In defining who I am, what I can do best and how I can be of value, I’ve settled on three areas of focus. Often in my work as a philanthropic advisor, all three are blended together and all are needed to successfully complete a project.

When I consult with clients to help them meet their philanthropic goals, I bring a deep and diverse background to the task. In the quiet time, I have the luxury of writing, going to another place and weaving a story that I hope others will be willing to read and enjoy. And, I hope, find their own meaning within it.

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In my role as a philanthropic advisor, and with a certification from the American College of Finance as a Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy®, I am skilled in supporting clients as they identify their philanthropic priorities, research giving options, develop the best strategies and evaluate results. I am comfortable working with nonprofit organizations, financial advisors, private philanthropists and corporate giving programs. I am dedicated to lifting up philanthropy through communication, education and advocacy.

My clients have had a focus in education, the arts, health care, social services and financial aid. My contributions to their missions have included 501c3 formation, strategic planning, communications, including web content, as well as project design and implementation. As a former development director, I am capable in preparing tools for donor cultivation and grant writing.



The skills I have learned in the nonprofit sector complement those gained in other professional roles. I was a founder of two organizations dedicated to supporting philanthropy, San Juan Island Community Foundation and A Legacy of Giving, a youth philanthropy organization. At Austin’s ZACH Theatre, I was able to lead in many roles, including Board President, and learn from our excellent staff and trustees over 15 years of service.

As an investment advisor and Vice President with Smith Barney, I helped clients plan for the future, whether it was to generate income, save for retirement or provide an education for their children. I worked for 14 years to help my clients realize their goals, managing over $100 million in diverse client assets. Whether I am working to diversity investments, support effective giving, build a nonprofit from the ground up or collaborate with leaders to solve organizational problems, I bring skills, acquired over many years, to the task. 



Engaging in all forms of communication transports me to ideas bigger than myself. From my doctoral dissertation on The Image of the Family in Young Adult Literature, to a K-12 language arts curriculum called the Blueprint for Communication that was adopted by three school districts. From acting and singing in community theatre to writing an original play. And through the publication of two editions of a book for people who are told You Don't LOOK Sick, my co-author and I toured the country to speak at conferences and give interviews in support of our readers.

With my latest novel, CeeGee's Gift, I connect readers with a simple story of a deep friendship between a young girl and an old man and how they learn what it means to be gifted. The message has inspired me for decades, reminding me that the reason we are here on earth is to discover our gifts and then learn to give them for the benefit of others. Whether speaking to an audience, teaching a class, or writing a book, my focus is on sharing the best I have to offer as a way to help others discover and give their own gifts. 

I had the good fortune to work with Joy Selak in the design, implementation & eventual operation of the Austin nonprofit, A Legacy of Giving. We were strangers brought together for this unique project. During this time, it was a pleasure to watch Joy wear multiple hats. She is a creative thinker, not afraid to take calculated risks always within the context of team ownership. Joy understands leadership & practices leading with heart & head. She gets things done while bringing out the best in others. Colleagues, whether staff, volunteers or board members, look up to her as she inspires confidence & radiates respect. Communication is a strength; Joy writes & speaks effortlessly, understanding & connecting with her audience. Her skills & varied experiences would be a gift to any organization.
— Judith Knotts, Author, Homeless Advocate & CEO Coach Vistage Group