterbi. The degree made her want to give back to others and create a community where people could be their best, authentic selves. “I also had a great mentor back at Cinema, who helped me reevaluate my goals and frame the legacy that I wanted to share, at USC and in my life in general,” she says.

“It may sound cliché,” Sabrina continues, “but there’s something so meaningful about working at USC: the students, faculty, alumni and staff, plus the university’s rich history. Yes, there’s nothing like walking across campus on Game Day, but from my perspective as an alum and employee, USC is also about lifelong friends I met in the classroom, and colleagues across campus who are always excited and passionate about their work. This is what inspires me every day.”

At Viterbi, Sabrina feels she’s come back to her roots—engaging alumni and providing them with the resources they need to be successful on their journey beyond the classroom. “When they go out into the world, they represent USC,” she says, “and it’s great to be back in that space that I really missed.”

All told, says Sabrina, “USC is a place to meet amazing people and build strong relationships.” She advises colleagues to “connect with their counterparts across campus for support, networking and friendship” and to invest in professional development, be it conferences, workshops, learning from others or continuing one’s education. “Learn as much as you can, and take it all in. You never know how it will serve you now or in the future.”

Meet Our Recruiter

Christiana Simpson

Christiana Simpson

Senior Specialized Recruiter for University Advancement

Christiana Simpson serves as the senior specialized recruiter for University Advancement. She brings more than 20 years of broad experience to the role, in areas such as recruitment, onboarding, and retention.

What does a specialized recruiter do?

I collaborate with advancement department heads and senior management to understand each department’s current and future staffing needs—and then I help develop a plan to ensure that the department attracts the right talent in the right roles. 

So what happens behind the scenes?

Lots of little things. Job analysis and description, marketing efforts to attract the best candidates, interview coordination, compliance, and much more—as well as keeping track of recruitment metrics to make sure we’re achieving our goals.

What are the advantages to having a dedicated expert in this role?

Because I have a wide view of advancement’s overall talent needs, I can help managers make more strategic hiring decisions. A candidate may not be a perfect fit for the position they applied for but may be ideal for a different role. So we can find and place the best people, whether they’re referrals, external candidates, or internal candidates.

What qualities do you look for in a job candidate?

Candidates who are curious, flexible, self-motivated, and who thrive in a collaborative team environment always stand out. People who understand the importance of building and developing relationships are also highly valued. Those skills will take you very far no matter what role you’re in. Prior advancement experience is not always required.

Mentorship, Networking, and Curiosity

Stephanie Chicas

Stephanie Chicas

Associate Director, Prospect Strategy
USC University Advancement

As associate director of prospect strategy and a key part of the Relationship Management (RMATS) team, Stephanie Chicas helps ensure that the best principal gift prospects are identified and assigned to the right development officer—and then stewarded through the fundraising cycle, with the goal of achieving the university’s overall “moonshot” goals. 

Stephanie began her career at USC seven years ago in a central advancement position supporting development at Keck Medicine of USC. From there, she moved into an expanded central role as assistant director of development, where she managed day-to-day projects and operations related to prospect strategy and engagement, as well as university-wide fundraising priorities. She also helped coordinate and oversee presidential briefings and contributed to advancement-related events, including many at the president’s suite at football games. She thoroughly enjoyed the work but knew she was ready to grow and take on fresh challenges.

“I made it a point to develop a good relationship with my supervisor, who also wanted me to grow,” she says. “That made it less awkward to have conversations with supervisors in other departments, so I could find out where there might be opportunities.” This strategy led to Stephanie’s promotion to senior relationship management analyst on the RMATS team.

Stephanie attributes her success at USC to mentorship, networking, and curiosity. A self-described introvert, she knows how hard it is to put yourself out there, but says the results are always rewarding. And her positive attitude has kept her moving forward in the department. “I find it so important to try to understand everyone’s role in fueling the machine that is University Advancement,” she says. “We’re all striving toward a common goal: to support the growth and success of our students, each one a potential world leader. Keeping that in mind has made me very intentional about which opportunities to seek out.”

“Plus,” she says, “I always try to go above and beyond, not limiting myself to just my own role. If I have to take on something extra to move a project forward and help out our team, I’m there.”

When it comes to counseling colleagues who, like herself, wish to move up the ranks at USC, Stephanie has some practical advice. “I challenge everyone seeking new opportunities to ask questions,” she says. “By ‘asking questions,’ I mean taking a proactive approach—seeking opportunities, putting yourself out there, and making sure your manager and colleagues know you’re interested in growing.” She also recommends participating in USC Advancement’s professional development sessions within the USC Fundraising Institute. “That is an excellent starting point for gaining a comprehensive understanding of the entire Advancement operation.” 

And perhaps most importantly, she says, “Love what you do! I’ve really enjoyed growing within University Advancement, and learning about all the different areas of development. I love the people I work with, and, here at USC, I’m constantly inspired by the students and faculty and all the incredible work taking place. It’s amazing to work in this type of environment.”

One more point Stephanie likes to stress is a simple one: “Say hello to people, even if you don’t know who they are. At the all-staff meetings, picnic or holiday party, a small hello can open up a conversation that will, in turn, reveal an opportunity. You never know when the person you said ‘hi’ to will turn out to be your future manager!”

Mentorship, Networking, and Curiosity

Stephanie Chicas

Stephanie Chicas

Associate Director, Prospect Strategy
USC University Advancement

As associate director of prospect strategy and a key part of the Relationship Management (RMATS) team, Stephanie Chicas helps ensure that the best principal gift prospects are identified and assigned to the right development officer—and then stewarded through the fundraising cycle, with the goal of achieving the university’s overall “moonshot” goals. 

Stephanie began her career at USC seven years ago in a central advancement position supporting development at Keck Medicine of USC. From there, she moved into an expanded central role as assistant director of development, where she managed day-to-day projects and operations related to prospect strategy and engagement, as well as university-wide fundraising priorities. She also helped coordinate and oversee presidential briefings and contributed to advancement-related events, including many at the president’s suite at football games. She thoroughly enjoyed the work but knew she was ready to grow and take on fresh challenges.

Stephanie attributes her success at USC to mentorship, networking, and curiosity. A self-described introvert, she knows how hard it is to put yourself out there, but says the results are always rewarding. And her positive attitude has kept her moving forward in the department. “I find it so important to try to understand everyone’s role in fueling the machine that is University Advancement,” she says. “We’re all striving toward a common goal: to support the growth and success of our students, each one a potential world leader. Keeping that in mind has made me very intentional about which opportunities to seek out.”

“Plus,” she says, “I always try to go above and beyond, not limiting myself to just my own role. If I have to take on something extra to move a project forward and help out our team, I’m there.”

How Do You Achieve Success? It’s All About Relationships

Tracy Mendoza

Tracy Mendoza

Associate Dean for Development and External Relations
USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism

Tracy Mendoza calls herself a “matchmaker,” albeit not the Fiddler on the Roof variety. Instead, she and her team at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism work with individuals and organizations to match them with the areas where they want to make an impact, as determined by school priorities and student/faculty needs.

Tracy’s advancement work began in her student days at Cal State Long Beach—phoning alumni to ask for contributions to the annual fund. She enjoyed building relationships so much that she made it her life’s work.

In her 15 years at USC, Tracy’s career has grown exponentially, which she attributes to her focus on helping others, be they colleagues or donors, achieve their goals. She started at the USC Price School of Public Policy as an associate director of development in the Center on Philanthropy and Public Policy. From there, it was on to USC Annenberg as executive director of development in 2012 before moving up to her current role—associate dean for development and external relations—in 2018.

“My relationships with internal and external partners are what makes it possible for me and my team to consistently exceed goals,” says Tracy.

What Tracy loves about working at USC is the “collegiality and shared purpose. It is truly rewarding to work with my colleagues across departments, schools and within USC Annenberg to advance the crucial initiatives that truly impact our students’ lives and the professions they aspire to.”

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