Spotlight on Humanities Alumni: Laura Fixler

Name: Laura Fixler
Age: 29
Occupation: Nonprofits Fundraising and Marketing Consultant
Education (UR and additional): B.A. in History, University of Rochester, 2005; Certificate in Nonprofit Management, University of Washington.
Current city/state of residence: Seattle, WA
Community activities: Founding member of Dining for Women Chapter in Seattle, volunteer at Community in Schools Seattle, WA Trails Association, Treehouse for Kids and Seattle Works. Exploring the magnificent Northwest by snowboard, snowshoe and hiking boot every chance I get.

When and how did you choose your major?

I declared my major during my sophomore year.  After considering a handful of other disciplines, I chose to major in History- a subject that I was very interested in and one that would also afford me the opportunity to do a lot of writing, research and to study abroad.

What activities were you involved in as a student, and what did you gain from them?

I was a member of the Varsity Softball team for two years and a member of Phi Sigma Sigma Sorority.  Both gave me the chance to learn to balance work and fun and to manage a sometimes demanding schedule.  Over five years after graduation, my sorority sisters are still some of the very best friends I have.

What did you do immediately after graduation? How did you decide to take that path?

I saved some money and moved to Seattle to give the West Coast a try and to pursue a career in the nonprofit sector.  My passion is people and relationships, and I wanted a job that would be challenging and rewarding.  I didn’t have a lot of experience or direction beyond that, so I kept my options open and applied for a wide variety of positions.

What do you do now and why did you choose this career?

I have been with Benevon, where I got my first job in Seattle, for six years.  I train and coach nonprofit organizations to build systems for finding and building relationships with individual donors.  Our mission is one I have grown to be extremely passionate about, and my position really draws on things that I have discovered I’m quite good at, like group facilitation and public speaking.  I started here in an entry level administrative position and knew I wanted to stay, so I learned everything I could, took every opportunity to take on something new, and eventually worked my way up to a senior position in the company.

What advice do you have for current students?

Enjoy every minute because it will be over in a heartbeat.  Make connections and network while you are in school.  Get to know your professors, take internships (even if they are unpaid), volunteer or get a part time job in a field you are interested in.  Study abroad!  Don’t expect to have it all figured out when you are done.  If you don’t know what you want to do, just do something.  You’ll either like it or it will bring you one step closer to what you want to be doing.