Podcast Episode 4: The Art of Storytelling

The Career Design Lab at Columbia’s School of Professional Studies recently launched a new podcast, “Rising to the Top: Lessons in Leadership.” The CDL team interviews senior industry leaders, including SPS alumni, who share the secrets of their success and reveal pivotal moments that impacted their career paths. Listen as they shed light on obstacles they overcame as well as wins they achieved.

In the fourth episode of Rising to the Top; Lessons in Leadership, we welcome Leah Heister Burton, Deputy Director and Chief Advancement Officer at Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. In a thoughtful conversation, Leah talks about the importance of storytelling in philanthropy and connecting with stakeholders.

Listen to the fourth episode of Rising to the Top on your favorite platform, and subscribe to the podcast to ensure you don’t miss future episodes. 

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Leah Heister Burton

Leah Heister Burton is Deputy Director and Chief Advancement Officer for the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation. As the architect of a robust advancement strategy, Burton oversees the raising of funds for all areas of the museum, including exhibitions, acquisitions, conservation, and education. She leads a department that seeks support from individuals and affinity groups, foundations, corporate sponsorship and global partners, membership, special events, and annual fundraising. She works closely with the Board of Trustees and sits on the Executive and Governance & Nominating Committees of the Board.

Burton’s areas of expertise include overall strategy development across a number of fundraising functions, including annual giving, corporate and foundation relations, major and planned giving, and board development. Prior to her role at the Guggenheim, she served as Vice President with CCS Fundraising, the international nonprofit fundraising consulting firm, working with clients in all sectors. Burton also served as the Interim Regional Director and Associate Director for ALSAC/St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in New York, where she oversaw fundraising initiatives for the greater New York and New Jersey area in support of the hospital. She previously was the Director of Development for St. Mary’s Healthcare System for Children, where she managed a prospect portfolio, developed strategies for donor solicitation and cultivation, and prepared the organization for campaign readiness.

Burton serves as a part-time lecturer at Columbia University in the Master of Nonprofit Management program, where she teaches Fundraising Fundamentals for Nonprofits and Major and Leadership Giving. She received her Master of Science in Nonprofit Management with a focus in fundraising from Columbia University. A member of the Columbia University School of Professional Studies Alumni Council, Burton is also a board member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, New York City. She received the National Young Professional of the Year Award from AFP in 2017 and the Young Alumni Achievement Award from Knox College in 2021.