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7 Things About LizaDawn Ramirez

What inspired you to do this kind of work?

During my last semester of grad school, I interned in the public affairs department of a local TV station. I was a production assistant and one of my primary duties was to find non-profits to feature in the station’s community affairs segment. When I graduated, I was presented with two job opportunities: one in non-profit fundraising and one in TV programming. The non-profits I was introduced to through Bay Area people inspired me to want to serve my community. I chose to be a fundraiser because I’m passionate about introducing people to philanthropy and fostering a culture of giving back and paying it forward.

What is your position here and how long have you worked at O’Dowd?

I’m the Director of Alumni Engagement and Philanthropy. I’m in my 4th year.

What is the best piece of advice you ever received (generally – it doesn’t have to be related to O’Dowd)?

It’s so simple but sometimes remarkably difficult, particularly in a moment of frustration or anger: Treat others how you want to be treated.

What is your favorite thing about your job? I love talking with alumni. It’s interesting to learn about an alum’s experience at O’Dowd and what s/he has been up to since graduation. It’s probably stating the obvious, but we have phenomenal alumni who are doing extraordinary things in our community, either through their profession or volunteer work. I feel blessed that it’s part of my job to learn and then share with fellow alums all the good work they’re doing. I also enjoy hearing why alumni decide to financially support O’Dowd. With so many worthy causes, I love hearing why they feel connected to the school through the years and helping alums build an even stronger connection to their alma mater.

What about your field or position do you think would surprise people the most?

Most people who find out I’m a fundraiser but aren’t fundraisers themselves tell me they could never do what I do. I think they could! It’s all a matter of how you think about it. The definition of philanthropy is the desire to promote the welfare of others, expressed especially by the generous donation of money to good causes. As a development officer, you’re not asking for money to benefit yourself, you’re asking people to support a cause or movement that helps other people in their community. When you’re passionate about what an institution does, it’s fulfilling to help fund its mission.

What is the most interesting or surprising thing about you?

What might be surprising is that, even though I’m an extrovert, I don’t enjoy large crowds. I’m also a bit of a homebody.

If you could rescue only one thing from your burning office, what would it be?

My iPhone. I’m dismayed by how dependent I am on it! But it keeps me organized.

Bonus Questions

What is your favorite kind of music/what are your favorite bands?

I like music from the 60s (Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Dean Martin, Nat King Cole) because it reminds me of my parents and 90s music (Green Day, Nirvana, 311, No Doubt) because it reminds me of my college years.

What is your favorite sports team or who is your favorite individual athlete?

I don’t follow sports too closely, but was influenced by my dad and now my husband to always root for our local sports teams. I’m a Bay Area kid, born and raised!

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