Executive Brief

Associate Vice President, Advancement Operations
University of Central Florida

The University of Central Florida

Founded June 10, 1963, The University of Central Florida (UCF) is a metropolitan research university built to make a better future for their students and society. UCF solves tomorrow’s greatest challenges through a commitment to academic, inclusive and operational excellence. Leveraging innovative learning, discovery and partnerships, UCF fosters social mobility while developing the skilled talent needed to advance industry for their region, state and beyond.

UCF offers 104 bachelor’s97 master’s33 doctoral and 3 specialist degree programs, and it leads all universities in Florida by conferring more than 18,000 degrees a year. In Fall 2023, the freshman class had an average SAT two-score of 1332, The Burnett Honors College enrolled 510 new students, and the number of incoming National Merit Scholars ranked UCF among the top 40 colleges and universities.

Leadership Spotlight

Alexander N. Cartwright - President, UCF

Alexander N. Cartwright

Alexander Cartwright was selected as UCF’s sixth president by the UCF Board of Trustees on March 20, 2020 following a nationwide search. He was confirmed by the Florida Board of Governors the following week.

Under Dr. Cartwright’s leadership, UCF is working toward becoming the world’s leading public metropolitan university, a top 50 public research university, determined to foster success for students of all backgrounds and to produce research and creative works that positively impact lives across our community and across the world. To achieve this vision, the university has been focused on achieving greater operational, academic and inclusive excellence, including building a senior leadership team that will help take the university to new heights.

As a first‐generation college student whose journey to higher education was not traditional, Dr. Cartwright understands and prioritizes the need to build successful outcomes for students from all backgrounds, and is dedicated to creating a culture of belonging at UCF.

An internationally recognized researcher and scholar in the area of optical sensors, he is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, SPIE and the National Academy of Inventors. Dr. Cartwright is a prior winner of both the National Science Foundation CAREER Award and the Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award. In addition, he earned the 2002 SUNY Chancellor’s award for excellence in teaching.

A native of the Bahamas, Dr. Cartwright holds a doctorate in electrical and computer engineering from the University of Iowa. He and his wife Melinda have two children, Alyssa and Andrew.

Rodney M. Grabowski - Senior Vice President for Advancement and Partnerships and CEO of the UCF Foundation, Inc.

Rodney M. Grabowski
Senior Vice President for Advancement and Partnerships and CEO of the UCF Foundation, Inc.

Rodney M. Grabowski is UCF’s Senior Vice President for Advancement and Partnerships and CEO of the UCF Foundation, Inc. A passionate advocate for higher education and its power to transform lives, he oversees the university’s fundraising, alumni relations, partnership, communications and marketing efforts. Under his leadership, the Division of Advancement and Strategic Partnerships builds meaningful, fruitful connections that enhance UCF’s impact and result in new sources of revenue to fuel our excellence and unleash the potential of our students, faculty and community.

Mr. Grabowski has more than three decades of experience in nonprofit and advancement leadership, including extensive experience in higher education and health care philanthropy. He is a national leader in the use of artificial intelligence, data-driven strategy and innovative management strategies.

Before joining UCF in September of 2022, Mr. Grabowski served as Vice President for University Advancement with the University at Buffalo. His team surpassed the university’s fundraising goal of $650 million a full year early and increased the goal to $1 billion for the same time period of the campaign — an effort boosted by back-to-back record-setting years for UB.

Prior to his years at UB, Mr. Grabowski was at the University of Cincinnati as President of the University of Cincinnati Foundation, Vice President of Advancement, and President and CEO of the UC Health Foundation. At Cincinnati, he successfully concluded a $1 billion campaign, surpassing the goal by 10 percent. In Florida, he served as the University of South Florida’s Senior Associate Vice President for Advancement and campaign director, where he managed the university’s $600 million fundraising campaign. He also served in fundraising leadership positions at the University of North Florida and at Jacksonville University.

A native of Phoenix, New York, Grabowski holds the prestigious CFRE credential — Certified Fund Raising Executive. He earned an MBA from the University of North Florida and a Bachelor of Arts in international relations from Syracuse University. He is an active member and leader in the Association of Fundraising Professionals and CASE, the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. An Eagle Scout, he is active in the Boy Scouts of America.

About the UCF Foundation Inc.

Founded in 1969, the UCF Foundation, Inc., is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with vision of powering partnerships and transforming lives through philanthropy. The Foundation is  led by a volunteer board of directors and staffed by more than 100 professionals. 

Under the leadership of Rod Grabowski, the Foundation raised a record-breaking $114M in FY23 and is on target to raise their goal of $100M in FY24.

Goals for FY 24 include:
  • Strengthening philanthropy
  • Strengthen and expand alumni engagement
  • Strengthen donor connection
  • Create, align and strengthen partnerships
  • Be an organization of choice
  • Build a culture of organizational excellence
  • Drive financial stability
  • Optimize marketing and communication effectiveness

The Opportunity - Associate Vice President, Advancement Operations

UCF - AVP, Advancement Operations - Job Description (PDF Download)

The University of Central Florida's Advancement & Partnerships Division is seeking a results-driven, visionary leader to fill the position of Associate Vice President for Advancement Operations. This position reports to the Senior Vice President for Advancement & Partnerships and is responsible for the strategic direction of central operations for UCF Advancement, including oversight of Information Technology Services, Prospect Development, Records and Gifts, Donor Experience and Events, and Operations and Organizational Development teams. The Associate VP of Advancement Operations will provide leadership in these areas in support of increasing philanthropic engagement and support from alumni, friends, corporations, foundations, and grateful patients to UCF.

The Associate VP is a key leader, working collaboratively with other university administrators in the areas of data governance, business intelligence, process improvement, information technology, compliance, and finance related to operations in the Office of Advancement. This position is responsible for the development and execution of guidelines and procedures including, but not limited to, data integrity, gift acceptance, counting and reporting standards, prospect management, naming and recognition, donor recognition and acknowledgment, endowment reporting, and professional development.

As a member of the UCF Advancement Executive Team, the Associate VP coordinates operational planning with colleagues in Development, Annual Giving and Alumni Engagement, Legal, Finance and Accounting, and Campaign to optimize donor stewardship, prospect pipeline management, and fundraising outcomes.

Preferred candidates will bring expertise and a deep commitment to advancing data integrity and maximizing AI to create a strong technology-driven operation. We are seeking candidates with strong management experience. The AVP will manage a team of 6 direct reports and a total team of 50. The ability to work at both the macro and micro level will be a key quality we desire in a candidate with a strategic mindset and a commitment to the highest standards of advancement operations.


Essential Duties:
  • Provide overall direction to all areas of Advancement Services, Donor Relations and Events, and Operations and Organizational Development to ensure accountability for results and conformance to university policy and procedures. Create a vision, set aspirational team and department goals, and develop a high performing team that effectively provides the organizational infrastructure that supports and maintains a best-in-class advancement program.
  • Assist the Senior Vice President for Advancement and Partnerships and Executive Team members in evaluating Advancement needs and proposing long-range plans and comprehensive solutions that consider both division and broader university needs.
  • Provide strategic direction and support to the leader of the Information Technology Services team, which carries overall responsibility for all Advancement technology systems and data, including the Advancement database, giving pages/forms, third-party processors, volunteer/donor platform(s), advancement reporting tools, online community, document imaging system, and other associated software. Ensure UCF Advancement has a long-range plan for strategic investments in technology and business solutions to position it as a leader in development and alumni relations information services.
  • Provide strategic direction and support to the Records & Gifts team leader to ensure accurate processing, recording, and receipting of incoming gifts, as well as ongoing administration of pledge commitments. Develop expertise in and work closely with partners in the Legal and Finance & Accounting teams to ensure UCF adheres to state and federal regulations as well as industry standards related to gift processing and counting. Ensure UCF Advancement has a long-range plan for strategic investments in biographic and demographic data acquisition for constituents.
  • Provide strategic direction and support to the leader of Prospect Development to optimize the identification and dissemination of prospective donors to gift officers to expedite growth in major and principal giving. The PD team actively monitors and assists in the management of gift officer portfolios, to guide relationship management and ensure gift strategies are moving forward. Work with the PD team to develop UCF Advancement's analytics practice, both through the acquisition of and in-house development of custom models and scores.
  • Provide strategic direction and support to the leader of the Donor Experience team, overseeing the execution of a strategic and comprehensive major donor stewardship program, to include donor recognition, acknowledgments, endowment and stewardship reporting, and curated donor events and experiences. Work collaboratively with UCF Advancement Finance & Accounting and other fiscal leaders across campus to ensure philanthropic contributions are utilized and spent in accordance with donor intent.
  • Provide strategic direction and support to the leader of the Operations and Organizational Development team, ensuring that UCF Advancement implements best practices in welcoming, onboarding, training, engaging, and developing employees. Work closely with partners in UCF Human Resources and other central business centers to ensure Advancement has the necessary infrastructure and support for long-range operational planning.
Additional Duties:
  • Work collaboratively with Advancement leadership and the Director of Board Relations to develop and maintain an active and engaged Donor Engagement and Stewardship Committee of the UCF Foundation Board.
  • Develop and manage the Advancement Operations budget.
  • Ensure that Advancement data is securely received, stored, and reported adhering to UCF policies and procedures, and all state and federal guidelines. Develop partnerships with cross-university data governance leaders and functional leaders of the various data systems that integrate with Advancement data systems, including Institutional Knowledge Management, Student Financial Aid, Finance and Accounting, and HR.


Minimum Qualifications:
  • 10 years of experience in higher education or healthcare advancement operations.
  • The ability to work at both the macro and micro level will be a key quality we desire in a candidate along with a strategic mindset and a commitment to the highest standards of advancement operations.
Preferred Qualifications:

Preferred candidates will bring expertise and a deep commitment to advancing data integrity and maximizing AI to create a strong technology-driven operation. We are seeking candidates with strong management experience. Additional preferred qualifications include:

  • Bachelor’s degree required; Master’s degree preferred.
  • 12+ years of relevant experience with at least 5+ years in a leadership role.
  • Successful leadership in complex Advancement operations, preferably within a Higher Education or research institution setting.
  • Proficiency with Blackbaud CRM and other tech platforms.
  • Understanding of/background in building data governance systems.
  • Experience in building and refining complex, system-wide processes.
  • Strong interpersonal skills and the ability to interface with internal and external key stakeholders.
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills for building and maintaining executive-level relationships.
  • Demonstrated ability to drive successful operational strategies and achieve measurable outcomes.
  • Excellent communication, negotiation, and presentation abilities.

One of the Best Colleges in the U.S.

Top 15 Most Innovative University in the Nation: U.S. News & World Report ranks UCF as one of the most innovative in its annual list of best colleges.

UCF is an academic, partnership and research leader in numerous fields, such as optics and lasers, modeling and simulation, engineering and computer science, business, public administration, education, hospitality managementhealthcare and video game design. In fact, in addition to being recognized as one of the best national universities by Washington Monthly, UCF consistently appears in U.S. News and World Report’s best college rankings. Explore several of UCF's academic programs that regularly rank among the top in the nation — and the world:

The Location - Orlando, Florida

Living in Orlando, the sun shines year-round, beaches are a trip up the road, high-rises are home to booming Fortune 500 companies and emerging tech, and world-class attractions are your weekend getaways.

Orlando’s diverse neighborhoods span a broad spectrum. From the bustling urban center of downtown Orlando to the old Florida charm of Osceola County, and from the ancient oak-canopies of Seminole county to the rolling hills of Lake County, the Orlando region is rich with history and character. 

Cost of Living:

Living in Orlando means watching your dollar go far beyond where it goes elsewhere. From housing and healthcare to groceries and beyond, nothing compares to Orlando’s incredible cost of living.

Compared to New York, New York (Manhattan):

  • Housing in Orlando is 77.48% less expensive.
  • Groceries in Orlando are 17.63% less expensive.
  • Transportation in Orlando is 15.66% less expensive.
  • Healthcare in Orlando is 18.87% less expensive.
American City of the Future:

Orlando has been named Top 10 American City of the Future for three years running. While most people know Orlando for tourism and hospitality, the city and region has much more to offer:

  • 2/3 of the workforce spans across life sciences and healthcare, innovative technologies, advanced manufacturing, and more.
  • No. 2 in the country for job growth, per U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2022.
  • An internationally-recognized semiconductor industry cluster.
  • Home to companies like AAA (headquarters), Blue Origin, Darden Restaurants (headquarters), Deloitte, Electronic Arts, FARO, Kroger, Lockheed Martin, Massey Services Inc. (headquarters), Mattrix Technologies, Mitsubishi Power, Northrop Grumman, Ocean Insight, Oracle, Photon-X, Rotech Healthcare Inc, Siemens, Silicon Assurance, skywater, Veritas, and much more.

Applications and Nominations

Don’t check off all the boxes or meet every single requirement? We have learned that potential candidates hesitate when applying for a job unless they meet every single requirement. Boyden Boston is dedicated to inclusivity and valuing diversity and equity in the workplace. If this opportunity excites you, but your background may not be a perfect match, we still encourage you to apply.

Expressions of Interest

The University of Central Florida is an equal opportunity and affirmative action employer and seeks to employ individuals based upon their qualifications, experience, and ability to perform the position responsibilities.

The University of Central Florida has partnered with Boyden Executive Search. For more information about this opportunity or to submit a cover letter and resume, please email:

Wendy Wilsker
Managing Partner, Boston

Wendy Wilsker has dedicated her entire career to the non-profit sector, serving in leadership roles within charitable organizations and working alongside them as an executive recruiter and consultant. She excels at identifying the unique challenges and opportunities non-profits face, and partners with senior leadership to build successful organizational structures, teams and advancement programs.

Lindsey Gale
Executive Search Consultant, Boston

Lindsey Gale has extensive experience in social impact with nearly 25 years of success in executive search, fundraising and consulting. She is an accomplished relationship builder, strategist, communicator and community influencer, and applies these skills to help individuals and a variety of non-profit organizations achieve their goals.

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