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.”