Volunteer Spotlight


Lizzy Barron

Elizabeth "Lizzy" Barron is the Executive Director of Business Operations at Arizona State University's Thunderbird School of Global Management.

 Facts about Lizzy

Years in WACUBO:  Lizzy has been a member since 2012. 

Volunteer Roles: She has served on the Host Committee in 2016, Program Committee in 2017, PDWC since 2017 (now co-chair), and as Host Chair in 2023.

What motivates you to volunteer for WACUBO? I believe all Higher Ed administrators should stay current with trends and best practices. As a volunteer I can help the organization with offering some of those opportunities, while also benefitting from those workshops/sessions/series.

What conferences have you attended? I’ve attended all of the annual conferences since Denver in 2012 – although I missed Vancouver. I’ve attended workshops, annual conferences, leadership forum, and BMI.

What benefits do you and other members receive from attending WACUBO events? Members not only receive great content and professional development, but an extended network of colleagues whose knowledge, expertise and experience you can draw on in a professional, and sometimes personal level. WACUBOans (is that a word?!) are one of the most welcoming groups of individuals I’ve ever encountered.

Do you have a memorable event or session you would like to tell us about? I had to, unexpectedly, move to Arizona from California. I knew NOTHING about the state or area. Three WACUBO colleagues jumped in to support me – Lisa Frace, Bradley Kendrex, and Jeanette Perez. These are professional colleagues who guided me as to where to buy my house, what school my daughter would thrive in, how the summers are simply awful, and what I had to prepare for. It made this life-altering situation so much easier. When I say that the WACUBO community turns into a support system in a professional and personal setting, I mean it.

Other than work and your involvement in WACUBO, what are your interests? I’m elated to be a mother to a junior in high school, who I lovingly call my "Spawn." We’re both members of National Charity League. Other organizations I have been involved in are Rotary (Santa Clara – still help them despite moving); I’ve been on the boards of my child's schools; and it’s a strong family value to volunteer at least 75 hours a year with either unhoused or foster children. In addition to volunteering, my passions include traveling and Broadway. I’m the second of six children, where four of the six have gone into education. I’m a proud alum of Santa Clara University – Go Broncos! I’m thrilled to be a Thunderbird member and part of the ASU Community – Forks Up!


Brice Kikuchi is the Associate Vice Chancellor for Auxiliary at UC Irvine and has been working in higher education for 25+ years. Brice has oversight of the campus’ auxiliary services, which include student housing, dining services, student center, event services, retail and campus card. Brice also serves as a financial advisor to the Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs and currently oversees a $280M operating budget with 850+ FTE. 

In addition to receiving his Bachelor of Science degree from UC Irvine, he also received his Masters in Business Administration with an emphasis in Organizational Behavior.  During his free time, Brice enjoys triathlons, taiko drumming, and spending quality time with his family. 

Facts about Brice

  • 13 years of WACUBO Membership
  • Volunteer roles for WACUBO include the Host Committee
  • Has attended 10 out of the last 13 WACUBO Annual Conferences

What motivates you to volunteer for WACUBO? I enjoy volunteering with WACUBO because it allows me to give back to our community of business officers. I’ve learned so much from my colleagues across the region, all because of WACUBO. I want to make sure WACUBO is here to stay for generations to come. Furthermore, volunteering gives me the opportunity to connect with colleagues at a higher level because volunteers are aligned with the common goal to ensure WACUBO’s success!

What benefits do you and other members receive from attending WACUBO events? Aside from professional development, WACUBO events provide networking opportunities, knowledge sharing, information about trends, and meaningful partnerships. I attended my first WACUBO in 2010 when a colleague at my institution paid for my registration fee. I was amazed at the quality of the programming. I had never attended a regional conference with high quality and with multiple keynote speakers and relevant topics.

Specifically in 2010, I found the sessions on Disney’s Approach to Customer Service and Cross the Generational Divide very interesting and relevant. I was so impressed that I got others to attend future conferences. Because of the quality programs and great people, I knew I found my home association.


Lori Seager 
Associate Vice President for Finance 
Office of Finance and Administration Colorado College

Lori Seager is the Associate Vice President for Finance at Colorado College, located in Colorado Springs. Lori has been actively involved in volunteering with WACUBO in various roles for several years, including serving on Conference Committees and participating in the inaugural CBO Mentoring Program. WACUBO membership has offered professional development and networking opportunities during the course of her decades-long career in higher education at New Mexico State University, University of Puget Sound, and Colorado College. She treasures the relationships she has developed with WACUBO colleagues over the years.

Having been a faithful attendee of WACUBO Annual Conferences for more than a decade, Lori finds that the keynote speakers, the educational sessions, and the panel discussions enrich her professional life, and she always encourages others to attend. According to Lori, "When I hear panelists speak of the issues their institutions face, I know I'm not alone in this important work, and I am inspired by new ways to look at problems and find solutions."

When she's not hard at work, Lori enjoys attending Colorado College ice hockey games, going to the theater, and traveling with her husband. She finds joy and inspiration in her family, and visits her children and grandchildren in New Mexico as often as possible.



Ahren Crickard
Director, Center for Operational Excellence
UC San Diego

Ahren Crickard is the Director of the Center for Operational Excellence at UC San Diego. She serves as the chair of the WACUBO Women's Leadership Conference. Through WACUBO, Ahren enjoys the chance to connect with colleagues at other institutions and help shine a spotlight on all of the incredible work done by colleagues in the profession.    

Ahren is a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt and enjoys being able to share LSS with colleagues.  As a Director of the Center for Operational Excellence in the Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor, Ahren has launched new programs or technologies (on time and on budget), has driven continuous improvement and process efficiencies, and has accelerated the adoption of transformative change - through collaboration, communication, and professional development.  

“I have met some incredible colleagues and learned about the improvements and progress they are making at their institutions and it served as an inspiration for my work. Bringing innovative and transformative leadership to jump-start organizational growth has been the foundation of my success at UC San Diego.”       

Linda Kosten, Ph.D. PhotoLinda Kosten

Vice Provost, University Budget, Planning, and Administration
University of Denver 

Linda is the Vice Provost for University Budget, Planning, and Administration at the University of Denver. She manages the development of budget, oversees the institutional research and analysis office, and coordinates multi-year planning. Linda has served DU for 28 years, since 2006 at the University level. She has her PhD and MA in higher education from University of Denver and her BA in theatre and psychology from University of California, Santa Cruz. Linda’s book, Decentralized Budgeting and the Academic Dean: Perspectives on the Effectiveness of Responsibility Center Management (2009), explores the effectiveness of RCM from the perspectives of 146 deans at 27 universities. She has consulted with other universities investigating a transition to decentralized budgeting, worked with the Lumina Foundation on investigating the connections between states’ outcomes-based funding policies and responsibility center management, and currently teaches in the higher education graduate program at DU on higher education finance.

Photo: Callie JuarezCallie Juarez

Director, Academic Budget Management
California State University, Northridge (CSUN)

Callie Juarez is currently the Director of Academic Budget Management for the Division of Academic Affairs at California State University, Northridge. She has been at CSUN for 8 years, holding positions in the Michael D. Eisner College of Education and the College of Health and Human Development. Previously, she held various positions at California State University Channel Islands. When not working or volunteering for WACUBO, she enjoys traveling to national parks and camping with her family.

Mike Clune PhotoMike Clune

Senior Associate Vice Chancellor and Chief Financial Officer
University of California, San Francisco 

Mike joined UCSF in 2011 and currently serves as the senior associate vice chancellor and chief financial officer for the finance organization, including budget, controller, risk management and insurance services, supply chain management, and financial services. In his budget and resource management role, Mike’s primary responsibility is to ensure that campus financial resources are carefully stewarded and effectively managed to assist in achieving the UCSF’s mission to advance health worldwide. Prior to joining UCSF, Mike worked in the UC Office of the President in Oakland, California for 11 years, primarily on University-wide administrative and policy issues related to enrollment management, budget development, and resource administration. Mike grew up in Salinas, CA, earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration at the University of San Diego, and later earned a master’s in statistics and PhD in demography at UC Berkeley.

Photo: Lupe Valencia-Skanes

Lupe Valencia

Associate Vice President for Business Affairs
The University of Texas at El Paso

Guadalupe Valencia supports The University of Texas at El Paso’s strategic and fiscal planning in her role as Associate Vice President for Business Affairs. Those responsibilities include governmental relations and organizational development to ensure fiscal resources properly align with the institution’s mission and vision.

Valencia returned to UTEP in 2019 after several decades as an accounting executive at academic institutions across the United States to include the University of Alaska Anchorage, the University of Arizona and, most recently, the University of Washington. She began her financial management career at UTEP as a student employee.

The El Paso native is a two-time graduate of the University. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business administration with concentrations in accounting. She also is a Certified Government Financial Manager.

Valencia is a Western Association of College and University Business Officers (WACUBO) faculty member and holds several committee appointments to include the Comprehensive/Doctoral Institutions and Research Institutions Committee and the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee. She recently was elected as third vice president of WACUBO. Additionally, she serves on the board of the El Paso Chapter of the Association of Government Accountants.

The UTEP administrator also has served the University as its Interim Vice President for Information Resources. During that time, she led a successful evaluation of the organization’s structure.

Rebecca T. Barber, Ph.D.

Senior Director, Management Analysis
Arizona State University

Rebecca works extensively with all aspects of university data for the purpose of strategic and financial planning, benchmarking, predictive modeling and econometric analysis. She also teaches within the college of education and has recently launched a 15-credit online graduate certificate in Advanced Analytics in Higher Education, which she developed, coordinates and teaches. She became actively involved in WACUBO in 2012, becoming an inaugural member of the research committee. In 2015, she created and began teaching the Predictive Analytics workshop for WACUBO, allowing her to meet finance leaders throughout the region and help them to apply analytics to solve real problems in their organizations.

Mary Frances Causey

Associate Dean, Enrollment Services and Director of Financial Aid
Prescott College

Mary Frances is the Associate Dean for Enrollment Services and Director of Financial Aid at Prescott College. Over the last three years, she has also been responsible for Institutional Research including IPEDS submissions and other external reporting. With an interest in learning – particularly about data storage, integrity, maintenance, mining, and analytics – Mary Frances put in a volunteered for WACUBO’s research committee. Coming from a small nonprofit tuition-dependent college, she saw this as an opportunity to learn how an organization with limited resources tackles these topics. Since May 2015, she has enjoyed getting to know the other volunteers over monthly conference calls and working on various projects as a team.

Some of the time spent with the research committee must have paid off, because later this year she will be transitioning to a new role at the college, as Associate Dean for Institutional Research and Compliance.

Betsy Clark

Investment and Endowment Accountant
Utah State University

Betsy is the Investment and Endowment Accountant at Utah State University. She has been with the University since 2004. She first volunteered with WACUBO in 2009 as a workshop site coordinator. In 2012, she moved up to the Professional Development Workshop Committee (PDWC) and is currently the vice co-chair of that committee. While on the PDWC, Betsy has trained new site coordinators, organized multiple professional development workshops covering various topics, and grown her leadership skills. WACUBO has given her countless opportunities to network and become lifelong friends with those she volunteers alongside. Betsy has also volunteered as the President and Treasurer of the PTA, Community Council at Ellis Elementary, the Professional Employee Association at Utah State University, and is currently a Webelos den leader with the Boy Scouts of America. Betsy and Kevin, her husband, have five children ranging in age from two to thirteen years old. She and her family love to travel together and their favorite place to go is the Oregon coast.


View a list of previous volunteers in the spotlight.

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