Q&A with Melanie Kelleher, Director Corporate Relations at Towson University
1. What is your current role at your institution?
I am the Director of Corporate Relations at Towson University (TU). In my role I assist the TU community in securing the philanthropic resources needed to advance strategic objectives across campus. By working with TU’s talented faculty, staff, and students, I establish connections to programs and projects across the institution to create a win-win for the TU community and our corporate funders.
2. How long have you been a NACRO member? (note: feel free to also share why you became a member in the first place.)
I have been a NACRO member for just over a year. I joined in July of 2020. As a corporate relations office of one and new to Higher Ed. I was looking to join an organization of my peers to interact with, discover best practices and discuss challenges. This was especially important last year with the pandemic impacting all aspects of our lives.
3. What do you enjoy most about your NACRO membership? (note: feel free to mention any committees on which you currently or have previously served.)
There are so many aspects of NACRO that I enjoy. The webinars highlighting different topics from collaborations with Career Centers to upping your stewardship game have been extremely beneficial. Both virtual conferences I attended have been very informative and I walked away from each with actionable take-aways. The best part has been meeting people from across the country in a similar role to mine. Whether participating on a committee, I am on the Marketing and Communications Committee, or taking part in the Bootcamp, I have greatly appreciated how everyone is so open and willing to share their successes, challenges, and everything in between. Even though all my interactions have been virtual thus far, I have really felt welcomed into the NACRO community.
4. So far, what has been your greatest Corporate Relations success? What has been your greatest challenge?
My greatest success has been making new connections between Towson University and companies. Building partnerships that create a positive impact for all involved is the most rewarding part of my role. My greatest challenge has been overcoming preconceived perceptions of Towson University. As the fastest growing university in Maryland, we have changed a lot over the years. Raising awareness of TU and the value we offer to the corporate community has become a larger part of my role than anticipated.
5. What’s something about you (a fun fact) that not many people know?
I was an intern at the Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) The BMA is home to the Cone Collection of modern art that includes pieces by Pablo Picasso, Vincent Van Gogh, Paul Cezanne, Edgar Degas and more than 1,000 works by Henri Matisse. What was on display for the public was incredible, but what I enjoyed even more was seeing the “behind the walls” aspect of the museum and being able to view all the amazing artwork that was in storage. This experience generated my love of visiting art museums when traveling. So if you have any favorite museums in your area – let me know and I’ll add them to my list!