Growing up in Minden, Louisiana, Amber understood the importance of community. Today, she continues to foster a sense of community through philanthropy operations and donor relations at A&M-Commerce. You can find her actively building relationships between donors and the students who benefit from their generosity. Amber is passionate about making a difference in the lives of A&M-Commerce students!
A Conversation with Amber Countis
What would you tell a student who is thinking about attending A&M-Commerce?
“A&M-Commerce is a special place that will treat you like family. The more you give, the more you get, and the friendships and networks you create here will serve you well into the future. The Lion community is large enough to offer a wide variety of academic and extracurricular programs but small enough for every Lion to build meaningful connections with faculty, staff and fellow students.”
What has been your most memorable moment helping an alum or donor?
“On only my second day at A&M-Commerce, I attended a holiday party of the Beta Lambda Chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma, an organization for educators. That night, the chapter signed a gift agreement for a new endowed scholarship fund at A&M-Commerce to help future women educators in Hunt County. I was excited to be there to see the signing and to collect the funds they had raised to that point. I am proud to say that two years later, I have pretty much been adopted by this group of kind, caring and talented women. I was officially inducted into the chapter in December 2020! I have so enjoyed being able to get to know them and to see them raise funds over the last two years, from selling one member’s lifetime collection of Barbie dolls, to the frequent memorial and honorary gifts, to individual generosity. I cannot wait to see Beta Lambda finally hit their goal (likely ahead of schedule) and then to finally have their first scholarship recipients. It will be such a rewarding opportunity for this special group of donors, and to know that I was able to be there for most of the journey makes it even more important to me.”
How has your role changed since you began working at A&M-Commerce?
“My role has evolved in ways that have allowed me to grow as a professional and team member. I have worked on a wide variety of projects, including websites, giving pages, crafting acknowledgment letters, endowment reports, events, strategic planning, communications, data management, gift processing, annual giving, and even Title IX cases. I relish the opportunity to learn and try new things and, most importantly, collaborate with new people and cross-institution teams.”
What do you like most about your career?
“I love the opportunity to help others transform their lives through higher education. I grew so much as a person during my own college experience, and I want others to have the chance to experience that for themselves. I enjoy understanding what motivates and excites donors to make gifts. We each have different motivations and the stories are special and compelling. In my role at A&M-Commerce, I have had the opportunity to engage directly with both donors and the students who benefit from their generosity. I feel energized and motivated when I am able to help facilitate those relationships. I love working at nonprofits and in fundraising because I am reminded every day that there are very caring and generous people in the world.”
- EdD, Higher Education, Texas A&M University-Commerce, in progress
- MPP, Public Policy, Tufts University, 2009
- Certificate, Management of Community Organizations, Tufts University, 2008
- B.A., Political Science and Environmental Sciences, Tulane University, 1997