'Go-to' manager leads gracefully under pressure

A graphic shows Joanne Eden on the left and text boxes on the right that read," Unsung Hero, Joanne Eden, Office of Research"

Joanne Eden | Grant Officer | Post-Award | KU Office of Research | July 2019

Knowledgeable. Respectful. Helpful. Consistent.

The words Joanne Eden’s colleagues use to describe her read like a hiring manager’s wish list. As a veteran grant officer in the Office of Research Post-Award unit, Eden has been around the University of Kansas long enough (31 years) to recall the origin and evolution of projects and practices.

“She’s just a bank full of knowledge,” said a co-worker. “She remembers details from 10 or 15 years ago. And she truly believes in not just giving you the answer, but also giving you the history to help you connect the dots.”

As the Grant Management Team lead, Eden supervises 10 employees who manage more than 2,600 awards from a diverse range of sponsors. No two awards are exactly alike, and Eden guides her staff through the nuance of budget allocations, cost transfers, revenue balancing, financial reporting and more with a steady hand. Appreciation for her expertise extends beyond the Office of Research.

“She has a great reputation with the different funding agencies,” a colleague said. “She also counsels many of the faculty and program officers on campus. When she has an opportunity to meet with them, it’s always positive.”

Through it all, Eden models calmness, kindness and positivity. She brings flowers to brighten the office at least once a week, and she stocks the freezer with treats. “She understands the stress of the job,” one team member said. “Any time we’re having a hard day, we know we can indulge in an ice cream cone to soothe the beast.”