Case Study

Mills College
Transition Management and Individual Coaching



Mills College is a private liberal arts college located in the Oakland foothills with easy access to San Francisco and Silicon Valley. The institution enables students to connect with the Bay Area’s diverse metropolitan centers and thriving cultural communities.

In 2015, Mills College was going through reorganization, leaving the Office of Institutional Advancement without a vice president or associate vice president During this period of transition, Mills College hired Kathy Drucquer Duff to bring stability to the organization and serve as an interim leader, working with both cabinet members and the Office of Institutional Advancement staff. One of the aspects of Kathy’s work was providing individual coaching to various members of the Office of Institutional Advancement team.

Process of Working with KDD Philanthropy

One of the individuals Kathy coached was Jennifer Gibbs, Former Senior Advancement Director, who was responsible for raising gifts in excess of $50,000.

Jennifer had this to say about working with Kathy:

Kathy is inspiring and a great motivator. She was able to understand all the team members, identify their strengths and weaknesses, and coach us through the challenges we had.

Kathy has an ability to read people – their strengths and weaknesses – and easily determine what the best organizational fit is for each individual. She was able to have a productive conversation with a staff member who was not high functioning at the time, and get that person to change their outlook and behavior to the point that person is now a critical member of the Advancement team.

I always looked forward to meeting with Kathy. She was inspiring and I consider her a mentor.

Kathy helped Jennifer recognize the areas she needed to improve upon as a manager and coached her in a way to help build confidence. Jennifer currently has a great relationship with her team, which she attributes directly to Kathy’s coaching and mentoring.


As a result of working with KDD Philanthropy, Mills College has a new vice president for Institutional Advancement. Kathy was instrumental in the search and interview process, and identifying the successful candidate. She involved the entire Institutional Advancement in the hiring process. As part of her coaching efforts, Jennifer was tasked with leading the candidates around campus and talking with them. This empowered Jennifer in her leadership abilities and made her feel like she was part of the overall vision for the department and college. She continues to be guided by Kathy’s coaching, and used the techniques she learned from Kathy to conduct a search for a new team member.