Two LSU Foundation employees were recently recognized by Forum 35 for their promising futures in leadership and philanthropy. Adrian Owen, associate director of donor relations in the College of Science, and Lori Pilley, assistant director of donor relations in the College of Humanities & Social Sciences, were named to the 2013 class of the John W. Barton Sr. Community Leadership Development Program.

Since 2004, Forum 35, along with the Louisiana Association of Nonprofit Organizations, has coordinated the development program to train young professionals in nonprofit governance and leadership, and then match them with local nonprofit organizations for service on their boards of directors.

“To me, leadership is a strategic vision,” Owen shared. “I think good leaders have a clear idea of how to improve, achieve or execute something, and can clearly communicate that goal … I hope one day I can be like that, improving my community and helping others realize and fulfill their passions and potential in the process.”

Lori Pilley, photographed by Andrea Laborde Barbier
Lori Pilley, photographed by Andrea Laborde Barbier

Pilley said the program has helped her gain a stronger understanding of what donors, faculty and alumni may consider when committing their time and resources to the LSU Foundation, explaining, “I feel the program has strengthened my ability to effectively communicate with donors about the important impact their contributions have on the future of the university.”

Both Pilley and Owen said they learned invaluable lessons from the program. “Board service makes you an ambassador for a nonprofit, and that is a very serious responsibility because people’s lives are affected by how you help steer an organization,” Pilley said.

“I hope this experience will help me in making future decisions about what organizations I support and how,” Owen said of the program, adding, “Just agreeing with a mission is not enough. An organization needs to be prepared to carry out that mission. I now feel well prepared to think critically and evaluate an organization before committing my service and support.”

Founded in August 1993, Forum 35 is a community of young, professional men and women working to improve Baton Rouge.

Published in Cornerstone Winter 2013 and Spring 2014.