Former Assistant Dean Julie Lucas in Crain's 40 Under 40Former Assistant Dean Julie Lucas in Crain's, March 29, 2010
by Miriam Kreinin Souccar
March 29, 2010
Julie Lucas leaves little to chance. Before meeting prospective donors, she researches everything from their interests to their salary. And she role-plays meetings with her staff.
"You never want to ask someone for a dollar amount and have them feel bad," says the perpetual overachiever, who was president of her class in high school. "Being a detective is a fun part of the job."
That diligence, coupled with her upbeat personality, has made the Boston native a superstar in higher-education fundraising circles. As assistant dean of institutional advancement at Fordham Law School for the past five years, she grew annual donations by nearly 500%, to $17.4 million in 2009. She launched a $100 million campaign in 2008 and crossed the $90 million mark within 10 months. She secured gifts of more than $100,000 from each of 158 alumni, up from six such gifts before she arrived on the job.
"She has a tremendous ability to connect with people," says T.J. Maloney, chief executive of private equity firm Lincolnshire Management Inc. He should know; under her influence, the alum upped his giving from a one-time $25,000 gift to two grants totaling $7 million, and he agreed to co-chair the $100 million campaign.
Ms. Lucas was so successful at Fordham that NYU—where she earlier worked in development—stole her away to work her magic for the Stern School of Business. In her new job, which she started two weeks ago, Ms. Lucas has 80,000 alumni to tap, instead of the 16,000 she had at Fordham Law.