Name: Margaret Steele
Title: Chief Development Officer
Company: Wilkes University
Address Work: 84 W. South Street, Wilkes-Barre PA
Address Home: Mountain Top PA
Margret Steele considers herself to be a work in progress when it comes to success. Perhaps that is reflective of the humility that was instilled in her by a German family upbringing in Lancaster where simple things and hard work were deeply appreciated. Or perhaps, it is also reflective of being a baby boomer and always expected to reach farther and accomplish more. “It is not that I have not had success, I have; but success is more of a process of growth — a constant defined by always striving to do more than what is expected,” she explained.
As the chief development officer at Wilkes University, she is the senior leader of the advancement area and serves as a member of the president’s cabinet. As such, she orchestrates activities related to the analysis, planning, execution, control and evaluation of all fundraising at the university, including major gifts, the annual fund and the University Family Campaign, as well as alumni engagement and the marketing, operations, stewardship and public relations associated with these responsibilities. She has helped to acquire First Generation Scholarship Funds, exceeding $2 million during her tenure; the Gateway to the Future Comprehensive Campaign, nearly $60 million and fundraising events including the annual Founders Gala and Giving Day scheduled for March 11th.
“At Wilkes, we are quite proud that 50% of our students are the first in their families to attend college and more than 40% are Pell Grant eligible, meaning they have limited family income. A major part of my team’s effort focuses on growing scholarships and other support for these committed students,” Steele points out. She devotes countless hours of care, support and tedious research and for the past 30 years she has also been devoted to the on-campus Wilkes community.
She received her bachelor’s degree from Salem College in organizational psychology.
Her mentors were frequently those women who evolved over the changing times such as Lucille Ball and Carol Burnett. “I learned humor and how to deliver humor from these women and how to navigate the culture of societal change in the workforce through the Mary Tyler Moore Show. I learned how to be a mischievous Catholic from Sally Field and a humanitarian from Audrey Hepburn,” she explained.
Nothing defines Steele more than her absolute good fortune to have been raised by Mary and Eddie Ganse in a small row home with three older siblings who also guided her as she grew. Her most constant source of unconditional love and encouragement is from her husband of 40 years, Dr Michael Steele. The couple raised three children who all earned full tuition scholarships at top institutions bringing their own support to the family.
She was selected by the Luzerne County Council to be a member of the board of trustees at Luzerne County Community College, where she served on various committees including legislative and community affairs, the academic and finance committee. She has also been a member of the Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Commerce board, a PARD committee member of the United Way of Wyoming Valley, a steering committee member for the Interfaith Center for Peace and Justice, and an advisory council member of the Penn’s Woods Girl Scout Council.