Robert Wood Johnson’s Agnew Credits Internship

By Sheryl Estrada

Brian D. Agnew, Ph.D.
Brian D. Agnew, Ph.D.

An internship got Brian D. Agnew on the path of a successful career in fundraising and development.

“Internships are critical,” said Agnew, 34, the senior vice president for development and corporate chief development officer for the Robert Wood Johnson Health System (RWJHS), headquartered in New Brunswick, N.J.

Agnew, who is responsible for strategic and operational oversight for three foundations across New Jersey raising over $15 million annually, had an interning opportunity during his junior and senior years in college. Those internships helped him learn a lot about himself, particularly the skills he was good at and what he really didn’t enjoy.

“I strongly encourage anyone during their undergraduate career to take as many internships as possible because you never know who you’ll meet and what skills you’ll learn,” he advised.

RWJHS is comprised of Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJ) New Brunswick and Somerset, the Bristol-Myers Squibb Children’s Hospital at RWJ, RWJ Hamilton, RWJ Rahway and Children’s Specialized Hospital, the nation’s largest provider of pediatric rehabilitation medicine.

“We strive to be a nationally distinguished medical center,” Agnew said. “And with our partners Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, we continue to do that.”

Agnew explained community outreach is important and includes providing breast cancer screening for underinsured and uninsured women, as well as partnering with community organizations to do prostate screenings for men who may not have done so on their own.

“We have our hands in so many activities in the community that really impact health and wellness, which is the next phase of healthcare,” he said.

Indeed, Agnew is heavily involved in the community, even outside of this day job. In his spare time, he is a volunteer firefighter lieutenant in Piscataway, N.J.

Prior to joining RWJHS in June 2013, Agnew spent much of his career in higher education, first at Utica College as director of annual giving, and most recently as the assistant dean of advancement and external relations at Rutgers for six years.

A native of Brooklyn, N.Y., Agnew earned a bachelor’s degree in public relations and journalism from Utica College and an MBA in organization and management from Syracuse University.

He then studied at Rutgers University, completing a doctorate degree in organizational leadership from the School of Communication and Information.

Agnew has received numerous awards and honors, including the NAACP W.E.B. DuBois Leadership Award and a Congressional Citation for outstanding service to his community. He is also a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.

So how did he get his start in fundraising and higher education? In this video, Agnew discusses his career journey, notable fundraising and development accomplishments and the value of mentoring and sponsorship.

Latest Best Practices