Get to know our leadership



leona burgess | director of operations

Leona Burgess is CDP’s Director of Operations. Dedicated to improving the efficiencies and operations of fundraising organizations within public media and higher education for the past 17 years, Leona brings experience, insight and knowledge from a broad spectrum of responsibilities, with focus on systems, analytics and planning, financial and resource management. In addition to oversight of CDP’s business operations, Leona currently oversees budget development and tracking for CDP’s Member Service Bureau stations, as well as project management and resource planning for CDP.

Most recently, Leona served as Senior Director of Operations and Planning for Local Development and Membership at WGBH Educational Foundation, with oversight of a multi-million-dollar membership budget. She served as a change agent for the spin-out of the CDP team through planning and driving adoption of new service providers, technology and workflows.

Prior to WGBH, Leona served as Executive Director of Advancement Services at Emerson College where she oversaw Development and Alumni Relation’s (DAR) overall budget, technology platform and workforce management, as well as contract negotiations for outside services used by the division. She reviewed and approved acceptance of all complex gifts, and gift agreements exceeding 100k prior to formal approval by the College’s Board of Trustees, managed internal policies and procedures, information security compliance for DAR (PII, PCI, etc.), as well as compliance with federal, state and Canadian regulations regarding cash handling, reporting and solicitation procedures and guidelines. She spoke on topics ranging from data integrity to moving prospects through the pipeline to major donors by utilizing data and systems more effectively, at industry conferences and colleges throughout the New England area.

Leona gained additional information technology, training, analytics, committee leadership and policy writing experience through previous professional positions and volunteer roles.

Leona holds an MBA from Fitchburg State University, and a BA from Emerson College.