As the Chief Development Officer for The WICT Network, Lesa is responsible for the solicitation and implementation of a broad range of activities that fuel growth in non-dues revenue for the organization. This includes sophisticated partnership and portfolio development, and other avenues of revenue-generating activities. In pursuit of these new relationships, Faris collaborates with key industry leaders to create strategies that identify high-potential target sectors and campaigns to convert them.
Faris has over 20 years of fundraising and high-end event planning experience, encompassing sales and marketing in the corporate, nonprofit, and government sectors. She has orchestrated both domestic and international events for up to 15,000 attendees, experience that has provided a strong understanding of the return-on-investment expectations of prospective corporate partners and sponsors.
Faris has remained steadfast in her focus on business development for several exceptional nonprofits within the hospitality and women’s community – namely, the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association, the American Society of Women Accountants and the National Association of Women Business Owners. She has also consulted for the SCORE Association, a nonprofit dedicated to educating entrepreneurs and helping small businesses start, grow, and succeed nationwide. Faris produced remarkable results acting as executive director for a small, charitable nonprofit in the health arena. During her time with the Ehlers-Danlos National Foundation, she turned the nonprofit from red to black by appealing to a small, but passionate and loyal membership base and a close cadre of corporate supporters nearly doubling revenues within a year. However, her business acumen and strong judgment is best utilized when following her passion of working for organizations that are in support of women in growth and leadership positions in all areas.
Faris is a social sciences graduate from Michigan State University, where she pursued a multidisciplinary major focusing on labor law, economics, and sociology. At present, she is an active member in both American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) and Meeting Professionals International (MPI). Faris received her Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) certification in 2008 and is a believer in ongoing professional development.