Professional Development Series

2022 AFP WNY Professional Development Series

Let's talk about DEI and B(elonging) 
A deeper dive into topics surrounding Diversity and Inclusion issues

April 14, 2022 @ 12:00 p.m.

Click here to register today!

Rene Petties-Jones, President
National Federation for Just Communities of WNY, Inc.

From this conversation we hope attendees will gain a better understanding about themselves and how DEI and B fit into everything they do - personally and professionally. We hope you will come away with a shared experiential conversation that will illuminate issues and spark further educational discussions allowing you to feel more confident and not alone on your journey. We will create a safe space to have the often uncomfortable, but courageous conversations that impact and enhance who we are and the work that we do.

The Saturn Club
977 Delaware Ave.
Buffalo, NY 14209

AFP Member - $35
Non-Member - $40
   Soup, salad, and sandwich lunch buffet provided.


Rene Petties-Jones is the President of the National Federation for Just Communities of WNY, Inc. and a member of the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo’s Racial Equity Roundtable overseeing Racial Healing Circles for the WNY region. She currently serves on the PRSA (Public Relations Society of America) Buffalo Niagara Chapter board of directors. She also serves on the board of directors for the Northeast District PRSA as their first ever DEI Officer, and is Communications Liaison and Spotlight Chair for the National PRSA Diversity Committee. Rene was recently appointed to the National PRSA Nominating committee and is the National NFJC Federation Chair Elect.

A proud University at Buffalo Alum, Rene has received the May C. Randazzo Outstanding Practitioner Award from PRSA Buffalo Niagara and the Women of Influence Award, Behind the Scenes, from Buffalo Business First.  She is also on the Business First Power 200 Buffalo list. Additionally, she is a Rockwood Institute Fellow and a Oishei Leaders of Color Cohort.

Rene is a former member of the Buffalo News Diversity Advisory Board and currently sits on the Superintendent Advisory Board for the Williamsville School District and the Alberti Center for Bullying Prevention in addition to numerous other committees and advisory boards.




December 10, 2020: "Where do we go from here? Envisioning a future of impact, growth, and a plan to get there" with Kate Heidinger, CFRE - Director of Development, The Foundations of Catholic Health

Preparing for 2021 and the years to come may feel overwhelming, but with a clear vision you will still be impactful and realize growth even when you need to change your goals and how you reach for them. Together we'll talk through developing a high-definition vision, how to use this to identify your goals, and where your fundraising tactics fit in your plans for success. 

December 4, 2020: "Fundraising in Tumultuous Times" with Peggy Morrison Outon - Assistant Vice President, Community Engagement and Leadership Development, Robert Morris University

Fundraising is never easy, but sometimes it is especially challenging!  This is one of those times. Join us as we reflect together on lessons learned from previous crises and how to emerge stronger and more resilient. We'll talk about donor relations, new ways of working and self-care (because you're the asset for your organization...and taking care of yourself is taking care of your organization).  Join this dialogue as we continue to navigate uncharted waters.

October 27, 2020: "Stewardship Tricks and Treats for a Virtual World" with Nicole Shepherd - Assistant Vice President for Donor and Volunteer Relations, Katie Camm - Senior Director of Donor Stewardship, and Jennifer Silverman - Assistant Director of Donor Relations, University at Buffalo

Don’t be afraid!  Virtual stewardship can be scary good.  The donor relations team at UB shares some tricks and tips for virtual stewardship.  From e-acknowledgments, to a book club, to personalized thank you videos and virtual tours, they’ll share how they quickly pivoted to a digital-first strategy.  The team will also take a few minutes to fill your treat bag with ideas from all participants!

October 14, 2020: "If Not Now…When? – Opportunities to Strength Yourself & Your Organization" with Jeff Bagel, CFRE – Principal, eAdvancement Consulting

How are you using the Covid-19 global pandemic to better yourself and your organization? By asking yourself, "If Not Now, When?" you can identify opportunities that will strengthen you professionally, improve your organization, and enhance your stewardship.

September 22, 2020: "Fundraising Reimagined" with Catie Stephenson – Director of Development & Communications and Sarah Larkin – PR & Events Coordinator, Buffalo Olmstead Parks Conservancy

Our presentation will focus on reimagining our fundraising events and making the decision to go virtual. What it looked like working with our Board, Committees, Corporate Partners and many more during the process. What tools we use for our virtual platform and the means of communication to spread the word.

September 9, 2020: "Re-Imagining Established Events in a Virtual Way" with Lisa Latrovato – Donor Relations Manager, Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute and Lisa Woodring- Chief Development Officer, FeedMore WNY

The current pandemic has forced all organizations to re-think how they execute fundraising events. Hear from two organizations about how to pivot your in-person events to virtual, pitfalls to avoid, and lessons learned.

April 23, 2020:  "EXPLORE YOU: What Is Your Fundraising Type?" with Peter Lewis Gabek with Union College. 
Learn how to better manage yourself, manage up, and manage direct reports.

March 11, 2020: "Stronger Together – Partnering for the Good of Our Community" with Lisa Woodring from FeedMore WNY, Jim Coder from New Directions Youth & Family Services, Carolyne DeFranco from Gateway Longview, and Tracy LeBlanc from BestSelf Behavioral Health at FeedMore WNY.
Hear how rebranding, merging or restructuring can benefit your organization in the long run.

February 25, 2020: "Understanding Capacity Needed in Order to Execute Legal Documents" with Helen Ferraro-Zaffram from Center for Elder Law & Justice at Dash’s Supermart. Thank you to Series Activity Sponsor Leave A Legacy
Discuss issues that arise when clients wait too long before considering estate plans and how to implement decision making options.

January 8, 2020: "Retiring an Event with Dignity" with Rachel Voelkle-Kuhlmann & Robert Baird from Evergreen Health at Buffalo Museum of Science
Exploring the how, when and why of helping the community and stakeholders see the value of ending under performing event(s).

December 11, 2019: "Intentional Major Gift Conversations" with Meg and Phil George from George Development at Millennium Hotel.
Meg and Phil role played both an identification/qualification meeting as well as a major gift solicitation meeting to give the group real-life talking points for navigating each of these types of discussions. They left the group with important takeaways in regards to gathering information and preparing for these meetings, as well as reacting to and overcoming road blocks or difficult conversation points, including examples of ethical questions to pose. The focus was on being intentional in major gift work — and using these skills to build more high capacity relationships and solicit more major gifts. 
Thank you to Series Activity Sponsor Greater Giving

October 15, 2019: "Campaign Confidential: Expert Advice for Successful Campaigns" with Jillian Jones, Director of Advancement at the Albright Knox Art Gallery, Kimberly Luangpakdy, Director of Advancement at the Buffalo History Museum, and Lynsey Zimdahl Weaver, Executive Director at the Kevin Guest House
If you are not in the middle of a fundraising campaign, chances are you are thinking about one. Three experts from the Buffalo non-profit community talked about how they have raised millions of dollars for their organizations. Attendees learned from their experiences about planning for campaigns, responding to changes during campaigns, and leveraging the generosity of donors. 

SEPTEMBER 11, 2019: "Maximizing Your Partnership With Government" with Jack O’Donnell, Partner, Bolton St. Johns
In this session, attendees got a crash course on the State and Federal appropriations, budget, legislative, and regulatory processes. Whether your non-profit is pursuing State or Federal funding, legislation, or regulations, it is important to have a comprehensive government relations strategy that sets you up for success in the long run. Jack discussed how to construct a holistic strategy aimed at relationship building and thought leadership that will make your non-profit influential in governmental decision making both in Albany and in Washington D.C.