J. Zhao
Jiesi Zhao | Executive Director, Planned Giving

University of California, Irvine

Following a national search, University of California, Irvine (UC Irvine) has appointed Jiesi Zhao as the executive director of planned giving, effective April 3, 2023. Zhao joins UC Irvine from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) where she most recently held the role of senior director of gift planning. 

In her new position, Zhao will build out and lead the Planned Giving team, bringing to bear her depth and breadth of experience within this field across all schools and departments, as well as establishing a vision for how Planned Giving can materially increase its contributions to UC Irvine’s ongoing $2 billion Brilliant Future campaign. 

Zhao brings extensive experience in gift planning from her time at both UCLA and the University of Chicago. At UCLA, Zhao partnered closely with directors and executive directors of development on planned giving strategies across multiple units within the university, UCLA’s medical campus, and UCLA athletics, in addition to cultivating her own portfolio of prospects. She also supported the marketing efforts and portfolio analysis for gift officers across her assigned units and provided planned giving onboarding sessions for new gift officers in addition to ongoing mentorship and educational sessions. 

Zhao holds a bachelor of arts degree in legal studies from the University of California, Berkeley, a JD from the University of Michigan Law School, and is a designated Certified Specialist in Planned Giving (CSPG). 

Rachel Ellenport led this search with Bryce Ervin and Lisa Clayton, of the executive search firm, Isaacson, Miller.