Meet the Staff

Darlena Goodwin
Director of Development & Alumni Relations

Darlena Goodwin joined Johnson & Wales University in May 2012 as the Director of Development & Alumni Relations. A seasoned development professional, Darlena has experience leading fundraising efforts in the health and human service, medical, higher education, and public television fields.

The United Way of Rhode Island raised over $170 million for health and human services during the ten years Darlena was the organization's Executive Vice President for Donor Services. As Chief Philanthropy Officer for Rhode Island Hospital, she was instrumental in the planning and implementation of a $100 million capital campaign. Darlena's development efforts focused on higher education and public television after she relocated back to her home state of North Carolina in 2007. She was the Director of Major Gifts for UNC Charlotte and, more recently, the Director of Development for WTVI.

Darlena chaired United Way of America's Resource Development Roundtable, attended the Center for Creative Leadership in Greensboro, NC, participated in Leadership Rhode Island and is a member of the Association for Fundraising Professionals and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. She is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Vanessa Garcia
Assistant Director of Development & Alumni Relations

Vanessa Garcia, assistant director of development & alumni relations, rejoined Johnson & Wales University in February 2012 with extensive alumni relations and fundraising experience. Most recently, she was the director for alumni programs for Barry University in Miami Shores, FL where she developed a regional alumni relations program and implemented special events for the alumni association. Prior to Barry University, she worked as the development manager for the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra (CSO) where she had a proven track record of cultivating and soliciting gifts, planning events, writing grants and developing relationships in the local community.

Before joining CSO, Garcia worked as the manager of alumni relations for the southeast region of Johnson & Wales University from 2007-2010 where she increased alumni participation by 85 % in her region. During her time with Johnson & Wales University the Student Alumni Association was honored with Outstanding Student Philanthropy in 2009 by the Association of Fundraising Professionals. In addition, she has served as a member of many organizations including the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Council for Advancement and Support of Education and Junior League of Charlotte. She earned a BS in Communications from Appalachian State University in Boone, NC.

Christopher Plano '91, '93, '95
Manager of Alumni Relations

Christopher Plano ’91, ‘93, ’95, joined Johnson & Wales University in March 2003 as part of the start-up team for the Charlotte, NC campus. Prior to joining the Development & Alumni Relations area, Chris worked in Admissions as a Business Presenter, in Experiential Educations & Career Services as a Career Advisor and most recently in Student Activities as the Coordinator of Student Activities. Chris was a student at Johnson & Wales in Providence, RI from 1989-1995 where he earned three degrees including his Master’s in Hospitality Administration, his Bachelor’s in Food Service Management and his Associate’s in Culinary Arts. Prior to coming to work for Johnson & Wales in Charlotte, Chris worked in Greensboro, NC for Guilford County Schools, Guilford Technical Community College and Harris Teeter.

Victoria Doughty
Administrative Assistant

Victoria G. Doughty joined Johnson & Wales University in October 2010 as the administrative assistant in Development & Alumni Relations. She has a rich history in working with a variety of non-profits, including the Foundation for The Carolinas where she assisted family and corporate foundations in all phases of their competitive grant making as a boards and grants specialist. Victoria was also the database manager for Charlotte Christian School, an executive assistant for Charlotte Concerts (formerly the Carolinas Concert Association) and a counselor at Women Aware, a domestic violence shelter. She is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals. Victoria earned a BA in History from Murray State University in Murray, KY.

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