Spotlight on Brad Green

A native of Columbus, Wisconsin, Brad Green ’05 began working for WFAA as a Badger Call student caller, starting in September 2001. Upon receiving his bachelor’s degree in communication arts in 2005, he began to work full time for the Wisconsin Foundation and Alumni Association (WFAA) and is now serving as a senior director of development for the College of Engineering.

Did you have any idea when you joined Badger Call that you’d still be working for WFAA today?
I had no idea what WFAA (just called the UW Foundation at the time) did. I saw a job that paid $9 an hour and was interested. Everything that came after was a bonus.
Can you tell us about your career progression, and what does your current role at WFAA entail?
As a student fundraiser, I was exposed to each different school and college and learned more about the development process. I was lucky to have mentors in all levels of the organization, and even as a student, the idea of traveling and meeting with successful and generous alumni interested me. After graduating, I ran the student calling program for seven years, managing hundreds of students and working with countless campus partners. This experience led me to join the engineering team as a frontline fundraiser. Currently, I travel the country and meet with friends and alumni of the Department of Mechanical Engineering.
You started working for WFAA and never left. Why did you decide to make your career here?
The best answer to this is the people. I’ve made countless friends over my 18-plus years here and am so grateful to be around my friends who work at WFAA every day. Some of them have become family and will be my friends forever. Our work can be busy and feel stressful, but it is almost always fun. It also feels good to help improve and sustain the excellence of something that I am passionate about — the University of Wisconsin.
What opportunities for career growth have you had?
As I’ve expressed interest in advancing my career, my past supervisors have encouraged me to attend conferences, network with others within the organization, and lead initiatives that will open doors for me in the future.
What are three career lessons you’ve learned thus far?
  1. WFAA is an organization that supports and backs good ideas. If you have an idea that could help our work or the UW, talk to people about it. It will be supported!
  2. Keep finding ways to improve your skills as this will pay off in many ways. Having applied for many jobs within the organization over the years, I have seen how persistence and a positive attitude can pay off with future opportunities. Sometimes a “no” will create future opportunities.
  3. Find ways to make friends on your team and outside of your team. This will make coming to work enjoyable and give you people to bounce ideas off of. Participate in WFAA activities when possible and volunteer for committees and so on where you think you might be able to add to the topic.
What is your proudest moment at WFAA?
I still think back fondly on advocating for student employees to get internships, full-time jobs, and other opportunities. It was so fulfilling to see them achieve some of their goals and to be a small part of it. In my work now, we recently raised $5 million to endow my department chair. This was an idea that I was part of creating, but it was discouraged early on for being too ambitious. The endowed chair ended up being a huge success and something that our department chair has as a legacy.
People would be surprised if they knew:
I didn’t own a car until I was 30.
What book did you read last?
Led Zeppelin: The Oral History of the World’s Greatest Rock Band. Very good read.
What would you say to someone who is considering working for WFAA?
If you like doing good things for a great university and working with wonderful people, you found the right place!