Suzanne joined The Nature Conservancy of Kentucky as the Major Gifts Manager in October 2010. Prior to joining the Conservancy, she spent eight years as the Advancement Services Coordinator within Kentucky State University’s Development Department. Suzanne is a 2001 graduate of Midway College, where she earned her bachelors in English Literature. As Major Gifts Manager, Suzanne oversees prospect and gift tracking, prospect research, marketing initiatives, TNC special events and lends overall support to the Conservancy’s philanthropy efforts in Kentucky.
Nature.org: Have you always had an interest in conservation?
Suzanne Crockett: I have fond memories of a childhood spent exploring the hills and creeks of rural southeastern Kentucky, looking for treasures such as shells and rocks. My parents were great teachers. From an early age, I was taught the importance of conservation and the kinship humans must have with the earth and its creatures in order to be responsible stewards. From working with my father and mother in our garden as a child to taking in and rehabilitating wild “critters” found abandoned around our property, the message was clear from a very early age: Take care of the Earth and she will provide for you. I try to live by that lesson to this day.
Nature.org: How did your career path lead to working with The Nature Conservancy?
Suzanne Crockett: My first job out of college happened to be in Kentucky State University’s Development Department. Over a period of eight years, I handled general administrative work as well as direct development and fundraising responsibilities. I had great teachers who taught me the nuances of a successful fundraising operation – skills which served me well when I began looking for a way to combine my passion for environmental conservation with my professional experience in fundraising and development systems management. When the position of Major Gifts Manager became available at the Conservancy, I jumped at the opportunity!
Nature.org: What projects have your focus right now?
Suzanne Crockett: While I learn the ropes, I’m working on ways to utilize my experience in development services to expand upon the existing processes and initiatives the Conservancy has in place to track and monitor fundraising projects. I’m also assisting with the initiation of a corporate council in an effort to establish stronger partnerships with businesses having an interest in environmental conservation and stewardship.
Nature.org: What do you hope to tackle over the next couple of years?
Suzanne Crockett: The way people communicate with one another has changed dramatically. Our philanthropy team is working to revolutionize the way we communicate with the Conservancy’s membership and donors in Kentucky. Over the next couple of years, my hope is that we move from paper-based marketing initiatives to digital marketing through our website, social media and email communications. Not only will it allow us to touch more people more often, it saves money that can then be used in other areas and reduces paper waste and transportation impact.
Suzanne grows organic fruits and vegetables in her backyard since it is healthier than what can be found in a grocery store. Watching the process from seed to fruit gives her a stronger connection with the Earth. For those she meets who do not have time or inclination to get their hands dirty, Suzanne is quick to point them in the direction of supporting local farmers through Community Supported Agriculture programs (known as CSA’s) as an alternative.