A native Saint Louisan, Colleen Watermon is thrilled to be working intimately with her community as she joins the Gephardt Institute as Director of Development. In this position, she works closely with Peter G. Sortino Director Stephanie Kurtzman and other institute staff, University Advancement, and the broader Washington University community of alumni, parents, and friends to support new and existing fundraising efforts that advance the Gephardt Institute’s mission. Colleen splits her time at work in three ways: “sustaining donors, finding new donors, and looking at the data of the current donors and trying to steward them into larger donors.” She works with donors at all levels, recognizing that every contribution matters.
Without a doubt, Colleen is devoted to her hometown. Although she left St. Louis for college, she quickly moved back after graduation: “I’m like most St. Louisans—after we leave, we find our way back.” As she raises her son in the Clayton neighborhood, Colleen is determined to explore a variety of avenues in which she can connect with the community at large. She also expressed her anticipation and excitement “for the change coming our way under our new Chancellor, Andrew Martin. I think it’s a very exciting time to be ‘in St. Louis and for St. Louis,’ and to focus attention locally while also fostering the university’s national and international impact.”
As a fundraising board member of the Clayton Community Foundation, Colleen enthusiastically embodies her perspective on what civic engagement means: actively giving back. While she greatly values the importance of a single vote, she also believes that being actively engaged and contributing to St. Louis empowers her to make change possible. For example, she can “actually have a say in little things, like whether or not my garbage is picked up.” In addition to considering day-to-day life and services in her neighborhood, Colleen always looks forward to “adopting” a family in need during the holidays and finding opportunities to support more people in the area.
Though she began her career in political fundraising and shared several mutual friends with former Congressman Richard Gephardt, Colleen always felt drawn to work in the realm of higher education. “I have always wanted to come to WashU—but not until I could find the appropriate place for me. I wanted to raise money for something I truly believed in.” The more information she gleaned about the Gephardt Institute, the more she was determined to become a part of it and apply her extensive experience as a professional fundraiser.
In her free time, Colleen can either be found at the gym after work or attending her son’s sports games, where she gets “way too competitive for him being nine years old.” Her favorite movie is The Shawshank Redemption, and she enjoys escaping into a world of fiction in books written by her favorite author, Jennifer Wiener. If in search of local Italian restaurant recommendations, Colleen has you covered.
Lighthearted in her work and genuinely passionate about the St. Louis community, Colleen aims to “really change the world, to give back.” “Still,” she admits, “changing the world, giving, and creating all realistically demand money.” With commitment and enthusiasm, she will engage Gephardt Institute alumni, parents, and friends in investing in our mission.
To discuss your interest in the Gephardt Institute, please contact Colleen at (314) 935-9221 or firstname.lastname@example.org.