2017 Rising Stars


Rising Star
Anju Visen-Singh - Communications

When she first arrived at the University of Calgary, Anju was tasked with creating an integrated marketing strategy, an effort that required extensive research, consultation with diverse stakeholders and collaboration and relationship-building with over 70 marketers across campus. As senior director of marketing, she has contributed to the development of the university's "Energize" brand platform, helped implement new email and social media platforms and a customer-centric website, and helped guide units to better marketing tactics that leverage all available tools. By challenging her colleagues to be their best and work toward new ideas and solutions, Anju is setting an example for all advancement professionals to follow.

Rising Star
Alexa Makhani – Advancement Services

Alexa has served as a prospect research analyst at the Washington State University Foundation for the past three years, where she has become an integral part of the organization's success. Although she is primarily responsible for prospect research and management for several areas at Washington State University, she has also jumped at the opportunity to take on additional tasks, such as improving the WSU Foundation's web presence and internal communications. She was recently elected by her peers to serve on the Association of Professional Researchers for Advancement - Northwest board. Her innovative approach to solving challenges, cheerful personality and excellent communication skills embody what being an advancement professional is all about.

Carly Schoepflin – Alumni Relations

Carly, director of alumni and donor relations at the University of Idaho College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, is described by her colleagues as innovative, enthusiastic and a super team player with outstanding initiative. These qualities help her present the college in its best possible light. Personally overseeing as many as 30 or more events annually, including the three-day "Ag Days" prospective-student event and the "Gifts of Grain" program (which, under her leadership, has grown significantly in the past four years), Carly is helping to increase pride among alumni, as well as current and prospective students. Whether creating new award categories to engage even more alumni or giving back to the field and her peers by presenting at conferences, Carly is a shining example of what it means to be a leader in the advancement field.

Renee Gordon - Philanthropy

As director of development in one of the University of Oregon's most complex units - the College of Arts & Sciences - Renee has found success by combining skills from her previous corporate experience with a donor-centric approach to major gifts work. Even while quickly climbing the ranks and raising millions of dollars for the university and her college, Renee always puts the team first by collaborating with others and taking time to mentor younger colleagues. Described as one of the university's most popular employees, Renee demands the most from herself and sets the bar high for advancement professionals at her own institution and across the country.