KU Endowment Board Elects Six New Trustees
At the KU Endowment Board of Trustees’ Annual Meeting on Sept. 30, six new trustees were elected: Gene Camarena of Wichita, Kansas; Laura Koenigs of Springfield, Massachusetts; Erica LeBlanc of Chicago, Illinois; Daniel J. Martin of Olathe, Kansas; Lisa Murray of Mission Hills, Kansas; and David Pittaway of Naples, Florida.
Each brings a wealth of experience to their new role on the board. Bios follow.
GENE G. CAMARENA
Gene G. Camarena received his bachelor’s degree in Accounting and Business Administration from KU in 1979 and an MBA from Harvard University in 1987. He and his wife, Yolanda, live in Wichita, Kansas. Gene is President/CEO of La Raza Pizza, Inc. His business interests include Pizza Hut restaurants, Marriott Hotels, banking and real estate development. Gene has served three terms as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the International Pizza Hut Franchise Holders Association (IPHFHA) and was recently inducted into the IPHFHA Hall of Fame.
Gene currently serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, which is the largest philanthropic organization in the country and provides in excess of $30 million in scholarships to Hispanic college and graduate students annually. Gene also serves on the Holy Savior Catholic Church Finance Committee and the Board of Directors for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Kansas, Empower, Quick Hire, Hispanics in Real Estate, United Way and the Pizza Hut Foundation.
LAURA M. PINKSTON KOENIGS
Laura M. Pinkston Koenigs graduated from KU in 1978 with bachelor’s degrees in English and Chemistry. She received her M.D. from KU in 1982. Laura and her husband, Ken, (bachelor’s degree in Chemistry 1978, M.D. 1982) completed residencies and fellowships at Yale University and live outside of Springfield, Massachusetts.
Laura recently retired from the Baystate Children’s Hospital where she was the Program Director for the pediatric residency and an adolescent medicine physician and served as the Chair of the American Board of Pediatrics Adolescent Medicine Subboard. She received the Rusty Leffel Concerned Student award in 1978 in recognition of her rabble-rousing on the KU Athletic Corporation Board and work with the honor societies of Lambda Sigma and Mortar Board as they transitioned to become coeducational. She has been active on the Advisory Board for the Honors College and has served as a mentor for KU pre-med students. Laura and Ken are longstanding members of the Chancellors Club and Life Members of the Alumni Association.
ERICA E. LEBLANC
Erica E. LeBlanc earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from KU in 2002 and an MBA from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan in 2007. She and her husband, Todd, reside in the northern Chicago suburbs. Erica is Executive Director, New Ventures at S.C. Johnson, where she has held marketing and general management roles of increasing responsibility across multiple divisions since 2007.
Prior to business school, Erica was a consultant in Deloitte’s Human Capital practice, where she helped clients in a broad range of industries develop and execute change management and training plans. Erica is passionate about mentoring and career coaching; she has been recognized as a best-in-class coach at S.C. Johnson’s Marketing Excellence Awards multiple years and is a frequent marketing guest lecturer and conference speaker. Erica sits on both the Dean’s Advisory Board and Marketing Advisory Board at the KU School of Business, and she supports the Multicultural Business Scholars Program. In 2017, she was recognized as an Emerging Leader by the KU School of Business Dean’s Advisory Board, an award given in recognition of career achievements and community contributions.
DANIEL J. MARTIN
Daniel J. Martin is a fourth-generation Kansan from Overland Park, with three degrees from KU including an MBA, Juris Doctor and Ed.D. in Higher Education Policy and Leadership as well as an Ed.D. in Higher Education Management from the University of Pennsylvania. He received his bachelor’s degree from Southern Nazarene University.
Dan joined KU Endowment in August 2022 as President. He and his wife, Pam, moved to Kansas from Houston, where he served as the chief philanthropy officer at the Texas division of St. Luke’s Health. Prior to that, he served as president and CEO of Seattle Pacific University for nearly nine years. Dan is a Certified Fundraising Executive who brings to KU Endowment extensive experience in higher education leadership and fundraising.
LISA R. MURRAY
Lisa R. Murray earned a bachelor’s degree from Princeton University in 2004 and an MBA from Harvard Business School in 2009. She is a CFA holder. Lisa and her husband, Thomas, live in Mission Hills, Kansas. Lisa is the Chief Investment Officer for the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation where she leads the team that oversees a globally diversified $2 billion portfolio. Previously, Lisa was the managing director in Investments.
Prior to joining the Kauffman Foundation, she was an investment consultant for Angeles Investment Advisors, where she worked with foundations and endowments, advising on all aspects of their investment programs. Lisa is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Kansas City Art Institute and previously served on the Board of Directors of United Women’s Empowerment (formerly The Women’s Foundation).
DAVID B. PITTAWAY
David B. Pittaway received a bachelor’s in American Studies, History and Political Science from KU in 1972. He received a Juris Doctor in 1975 and an MBA in 1982, both from Harvard University. He and his wife, Jeannine, live in Naples, Florida. David is Vice Chairman, Senior Managing Director and Chief Compliance Officer of Castle Harlan and is also Vice Chairman and Chief Compliance Officer of Branford Castle. He is responsible for the firm’s current ownership investments in Goldstar Foods, Colyar Technology Solutions, American Achievement Corporation, Statia Terminals Group N.V., Morton’s Restaurant Group, United Malt Holdings Inc. and Bravo Brio Restaurant Group.
David served for 20 years in the U. S. Army Reserve and, upon retiring as a Major, co-founded the Armed Forces Reserve Family Assistance Fund, which provides needed support for families of American service members serving overseas. David is a member of the Chancellors Club and the KU Alumni Association’s Veterans Network. He and Jeannine are supporters of KU Debate and the Department of History.
KU Endowment is the independent, nonprofit organization serving as the official fundraising and fund-management organization for KU. Founded in 1891, KU Endowment was the first foundation of its kind at a U.S. public university.