Member Profile: Lisa DeBenedictis

Assistant Director of Community Engagement at the Lesley University College of Art and Design

Brief description of who you are professionally w/ concise accomplishments
I first worked in fundraising, specifically in planned giving, focusing on trusts, annuities, and bequest gifts, and later returned to school to earn my Master’s in Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.  Currently, I manage all aspects of the college-level studio art and design classes and programs for high school students at Lesley University. Within my purview, I am responsible for the operations of these programs and oversee all personnel staff including office, residency staff and faculty.
– Why did you join TWT and what are you hoping to achieve as a member of the organization?
I joined TWT while I was in graduate school.  I had previously worked in fundraising and most of my professional contacts at that time were also in fundraising.  TWT provided me with an opportunity to meet professionals across a range of fields and to learn about their work.  As a member, I value that TWT is an active networking group that offers informative professional events and fosters meaningful relationships among members.  I look forward to staying engaged and learning from and being a resource for the accomplished women I have met.

What is one of your most proud professional moments and what are you most looking forward to professionally in the next five years?
One of my proudest professional moments was my first experience overseeing the culminating exhibition of the programs I manage.  This project was a challenge in many respects.  I needed to create a system and sense of order to the exhibition, while also balancing the needs of the individual classes, faculty, and students.  I was also working under a strict deadline.  Although it was gratifying that the exhibition was a success, it was most rewarding to hear from students and their parents at the exhibition that they valued their experience in the programs.  I was proud to know that my work had a direct, positive impact on many students.  In the next five years (and beyond), I am looking forward to continuing to use my skills and experience in support of purposeful work that engages my interests and has a positive impact.

What do you do in your “free” time? Hobbies, Interests….
I enjoy hobbies that keep my mind sharp and my body active. I also seek out opportunities that allow me to learn and engage with interesting people and meaningful causes.  In my free time, you can find me  knitting, reading, and going on nature walks.  I am also an active volunteer for Harvard College, both in support of the fundraising efforts for my class and in mentoring current students and recent graduates.

I ultimately aim to bring my best self to whatever I do, and my three leading core values that guide this are:
Integrity: Being truthful and genuine with others and with oneself. I value authenticity and building strong relationships with others who, although perhaps may be different from me in many ways, share this value.
Hard work: Putting in the time, effort, and energy to ensure work is done well and responsibilities are fulfilled. The projects I have worked on that demanded the most of me were also often the most rewarding because they presented challenges and expanded my knowledge and skills to a higher level.
Perspective: Not losing sight of the big picture and what is important. Also striving to understand and respect the perspectives of others, even if I do not agree with them.  This value has helped me be a more effective leader, manager, and mentor of others.

-Fun Fact/What makes YOU, you?
I am a perpetual learner.  Outside work, I have taken language classes, art and design classes, and have even learned tai chi.  It is fun to be a novice and to keep an open mind to new experiences.