RAISE podcast: Jay Kahn, Georgia State University

On this episode of the RAISE podcast, Brent chats with Jay Kahn, Vice President for Advancement at Georgia State University. They talk about mentorship, polite persistence, boosting grad rates for underrepresented students, and some cool gift stories.

Listen to the full episode and catch the highlights here.



Highlights from the episode…

“Our student success narrative is one that’s got a lot of national attention.”Jay and his team use a data driven approach to support student success. The staff uses these data points to automatically administer assistance, such as transferring money into a student account when the balance is low, to help students balance their workload. Jay believes this method contributes to the increased graduation rate of underrepresented minority students. 

“Having someone commit to a thousand dollar gift after getting hung up on ten times in a row – there’s no better feeling.” Although gift officers often face rejection, Jay reminds us how rewarding it is when purpose and passion unite for a donor.

“Think of something different and pitch it. Don’t be afraid to try something new. That’s my number one piece of advice.” Jay talks about his experience with his mentors JR Blackburn, Amy Noah, and Shannon Spencer and how they shaped his experience working in advancement. Respectful, encouraging, and open minded leaders empower people to try new things and brainstorm unique ways to meet the organization’s goals. 

“If it makes you feel any better, I’ve got a $100,000 painting in the trunk.” One of the most memorable gifts Jay received was from a couple in Albuquerque, New Mexico who requested that he take a Joan Miró piece back to the Kennedy Art Museum. He and his coworker from Ohio University ended up driving a Mercedes (the only rental car available) to donor meetings with this precious cargo tucked away in the trunk!

More about Jay…

Jay Kahn is the Vice President for Advancement at Georgia State University and the President of the Georgia State University Foundation. In this role, Jay is responsible for leading the fundraising and engagement operations for the University and working directly with the President and Foundation Board of Trustees as the institution’s Chief Development Officer.

Prior to joining GSU, Jay was the Executive Senior Associate Vice President for Advancement at Purdue University where he was responsible for leading the advancement operations for twelve academic and research units, the Office of Industry Partnerships, and the Office of Foundation Relations. While at Purdue, Jay provided leadership over the Evertrue Campaign, a successful effort that raised $2.52B against a $2.019B goal.

Prior to joining Purdue, Jay served in a number of development roles at Ohio University during the Promise Lives Campaign, raising $500M against a $450M goal. He holds Certified Fund-Raising Executive (CFRE) and Six Sigma (SSYB) designations, as well as advanced degrees in Business Administration and Higher Education Administration.

Jay resides in Atlanta with his wife, Laura.

Want to work with Jay? GSU is hiring! Connect with him on LinkedIn, or by email at jkahn8@gsu.edu.

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