Meet the Rising 25 Class of 2018: Charles Lerner

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1. Tell Us About Yourself and Your Current Role

A 2014 graduate of Syracuse University, I majored in Sport Management and minored in Leadership & Stewardship Communications. I was also a manager of the Men’s Basketball Program which included 4 consecutive tournament appearances and an epic run to the 2013 Final Four.

Upon graduating, I became a founding board member of Assist NYC, a nonprofit dedicated to assisting other organizations in New York City program and fundraise through the game of basketball. I also began working in sales for global construction company Pizzarotti IBC. After a year, I made the move into the tech world in sales & marketing for Braze (formerly Appboy), a customer relationship management and mobile marketing automation software company. Through my volunteer work with Assist NYC and miscellaneous fundraising projects, I observed the need to create more strategic philanthropic partnerships between corporations’ and nonprofit organizations’ to drive brand awareness & social impact.

With the goal of helping businesses make an impact on their customers by making an impact on the community, I started Philanthropic Broker. I am currently working with nonprofits to increase corporate fundraising opportunities and have the long-term goal of being a philanthropic consulting agency, guiding business on how to maximize impact and ultimately drive revenue through partnering with the most aligned nonprofit organizations.

2. Where do you see yourself in 15 years/dream job?

I see myself running Philanthropic Broker as the trusted, go-to Philanthropic Agency. I will be working with both for-profit businesses on their philanthropic strategy and nonprofit organizations on their corporate fundraising structure, helping both to understand the long-term value philanthropic initiatives and partnerships have on their customers.

3. Who is your mentor at this point?

My mentor at this point is Harrie Bakst, Founding Partner at ‎Weinstein Carnegie Philanthropic Group. 10 years ago, Harrie started his own company focused on cause marketing and corporate social responsibility with non-profit organizations, brands, events & properties, and athletes & celebrities. Thanks to his dedication and hard work, he now works with the most influential brands and individuals in philanthropy, including Save The Children, Revlon, and Cycle for Survival and Pelé.

As a mentor, Harrie’s greatest attribute is his honesty. Harrie has given me actionable takeaways such as creating a detailed timeline and budget, building an advisory board, and creating a go-to company deck with detailed case studies. Having Harrie as a mentor has helped me understand that building your own company is a long process and has motivated me to give 110% to every opportunity that I accept.

4. What’s one thing you’ve learned early in your career that you didn’t know until you started working in the industry?

I’ve learned the importance of persistence. As many times as we are told in school to “follow-up,” it is hard to fully fathom what that means until you are immersed in the people in the industry. There are endless amounts of moving parts, and often communication (especially digital), can fall to the side – for weeks or months a time. But it is absolutely pivotal to remember that everything times time and valuable ongoing communication will end up paying dividends in the long run.

5. What does winning the Rising 25 Award mean to you?

After seeing the group of this year’s participants, I am excited to surround myself with driven, smart, successful and inspiring up-and-comers. To me, the way to achieve ultimate success in life is by surrounding yourself with people who do not let you settle and push you to exceed your limits through accountability and encouragement. Being recognized motivates me to not settle and to continue to exceed my own goals and expectations.