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Jennifer Jeffries

Director of advancement - College of Education

Jennifer Jeffries

What do you do at Purdue?

As the director of advancement for the College of Education, I am part of a team of three that is responsible for the fundraising, alumni relations and communication functions of the college. Our work is about creating and maintaining relationships between the college, our alumni and others who are passionate about education and educational research. Our college is unique to Purdue in that our faculty, staff and students are predominantly female. I am surrounded by women who are doing good and important work. One of my most fulfilling responsibilities is helping women learn about philanthropy: how they can find purpose and empowerment through philanthropy and make a tremendous impact in areas that matter to them.

Which woman has inspired you most? Why?

Remarkably, I have always been surrounded by a circle of strong, articulate women. My father died in 1970 when I was 9, so I grew up watching my mother persevere against policies and practices that weren't friendly to single women. I had a front-row seat from which to observe the need for equal rights -- and how to petition for those rights in a gracious, yet dogged, manner. From my mother, three sisters and elementary school teachers in my foundational years, to college professors, co-workers, supervisors and colleagues as I came into adulthood, I have always been in a place to learn from and be motivated by strong women.

Purdue provides another resource for inspiration. Whether it is the history created by women like Dorothy Stratton and her successors in the offices of the dean of women and students or the personal stories I am privileged to hear regularly from our alumnae, Purdue is rich with women who inspire me every day.

What are your goals and experiences with mentoring or encouraging others?

Because so much of my own mentoring occurred -- and still occurs -- through informal channels, I tend to provide similar support to the women around me. For me, leadership and mentoring are less about formal programs than they are about being available to the people who are in our lives. To listen, to ask questions. To participate and be present. There is nothing I find more rewarding than connecting people, resources and ideas that create meaningful experiences and relationships for all involved.