Meet Dennis Agnos, SAY’s New Development Director
SAY is very proud to welcome Dennis Agnos as our new Development Director. Dennis comes to SAY with a wealth of knowledge and experience, and a passion for youth development. We wanted to take a moment and get to know Dennis a little better and share that with our entire SAY family. Read on to learn about our new development leader and join us in welcoming Dennis to the team!
How long have you called Sonoma County home? When did you first hear about SAY?
My partner, Christopher, and I moved to Sonoma County from San Francisco in 2011, after chasing the sun for a few years. Our goal was to slow down from our faster-paced city life, take more hikes, drink our friend’s award-winning Pinot Noir, and to plant tomatoes. Even with full time employment, we found we had more free time than ever before, so we hastened our plan to become foster dads. It was during the extensive training to become a certified emergency foster home that we were introduced to SAY.
Tell us a little bit about your fundraising career. What excites you most about working at SAY?
Most nonprofit professionals I know have been called to the work; I am no exception. We do what we do because we believe in a mission and the people it serves. I’m joining SAY with more than 20 years of nonprofit fundraising experience and connecting investors to the missions that matter to them. My background includes time with Nordstrom, San Francisco Symphony, Stanford, and Face to Face.
It is important to me to connect my daily work life to solutions for some of the most complex social issues that exist in our community. In addition to its reputation, I’m most excited about the support SAY gives at-risk youth on their journey to stabilization and, ultimately, toward a productive and robust adulthood.
Who has influenced you most when it comes to how you approach your work?
I am inspired by individuals who lead with their heart, are authentic, and approach their work with good intention. My middle-school humanities teacher mentored me to be a gentle person, but I would not realize that until decades later; my maternal grandmother taught me how to be a good dad (she was an amazing mother); and I try live as honest as Abe Lincoln.
What’s one professional skill you’re currently working on?
I recently attended a leadership mediation workshop at Spirit Rock with some of my SAY colleagues. I was reminded to listen more, for it is in the silence that much can be learned.
What’s something you saw recently at the Dream Center that made you smile?
Recently, I attended SAY’s spring job fair, and felt pride in our career services work. More importantly, I was inspired by the strength and vulnerability of our youth to stand next to the participating adults in their quest to move their lives forward.
What would we most likely find you doing on the weekends?
Since becoming a dad six years ago I have attended more (birthday) parties than I had in my single life! During the warm summer months, you can catch me by the pool drinking a Kombucha while watching our girls swimming and playing with their friends.
SAY helps many young people find and secure their first jobs. What was your very first job as a young person? How did that influence you?
I was a grocery bagger at Happy Foods in Skokie, Illinois! It taught me how to balance my homework, sports schedule, family life, and work schedule at an early age. I decided to obtain my worker’s permit at 14.5 years old in order to absorb the cost over my mother’s budget for the designer jeans I wanted. In a sense, I have been in fund development since 1984!
What advice would you give to your teenage self?
It does get better, and open my heart sooner – there is a big, beautiful world out there awaiting you to walk around and explore.
Again, we’re so excited to have Dennis on board at SAY! He’s looking forward to meeting with all our amazing donors and can be reached at 707-800-3967 or firstname.lastname@example.org