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Joy in Giving

A Conversation with Maureen M. Nash and Halé Behzadi

On June 10, Maureen M. Nash, Viewpoint's new Assistant Head of School for External Affairs (above), and Halé Behzadi (left), Viewpoint trustee & Chair of the Advancement Committee, sat down together for a Q&A.

HALÉ We are so excited to have you on board, Maureen. What attracted you to Viewpoint?

MAUREEN All my interviews with Mark McKee. Hearing his bold vision for Viewpoint, for our students, families, and alumni. With every conversation, I became more inspired by the School's timeless traditions, rich history, core mission, and innovative curriculum, and excited about the School's bright future, and all the possibilities ahead. Then, as I got to know the advancement and senior leadership teams as well as some of the trustees (like you!), I knew Viewpoint was the place for me. Now that I'm here, I couldn't be happier, and I am eager to get out into the community and meet the families and students.

HALÉ I'm sure that they're going to enjoy meeting you, too! Can you tell me a little bit about your professional background?

MAUREEN I have more than two decades of experience working at world-class cultural and educational institutions in New York. I have led multiple complex campaigns and have raised over $75 million for the New York Public Library, The Frick Collection, the Museum of Art and Design, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and ltzhak Perlman's Music School. I also serve on the board of French Heritage Society, as well as on the Board of Advisors of Faith Ringgold's Anyone Can Fly Foundation. These experiences combined with the research I published on international philanthropy and board governance, while I was living in Dijon, France last year, have collectively led me to Viewpoint. 

HALÉ We always have short, medium, long term plans. Would you share with us what you have in mind for the year ahead? 

MAUREEN Absolutely! I'm thrilled to be joining the School as we embark on our 60th Anniversary Diamond Jubilee. We have so much to celebrate. We're hoping to grow our Viewpoint Fund dramatically, launch a strategy and program for deeper and more meaningful alumni engagement, as well as look at some exciting capital projects around physical and emotional wellness. Also, I'm already looking forward to our 60th Anniversary Diamond Jubilee on Saturday, May 7, 2022 so mark your calendars!

HALÉ How do the School's goals regarding DEI (diversity, equity, inclusion) fit with your vision for advancement?

MAUREEN Diversity, equity, and inclusion are such an important part of Viewpoint's tradition of building community. These values need to be woven through everything we do, from our hiring practices to how we build our board, how we solicit funds, how we think about fund raising. And we're not just fund raising from the top of the donor pyramid. We want to increase participation and reach 100% participation from all families. Representation matters. Participation matters. Community matters. Traditions matter. 

HALÉ How do you measure success?

MAUREEN Success is about having a long-term impact, and it's a combination of quantitative and qualitative criteria. The quantitative part is easy and objective. I want to employ best practices in advancement. The Viewpoint Fund will increase by 25%; we will approach 100% current parent participation; we will raise funds to build the wellness and peak performance (sports medicine) centers. Alumni are engaged and elected to leadership roles, and our juniors and seniors find Viewpoint sponsored internship experiences. As for the non-quantitative measurements of success... I want there to be joy. Sheer joy! Joy in participation. Joy in fundraising. Joy in giving. Joy in learning. And joy in being part of the Viewpoint community. 

HALÉ I love that. Joy. Joy in participation. Joy in giving. 
What should the community know about you? Was there anything that we missed? 

MAUREEN I want to be considered the most approachable and friendly person on campus. I want everybody in the community to feel welcome to come and say hello, call me, or confide in me. 

HALÉ Your aim is to be an advocate for people and someone people can turn to. That's great. What are you most excited about moving to Santa Monica? How do you like to spend your free time?

MAUREEN I enjoy anything cultural and outdoors. I'm excited to explore Los Angeles from the Getty Center to the Hollywood Bowl. Having spent the last year in France, I am also a passionate Francophile and am excited to explore anything French from the cuisine to the culture here in LA! Finally, I cannot wait to hike in Topanga Canyon and to spend time at the beach enjoying stand­ up paddle boarding. Though, I definitely need to invest in stronger sunscreen and more hats!