Facilitators of UMSN: Angela Cao

At the University of Michigan School of Nursing we believe success is a collective endeavor. We celebrate the unique talent and drive that propels our students and faculty to achieve as scholars as we recognize the skilled network of staff who support them along the way. 

"Facilitators of UMSN" is a series that will spotlight some of the 118 staff members at UMSN who use their expertise to help members of the UMSN community work towards their goals as scholars, educators, and nurses. We hope you learn more about these talented and dedicated people through this series.

UMSN Facilitator: Angela Cao

Senior associate director of development

Hometown: Columbus, OH

Joined UMSN in October, 2017

What is the end product of all the work you do in your role in development at UMSN?

Strong philanthropic relationships with our alumni and donors to the school.

What are some of the most important things you’re trying to accomplish day-to-day?

I spend my time reaching out to a lot of alumni. I try to set up face-to-face meetings so I can spend some time with them, hear their story, hear what their plans are, and how they would like to give back to the school. I try to parlay what they want to do with what we have available to see if we can find a match and make that connection.

How can everyone that is part of the UMSN community help move those connections forward?

I think everyone at the School of Nursing has a role in development because everyone is a face for the school. Everyone represents the school when they interact with people, and so has a role in cultivating relationships or serving as a connector. We’re all in development together. So everyone plays a role just by doing their jobs well.

How is nursing development different than your previous experiences as a development professional?

This is my first foray into higher education development. The wonderful thing about working at the School of Nursing is that I have such an affinity for nursing. I have two nieces that are nurses and family members that interact with nurses or are nurses so it’s near and dear to my heart. Prior to this I worked in development for smaller nonprofits. Development itself isn’t really different, it’s building relationships with people and trying to align an opportunity with their philanthropic interests.

What are some of the differences between higher education and nonprofits?

In a major gifts position in higher education, the main priority is bringing in major gifts. In a smaller nonprofit, you are dealing with everything from stewardship to annual giving, to trying to keep the lights on. When it comes to the university you’re dealing with long-term giving, gifts that will sustain the School of Nursing for years to come. You deal with the perpetual and forever.

What does a successful year look like for you?

A successful year for me would be meeting with a large number of alumni face to face, and closing a lot of gifts, if I can be so bold, and learning a lot about our people.

What’s the most rewarding part of your job?

Definitely the interaction with donors and alumni. Having those conversations, I just cherish them so much. I have strong relationships with some of the donors that I worked with in my previous job and they are very special to me.

Outside of your immediate working group, who do you find yourself working with often at UMSN?

I work with Marketing and Communications, the faculty with projects that are looking for funding, and Student Success in the undergraduate office.

What questions do you get asked often by people you visit with as a development officer?

The questions I get more are: what are the dean’s priorities, and what are the new things happening now at the school? I also get asked a lot about football tickets (she laughs).