February 2024 Spotlight

A conversation with Danielle Wilberg, Director of Corporate & Foundation Relations, School of Information Sciences at the University of Illinois.

Tell me about a recent achievement you’re celebrating.

One thing I’m proud of is that I had the fortune of acquiring a large piece of equipment for a new program that is being launched in Fall 2024.

While cash is king in our business, the acquisition of a professional sound booth for our new Master’s in Game Studies program has implications far beyond the classroom. In this program, students will look holistically at what is involved in launching a game, including concept development, programming, production, and marketing. The addition of the booth has significantly elevated production values & will also be used by interdisciplinary programs, including students from Fine and Applied Arts who will be able to create a richer background to enhance the gaming experience.

Having a strong relationship with faculty, regular communication with the program director & knowing the shifts in market and partners enabled this opportunity.

NACRO highlights the importance of relationship management, and Conference 2023 had several sessions that addressed working with both internal & external partnerships. This win is a result of NACRO’s teaching on seeing the big picture and continually working on relationships.

What challenges did you overcome in this process?

Not sure there were “challenges” in the acquisition, but I am seeing challenges with stewardship.

While we documented the move in photos and video, this doesn’t have the necessary appeal for our school’s marketing department to do a big article. It also doesn’t add to a budget line, so it isn’t a flashy headline.

We’re getting creative with how to thank the company and showcase the broad nature of the gift.

What advice would you give to new NACRO members on resources or best practices that support your work?

Celebrate ALL your successes – especially the ones that don’t get headlines. The sound booth may not be a multi-million-dollar contract, but it is incredibly important in this area of growth for our school, which directly advances our strategic plan. My favorite phrase is “Forward Progress is Progress” and every success is progress.

Looking forward to 2024, can you share a goal for the next year?

Embrace Interdisciplinary Partnerships. If we look at Illinois, almost every college is working in AI – my goal is to work with campus partners to leverage all this expertise for larger resourcing across the campus.

Bonus: If you could ask for one wish in the new year, what would it be and why?

My NACRO goal to get to know more members and to participate as much as possible in the coming year. As a new member, I spent most of last year getting to know my Illinois colleagues, this year I am hoping to expand that network to other institutions of all sizes!