Astrid von Soosten, CFRE, joined Brakeley GmbH as a partner at the beginning of 2019. Previously, she led the Resource Development Department of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), with six locations in five countries, and built up a fundraising department focused on major donor fundraising.
Of the more than 20 years of her career as an active fundraiser, she has spent 10 years as a professional fundraiser in the US. There she held positions in a private school and later at the University of California. During her many years on the other side of the Atlantic she has experienced the US fundraising industry in all its facets. She has been specializing in major donor fundraising for the major part of her career and has been certified as a Fundraising Executive (CFRE) since 2008.
After 14 years in California, she has returned to Europe and since 2012 she offers her expertise to the German and European fundraising scene in various forms. Her particular efforts are geared at relating transferable experiences and best practices to European colleagues and organizations. In addition, she volunteers on the boards of the European Fundraising Association(EFA) and the German Fundraising Association (DFRV). In these volunteer roles her focus is on achieving better conditions for philanthropy and to strengthen the image and self-image of fundraisers.
Her marketing and fundraising campaigns have received numerous awards and she is a sought-after speaker at international fundraising conferences: German Fundraising Association, Fundraising Association Austria, International Fundraising Congress (IFC) Amsterdam, CASE Europe Annual Conference, Chinese Annual Fundraising Professionals Forum, Shanghai, and others.
Another focal point is the coaching of executives in the non-profit sector. As the bearer of a third degree black belt in the Japanese martial art Aikido, she developed a leadership program based on this, which has helped executives in the so-called “sandwich” situation claim and hold standpoints without alienating or snubbing others. It is based on a holistic understanding, primarily through an inner attitude, that prioritizes finding the solution of a problem or resolving a conflict. The particular transformative approach is that this attitude is learned not through a purely cerebral approach, but via a physical experience. It is based on the fundamental insight that body and mind form an inseparable unity enabling authenticity in the first place, and that only those who are authentic, can mobilize the best in co-workers, colleagues and partners.
Astrid von Soosten majored in Chinese Studies at Ludwigs-Maximilians University in Munich and at Fudan University in Shanghai and speaks Chinese to this day. Before she became a fundraiser, she worked as an editor and book project manager in a Munich publishing company. After her relocation to the United States she was also actively involved in the establishment of a start-up company in Silicon Valley.