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Shanna A. Hocking

Shanna A. Hocking

Introduce yourself to our audience. Tell us who you are and what you are currently focused on.

At 18, I knew I wanted to have a career in fundraising. I staffed an event for my alma mater where a donor honored his mentor with a gift to the university and I knew then I wanted to help create these opportunities to transform ideas, people and places through philanthropy.

I have worked the majority of my career in higher education (public and private/Ivy League) and recently transitioned to academic medicine. I have experience in billion dollar plus campaigns and have personally solicited and closed $85+ million throughout my career.

I am a speaker, writer, and podcast guest on leadership, career development, and fundraising.

Tell us about your favorite Ellevate Network memory or success story. Why are you a member?

My favorite Ellevate memory was meeting Sallie Krawcheck at an Executive Council session before she spoke to a larger audience. It was thrilling to hear her experiences and vision. This is what motivates me to be a member—to learn from and with professional women. I have enjoyed connecting with other members through Squads and coffee chats, and mentoring other women. I recently sponsored my future sister in law as a member, too.

How would you define your professional mission?

My goal is to inspire others to “Be yourself boldly”—intentionally putting your truest, best self out there, because the world needs you. It is part of my daily life as a leader and fundraiser, as well as a speaker and writer.

We’d love to hear more about your career path. What led you to where you are today?

I feel like my whole life led me to this career path. As I was growing up, I considered becoming a writer, a social worker, and even a rabbi. Fortunately, I found fundraising when I was a freshman in college, and I worked for four years in the development office at my alma mater. Over the last 18 years, I have built a successful career in development. Now I lead a team of nearly 40 committed individuals who advance the fundraising mission of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. In addition, I am a speaker, writer, and podcast guest on the topics of leadership, fundraising, and career development. These career choices have allowed me to combine all of those dreams I had growing up, by serving others, helping people accomplish what they never thought possible, and encouraging others to use their voices.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

What I love so much about my job is working with the amazing people in my office. Every month I organize a meeting for my full team where we share stories, learning, wins, and ideas. Many of my favorite, and most interesting, work moments happen in those meetings—when someone offers feedback, when we learn something new, and when we laugh together.

What is your morning ritual?

Every morning I wake up at 5:00am and I either work out (Solidcore or running) or write. We have family breakfast together everyday (unless one of us is traveling). I am a morning person!

What would you say your personal superpower is?

I have the ability to see clarity in ambiguity. It allows me make decisions quickly and move forward my organization.

What advice would you offer future leading ladies wishing to break into your industry?

Nearly every promotion or job I have had since then, I’ve raised my hand for or cold called. This is my message to you—you create your own opportunities. Your next big break is up to you.

What is the best career advice you ever received?

Some of the best advice I received was: Remember you are making the best decision you can with the information you have at the time. As a working woman and working mother, I have found this reaffirming and supportive of my choices. Now as a manager, I coach my team on this as well, so they know I support and trust them in leading from where they are.

What is one piece of advice you’d offer working moms?

You can love your work and your family. It doesn’t have to be either/or. It also won’t be balanced. At times you’ll miss a deadline or a school program and you’ll always miss family when you’re away. You can still be amazing in your career.


Have more questions? Follow up with the expert herself.

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