Staff Profile in Black Excellence at UMKC

Check out UMKC Today’s profile on Keichanda Dees-Burnett, our Director of Multicultural Student Affairs and Co-interim Dean of Students. Anyone who has worked with Keichanda knows what a great source of support she is for students, especially underrepresented minorities.  Her drive and passion are evident in her work, as she truly embodies our Culture of Care.  Many kudos and thanks to Keichanda!

Staff Spotlight: Deborah Phillips

Deborah running in the Prairie Fire Marathon, October 2017

Department: Information Services/IS Administration.  I will have been at UMKC 15 years in June 2020.

What do you do at UMKC? Our department is the divisional business office for eleven different departments. We buy a lot of stuff and we pay a lot of bills.  We hire people and we make sure our people get paid.  That’s the most succinct way I can summarize what our department does. That doesn’t tell you what all we do, but it’s a good summary.

What is your favorite thing about working at UMKC? I’ve always liked the work, the people and the environment. I like serving on committees and I like leading the Walking Group. I like the flexibility I have and the excellent benefits provided by UM.

What are some things you do while you are not at UMKC? I’m a runner.  However, while I was previously sidelined with injury, I got to spend a lot of time reading books.  I don’t read fiction, unless it is accurate historical fiction or semi-fiction based in reality. I especially like history, biographies, medical and sports genres. I also like spending time with our four children and their spouses and our seven grandchildren.

What is your favorite place to eat in Kansas City? We don’t eat out much, but we really like the Salsa Grill and Johnny’s BBQ, both in Mission. We also love to bring home burrito bowls from Chipotle. Honestly, usually the company is more important than the food.

Deborah hiking in Menlo Park, California

Who inspires you?  My father-in-law, who died about ten years ago. I really miss him.  A living person who inspires me would be one of my husband’s first cousins.  She’s been a quadriplegic most of her life since a spinal cord injury when she was 13 (oh, my, how things would be different if she were to sustain that same injury today.) She has accomplished much more with what God has given her than most able-bodied people will accomplish in their lifetimes.

Do you have any favorite books, films or musicians?

Movies: (In alphabetical order) A Few Good Men, Apollo 13, Babe, Catch Me If You Can, Dances With Wolves, Driving Miss Daisy, Lincoln, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, October Sky, Quiz Show, Taking Chance, The Aviator, The Bone Collector, The Fugitive, Walk the Line

Musicians:  Building 429, Casting Crowns, Newsboys, Skillet, Danny Gokey, Chris Tomlin.

Too many! (not in alphabetical or any other particular order): The Bible, The Man from the Train, The Long Run: A New York City Firefighter’s Triumphant Comeback, Bowerman & the Men of Oregon, Working Stiff, Go Down Together, Olympic Collision, Something the Lord Made, Every Second Counts: The Race to Transplant the First Human Heart, Bodies We’ve Buried, Born to Run, 14 Minutes, The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances, Waterlogged: The Serious Problem of Over-hydration in Endurance Sports, and many, many more.

Kasey Kudos: Kim and Cheryl

Congrats to the two April Kasey Kudos winners, Cheryl Adam and Kim Leibold! 

Years worked at UMKC:

Cheryl: 6

Kim: Almost 2 years

Department and position:

Cheryl: UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance, Office Support Assistant IV

Kim: College of Arts & Sciences, Academic Advisor

What are your hobbies? How do you spend your free time?

Cheryl: Hanging out with friends, volunteering at a local cat rescue, playing cajón and singing with a worship team at church when I can, and watching baseball.  Let’s go, Royals!

Kim: I like to spend my time doing yoga, reading, walking my dog, and spending time with friends.

What is the one place you’d love to visit if you had a chance?

Cheryl: I think Scandinavia would be a pretty great place to visit.

Kim: I love to travel and would love to tour Europe by train.

Do you have a favorite meal or dish – either to prepare or consume?

Cheryl: Roasted chicken.  Or a good steak.  Now I’m hungry.

Kim: My favorite food is anything breakfast/brunch related.

What is your favorite thing about working at UMKC? Or what is your favorite thing about your position?

Cheryl: Hands down, my favorite thing is getting to work with/for the staff, students, and faculty at the Conservatory.  I can’t imagine a more kind, fun, supportive, and accepting group of people!

Kim: I love the UMKC campus and my co-workers in A&S Advising. I enjoy working with students to help them find their path.


Would you like to send a fellow staff member a Kasey Kudos High Five? Learn more here!