Mayme Norman Spotlight – February 2020


Mayme Norman Video Spotlight



  • Name                            Mayme Norman
  • Current Title                Vice President of Philanthropy
  • Organization Name    Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
  • Q:        Tell us a little about your organization. Mission. Population you serve. What do you like most about working there?    
  • A:         Home to more than 10,000 animals representing over 600 species from around the globe, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium leads and inspires by connecting people and wildlife. The Zoo complex is a recreational and education destination that includes the 22-acre Zoombezi Bay water park and 18-hole Safari Golf Course. The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium also manages The Wilds, a 10,000-acre conservation center and safari park located in southeastern Ohio. The Zoo is a regional attraction with global impact; annually contributing more than $4 million of privately raised funds to support conservation projects worldwide. In 2019 we were honored to serve more than 2.2 million guests. What I like most about working at the Zoo is the honorable opportunity to represent this incredible organization, to connect our donors to their passion of helping wildlife, and for our donors’ to see firsthand their impact and inspiration.
  • Q:        How long have you been an AFP member, and what has your involvement been?   
  • A:         I have been a member of AFP since 1999. It has been an honor and pleasure to participate in the Mentor/Mentee program for many years. In addition, I served on the Central Ohio AFP Chapter Board as the Be The Cause Chair in 2015; the National Philanthropy Day Nominations Chair in 2016 and 2017; the Mentor/Mentee committee in 2018; and the IHQ Education Courses Chair in 2018 and 2019. This year I am honored to serve as the VP of Membership.
  • Q:        What do you consider the most valuable part of your AFP membership?
  • A:         The most valuable parts of my AFP membership include developing rewarding relationships with so many amazing fundraising colleagues in central Ohio. Within this incredible network I know I can reach out for advice or guidance (we all need it at throughout our career!) and to be supportive of others in return. Through the Be The Cause Campaign we are providing scholarships to help provide support and springboard opportunities for fundraisers to learn and grow in this career. And together we are helping donors make life-changing impacts, strengthening central Ohio as a generous and heartfelt community.
  • Q:        How long have you been in fundraising, and how did you get into it?      
  • A:         I have been in fundraising for 27 years. It all started when I fell in to my first fundraising job with COSI as the Director of Investor/Sponsor Relations in 1993. I learned of the opportunity through networking and had no idea what a fundraising career included. I felt like I hit the jackpot for the opportunity to work for such an incredible institution.
  • Q:        What has been your biggest success in your career?
  • A:         All the successes, no matter the size, are inspiring. To help a donor see their impact and to be a part of advancing the mission of the organization is awesome. This career is challenging – there will always be a need to raise more money, to steward in more creative ways, to do more work with less resources – so I consider every success a reason to take a moment to celebrate. One of the biggest successes in my career includes working with incredible leaders like Donna Zuiderweg and the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium’s Philanthropy Team to kick off our first-ever comprehensive campaign in 2017 and raising $30 million of our $38 million goal to date. Included in this work is to have earned the trust of incredible donors and organizations who are making generous and heartfelt gifts in support of their passion for wildlife.
  • Q:        What has been your biggest learning opportunity in your career?
  • A:         When I worked at the Kobacker House with Hospice at Riverside/ Grant (now called OhioHealth Hospice) I learned firsthand the importance of expressing empathy with the widow or widower, of ensuring timeliness of all acknowledgments and commemorative lists of gifts made in someone’s name, of the accuracy in every detail in acknowledgment letters, in ensuring alignment of these priorities with all team members involved, and of being genuine in all conversations.
  • Q:        Tell us a fun fact about you that other AFP members wouldn’t know.
  • A:         A few fun facts about me – I’m the last of eight children, a first-generation college graduate, and I have successfully jumped out of an airplane.
  • Q:        What is your favorite part about living/working in Columbus? Favorite place to go?
  • A:         My favorite part of living / working in Columbus (Dublin) is how close in proximity I am to anything our family needs – work, school, groceries, entertainment, libraries, shopping. My favorite place to go is on a walk in the woods behind my house, and anywhere my family goes.
  • Q:        What advice would you give to a new member of AFP?
  • A:         Please network and build relationships with peers and AFP Board members through AFP monthly educational events, picking up the phone and coffee invitations. You will gain support, ideas, inspiration and energy!
  • Q:        Do you have a favorite book/blog/podcast/etc. that has been very helpful in your career that you’d recommend?
  • A:         Favorite books: Donor-Centered Fundraising by Penelope Burk and for managers Crucial Conversations by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler

Posted February 2020