The Birthplace of Apra

2020 Conference Speakers


Helen Brown is president of The Helen Brown Group LLC, a fundraising intelligence consulting firm based in Watertown, Massachusetts. She is co-author of the book, Prospect Research for Fundraisers; the essential handbook (Wiley). Helen is a past board member and longtime volunteer for both Apra and NEDRA. She is Special Advisor on Fundraising to the board of the North American Foundation for the University of Manchester, and a Fellow of the Royal Society for Arts & Manufactures (RSA) in London. She is a former non-executive director of The Factary Ltd., a prospect research consultancy in Bristol, England. Helen was honored to receive the NEDRA Ann Castle Award for service to the prospect research community in 2006 and the APRA Distinguished Service Award in 2017. 


Katie Fanning is a St. Louis-based prospect research and data aficionado. She began her prospect research career at the Art Institute of Chicago. In 2017, she joined the research staff at University of Chicago, where she specialized in international prospecting with a focus on Europe and the Middle East. She is currently the prospect research and data manager for the Missouri Botanical Garden.



Jessica Balsam is the Senior Director, Prospect Development at the University of Washington. She is past president of Apra-NW and the recipient of the Apra Professional of the Year award in 2016. Her 15 years in nonprofits have included positions in the arts, in small higher-ed orgs, and as a board member for several small nonprofits.


Jen Filla is President of Aspire Research Group LLC and CEO of the Prospect Research Institute. Deeply committed to advancing philanthropy and the fundraising profession, Jen is co-author of Prospect Research for Fundraisers: The Essential Handbook, part of the AFP-Wiley Fund Development Series and has authored numerous prospect research workbooks. She has also served as a volunteer and trustee for numerous organizations over the years including The Center Foundation and Habitat for Humanity of Delaware County, Pennsylvania. Jen is a member of the Association of Professional Researchers for Advancement (APRA) and the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), serving on both local chapter boards. She received a B.S. from Neumann University.

Not Pictured



Moderator: Joe Gonzales is the Director of Prospect Development at International Rescue Committee




Panelist: Rodger Devine is the Associate Dean of External Affairs for Strategy & Innovation at the University of Southern California

Panelist: Chandra Montgomery is the Director of Grateful Patient Pipeline and Data Management at the University of Southern California 




Panelist: Kevin Vollmers is the Director of Leadership Gifts at Augsburg University. His fundraising career started nearly twenty years ago in Washington, DC. at the George Washington University. During that time period he has intentionally worked with/for numerous nonprofit organizations and projects lead by individuals from marginalized communities. He and his partner live in Minneapolis with their three children.



Panelist: Divah Yap is currently director of the data & analytics team at the University of Minnesota Foundation. She supports projects in the areas of campaign analytics, goal forecasting, text analytics, and predictive modeling. Divah is a former Apra Minnesota board member. She holds a BA in statistics and Diploma in industrial engineering both from the University of the Philippines, and a Master of statistics from the University of Minnesota.


More information about our speakers coming soon!

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