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Barbara O’Reilly ALM ’98

Barbara OReilly
Herndon, VI

Volunteering and giving back are core values in my life. Over the last two years, while having the honor to serve on the HEAA Board of Directors as Director of Awards and Recognition, I enjoyed helping to shape the strategic direction of the HEAA and in managing the awards selection process celebrating the incredibly talented alumni achievements. I feel like my work giving back to Harvard and the HEAA community has only just begun and would like to continue in this role to further the many ways we can connect with, inspire, and celebrate our alumni around the world.

I bring to this volunteer position extensive leadership experience in other capacities. I served as 2020 president of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) DC Chapter, as a member of the Advisory Panel for Rogare, The Fundraising Think Tank, as a member of The Giving Institute, and as a member of the Government Relations Committee and Professional Development Committee for AFP Global. In addition to my fundraising volunteer leadership roles, I am currently Chair of Capacity Building and Engagement for the Business Women’s Giving Circle at the Community Foundation of Northern Virginia. And I previously served on the Leadership Assembly Committee for Barnard College helping to plan the annual alumnae volunteer training weekend on campus.

My local connection to Harvard is also important. I am a member of the Harvard Club of New York, the Harvard Club of Washington DC, and was a member of the Harvard Club of London when my husband and I lived in the U.K. I value the diversity of Harvard experiences in the alumni/ae I meet.

I am a certified fundraising executive and founder and principal of Windmill Hill Consulting, a nonprofit fundraising consultancy I established twelve years ago after spending sixteen years raising millions of dollars for organizations like Harvard University, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Oxford University in England, and the American Red Cross.

John Quincy Adams, a fellow Harvard alumnus, once said “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” My professional career has been devoted to advancing important missions and causes by connecting philanthropists with opportunities to do just that—use their leadership example of generosity to inspire others to join them to solve problems, save lives, and transform communities. I believe that the education that we each gained at the Harvard Extension School enables us to become leaders in our own ways and in our own sectors.

Harvard has been an important foundation in my personal and professional life. It was the place where I began my career as a fundraiser and where I completed my academic journey with the ALM I earned while simultaneously working at the University. This role on the HEAA Board of Directors continues to be my opportunity to give back to the institution that has been such an influence in my life.

My husband, Dermot, ALM ’98, and I live in the Metropolitan Washington DC area with our daughter.