Staff Council Voting Members


Tommie Allison
School of Computing & Engineering

I am a native of Kansas City, moved to San Francisco Bay Area in 1997, and returned home last year. New to the University staff, I love working with people and graphic design. Working here at the University with the staff, students and faculty is fun and each day is different – never dull or boring.


Steve B
Steve Barnes
Student Affairs & Enrollment Management

I reside in Kansas City, Kansas.  I am married to Rev. Dr. Lynette Sparkman-Barnes, Psychologist; and have three beautiful daughters, 15, 12, & 8 yrs. I am currently a financial aid advisor at UMKC; an adjunct professor at the University of Saint Mary, Leavenworth, Kansas; an ordained elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Church and serve as the Senior Pastor of Grant Chapel A.M.E. – assigned September 2013.  I have pastored 3 prior churches beginning in 2001. I am a Graduate of Central Baptist Theological Seminary, Shawnee Mission, Kansas – Master of Divinity (2013). I am a member of Delta Epsilon Sigma Honor Society and Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society.  I am also a 2004 Collegiate All-American Scholar. I hold a 3rd Degree black belt in Okinawan Goju-Ryu Karate, a 2nd Degree black belt in Okinawan Shorin-Ryu Karate, and have taught martial arts for over thirty-five years.


Breann Branch
School of Education

I am originally from Los Angeles, CA. I relocated to Kansas City, MO, after graduating in 2012 from Howard University (Washington, DC) to work at Cerner Corporation. I was there for nearly two years when I decided I wanted to pursue a career in higher education. Living in Kansas City has been a wonderful experience for me. I have earned my Master’s degree in Organizational Development Psychology from Avila University and have been accepted into the UMKC’s IPhD. Program beginning Fall 2015.  I have been with the university for one year and am very excited for the opportunity to serve as Secretary on the UMKC’s Staff Council Executive Board. It resonates with my belief that the best work is done as a team. ‘If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.’ – African Proverb


Yolanda Branch
Bloch School of Management

Yolanda can be found in the Bloch School of Management as the Executive Staff Assistant for the Executive MBA & Executive Education programs. She is sure to have a fresh pot of coffee if you are in need!


Lanee Bridewell
Student Affairs & Enrollment Management

I am going into my 3rd year as a UMKC staff member, and I love it here! I graduated from Mizzou where I got my Bachelor’s in Sociology and my Masters of Education in Higher Education Leadership and Policy Analysis. I have a 6 year old son (who is the most awesome kid you could ever meet) and I really enjoy spending time with him and writing.



Leslie Burgess
Research Services & Institute for Human Development

I enjoy being a member of the council, because it provides great opportunities meet and collaborate with others across the UMKC campuses.



Kandace Claypole
Student Affairs & Enrollment Management


Mary Cleveland
Admin/Finance, Human Resources, & CFM



Della Damon
School of Dentistry

Della is the Finance and Accounting Manager at the School of Dentistry. If you have trouble with numbers, she is your gal!



Nicole Fickel
Honors College

Nicole Fickel serves as Executive Assistant for the Honors College. Nicole earned a Bachelor of Science in both Journalism and Spanish from Missouri State University in 2003. She completed her Master of Science in Management from Baker University in 2010. From 2012 to 2015, Nicole served as an Education Coordinator in the Continuing Medical Education department at UMKC’s School of Medicine. In her spare time, Nicole enjoys practicing yoga, exercising, and spending time with family and friends.



Vanessa Harper
Student Affairs & Enrollment Management

I aspire to be an advocate for my fellow UMKC staff employees through collaboration, professional development, and recognition – my particular area of interest is in outreach to the local community. I am also currently pursuing a Master’s Degree at UMKC in Environmental & Urban Geosciences, and in my free time, I perform in local plays & musicals throughout the city. I look forward to helping contribute to another great year with Staff Council!



Jacqueline H
Jacqueline Hawkins
Bloch School of Management



Kimberly Johnson
Academic Affairs, Chancellor, Diversity, Graduate Studies

Kimberly Johnson is a native of Kansas City, MO and currently serves as the Executive Staff Assistant to the Chancellor and has been employed at UMKC since 2000. She is dedicated to service at UMKC and beyond. She has served on Staff Council for several years and is passionate about the advancement of staff and advocates for Professional Development. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology and a Master’s and Educational Specialist Degree in Educational Administration, all from UMKC, where she is currently a Doctoral Candidate in Higher Education.



Tamica Lige
School of Pharmacy

I am from Manhattan KS and a very proud alumnus of Kansas State University. I have an MA in Higher Education Administration from UMKC and my interests include first generation, low-income, and under-served populations in higher education. I am also very interested in diversity issues on campus, finding outlets for staff development, and forging a partnership between staff and faculty.

Lyndsey Magrone
Information Services


Steve P
Steve Pankey
School of Medicine

Steve graduated from the University of Missouri in Columbia for his Bachelor’s and Avila University for his Master’s in Counseling Psychology, and is currently working on his Doctorate at UMKC in higher education.  After working in mental health for several years, Steve discovered his niche in higher education counseling and advising.  He is an avid fan of almost any sport, drummer, and general music enthusiast.  Steve, his wife, 3 ½ year old daughter Blake, and almost 1 year old son Beckett, currently live in Liberty, MO with their 3 yippy dogs.



Deborah Phillips
Information Services

I started at UMKC on 6-20-05 in a department that no longer exists, Networking & Telecommunications. I was delighted to join UMKC after 13 years at KCTV5. I hope my Staff Council position will provide me the opportunity to meet more people from around the campus. I’d like to help bridge any understanding gap there might be between administration and the rank & file employees. I lead the Volker Campus walking group that meets twice weekly for group walks and I’d love to help anyone who wants to improve his/her health and fitness.


Erica Portley




Velda Robins
Manager of Building Services/CFM, Administrative Affairs



Jacqueline Rodgers
Finance & Administration

I was born and raised in the Kansas City area, so working for Kansas City’s University is such an honor. I started with the University in 2014 and it has been a great experience thus far. So I am overjoyed to serve as the Vice Chair of Staff Council and I hope to do the best I can in this role.



Carol Sargent
School of Education

One of my favorite quotes:  ‘We cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future.’ – Franklin D. Roosevelt




Dana Self
Conservatory of Music & Dance

Dana Self directs the marketing of the Conservatory, which is a delight considering the talented students and faculty.  In her former life she was a contemporary art museum curator, and has played cello with the Overland Park Orchestra, Sheboygan Symphony Orchestra, and the Friends University Community Orchestra.  She has a BA in Art History from Stephens College, Columbia, MO, and an MA in Art History from the University of Kansas.  In her spare time she is a freelance art critic, DIYs her house, and binge watches Supernatural with her daughter; but not necessarily in that order.




Cathy Slack
College of Arts & Sciences




Heather Swanson
Finance & Administration

I have enjoyed being an active member of Staff Council in the past and I’m thrilled to be back.  I’ve worked off and on at UMKC for the past 18 years, and I’m proud to call myself a Roo.




Alison Troutwine
School of Medicine

I enjoy serving on Staff Council representing the UMKC School of Medicine. I’ve lived many different places but say I’m from St. Louis. I love to spend time with my family (husband + two girls), travel, work out and needlepoint when I’m not working or in class.




Marilyn Turbush
Special Events & Conference Services

I enjoy planning events, hosting parties and travelling. I’m an avid football fan (49ers, Dolphins, Sporting KC and Cornhuskers). ‘As in Dreams, Life isn’t as it seems.’ ‘Don’t Worry, Be Happy!’ 


Gabrielle Tuttle

I am in my second year serving on Staff Council, and I truly love it! While I’m not busy with work or library school, you’ll probably find me either watching Netflix or playing Candy Crush. My favorite quote comes from Doctor Who: ‘You want weapons? We’re in a library. Books are the best weapon in the world. This room’s the greatest arsenal we could have. Arm yourself!’



Deborah Waring
School of Law

Originally from the Washington DC area, I moved to Kansas City nearly 25 years ago and never looked back. I love the pace of life here.  I have worked in a variety of industries around Kansas City as an administrative assistant before settling down here at UMKC School of Law in 2011.  I have volunteered over the years for the United Way Campaign here at UMKC, Johnson County Community College as a member of Vol*Stars, Friends of the Johnson County Library, and for the Overland Park Convention and Visitors Bureau.  My interests include reading, genealogy, photography, theatre and music.