Skip to main content

Q&A with new development advisor Elizabeth O’Connor

We are entering a season full of changes! One of the first is that Elizabeth O’Connor is joining FAST as a development advisor, helping us grow our base of support — from community fundraising and other grassroot campaigns to large philanthropic gifts and corporate sponsorships.

Elizabeth is a rare gem who rounds out our team with the experience she brings not only as a professional, but also as a parent of a child living with Angelman syndrome. In her past fundraising roles, she developed a track record of building relationships that regularly turned into year-over-year growth in annual and major giving programs.

Dedication to FAST and AS activism is a family affair, as Elizabeth’s husband, Ben, has been a longtime board member. As he transitions out of the role, we want to extend our gratitude to Ben for over 5 years of service, and for introducing us to Elizabeth! We’re excited to have her bring her incredible experience and expertise to our mission.


Name, Title at FAST: Elizabeth K O’Connor, Development Advisor

Tell us a bit about how you come to the world of AS: One word … Ryan. My first-born son and now almost nine year-old is my link to the world of Angelman syndrome. He was diagnosed at eighteen months old, and lives with the difficult condition everyday. I'm thrilled to start working with FAST and I'm committed to using my talents to help our work finding a cure for Angelman syndrome. I'm a parent with a fundraising background anxious to engage philanthropists big and small in the opportunity to support life-changing science.

What did you do before FAST? I have been in fundraising for over 15 years. I started my career at Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, then went to my alma mater, Loyola Academy, and most recently was fundraising for a national organization called Gift of Adoption. I took a small hiatus to have our children, Ryan (8), Patty (6), and Jay (2).

How you will support FAST’s mission to a cure: I have always wondered why I was led toward this career and now it seems crystal clear. I am determined to support FAST's mission by raising critically needed funds to advance the scientific breakthroughs happening right now!

Tell us 5 fun facts about you.

1.) I met my husband Ben while working at Loyola Academy
2.) I played Division I lacrosse at Boston College
3.) I was an assistant girls varsity lacrosse coach at Loyola Academy and won 6 state titles. And, the girls lacrosse team still fundraises for Angelman syndrome every season :)
4.) We live in Lake Bluff, IL (a small town north of Chicago on Lake Michigan).
5.) I love skiing with my angel, Ryan!