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Career Counseling Panel - Interview with Frank Shannon, Valerie Pletcher and Dan Moraczewski on the Petrus Development Show

In this episode, Josh Whelan, Petrus Vice President, moderates the Career Counseling Panel with panelists: Frank Shannon, Valerie Pletcher and Dan Moraczewski. These three outstanding panelists have a combined 60 years experience in fundraising for the Catholic and non-profit sector and share great insights into the philanthropy world and the development career path. This interview originally took place during the Petrus Virtual Conference 2020.

Show Notes:

Introducing the Panelist -

Frank Shannon – Executive Director of Development at St. Mary’s Catholic Center in College Station, TX

Valerie Pletcher – Sr. Philanthropy Officer, Mid-Atlantic and Europe at FOCUS

Dan Moraczewski – Sr. Consultant at Petrus Development

Josh Whelan – Vice President at Petrus Development, Moderator


Questions asked during the Career Counseling Panel:

  • What is the difference between working for Catholic campus ministry development vs outside of Catholic campus ministry either in higher education or another non-profit?


  • What you think are the skill sets and skills necessary for young development officers – what skills make them most successful?
    • Passion for the ministry
    • Willingness and dedication to setting appointments
    • Willingness to learn and teach
    • Able to do the work everyday – stamina


  • Is a masters degree in philanthropy, or the like, helpful for your career?
    • Ton of useful education out there that is helpful, but do not limit yourself if you don’t have the degree or certificate. Can always pursue more education as you find out what you don’t know.
    • It helps in your career but it’s not a requirement
    • Can see a difference in how you think and find solutions.
    • Find yourself a mentor


  • What are some accomplishments you look for during interviews in those looking for the next step in their career?
    • Number of relationships they’ve built up and contacts they’ve created
    • Dollars growth every year
    • Skills you need in the office
    • Have they had a key role in a successful fundraising endeavor?
    • What are you doing additionally: volunteering time, skills growth, mentor – how are you actively trying to grow your skills?


  • Sometimes you find yourself in a position and you don’t know if it’s a good job or a bad job or how to navigate?
    • Is the CEO or executive director a fundraiser – are they willing to advocate on behalf of the organization you’re trying to fund-raise for?
    • Prayer and a mentor to be able to go to and speak with
    • Be in prayer
    • Is the job a fit with your career aspirations? Do you fit with the culture/environment of the organization? What is the chemistry with your boss like?
    • A good boss is better than a good job


Andrew’s Take-Aways:

  1. If you have a passion for this work, you can go a long way.
  2. The need to consider your career. You need to have a plan, sit down and think about what your path will look like. What do you need to be doing now to pursue those opportunities?
  3. The importance of having a good boss. Interview your boss as much as they interview you.

Action Item:

Write down your ideal career plan. Having a plan will give you direction and allow you to pursue the path with intentionality.


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