. 20 Questions Member Spotlight with Kiki Barnes :: NACDA :: Official Athletic Site
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20 Questions Member Spotlight with Kiki Barnes

Jan. 3, 2018

Name: Kiki Baker Barnes, PhD
Position/Institution: Athletic Director/Dillard University
Number of years in your position: 12
Alma Mater(s): South Plains College, University of New Orleans, University of Louisiana at Lafayette
Hometown: I was born in Lake Charles, LA, raised in Minden, LA and my current home is in New Orleans, LA.
Institution Athletics Twitter Handle: @du1869 @geauxdu

1) Why did you become involved in the NAIA-ADA?
I became involved in the NAIA-ADA to continue to grow as a professional and contribute to the betterment of our association.

2) What is your favorite part about being a member of the NAIA-ADA?
My favorite part about being a member of the NAIA – ADA is getting to know my colleagues across the country and learning from them.

3) What is the biggest challenge to working in a university environment?
The biggest challenge to working in a university environment depends on where you are. Generally speaking the fight for limited resources is usually the #1 challenge.

4) What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment to date?
I believe that my biggest accomplishment has been leading the rebuilding of Dillard University’s athletic program following Hurricane Katrina with mostly the help of the students who have worked with me over the past 12 years.

5) What is the most important skill you have developed in your career?
The most important skill I have developed in my career is the ability to communicate across all levels, to cast vision and to build consensus to achieve it.

6) Who has been the most influential person in your career?
There are too many people to name just one.

7) What is one item you cannot live without?
Coca-Cola

8) Who would you chose to switch places with for a day?
Oprah Winfrey. I always wanted to be a talk show host. So I would welcome the opportunity to be host for a day.

9) If you could plan a vacation to anywhere in the world, where would you go?
Disney World. It is my favorite vacation of all time.

10) What is your favorite sporting event you have ever attended?
My favorite sporting event I ever attended was the first New Orleans Saints football game that was held in the Mercedes Benz Superdome (following Hurricane Katrina) on Sept. 25, 2006. The atmosphere was electric and we got the win over our NFC rival the Atlanta Falcons. It is an experience I will never forget.

11) Why/when did you decide to pursue a career in collegiate athletics?
I actually did not want to pursue a career in athletics. I had planned to pursue a career in television. However, my coach offered me a graduate assistant coach position while I pursued a Master’s Degree in communication so I accepted. After my first year of coaching I felt like I had found my purpose. I was initially interested in strictly coaching but after having an opportunity to run 3 out of 4 programs during my first Head Coaching opportunity at Southern University at Shreveport I felt that eventually transitioning to athletics administration would be the next logical step for me.

12) In your mind, who in this industry can serve as a good role model?
I think that a colleague who has strong core values, like integrity, respect for others, and a strong work ethic can serve as a good role model.

13) How has your involvement with the NAIA-ADA influenced your career?
My involvement with the NAIA – ADA has helped me to increase my knowledge and thought process in how I approach the many challenges that exist in college athletics. The diversity of perspectives gained by spending time with my peers has been a major influence.

14) What educational or business experiences best prepared you for a career as an Athletics Director?
I believe that my time as head coach of the basketball, cheer and dance team and my time as a residential dorm manager were key to developing my managerial skill set.


15) What challenges do you face when working with student-athletes?
The biggest challenge I face as an Athletic Director is hiring a coach who can meet the needs of our student-athletes. I believe that working with young people is a calling not just a job, so finding the right combination of purpose and skill in a coach can be challenging.

16) Would you please explain a professional success and how you implemented it?
This year we will celebrate the 10th Anniversary of our Annual Bleu Devil Classic weekend which features our signature fundraising gala for athletic scholarships and basketball games against our cross-town rivals. I was able to implement this by building strong coalitions with the student body and members of the alumni community. The event has turned into the largest draw of young alumni each year and the 2nd largest draw of all alumni.

17) What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
Proverbs 3:5- 6
What advice would you give to someone looking to become an NAIA Athletics Director?
Develop strong leadership skills by becoming a great listener and communicator. Learn as much as you can by taking on additional responsibilities or projects that will help expand your skill set. The call to leadership requires a servant’s heart, so if you’re looking for a title or to be put on a pedestal, then being an AD is not the position for you.


18) What was your biggest professional blunder and how did you learned from it?
My biggest professional blunder was allowing influential coaches to convince me to hire someone for whom they were advocating. I learned to set my profile for the position and hire the person who meets that profile; not the person 50 people have called, emailed, Facebooked, or tweeted me about. I learned that no one knows my environment and set of circumstances as well as I do. So while they may believe their candidate is strongly qualified, they may not meet the qualifications of my profile.

19) What percentage of your work-week is spent in your office?
I spend about 90 percent of my time in the office.

20) What are you most looking forward to at the next NAIA or NACDA Convention?
I am most looking forward to reconnecting with colleagues and renewing my commitment to be a better athletic administrator. Oh yeah - partying a little bit too!


About NAIA-ADA: The NAIA-ADA is comprised of athletics administrators from the nearly 250 institutions representing 21 conferences competing in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). The purpose of the NAIA-ADA is to engage our Athletics Directors with meaningful collaboration, forums and national recognition; empower our Athletics Directors in their professional development and leadership roles in the NAIA; and promoteNAIA Athletics Directors' collective voice on issues affecting membership and college athletics on a national scale. For more information about the NAIA-ADA, please visit www.naiaada.com. The NAIA-ADA is administered by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA), which is in its 53rd year. For more information on NACDA and the 17 professional associations that fall under its umbrella, please visit www.nacda.com.