Case Study 

Joe Komsky, Former Associate Vice President, Office of Philanthropy
City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center

Individual Coaching



City of Hope is a leading research and treatment center for cancer, diabetes, HIV/AIDS and other life-threatening diseases. For nearly 100 years, our pioneering research has brought the world closer to cures. Designated as an NCI Comprehensive Cancer Center and a founding member of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, City of Hope’s research and treatment protocols advance care throughout the nation.

In 2015, KDD Philanthropy was hired to provide individual coaching to various members of City of Hope’s leadership cohort. One of the individuals in the cohort was Joe Komsky. At the time, Joe was planning to pursue new development opportunities outside the organization. He was encouraged by his managers to work with Kathy Drucquer Duff in order to learn, grow and become a more effective leader at City of Hope.

Process of Working with KDD Philanthropy

Joe admits that he started the coaching process angry because he felt he should have already been promoted to a leader within City of Hope. He appreciated Kathy’s hands-on and no-nonsense approach to coaching. Joe embraced the “safe space” he had with Kathy where he was able to talk about what he did well and what he needed to improve upon.

There wasn’t any coddling. Kathy helped me focus on my role within the situation because that’s what I could control (since we can’t change others’ behavior). That resonated with me and gave me the right mindset I needed to learn and grow. She addressed my individual needs and personality, and helped me find my own path.

Joe believes one of Kathy’s strengths as a coach is her ability to understand management and fundraising because she has personally been successful in both arenas.

Her wealth of experience is what she brings to coaching. So many other consultants don’t have Kathy’s successful track record in fundraising. She’s been successful and knows what works. And she doesn’t use a cookie cutter approach. Many other trainers come in with their way of doing things, and try to fit the problem into a standard solution. Kathy spent our first two meetings just learning about me, and how I needed to grow and where I wanted to end up.


Joe worked with Kathy over the course of two years. As a result, he has been promoted twice, most recently to Associate Vice President, Office of Philanthropy. He appreciates that Kathy supported his growth and gave him additional tools in his quest to earn those promotions.

If my managers handed a promotion to me two years ago, I would have failed as a manager. She helped me achieve success. I’m a better leader and fundraiser because of working with Kathy.

Joe also states that one of the best things a coach can do is give her client the skills to do their own coaching.

As a result of working with Kathy, I am able to recognize my own feelings and reactions and be more self-aware. Now I can coach myself (listen more, ask more questions). That part of her coaching has been invaluable. She’s given me skills to coach myself.