Working to defy cancer: Meet Sarah Shinn Lodigiani

This post is part of a series highlighting staff members within Dana-Farber Cancer Institute & The Jimmy Fund’s Division of Philanthropy, to give supporters an inside peek at life at New England’s favorite charity. Today, we’re talking to Sarah Shinn Lodigiani, Senior Assistant Director of Talent (Administration Team).

Q: How long have you worked at Dana-Farber and the Jimmy Fund?

A: I joined the Division of Philanthropy in September 2013 following my college graduation. I learned and grew immensely, stepping into a Recruiting Coordinator role in 2015, which is how I found my passion for talent acquisition. In 2017, I left Dana-Farber and the Jimmy Fund to pursue for-profit recruiting at a global consulting firm. I loved recruiting and wanted to test if it was something I would love anywhere. While it was a wonderful experience, I couldn’t stay away from non-profit long. I’m what we call a “boomerang”—I came back to the Division of Philanthropy almost exactly one year later into my current role. I’ve been in this position, overseeing staffing for the Division of Philanthropy, for a little more than three years. I’m proud to have spent seven years (so far) of my career at an organization with such an incredible mission and working among exceptional colleagues. 

Q: Can you describe your role here? What is a typical day like?

A: I oversee talent acquisition for the Division of Philanthropy, which includes oversight of recruiting, interviewing, and onboarding. There is no typical day, however; in a given week, you may find me hosting Philanthropy Orientation for our new staff members, meeting with hiring managers to kick-off or touch base about a search, conducting initial conversations to screen candidates, meeting with a new staff member for an onboarding check-in, or collaborating with my amazing team to move forward the many staffing projects we are implementing.

The Division of Philanthropy pivoted in response to COVID-19 in early 2020 and continues to do so. My focus has been on continuing to support our staff as they navigate into our new dynamic workforce. We’ve transitioned to an all-virtual interview process and enhanced our onboarding to a virtual environment as well. One silver lining to the virtual environment we are now operating in has been the ability to add more touchpoints for new staff with other members of our team. Our Philanthropy-specific orientation for all new staff features multiple forms of communication (presentations and videos) with various subject matter experts across our teams joining us virtually to present and speak.

Q: What made you want to work here and in philanthropy generally?

A: It is uncommon to hear from a candidate that they grew up or went to school knowing they wanted to work in philanthropy. Luckily for me, I was exposed to philanthropy in college. I went to Pennsylvania State University, which has a large student-run philanthropy committed to enhancing the lives of children and families impacted by childhood cancer. I was involved in these efforts during my undergraduate years and thought it would be ideal to merge my passion for mission-based work with my degree in Health Policy & Administration. I was fortunate to have a connection at Dana-Farber and the Jimmy Fund’s Division of Philanthropy from a now-colleague who was from my hometown and invited me to a Philanthropy Information Session. There I learned more about the teams, fundraising, and started applying to roles right away.

Today, we still host those Information Sessions, which I help to lead virtually via Zoom, for folks interested in learning more about working in the Division of Philanthropy. (Email us if you are interested in working here and attending a session!)

Q: What would you say is a top quality of someone looking to work in our Division of Philanthropy?

A: With over 280 positions across more than 20 teams, all teams and roles are unique. The shared, common threads that I look for are a passion for the mission as well as the ability to collaborate, innovate, and be a team player

Q: Do you have any recommendations for potential applicants?

A: Always submit a cover letter! It is your opportunity to tell your “why.” Why are you interested in this particular role? Why Dana-Farber and the Jimmy Fund? Why is your experience the best match? The ability to communicate, verbally and in writing, is so important to the work we do.

Q: What’s your favorite part of your job? What do you love most?

A: I feel honored to be an ambassador for the amazing work happening at Dana-Farber and the Jimmy Fund, and proud of the contributions made by our Division. I love showcasing our talented teams, my wonderful colleagues, and the impact philanthropy has made to raise the money necessary to make a tangible impact on Dana-Farber’s lifesaving mission. I truly believe no matter the role staff hold, we are all making a difference in defying cancer.

I’ve also been a member of the Division of Philanthropy Inclusion, Diversity & Equity (ID&E) Council for the past year. Seeing the Council’s actions and milestones come to life, particularly around fostering a more inclusive team makes me proud. One highlight: I served on a working group that drove the creation of a Philanthropy-specific ID&E statement to anchor our ID&E work. I was able to collaborate with a small group of colleagues researching similar statements from other organizations, best practices, and language choices, which led to a statement now supported by the entire Division and used across many staffing materials (job descriptions, webpages, and more).


We’re stronger together.

In the Division of Philanthropy, we believe in the power of different voices. We encourage authenticity and diversity of every individual within our community. Our collective voices—donors, volunteers, staff, and patients alike—allow us to work together towards a world without cancer. Committed to being a place of inclusivity, belonging, and change, these are our core values. 

If you are interested in exploring a career in Dana-Farber and the Jimmy Fund’s Division of Philanthropy, we invite you to check out our careers page to learn about our culture, view open roles, or register for an upcoming Information Session.

We also encourage you to support Dana-Farber and the Jimmy Fund through The Dana-Farber Campaign, our ambitious, multi-year fundraising effort to prevent, treat, and defy cancer. The Dana-Farber Campaign will accelerate the Institute’s strategic priorities by supporting revolutionary science, extraordinary care, and exceptional expertise. As a community, we have the power to create a more hopeful, cancer-free future—in Boston and around the world. Together, we can defy cancer at every turn. Learn more about The Dana-Farber Campaign at