Brandie Conforti

Cues and Views

Global NGO leader Brandie Conforti, in brief.

May 10, 2022
2 Minutes
Brandie Conforti

Home: Boston, MA.  Age: A woman never tells her age 🙂.  Profession: Nonprofit executive. Organization: JA (Junior Achievement) Worldwide.  Title: Global Chief Development Officer. Alma mater: College of the Holy Cross.  

Current project: We are deep into developing a new strategy at JA.  As an organization, we are at an inflection point poised for transformative growth and this new strategy will guide us.  We’ve been around for over 100 years, so surviving and thriving for over a century means innovation is in our DNA. Recent recognition: JA Worldwide, was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize!  Latest accomplishment: Increasing the flexible capital available to our organization over the last five years by over 400%.  Latest contribution to others: I am the Vice Chair of Women’s Money Matters, a Massachusetts woman’s economic empowerment organization.  I also serve on the board of the Association for Enterprise Opportunity which creates economic opportunity for underserved entrepreneurs throughout the United States.  Last book read: How Democracies Die, by Steven Levitsky.  Recently viewed and recommended: I watch Meet the Press literally every Sunday and I think Frontline is perhaps one of the best shows ever.  Recent unique acquisition: I grew up in Rhode Island and have been a lifelong Red Sox fan.  I recently became a season ticket holder.  Best investment ever!

Personality profile: Smart, driven, direct, kind and funny.  Moral compass: My intuition.  How do you define a perfect friendship? My best friend and I have been friends since we were 4.  We don’t see one another often, but no matter how long it has been, it’s always just like we saw each other yesterday.  What is your greatest joy? Landing in a new place for the first time.  What word or phrase do you use far too often? Substantive (I don’t think I use it too much, but my team thinks so!).  What natural talent have you neglected? Writing.  I love to write in any form.  And I do it far too infrequently.  What occupation, other than your own, do you most admire? Scientists.  I’m in awe of what they accomplished during Covid.  What is your favorite place (or way) to spend money? Travel.  Hands down.  What is your go-to workout? I have a Peloton, so I spin.  I also learned yoga during the pandemic and I absolutely love it.  I work out daily to help me keep stress-levels down.  What ingredient is essential to your perfect vacation? The ocean.

What was your first paying job? Summer camp counselor.  It was so much fun being outside all day, every day, in the summer.  What movie have you repeatedly watched? Too many!  For brevity, I’ll say two trilogies: The Godfather and The Hangover 😂.  What’s the best advice you received in your career? Never panic when you are hiring.  When you panic, you make poor choices.  What is your favorite app? FinQuest, a financial capability app my team designed with support from HSBC (my team is amazing, BTW).  What is your go-to source of news and information? The New York Times, Politico, CNN, BBC and as many other non-American sources of news as I can find.  Provides me with a broader view of what is happening in the world.  What is your go-to source of creative inspiration? All kinds of music (except country!).  What personal circumstance has had the greatest influence on your life? Caring for my mom as she navigated Stage 4 lung and brain cancer over the course of ten months before passing away.  This was followed by losing my dad 6 months later.  Those sixteen brutal months taught me so much about my own strength and resilience.  Above all else, it influenced me to approach “everyday” life with a lot more gratitude.

What change are you working on to effect in your profession or field?

Leveling the balance of power between funders and non-profits is critical to achieving real impact and change in the world.  Funders and nonprofits should be partners, equally bringing something to the table.  

What widely held belief do you reject? That people shouldn’t talk about politics.  I believe that talking about politics, and respectfully listening to views different from your own, is critical to a thriving democracy.  What mega-trend most excites you? Trust-based philanthropy.  

Who would you like to spend an evening with, in heaven? Anthony Bourdain.  As a kid, what did you first want to be when you grew up? The President 🙂.  What advice would you give your younger self? Things may not turn out as expected, but everything happens for a reason.

Personal mission: Leveraging philanthropy to achieve the greater good.  Personal motto: We are obligated to leave the world better than we found it.  Favorite quote: “Live life as if everything is rigged in your favor” (Rumi).

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