Ramatoulie Gassama has had a flair for communications from the age of 15, when she got involved in a national youth movement in her native Gambia, traveling across the West African country and appearing on television and radio in an AIDS awareness and prevention program. That led her to work as a correspondent on a popular Gambian society and culture TV show until she went to England to earn a degree in economics and banking. She returned to Gambia and worked as an economist in the Gambian Ministry of Finance, later taking a job in marketing and communications firm with mostly regional and international clients.
She was working at this company when she heard about the U.S. State Department’s Young African Leadership Initiative, applied, and was accepted into the first Dartmouth class of Mandela Washington Fellows in 2014 through the John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding. After her summer in Hanover, she stayed connected to Dartmouth and in 2017, she started work in the Advancement office.
This staff snapshot is part of the Lone Pine Recognition Program for Dartmouth College Staff.
Job Title: Advancement Associate in the Office of the Senior Vice President for Advancement
How did you come to work in the Advancement office?
A year after my fellowship, I relocated to the U.S. with my daughter and surprisingly ended up in Hanover. I applied for jobs here and I was hired by the development office. I was in the development office for about nine months, supporting three fundraisers as an administrative assistant. It was a great time. I learned so much about the institution and about fundraising. It was my first experience working on the development side of higher education. Then this job opened, and I got an offer in the senior vice president’s office, so I joined the office and I’ve been here for a year and seven months now.
What is your role as an advancement associate?
I support the chief of staff for the senior vice president for advancement. I work closely with other team members like the senior writer, preparing communications to donors and alumni. I work with the stewardship manager in thinking about creative and meaningful ways to show gratitude to donors. I have a couple of projects on my plate as well. One of them is the President’s Leadership Council. Working closely with the chief of staff and associate director, I help facilitate and organize on campus and regional meetings. The other project is the all-staff meeting—Advancement in Motion—a quarterly professional development meeting for all fundraisers, alumni officers, and administrators. I work closely with the SVP to prepare a presentation with updates on goals, strategies and news of note to present at this meeting.
What is your favorite part of this job?
Learning new things every day is a great part of my job. We’re dealing with a lot of different people all the time. I find that exciting, and what I like most about this place is that it’s not routine. It’s completely different every day. One of the most exciting things about this job is there’s always a challenge here, something to figure out. It is empowering being here from a different community and learning to navigate the different values within America and within higher education on top of that. So, to have this opportunity to learn and grow, is wonderful. I’m thankful for my friends and colleagues who make my being here a lot easier.
What keeps you busy away from work?
Ha! I actually have a full plate outside of work. I have a daughter, she’s 4, with a big personality. She loves to play outside, especially in the winter. Unlike me, she enjoys skiing. I grew up in a tropical environment, so I kind of go with the flow as long as she is having fun. I am currently doing my masters at the Guarini School in globalization and creative writing. I serve on the Dartmouth Black Caucus board, and I enjoy our social times, conversations ,and engagement in the community. I also serve on the board of the Children’s Center of the Upper Valley, and on Sundays, I join the Muslim families in the Upper Valley for educational and fun activities.
William Platt can be reached at email@example.com.