Get to Know Letty Lopez
It’s well into the new year and Leticia Lopez, BDI’s Data Services Supervisor, has yet to take down her Christmas decorations. “Which is unusual for me because I’m normally very scheduled about that,” she says. As a rule, she never puts them up before Thanksgiving and always removes them by January 1. “But this year I want to keep my lights up just a little longer. I need to keep the twinkle.”
Of course, the holiday routine isn’t all that changed for Letty during the past year of precautions and lockdowns. But just as she allows extra time for the twinkle, she continues to look on the bright side. “For one thing, I don’t miss the 40-minute commute,” she says with a chuckle.
Working from home has also given her more time with her fur baby, a tiny Chihuahua named Honey, who’s famous for appearing on camera during virtual meetings. “She’s just my little best friend, especially during the quarantine. In hindsight, I feel bad about leaving her home alone all the years I worked in an office.”
Serving in nonprofit fundraising for more than two decades, Letty has gained rich experience in nearly every aspect of the industry, from client service, to campaign strategy, to production and data analytics. Since joining BDI in 2017, she has become a staunch data advocate, leading her team to understand and harness the power of data, and inspiring analytic solutions to help clients achieve their goals.
“Many organizations think of their biggest asset in terms of bricks and mortar. But I would suggest it’s their data,” Letty says. “No matter how many buildings or volunteers or donors you have — and they’re all important to the process, of course — it’s your data that can make or break what you’re trying to achieve.”
On a global scale, Letty also believes the current climate has compelled her to view the fundraising industry and her role in it through a new lens.
The fact that we can service our clients — and they can serve their clients — simply through the donations of people wanting to help others is amazing to me,” she explains. “This year especially, when so many people have lost their jobs, I think of myself as an essential worker. We in fundraising are essential to our clients who are essential to those in need.”
When Letty isn’t leading her team, crunching numbers and analyzing data, she enjoys streaming movies and reading books. While she loves fiction of any kind, she makes room on her reading list for self-help books on topics like decluttering (Do I really need eight spatulas?) along with anything relevant to current times, whether political, historic, or industry based.
One of her favorite reads is “Creating Magic: 10 Common Sense Leadership Strategies from a Life at Disney,” by former Walt Disney World Executive Vice President Lee Cockerell. A Disneyland enthusiast since childhood, she witnessed the growth and success of the dream-driven company through the years and now embraces many of the same principles in her own interaction with team members. “It’s really about motivation,” she says. “Simple things like don’t micromanage… stand up for the excluded… acknowledge the squeaky wheel.”
These timeless strategies also remind her of the importance of history: We must learn from lessons of the past to be successful in the future. “So whatever they were — issues, mistakes, challenges or even wins — you have to take those into account.”
The year ahead is uncertain. But as Letty cuddles up with her Chihuahua and a good book, she’s beginning to feel ready for whatever comes next.
“Now maybe it’s time to take down those lights.”