Vision of inclusion
Mizzou alumna returns to promote diversity initiatives at MU
Lisa Barnum always has been eager to help others succeed. Her contagious enthusiasm and positive outlook on life helped her develop not just as a student at Mizzou, where she graduated with a business degree in 1993, but in her professional career as well.
“Mizzou not only gave me the educational foundation needed for my career aspirations, but also provided me job experience, research opportunities and a career network,” Barnum said.
Taking advantage of the university’s large network resulted in Barnum’s first professional job with federal defense contractor, McDonnell Douglas, now known as The Boeing Company, in St. Louis.
“Who would ever have known that an on-campus interview in 1993 would have led to a 20- year career with Boeing that allowed me to later earn my MBA and work in four different states,” Barnum said.
After several promotions, Barnum served as the senior manager for Boeing’s Global Diversity and Employee Rights department. Next, she accepted an opportunity with The Aerospace Corporation as the director of diversity, inclusion and equal opportunity.
“I had strategic and operational responsibilities to work on all things diversity-related with brilliant rocket scientists who are dedicated to our nation’s space security,” Barnum said.
After five years with The Aerospace Corporation, Barnum made a personal decision to return to the Columbia area so that she could better support the immediate needs of her aging family members and be closer to her grandson in Arkansas. Now as MU’s first manager of equal employment opportunity and affirmative action, Barnum is providing a welcoming environment for all students at her alma mater.
“The conversations I have been having regarding the inclusive vision of a diverse Mizzou and the positive changes taking place are certainly at the top of the excitement-meter for me,” Barnum said.