Equipped to Lead and Succeed

Welcome Tina Burgelman, Senior Development Director

by Matthew Hose

For Tina Burgelman, working in development and fundraising is about inspiration.

Burgelman, who started as the new Senior Development Director at the School of Law on March 1, says in her new role she plans to talk to the USF Law community about what inspires them, so she can turn around and have “inspired conversations with donors.”

“It's just learning about what motivates people, and helping connect them to the world they want to create,” Burgelman said. “That, in a nutshell, is my job. And I love that.”

While she may be a fresh face in the Koret Law Center, Burgelman isn’t new to USF. In addition to working toward her MA in Organizational Development (Class of 2022), Burgelman transferred to the law school position from the University’s Gift Officer team, where she supported the School of Education for two years.

“I'm excited to be a part of the School of Law community, get to know people that maybe we haven't gotten to engage in the past and create close relationships.”

USF Law Dean Susan Freiwald said she has seen in Burgelman "a strong instinct for finding those stories that can foster connection." “Tina's going to be an excellent Senior Development Director and I know the law school’s mission and vision really resonate with her."

A focus on mission

Burgelman has always had a bent toward mission-driven work. A graduate of Western Washington University, she got her start as an intern in nonprofit development in 2002 at Big Brothers Big Sisters, where upon graduation she was hired to lead the development department. She later served as the Executive Director of the San Francisco Muscular Dystrophy Association, Director of Development with Habitat for Humanity Greater San Francisco, and an Associate Director of Development and Outreach with Human Rights Watch.

Joining USF in 2019 was her first step into higher education, and she admits that she was initially nervous about the shift in focus.

“But with the School of Education, I could very clearly see the social justice mission and how that is intertwined in everything they do,” Burgelman said, “and I’ve already had that same experience in the School of Law.”

The third-generation Filipino-American credits the seed of her focus on helping others to her grandfather, who came to the U.S. when he was 19. Even when he was a student with very little income and was working multiple jobs, he would send money home to his community in the Philippines to help fund education.

“He never forgot about his community,” she said.

Volunteering through it all

It may not come as a surprise, then, that volunteering and community engagement is a big part of Burgelman’s identity. In her first year at USF, she served as a co-mentor through the President’s Advisory Committee on the Status of Women, was a mentor with the Muscat Scholars Program, and joined the Ignatian group People for Others. She is also the 2nd Vice-President of the parent-teacher board for St. Thomas the Apostle School and is a committee member at the San Francisco Department of Children, Youth and Their Families.

She felt it was important to immerse herself right away in USF’s culture in these ways, which also allowed her to form relationships across the University. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, building that rapport can be more challenging, but Burgelman says she’ll find ways to adapt as she transitions into her new role at USF Law.

“One of my goals at the School of Law is to meet as many people as I can right away,” Burgelman said. “And that's going to be different, because I can't pop in an office and get to know someone, like I usually do. I love making new friends.”