The clinical side of the Berrie Center is so much more than a doctor’s office. It is a place for families to meet, for children to play, for young adults to take classes and build lasting friendships. Without a strong fundraiser behind the scenes, all of the “extras” that make the Berrie Center so great (the toy room, the parties, the luncheons, the summer and winter programs) would be impossible.
“Part of the great thing for me is that I’m able to work with such a wonderful team,” said Caroline Hastings, the Berrie Center’s new Executive Director of Development. “Between Dr. Goland (Robin Goland, MD, J. Merrill Eastman Professor of Clinical Diabetes), Dr. Leibel (Rudolph Leibel, MD, Christopher J. Murphy Memorial Professor of Diabetes Research) and all of the clinicians and researchers at the Berrie Center, they understand the importance of fundraising and they’re willing to do whatever they can to help. It is energizing.”
Caroline, a seasoned development professional, has always focused her career on medical institutions. “It’s easy to fundraise when you believe in what you’re doing,” said Caroline, who has been at Columbia University Medical Center overseeing development for the Department of Medicine for the last two years. Her resume also includes positions at Weill Cornell Medical College, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, UCLA Medical Center as well as CUMC.
Caroline became interested in fundraising 15 years ago when she took an administrative coordinator position with the Vice President of Development at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center.
“It was a great introduction for me into the world of development because I had the opportunity to shadow my boss at everything he did,” recalled Caroline of the experience. “I got to be on a lot of calls, I attended the executive meetings. I drafted many of his emails, letters, proposals, I prepared trustee minutes—basically, I had the opportunity to be involved in almost all aspects of his job. In working very closely with the front-row fundraisers, I was able to learn their roles better and understand how they did what they did. And it wasn’t so intimidating anymore. Eventually, I applied for and got a job as a development officer—and I just kept moving up.”
Born and raised in Charlotte, North Carolina (she was a liberal arts major at UVA) Caroline grew up volunteering. “Through my outreach experiences and in college, I gravitated to nonprofit work,” she said. So in 2000 when she found herself in New York working for a dotcom, it didn’t feel quite right. “I couldn’t make a connection between what I was doing and how that could be helpful to anyone except the people I was working for.” Soon after that, she changed career paths.
In addition to the team, she works with at the Berrie Center, Caroline supervisors her own team within the development department at CUMC. “The nice thing about being at Columbia is that everyone is incredibly passionate about what they’re doing,” said Caroline, “For me, it’s pretty humbling and amazing to be working with physicians and researchers who are at the top of their field. It pushes me to do the best job I can possibly do.”
Caroline lives in Manhattan with her husband and their soon-to-be-4-year-old son.