Meet The Team

Sharon Kucia

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Sharon Kucia is a strategic thinker and leader in the field of Strategic Planning and Development, with over two decades of leadership experience at leading consulting firms. She has also served as the nonprofit practice leader in her last two companies, primarily serving the Catholic Church.

 

Sharon began her career by working to build capacity through effective advancement programs as well as increase constituent engagement in the mission of organizations such as Boston University, Girl Scouts United States of America, and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, enabling her to bring additional experience in the non-profit sector to her client engagements.

Now with her own practice, Sharon has focused her efforts on providing leadership to develop strategic plans to encourage the long term health, growth and transformation of an organization. Sharon thrives in fast-paced consulting environments and enjoys helping organizations create customized solutions to address complex business issues.

Ms. Kucia’s distinguished 24-year career represents a wealth of knowledge and experience from previous positions with prestigious organizations. Ms. Kucia earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Boston College and has attended Indiana University School of Philanthropy and The Fund Raising School.

 

Additionally, Sharon is a founding member and President of the Charlotte Chapter of Legatus, an organization for Catholic business executives. Sharon has spent most of her distinguished career at the intersection of business and faith, using her development and management skills to support the Catholic Church.

Alex Azzarello

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With over a decade of non-profit fundraising experience, Alex Azzarello honors her roots by serving Catholic schools and parishes. Born and raised in Atlanta, Alex is a product of Archdiocesan schools and then continued her Catholic education at Fordham University.

Alex develops strategies to appeal to a wide variety of donors. Having worked in diverse communities, and in Advancement offices ranging in size from large as 12 to small, one-person shops, Alex’s goal is connecting donors to the mission of an organization. Her approach is to help organizations effectively market themselves, and enabling communities to not only understand their mission, but to cultivate a passion for it.

Alex led a successful $4M capital campaign at St. John the Evangelist School, in Hapeville, GA that resulted in a historic campus-wide renovation and set a record for fundraising.

Alex enjoys sharing her knowledge and experience with a broad array of nonprofits. Her impressive background and skillset include development, brand strategy, social media strategy, graphic design, special events, and video production.

Alex is active in the Youth Faith Formation, Master Planning, and Social Justice committees at her parish, St. Thomas More in Decatur, GA, where she also leads their Theater Ministry (The More Players). She serves on the Alumni Board at St. Pius X High School in Atlanta and directs the middle school theater program at Immaculate Heart of Mary School in Atlantta. In her free time, Alex enjoys spending time with her family and participating in community theater.

Howard Craig

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Howard Craig enjoyed a 40+ year career in Christian ministry, including 13 years as a missionary in Thailand. Following his missionary service, Howard gleaned management and communication expertise as the Executive Vice President for Guaranteed Marketing Solutions (GMS) and grew the company to $12 million in annualized revenue before resigning to join RSI, a consulting firm that provided stewardship services to the Church.

He joined RSI as Senior Executive Consultant in 2001 and later was appointed Vice President of Mission Advancement Services with O’Meara, Ferguson, Whelan and Conway. During his tenure, he was the Capital Campaign Project Manager for three diocesan-wide Capital Campaigns in the Archdioceses of Milwaukee, Detroit and later Chicago.

From 2014 to January 2017, he served in a more institutional capacity as the Vice President for Advancement for the Midwest Province of the Society of Jesus.  As the Vice President of Development for the Midwest Jesuits, he led a team of 12 fundraising professionals to raise support for the mission of the Jesuits throughout twelve states of the upper Midwest USA, East Africa, and Peru. In 2017, Howard accepted a position as the Director of the Nonprofit Practice Group for Inveniam Capital Partners, a financial firm dedicated to assisting small and medium businesses and nonprofits with fundraising and with gaining access to capital in the marketplace. In 2018 he also served as the Vice President of Development for Beyond, an ecumenical mission organization.

During these past 18 years, Howard has led over 175 successful church and church stewardship campaigns in 33 states.  The stewardship and capital campaign teams that Howard led during this time raised over $360 million.

Howard received a Bachelor of Arts in religion and psychology from Oklahoma Baptist University, a Master of Divinity degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and commenced graduate studies towards a Ph.D in Church History with an emphasis in World Religions and Christian Missions.

Howard and his wife, Cheryl, are parishioners  at St. Joseph Parish in Fort Worth, Texas.

Jennifer Parker

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Wayne Mueller

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Wayne loves the deep mystery and beauty of the Catholic faith and is passionate about efforts that support the dignity of life, support the nuclear family, and promote the Eucharist. He believes that vibrant Catholic schools play a unique and irreplaceable role in these efforts.

After a 12-year banking career, Wayne joined the Grand Traverse Area Catholic Schools (GTACS) in 2004 as the Director of Advancement. In this role, Wayne is responsible for all aspects of fundraising, including major gift relationships, annual giving and events, capital campaigns, and planned giving. He also functions as the Executive Director of the GTACS Foundation that maintains over $7 million of endowed assets and real estate.

During the past decade, Wayne has worked to create a mission-focused fundraising culture, discovering unique ways to generate deeper donor relationships and multi-year pledges. These efforts have resulted in consistent annual fundraising revenue of $1 million.

Wayne led a successful 7-year, $16 million capital campaign to create a new Immaculate Conception Elementary School campus. This campus opened in 2019 and currently enrolls over 600 students from preschool thru 5th grade.

Wayne has been a key member of a robust Strategic Planning team for 15 years. This team engages in a disciplined annual process that produces consistent improvement in all facets of the school culture, including spiritual, academic, and financial.

Wayne is a volunteer director of the Northern Michigan Catholic Foundation that maintains over $25 million of endowed assets for parishes, schools, and ministries within the Diocese of Gaylord.

Wayne was blessed with the gift of 12 years of Catholic education while growing up in Lansing, Michigan. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance from Bowling Green State University, where he also played collegiate golf. Wayne has been married for over 25 years to a wonderful wife, Heidi. He is the proud father of Benjamin, Owen, Joshua, Lauren, and Elijah. He enjoys fishing, hiking, travel, and biking.

Jennifer Parker

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A seasoned fund-raising professional, Jennifer Parker holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Chestnut Hill College, as well as Master’s degrees in both Education and Business Administration from Franciscan University. As a fundraising leader, who adheres to the code of ethical standards outlined by the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Jennifer has over 20 years of advancement services, fundraising, and alumni/donor relations experience with both religious and educational non-profits, including 15 years in higher education.

 

As an experienced advancement professional; she has depth of experience in fund-raising leadership, personal solicitation, and the development and implementation of programs and activities designed to secure financial support. She is well versed in capital campaigns, annual giving, planned giving and advancement services operations.

Jennifer has worked with religious communities, Catholic Dioceses, Catholic colleges, universities and high schools.  She has also served on many non-profit boards and volunteered to assist in improving advancement efforts.  She has increased fundraising goals and consistently led clients in strategic planning to reach those goals.  Jennifer’s most recent assignment was working with the Franciscan Sisters, TOR.  During her time with them she increased fundraising goals by 22.1% and consistently met those goals, increased the number of monthly donors by 128% in less than 3 years, and re-engaged 37% of lapsed donors (since 2010).  Additionally, she created a mission advancement office structure and developed and implemented a policies and procedure manual for the entire mission advancement department.

 

Jennifer served as a consultant for The Pelican Group, providing counsel on fundraising campaigns and arranging project financing for our clients.  She worked on the consulting team that led the strategy for a three-phased strategic and capital campaign plan totaling $272 million at the University of Mary in Bismarck, ND and was instrumental in raising the funds for their silent portion of the campaign. She built a comprehensive advancement and alumni relations program for Madonna High School, a Catholic High School in the West Virginia panhandle.  She increased the donor database by 38%, increased first time donors by 165% and exceeded the Annual Fund goal by over 40%. Jennifer currently serves on Strategic Planning Committee for Steubenville Catholic High School as well as a board member for the Sacred Heart Center of Hope.