Gateway adds to president’s leadership team
Published on Jan 8, 2024
Gateway Community & Technical College has named Tess Burns as the new Vice President of Advancement and Christi Godman as Vice President of Operations.
Both roles reporting directly to the President, the Vice President of Advancement position provides senior leadership in all aspects of resource development and overall strategic communications for the college. The Vice President of Operations role provides senior leadership to several critical areas of the institution, including Workforce Solutions, IT, Maintenance and Operations, and the Business Office.
“We are thrilled to have Tess joining our team and excited to celebrate Christi Godman’s transition into the VP of Operations role,” said Dr. Fernando Figueroa, Gateway President & CEO. “Tess brings expertise in marketing, familiarity of the region, and great leadership experience with her and that will be a fantastic addition to Gateway.”
Having previously served as the Manager of Web Services & Social Media from 2008 to 2015 and as an adjunct instructor in the communications department, Burns rejoins Gateway after a successful tenure as the Major Gifts Officer at Learning Grove. At Learning Grove, she played a pivotal role in managing major gift donors and prospects, significantly contributing to the organization surpassing its annual fundraising goal.
Burns holds the esteemed Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) accreditation as a testament to her commitment to excellence. This certification underscores her expertise in fundraising and philanthropy, reflecting her dedication to maintaining the highest standards in the field.
Burns diverse background includes special events and communications management for the Great Parks Foundation, where she played a crucial role in reimagining their legacy parks program. Her creative thinking ability stems from an entrepreneurial spirit, including ownership and operation of Commonwealth Bistro from 2016 to 2021, a nationally recognized farm-to-table restaurant celebrating Kentucky's culinary heritage.
Recognized multiple times for her community-driven accomplishments, Burns has received prestigious awards such as the Next Generation Leadership Award in Marketing & Communications and the Community Leadership Award from the Center for Great Neighborhoods. Additionally, she was honored as one of the Northern Kentucky Chamber's Most Likely to Succeed.
Active in the community, Burns has served as a board member on various local committees, including the Center for Great Neighborhoods and the Kentucky Chapter of the American Canoe Association.
Burns expressed her delight at returning to Gateway, saying, "As a proud graduate and alum of Gateway, I have personally experienced the transformative power of this institution. Student stories from this remarkable college have continued to fuel my enthusiasm for the mission, and I am honored to now serve in a leadership role. My earnest commitment is to rally the local community, industry professionals, educational institutions, and influential leaders to actively contribute to Gateway's growth and success by offering their valuable time, skills, and resources."
Burns holds an AA from Gateway Community and Technical College, a BA from Northern Kentucky University, and an MA from the University of Louisville. She resides in Cincinnati, Ohio, with her husband and two children.
Christi Godman has been elevated to the Vice President of Operations for the College. Godman first joined Gateway in 2002 and has served in multiple roles within Workforce Solutions, including Vice President and Associate Vice President.
In her most recent roles, she provided senior leadership for community and employer engagement, customized training, testing services, and comprehensive workforce programs that address employer needs, facilitate optimal employment outcomes for students, and strengthen the region's workforce.
In addition to business engagement, Godman focused heavily on building partnerships throughout our community to leverage a network of resources and strengthen relationships for the College.
“It is a privilege to serve our college community in this new capacity as we strive to provide the best support possible to our students, staff, and faculty and continue to serve our employer and community needs to advance the mission of the College," said Godman.
Godman’s background includes undergraduate degrees in business from Northern Kentucky University and Thomas More College and a graduate degree in Adult and Higher Education from Morehead State University.