Ms. Billings credited her mother as an “incredible role model. She went to law school later in life, balancing the demands of a successful legal career with raising four daughters – much of that time as a single mom.” Early on, “I planned to follow in her footsteps, but upon graduating from college, I realized that I didn’t want to be a lawyer. It was a scary realization, because I had no backup plan,” she recalled.
“Thankfully, my first real job out of college opened the door to a lifelong career in health-related nonprofits.”
“I started my journey as the Executive Assistant to the President of a national health care foundation in New York City. She expected a lot of me and was another positive role model of a successful woman in leadership.”
That position granted her “the opportunity to “do a lot of writing within my role, which has become an incredibly important skill that I have brought to each of my subsequent positions.”
The UT Southwestern Difference
“I feel so honored to support the UT Southwestern mission,” Ms. Billings said. “I am inspired every time I meet with our researchers, caregivers, and students. Every day brings new and different opportunities and challenges, and I enjoy the lifelong learning that a career in academia makes possible.”
Advice to the Next Generation
“I am in my current position today thanks in part to being at the right place at the right time, but also because I threw my hat in the ring for a new opportunity that was definitely a stretch for me in terms of my experience at that time,” Ms. Billings said.
“Be willing to take smart risks. It can be terrifying to put yourself out there when you are grappling with self-doubt, but always speak up. You definitely have something important to contribute.”
She advises the next generation of women in administration to, “Make sure your voice is heard. Share an idea, even if it doesn't go anywhere.”
Contributions to Administration
Ms. Billings leads the Office of Development and Alumni Relations, where she “focuses on making meaningful connections with key constituents of UT Southwestern, including philanthropists, community leaders, alumni, and patients and their families,” she said. “My team’s job is to help identify the next big opportunities on the horizon where philanthropy can play a role in accelerating our efforts, and then link those opportunities to our donors’ own aspirations about the impact they want to make through their giving.” The goal of the Office “is to find the sweet spot of intersection of our institutional needs and donors’ philanthropic passions, and then be sure that our donors are well stewarded and feel good about the impact they have made through their giving.”
Commitment to Mentorship
“One of my favorite things about being the leader of the Office of Development and Alumni Relations is the opportunity to mentor the next generation. I have mentored several rising stars at various points in their careers and have been amazed by how much I have learned about myself in the process.”
Ms. Billings said, “They have pushed me to have hard conversations and reflect upon the many challenges I have experienced as a leader. Yes, imposter syndrome is real! I’ve learned to let myself be vulnerable with my mentees, which has led to some pretty amazing conversations. As a mentor, I have learned more from my mentees than I could have ever imagined.”