Five Questions with Lisa Baronio, Chief Advancement Officer, UMKC and President UMKC Foundation

As asked by Jean Peat, APR, Director of Communications, UMKC Foundation

On June 17, we welcomed new UMKC Foundation president Lisa Baronio to the UMKC family. As she begins her role in leading fundraising and advancement for the university, we’d like to help you get to know her a bit better.

1) What are you most looking forward to in your new position at UMKC?

I am very excited to be joining UMKC and working with Chancellor Agrawal, Provost Bichelmeyer, and members of the UMKC Foundation Board. The entire UMKC family are very supportive and eager to begin taking steps to broaden support for UMKC and to grow the Roo Nation.

2) What have been your initial impressions of UMKC and Kansas City?

While my husband and I have only been here a short time, KC is already feeling like home. The people are outstanding – friendly, helpful, supportive, both in the city and also at the university. We couldn’t have come to a better place.

3) What are three things about yourself that would surprise most people?

First, that I lived in Germany my senior year of high school and have lifelong friends from there. Second, despite speaking German, I married a Peruvian who speaks Spanish. Third, that I enjoy traveling and have spent time in very different places, including Moldova and Thailand.

4) When you think of the best teams you’ve managed, what makes them stand out in your mind?

Attitude! Bringing a positive, can-do, willing to work with everyone attitude unites the team together, and bringing a sense of humor certainly makes working with them enjoyable!

5) What do you believe is the key to successful fundraising?

It is a combination of things; a vision for the future clearly articulated by university leadership, faculty and staff who understand that vision and take ownership of their part, volunteers who are willing to invest their energy and resources, and follow-through by staff. That combination is unstoppable.

Prior to joining UMKC, Lisa served as president of the University of Northern Iowa (UNI) Foundation and Vice President for University Advancement at UNI.  She also served as the vice president for Alumni Relations and Development at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, and as vice president for Advancement at the University of North Texas. She has leadership experience at the University of Connecticut Foundation, Wichita State University, and the University of Nebraska Foundation. She has more than 20 years of higher education fundraising and management experience, primarily at large public institutions.

While at UNI, Baronio led the efforts that raised more than $85 million dollars and distributed more than $20 million to support the university. She also led a scholarship initiative that exceeded the $40 million goal by $13 million and met the original goal 19 months ahead of schedule. At the University of North Texas, she led an effort that resulted in a $22M gift to the institution, the largest gift to the university at the time.

Baronio holds an MBA from the University of Nebraska-Omaha and two bachelor’s degrees from the University of Iowa. Lisa is married to Rafael, her husband of 24 years, and together they have two adult children, Stefan, 20, a student majoring in Industrial Design at Iowa State University, and Sofia, 19, a student at the University of Iowa majoring in Biochemistry.