We are pleased to introduce Adrienne Davidson, our new Director of Advancement & Campaigns.
Adrienne was born in Malta and, with her father in the UK’s Royal Air Force, was educated all over the world including in Africa, Asia and Europe. She graduated with a degree from the University of Essex. She moved to Canada and started her own marketing and communications business. Adrienne got her first experience fundraising for capital campaigns as a board member with the YMCA.
“I enjoyed making a difference as a volunteer in a very meaningful way. For me, it was about giving back and having an impact on my community.”
Adrienne then began her career in advancement and has spent 20 years working in not-for-profit organizations in Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia, primarily focused on community building and achieving fundraising goals. Much of that time was spent working in independent schools, as a Director of Advancement and as a fundraising consultant.
Adrienne has two adult children, Matthew and Grace.
What drew you to SMUS?
I knew of SMUS, its reputation as one of the top-tier schools in the country, its great brand and its great location on Vancouver Island. Around the time I retired to Vancouver Island in 2017 I was approached by a SMUS Board member wondering if I would be interested in giving strategic advice on the direction of the school with respect to advancement, and I was very honoured to do so. I worked with the Board, the interim Head of School and the new Head of School for 18 months. When the opportunity arose to come back and work with people I already knew and admired, and at a great school that is embarking on this exciting new chapter, it was very enticing. I am very excited about where we are headed.
What was the best class you took in school?
There isn’t any one class that stands out because I went to many different schools, in so many different locations. But that exposure to the world growing up has been instrumental in shaping who I am, my perspectives on the world and on the importance of understanding different points of view. This school community is all about a focus on diversity, and I really believe that global outlook pairs well with my nature because of how I grew up.
What should parents know about your team in Advancement?
They are a cohesive team that has already done remarkable work for the school. They are a talented group of professionals who are eagerly looking forward to the part they will play in this new chapter at SMUS. They all have great social skills and enjoy interacting with our parents and alumni, and they truly enjoy getting to know them all.
What is one goal you want to achieve in your lifetime?
I would like to make this latest professional commitment a high note to end my career on. I hope that my contributions to this upcoming chapter will be very successful for SMUS, and in doing so it will be successful for me.
What are you passionate about that the SMUS community might not know about you?
Wine. I’m really enjoying living in a part of the world where there are such extraordinary wines; from Napa Valley, Oregon, Washington and up to the Okanagan. I love learning about all the pieces that go in to making a great wine. Every wine has a story and some of the most interesting times are when I get to sit with a really knowledgeable sommelier or even the winemakers themselves and learn all about the process: temperatures, dryness, acidity, terroir and how it all contributes to the final product. I’m a novice but enjoying the learning!
What is one achievement in your professional life you’re most proud of?
Successfully completing two major capital campaigns at both of my previous schools, when none had ever been previously undertaken. At the beginning of those journeys some people were unsure we were going to be able to do such a thing. But they were successful; the communities came together in exciting ways to achieve this. The work we do in Advancement is all about building community together.
What are you currently reading?
Start with Why by Simon Sinek, and Dare to Lead by Brene Brown. I’m an English literature major so I love fiction and biographies too.
What are you most looking forward to as Director of Advancement & Campaigns at SMUS?
I’m looking forward to building relationships and building community to come together to achieve what I think is an extremely exciting chapter in St. Michaels University School history. The strategic plan that takes us from 2020 to 2030 is going to be felt in every corner of the school and everyone will feel the impact of the plan, which is very exciting. I am looking forward to helping build the community that will have confidence in the leadership of the school to deliver on the promise of the strategic plan. We have the tools and we have the talent here to deliver on that vision.