Helen Brown Group
Tara began working in the development field in 2002 at Simmons College in Boston, where she was hired as a major gifts and development research assistant and ultimately went on to serve as Assistant Director of Prospect Research. Later in her career, she worked as a Senior Research Analyst at MIT, as Associate Director of Prospect Management & Research at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and as Director of Development Research at Combined Jewish Philanthropies (CJP).
Tara originally joined The Helen Brown Group in 2007 as a Research Associate and ShareTraining Coordinator. She rejoined the Group as a Senior Researcher in 2013, and has since gone on to serve as Assistant Director of Research and Consulting; Assistant Director & Data Insight Lead; Associate Director of Research and Consulting; and Director, Research & Consulting, her current role.
She has also been an active volunteer with NEDRA for many years. From 2010-2016, she served on NEDRA’s Board of Directors and was Vice President, Secretary, Editor of NEDRA News, and Chair of the Website & Technology and Volunteer Committees. Since 2020, Tara has been a member of NEDRA’s Research Basics Bootcamp faculty, co-teaching a tri-annual course on the essentials of prospect research. In the past, she was also a volunteer with Apra International, serving stints on the Membership Committee, Chapters Committee, and Bylaws Task Force.
In 2022, Tara received NEDRA’s Ann Castle Award, which acknowledges outstanding effort or achievement in the field of development research and related fields.
She earned a B.A. degree in fine arts, education, and psychology from Smith College.
Tara joined The Helen Brown Group in 2007.
Prior to joining The Helen Brown Group, Michelle served as Director of Prospect Research at the University of Oklahoma Foundation, where she worked with the leadership team to build out the Prospect Research & Strategy team. She started her career in development in 2008 at the Texas Tech University School of Law as the Alumni Relations Coordinator, working with the Alumni Relations Director and the Director of Development. In 2010, Michelle moved to the Texas Tech University System and into the Prospect Development field as a Senior Research Specialist in the Office of Research & Prospect Management. She also served in the roles of Associate Director of Research and Prospect Management and Chief Analyst.
Michelle is a member-at-large of Apra-North Texas and is a member of Apra International and CASE. She received a BA in Sociology and teacher certification from Texas Tech in 2001 and 2007, respectively.
Michelle joined The Helen Brown Group in 2022.
Christine began her career in development in 2014 as a senior prospect research analyst at the Museum of Science in Boston. Since then, she has served as the data and research analyst for Connecticut Children’s Medical Center and as assistant director of research and prospect management at Facing History and Ourselves. Beginning in 2020, Christine worked as a freelance researcher and writer before joining The Helen Brown Group.
She earned her bachelor of arts in English from Boston University in 2010 and her master’s degree in library science from Rutgers University in 2013.
Christine joined The Helen Brown Group in 2022.
Chelsea began her career in development and alumni relations in 2019 as a Constituent Engagement Specialist at Rice University. After working closely with the prospect research and analysis team for two years, she shifted her focus from alumni engagement to research.
She is a member of the New England Development Research Association (NEDRA).
Chelsea has a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology and Policy Studies from Rice University.
She joined The Helen Brown Group in 2022.
Jessica began her career in development in 2010 as a prospect researcher for the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), culminating her tenure there as manager of prospect management. In 2016, she joined The Juilliard School as associate director of research and prospect management and went on to serve as director of prospect research at Holy Name Medical Center in Teaneck, New Jersey.
Jessica received her BM with a concentration in the music industry from James Madison University and her MBA from William Paterson University.
Avery began their career in development in 2019. They previously worked as an Administrative Assistant at the Massachusetts Audubon Society, and worked with donor data across the statewide Development Department.
Avery joined The Helen Brown Group in 2022.
Before joining the Helen Brown Group, Maura created a prospect research and management program at the Rochester Area Community Foundation. She was part of a team of fundraisers that successfully completed the Foundation’s first-ever campaign to increase unrestricted endowment. Maura began her career in research and development in 2011 at Our Lady of Mercy School for Young Women as part of a capital campaign leadership team.
She received a BA in English Literature from St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York, and an MS in Education from Nazareth College in Rochester, New York.
Maura joined the Helen Brown Group in 2022.
Debbi’s first position in prospect research was at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Since then, she has worked in the field for various organizations, including the Morgan Library & Museum. A past director-at-large of Apra GNY, Debbi also has worked as a public librarian for the New York Public Library and in marketing for Queens Library.
She earned a master’s degree in English from Fordham University.
Debbi joined the Helen Brown Group in 2022.
Susan has worked in the nonprofit sector in development and administration for nearly 20 years, working with arts/culture and economic development organizations. She entered the field of prospect research in 2015 while working at Samford University, where she was a member of an advancement team that raised both the largest amount to date through a campaign and the largest gift in the history of the university.
She is a member of Apra International, and earned a BA in Merchandising from the University of Montevallo.
Susan joined the Helen Brown Group in 2022.
After several years working in the museum membership and development worlds, Anne entered the prospect research field in 2018 when she joined the research team at the University of Puget Sound. A researcher by nature, Anne loves the thrill of the informational hunt, connecting the dots between data and people, and curating opportunities for altruistic change. She is a past board member for Apra Northwest and a two-time graduate of the University of Washington, having earned a B.A. in History and Public Health and an M.A. in Museology.
Anne joined the Helen Brown Group in 2023.
Melissa Bank Stepno has worked in the fundraising and development fields for more than two decades, spending the majority of her time consulting with non-profit organizations on using wealth screenings, predictive modeling and other analytics to drive prospecting efforts and strategic decision making. She previously worked for Blackbaud, Boston University and Boston Ballet. She also serves as an instructor for the Rice University Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership.
As a frequent speaker at industry events and contributor to white papers and articles, Melissa’s areas of interest include the effective use of data and analytics to drive fundraising growth, the impact of high-net-worth philanthropy on major giving programs, and developing best practices for prospect research and prospect management.
Based in NH, Melissa is currently serving in her final year on the Apra board, having led the organization as President from 2021-2022. Melissa has also served on the boards of NEDRA, AFP NNE, and the Brandeis University Alumni Association. Melissa received NEDRA’s Ann Castle Award in 2021, which acknowledges outstanding effort or achievement in the field of development research or related fields.
Melissa received a BA degree from Brandeis University and master’s degrees in both Arts Administration and Higher Education Administration from Boston University.
Melissa joined The Helen Brown Group in 2023.
Helen has been a development professional since 1987. Her previous experience includes The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the Albert Einstein Institution, Boston College, the Harvard School of Public Health and Northeastern University.
Currently she works with a variety of clients to establish, benchmark and re-align research departments; identify major gift prospects; and train researchers and other fundraisers through on-site and web-based training services.Helen is a former member of the board of the Association of Professional Researchers for Advancement (APRA) and is past president of the New England Development Research Association (NEDRA). In 2006 she received the NEDRA Ann Castle Award for service to the prospect research community.
Helen is Special Advisor on Fundraising to the North American Foundation for the University of Manchester and is a member of the board of directors of Factary Ltd. (Bristol, UK). She is a member of NEDRA, APRA, the Association of Independent Information Professionals (AIIP), Women In Development, the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) and Researchers in Fundraising (UK).
Helen is a frequent speaker and has led seminars for a number of professional associations, including Action Planning, AFP, APRA, the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), NEDRA, RIF, the Planned Giving Council of Central Massachusetts, the Georgia Center on Nonprofits, the International Fundraising Congress and Resource Alliance.
Helen is also co-author (with Jen Filla) of the book, Prospect Research for Fundraisers (Wiley & Sons, 2013).
Heather began her career in 2002 as a prospect research coordinator for the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and then moved to Carroll College in 2004. In 2005, she began working on her own as a freelancer and eventually started her own consulting firm, Willis Research Services, in 2007.
Heather is a member of Apra and the Montana Nonprofit Association.
She joined The Helen Brown Group in 2012.
Jennifer began her career in development at her alma mater, Wheaton College, where she was an administrative assistant for the major gifts department.
She is a member of Apra and NEDRA.
Jennifer earned a master’s degree in library science from the Southern Connecticut State University in May 2009.
She joined The Helen Brown Group in 2008.
Prior to joining the Helen Brown Group, Lucy previously worked as a consultant for nonprofit organizations, as a prospect researcher for the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA), and as a librarian for two of the five Alamo Community Colleges. Prior to her work with non-profits, her career was in Advertising and Marketing Communications.
Lucy previously served as Membership Director for the Central Texas Chapter of Apra and is a member of Apra International.
She earned a bachelor’s degree in Art with a minor in Music from Texas A&M University Corpus Christi, a master’s degree in Library Science from Texas Woman’s University, and a master’s degree in Communication Studies from St. Mary’s University.
Lucy joined The Helen Brown Group in February 2022.
Heather began her career in development in 2001 as a prospect researcher for National Wildlife Federation (NWF). She was with NWF for more than thirteen years, including nearly five years as director of research and analytics.
Heather is a former secretary of the board of directors of APRA-Metro DC.
She joined The Helen Brown Group in 2014.
Angie began her career in development in 1999 at Virginia Tech in Corporate and Foundation Relations and later in prospect research at the University of Connecticut Foundation. Her past experience also includes grants management at the University of South Carolina, program evaluation for South Carolina Research Authority, and human resources analysis for Nissan North America. She returned to development in 2007 and worked in various prospect research positions at Vanderbilt University, including as Associate Director. She was named Director for Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s research office in 2015.
Angie is a graduate of the University of Tennessee at Martin.
She joined The Helen Brown Group in 2016.
In March 2017, Kristina joined the Helen Brown Group as a Research Associate. Before joining HBG, she was the Research Manager at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn and an Associate Manager of Prospect Research at City Harvest, a food rescue organization. Kristina started her non-profit career as a legal assistant at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2004.
She is a member of Apra and Apra Greater New York and she was Apra Greater New York’s Director of Programming from June 2014 to May 2016.
Kristina graduated from The University of Chicago and the Bard Graduate Center.
She joined The Helen Brown Group in 2017.
After a decade of working as an academic librarian, Karla began her career in development in 2008. She served as a Prospect Research Specialist at St. Olaf College, a Prospect Research Analyst at Feeding America, and a Prospect Information Analyst at Northwestern University.
She earned her bachelor’s degree in English and her master’s degree in Library Science from Wayne State University.
Karla joined The Helen Brown Group in 2021.
Maureen has been a part of the non-profit world since 1991. She started out in annual giving at Harvard Law School and continued her career as director of annual/special gifts at UC Santa Cruz.
In 1999, Maureen made the switch from front-line fundraising to serve as director of prospect research/management at Bentley University and in 2001 began her role as administrator for the North American Foundation for the University of Manchester.
She joined The Helen Brown Group in 2011.
Kenny is a senior consultant and a member of the Data Insight team at The Helen Brown Group. He has more than 20 years of experience working in prospect development and research. Prior to joining The Helen Brown Group, Kenny was the director of donor and prospect research at the United Way of Massachusetts Bay.
He is a member of Apra and NEDRA.
Kenny is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.
He joined The Helen Brown Group in 2006.
Michele began her career in development in 2012 as a Development Analyst with the University of California, Berkeley Corporate and Foundation Relations team. She went on to serve as a Prospect Analyst at the University of California, Davis and then as a Senior Prospect Analyst at the George Washington University.
Michele has been a member of NEDRA, Apra Florida, and Apra International, and previously served as the Social Media Chair for Apra Metro DC.
She received her B.A. in creative writing from Florida State University and studied higher education leadership at California State University, Sacramento.
Michele joined The Helen Brown Group in 2018.
David began his career in development at The Gunnery school in northwest Connecticut in 2011, where he worked in database management and prospect research. Subsequently, he joined the College of Saint Rose as a development research analyst before leading Albany Medical Center Foundation’s prospect research efforts as Associate Director of Prospect Research.
David is a member of Apra and CASE.
He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology from Siena College.
David joined The Helen Brown Group in 2018.
Jayme began her career in development in 2008 at the Rutgers University Foundation, where she spent the next seven years, first in prospect management and then prospect research. She spent several years at Monmouth University as their senior prospect research analyst, working with the fundraising staff, university president, and top leadership.
Jayme has worked as both a volunteer and consultant for non-profits in the areas of research and writing. She is a member of APRA-NY, Apra International, and serves on Apra’s Online Content Committee.
She earned a bachelor of arts degree from Drew University and a master of communication and information sciences from Rutgers University.
Jayme joined The Helen Brown Group in 2019.
Kelly began her career in development in 2008 as an administrative assistant in Major Gifts at Wheaton College. In 2010, she became a research analyst at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in the Division of Development & Jimmy Fund as part of the prospect identification team.
Kelly joined The Helen Brown Group in 2013.
Mandi has worked in prospect research and management since 2006. She began her development career as a research analyst in development research at City of Hope, an NCI-designated comprehensive cancer center in Los Angeles. From there, Mandi became the manager of prospect development at Huntington Memorial Hospital, a community hospital in Pasadena, CA. Most recently, she was the associate director of prospect research and management at Occidental College, a private liberal arts college in LA.
Mandi has a BA degree in print journalism from Southern Methodist University and a master’s degree of library and information science from UCLA.
She joined the Helen Brown Group in 2019.
Prior to joining The Helen Brown Group, Rick was director of research at St. Paul’s School in Concord, New Hampshire. He has worked in development since 1996, both in prospect research and major gifts fundraising. Other past experience includes the University of Vermont and Phillips Exeter Academy.
He is past president of NEDRA and is a member of and frequent volunteer for Apra.
Rick joined The Helen Brown Group in 2005.
Grace began her career in development in 2001 as Executive Assistant to the Chief Development Officer with Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), a Harvard Medical School-affiliated academic medical center. In 2003, she became a prospect researcher for the BWH principal and major gifts team and spent the next 11 years in various research positions with BWH, culminating as Assistant Director of Prospect Research.
Josh began his career in development as the Phonathon Coordinator at Keene State College. He then worked at non-profit consulting firm Schultz & Williams in Philadelphia. Josh started his research career at the University of Pennsylvania as a Research Assistant in 2005. He then moved over to the Wharton School of Business, where he became the Associate Director, Research and Prospect Management.
Josh is also a Colorado licensed Realtor and graduate of Lehigh University.
He joined The Helen Brown Group in 2016.
Viola Henning has been working in the nonprofit sector for over 20 years, with over 13 years specializing in prospect research, most recently for Yellowstone National Park’s official fundraising and education partner. She has worked for nonprofits in human services, animal care, education, arts/culture, and the environment. Viola began her career as a nonprofit generalist, learning all aspects of nonprofit operation, before becoming a specialist that built/solely managed prospect research programs to support nonprofit fundraising. She serves on the board of directors of her local cultural center where she is chair of the fundraising committee.
Viola holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration with a concentration in Nonprofit Management.
She joined The Helen Brown Group in 2021.
Monique began her career in 2012 as a prospect researcher for Hampshire College. She then moved into Institutional Research,
most recently for Amherst College.
Monique holds a Master of Arts in Sociology from Memorial University of Newfoundland.
Most recently Steve was the Assistant Director of NYC Mayor’s Office of Data Analytics (MODA). Here, he provided guidance and supervision to the Office’s data scientists and analytic portfolio. As the City’s center for data analytic excellence, he regularly interacted with City leadership, other Mayor’s Offices, City agencies, and NYC’s data science community.
Previously, he was the Director of Development Analytics and Strategy at Jazz at Lincoln Center (JALC) producing reporting and analysis needs for senior leadership. Before JALC, he joined the ACLU as the Prospect Research Analyst working with the Principal Gifts team in the national office at the beginning of the Trump administration.
In a previous life he pursued academia as a doctoral fellow at Rutgers University, focusing his research on labor relations, intimacy, and visual sociology. When the time allowed, he taught various courses on social inequality, social research, and the sociology of emotions.
He received a bachelor’s degree in psychology from SUNY at Old Westbury, a master’s degree in sociology from St. John’s University, and a second master’s degree in media studies from CUNY at Brooklyn College. He currently sits on the board of the New York State Coalition Against Domestic Violence, served as a director of APRAGNY, served on Apra committees, and was co-host of a now defunct podcast on prospect research.
He is a fan of video games, gummy bears, and history.
Steve joined The Helen Brown Group in 2021.
Kendra previously worked in hospitality management for a decade – she now supports the HBG team as Operations Manager.
Kendra joined The Helen Brown Group in 2019.
Josh began his career in development as the Phonathon Coordinator at Keene State College. He then worked at non-profit consulting firm Schultz & Williams in Philadelphia. He started his research career at the University of Pennsylvania as a Research Assistant in 2005 and then moved over to the Wharton School of Business, where he became the Associate Director, Research and Prospect Management.
He joined the Helen Brown Group in 2016.
David’s career in prospect research began in 2009, as a graduate research assistant at the Shippensburg University Foundation. In 2011, He became a development researcher for the University of Virginia. In 2015, David became assistant director of prospect research at the University of Baltimore, serving for 3 years. Recently, he was the director of development for Trees Forever. David Joined the Helen Brown Group as a research assistant in January 2020. He earned a B.A. in Theater at Indiana University of Pennsylvania and a M.A. in Applied History at Shippensburg University. David is a member of APRA and APRA Great Plains.
Julie has managed finances for The Helen Brown Group since its founding.
In her spare time, she is an editor for the PBS series Masterpiece at WGBH. Julie was nominated twice for an Emmy award for her work on the PBS show Zoom.
Angie has worked in development since 2002, partnering with a wide range of nonprofit institutions. She began her professional career at Vanderbilt University in research and prospect development.
She has also worked with a number of community nonprofits in front-line fundraising, grant-writing, and event management. Angie holds an MPA in Nonprofit Management from the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy and a BS in Journalism from Middle Tennessee State University. She resides in Nashville, Tennessee, and is a member of AFP Nashville and APRA MidSouth, where she has been active on the executive team.
She joined The Helen Brown Group in October 2015.