The Office of Institutional Advancement serves Williamson College of the Trades through Alumni Relations, Annual Giving, Capital Campaign, Corporate/Foundation Relations, Development Support Services, Planned Giving and Public Relations. Advancement Office staff work collaboratively to build relationships among Williamson’s alumni and friends. Through these contacts the Advancement Office secures the partnerships necessary to ensure the future success of Isaiah Williamson’s vision.
The purpose in Alumni Relations is to coordinate efforts which engage alumni in the college’s mission through effective constituent relations, communications, programs and special events.
Our goal in coordinating an annual giving program is to encourage consistent financial support from alumni, friends, past parents, corporations, foundations and organizations, to be used for the purposes of current operations.
A capital campaign is a concentrated, usually multi-year effort to promote financial support for larger capital projects and programs that fulfill a much broader, life changing mission than annual giving, ensuring a secure foundation for the future of the college.
The goal of public relations is to manage the college’s image, both internally and externally, through effective communications, media relations and publications; to communicate the overall qualities of Williamson to all of its relevant publics.
Arlene A. Snyder, CFRE
Vice President for Institutional Advancement
Arlene Snyder was appointed Vice President for Institutional Advancement in November of 2015. She is responsible for developing successful programs, motivating staff and volunteers, establishing productive donor relationships, and achieving goals. As vice president, she is the chief architect and strategist for all advancement efforts including: annual, major and planned gifts as well as campaign planning and implementation. In 2021, she announced the successful conclusion of Williamson’s 2016-2021 Building for the Future Comprehensive Capital Campaign, which ended on schedule and over goal, raising a total of $82.4 million.
She also oversees and coordinates the marketing, communications, and event planning that supports the work of Advancement as well as the office of Alumni Relations. She previously served as president of the Sibley Memorial Hospital Foundation in Washington, D.C., a supporting foundation for Sibley Memorial Hospital, a member of Johns Hopkins Medicine, where she was responsible for strategic leadership and executive management. Earlier, she was senior vice president and chief development officer at MedStar, Washington Hospital Center in Washington, D.C.; vice president of development at the Allegheny Health Network in Pittsburgh (formerly West Penn Allegheny Health System); president and CEO of the Western Pennsylvania Hospital Foundation in Pittsburgh; and executive director of Vintage, Inc., in Pittsburgh.
She is a Certified Fund Raising Executive and holds a bachelor of arts degree and a master of arts degree from the University of Pittsburgh. In 2010, she received the Brava! Women Business Achievement Award, which recognizes Washington’s top 25 female leaders who have helped grow successful companies and are actively involved in giving back to their community through philanthropic acts.
Associate Vice President for Institutional Advancement
Kelsey Turk joined the Williamson Advancement Department in August 2019. As Associate Vice President for Institutional Advancement, she provides senior-level office and administrative oversight in the day-to-day management of the Office of Institutional Advancement and provides strategic direction to the Advancement team with its fundraising efforts and leadership of capital campaigns. She previously served as an Advancement Officer, engaging in meaningful relationships with alumni and friends of Williamson to support the major gifts program and to advance the college’s mission.
Kelsey has nearly a decade of nonprofit fundraising experience, having worked in development at Cabrini University and Philadelphia University (now Jefferson University) managing alumni relations. Prior to her alumni engagement experience, she coordinated special fundraising events at Big Brothers Big Sisters and annual fund initiatives at Mercy Career and Technical High School—where she first learned about the important mission of Williamson and the trades industry.
Kelsey earned a bachelor of arts in communication and is pursuing a master of science in leadership at Cabrini University.
Kira joined Williamson in 2022 with seven years of experience coordinating Programs and Events. Her most recent experience comes from her position as a Program Coordinator for United Incentives. She has also held a position at Advance Healthcare Network as an Event Coordinator. Kira has a BA in English and Communications from Cabrini University as well as an MS in Education. Kira is originally from the capital of Pennsylvania, Harrisburg, but now lives with her husband and daughter in Delaware County.
Director of Alumni Relations
Laura has seventeen years of experience in the nonprofit sector, with eleven of those years in alumni relations in an educational institution. Laura has a BA in English and a Masters in Theatre Arts from Villanova University. Laura lives in Downingtown with her husband and her young son and daughter. She has known about Williamson for years. Her uncle is an Alumnus!
Lee Anne Cassidy
Grants & Sponsored Programs Coordinator
Lee Anne Cassidy joined Williamson in August, 2020 with three years of non-profit experience and over 33 years of corporate research experience. Most recently she worked at the University of Delaware as a Research Development Specialist helping find grant opportunities for faculty conducting academic research. Prior to that, Lee Anne worked for the DuPont Company in a variety of research-related roles including Laboratory Technologist, Chemistry Specialist, Technology Transfer Liaison, and Business Development Consultant. In 2018 she became a director at STEHM, a non-profit transitional women’s shelter in Wilmington, DE, and serves as the Grants Chair for their all-volunteer board.
Lee Anne holds a B.S. in Medical Laboratory Science and an MBA from the University of Delaware, and more recently earned a Project Management Certificate from the same university.
Lisa D. Diantoniis
Annual Gift Officer
Lisa Diantoniis joined Williamson in April 2022. As Annual Gift Officer, she creates targeted annual fund campaigns to increase participation and institutional giving. Lisa has decades of nonprofit fundraising experience managing both membership and annual giving programs with various cultural organizations. Lisa came to Williamson from Pendle Hill, a Quaker retreat and conference center, where she managed the Annual Giving program, donor engagement, and database management.
She has extensive experience in writing and editing, as she began her career in journalism as an editor on regional magazines. Lisa earned a Bachelor of Sciences and Humanities from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in Journalism.
David Pliszka joined the Advancement Department in August 2022. As Advancement Officer, he will cultivate meaningful relationships with alumni and friends of Williamson, build strong major gifts and planned giving programs, and advance the College’s mission.
David has over 10 years of nonprofit fundraising experience having worked in development at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, The Wharton School, and other development shops in the greater Philadelphia region managing Annual and Leadership Gift programs.
David earned a bachelor of arts in Corporate Communications from Pennsylvania State University and a Master of Education (MSEd.), Higher Education/Higher Education Administration from Walden University.
Senior Database Manager
Denise Schlake brings to Williamson years of experience, strong organizational skills, and an ability to work well with people. She decided to come to Willliamson because she likes the school’s mission and values. She earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing and management at Penn State University. In addition, she has successfully completed the required exam and has earned Blackbaud Certification in Raiser’s Edge® at the level of PROFESSIONAL 2020. Denise grew up in Philadelphia and graduated from West Philadelphia Catholic High School. She enjoys spending time with family and friends and reading.
Mary Jane Taylor
Director of Grants & Research
Mary Jane Taylor joined Williamson’s Office of Institutional Advancement in January 2019, after spending 25 years working in museums. She has broad experience in program and exhibition development and outcomes-based assessment, and more recently has focused on grant writing and research. Just prior to coming to Williamson, Mary Jane served as Interim Grants Manager at Please Touch Museum. Earlier, she was Director of Learning and Engagement at the Museum of the American Revolution for 3.5 years. Throughout her career, writing has been a key component of her work. She is a published author and a three-time winner of the American Alliance of Museums award for Excellence in Exhibition Writing. Mary Jane holds a Bachelor’s degree in History from Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio, where she was a tutor in the Writer’s Workshop. She also has post-graduate degrees from James Cook University of North Queensland, Australia and the Winterthur Program in Early American Culture at the University of Delaware.
As Director of Grants & Research, Mary Jane is responsible for researching and writing grant proposals to secure corporate, foundation and government funding.
Director of Public Relations & Communications
Carl Vairo came to Williamson in 1988 and is responsible for the alumni publication, The Williamsonian, as well as media relations, news releases, photography, and advertising. He is involved in Facebook postings and the electronic publication, Trademarks. He is also involved in such publications as the school calendar and course catalog and assists in many special events. He is the adviser to the student yearbook, The Mechanic, and provides assistance to the Alumni Association.
Prior to coming to Williamson, he was university relations assistant at Penn State’s Brandywine Campus and began his career as a reporter at The Quakertown Free Press, Quakertown, Pa., and Pocono Today, Stroudsburg, Pa.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism at Penn State University.
Jeff Zajac is a design and marketing professional specializing in traditional and digital design/communications, collaborative production, and marketing effectiveness. He serves as the creative lead, working across multiple departments to execute and oversee all design and marketing communications needs of the college, with an emphasis on Institutional Advancement. He provides brand oversight and implementation, and executes projects in traditional and new media.
Prior to coming to Williamson in June 2019, Jeff was the Marketing & Communications Manager at the Greater West Chester Chamber of Commerce, an independent contractor providing creative design and marketing services, and spent over a decade as the Publications Director at NEWS-Line Communications in King of Prussia, PA.
Jeff earned a bachelor of fine arts degree from West Chester University.