Humans of AFP - Greater Austin Chapter 

Humans of New York highlights individuals with stripped back interviews showcasing the genuine stories that make us human. With this new initiative, our goal is to give members of AFPGAC a space to share their stories so that they may connect with others.


May 2023 - Christopher Alberts, MA

I'd have to say my proudest moment in fundraising are actually collections of small moments where I get to see the impact of development work on the the donors, clients and colleagues I've been so fortunate to work with across my career. I've done my best to try and live that in my work, the idea that development and fundraising is about giving the community a chance to invest in work that makes their community better. Whether that is giving a client the opportunity to share their story, in their voice, in an empowering way, to showing a donor the direct impact their generosity has on making Austin a better, healthier and more equitable community, to seeing colleagues that I've worked with or managed become development leaders doing inspiring work in the community and taking what I learned from my time with them to find even more ways to form genuine connections to the work I continue to do.

I'm proud to have been part of a team that opened the doors to AIDS Service's of Austin's first medical clinic, and to have helped establish HAAM's (Health Alliance for Austin Musicians) first permanent home through a successful capital campaign. But mostly I'm proud of the sincere relationships I've been able to form with donors, volunteers, and clients who I now count as friends, who have shaped the way I do my work and move through the world. I'm proud I get to go to work in a driven and inspired community that makes my hometown of Austin the best possible version of itself.

Connect with Christopher on LinkedIn


April 2023 - Clarena Tobon

If I had to thank one person for where I am in my career it would have to be my mother, Maria. As an immigrant to this country, she instilled in me a sense of owning space in this world, no matter where I am. The experiences she guided us through as kids empower me daily, to serve my community and show up in my truest self both, personally and professionally. Imposter syndrome is something I have to consistently work through and I believe that the strength seed my mother planted in us is something I try to continue to grow. 

Connect with Clarena on LinkedIn

AFP Greater Austin is pleased to announce Clarena Tobon as the recipient of our 2023 Chapter ICON Scholarship. If you are attending AFP ICON on April 16-18, 2023, be sure to look for Clarena in New Orleans!


March 2023 - Adrienne Longenecker

My approach to my profession changed drastically due to COVID! For the first time as a mom and as a professional fundraiser, I didn’t have a 120+ minute commute each day. The impact was significant! Two hours of time to fill with something other than the stress of being in Austin traffic. I filled some of that time with work and volunteering for AFP Global, but most of the time I gave to myself – and my dogs. Lots of dog walks; morning, noon, and evening. Walking through my neighborhood that spring was life changing. Peace of mind, better physical health, and the chance to process the swirling thoughts, overwhelm, and concern of that time – both personal and professional. Almost three years ago to the day, my son, an 8th grader, left for a field trip the week before Spring Break 2020 and was called back early because everything was shutting down. Here I am writing this the week before spring break 2023 during which my son is making college visits. A lot has changed. I haven’t walked my dog in weeks. I’ve filled almost all my time with work, volunteering for AFP Global, housework, commutes, having fun with friends and family, but not with time for me – just me. I’m headed out now to walk my dogs, enjoy the blooming bluebonnets, the green grass, and the vibrancy of spring in Austin. This is a reminder that I am human first, before employee, boss, AFP Global Board member, housekeeper, mom, daughter, etc. I find my human nature while walking in nature.


February 2023 - Karl Nichols, MBA, CFRE

For seven of the past ten years that I have worked directly in fundraising, I have worked in the capacity of Vice President of Investor Development at E3 Alliance. There, I have been responsible for cultivating and generating over $20 million in philanthropic support for our education systems transformation work. 

During this time, there have been many proud moments. However, one that I am very proud of is when I helped broker a new partnership relationship for a large grant award. In 2016, I was attending a STEM Conference in Houston, when I met two staff members who worked for organization called the National Association of Partners in Equity (NAPE) at “How to Make a Pitch to A Funder” workshop. After meeting them, I knew in my spirit we would work together. It literally took two years to steward this relationship. As a result, they became a major partner in our Pathways of Promise Initiative and hundreds of teachers have been trained on how to use equitable teaching tools in their classrooms while benefiting many thousands of students who were positively impacted by math course taking and alignment policies and practices throughout Central Texas. In fact, these acceleration strategies have reduced disparities in Algebra I completion in middle school, closing the equity gap among high-performing Black and White students in the region by 86% since 2018. As someone who has dedicated their life work to the issues of race, diversity, inclusion, and equity, this was a very proud moment. 

Connect with Karl on LinkedIn


January 2023 - Jené Shepherd 

2023 marks a decade of my work in the nonprofit fundraising and communications field. When I look back on my career, there is one person who has truly made a difference for me and that is Holly Wissmann.

For the last seven years, Holly has been my supervisor, coworker, mentor, close friend, confidant, therapist, financial advisor and more. She has taught me almost everything that I know about what it means to be a talented, mission-driven fundraiser and a strategic and empathetic leader. Her love, support, and “Holly hugs” have gotten me through some my hardest days as a professional and as a human.

Holly has pushed me out of my comfort zone and encouraged me to take on volunteer leadership roles at AFP, serving on the Philanthropy Day Committee in 2017, the Strategic Planning Committee in 2021, and on the board in 2022, and now as the Chair for the 2023 One Day Conference. I can confidently say that my work within AFP 100% would not have happened if it wasn’t for her.

Thank you Holly for pouring into me while also allowing me to pour into you!

Connect with Jené on LinkedIn