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February 8, 2017

Meet Lisa Ueki

As a Major Gifts Officer, Development, Lisa Ueki cultivates relationships with major donors to raise funds from individuals to support general operating, restricted programs, and local and national series. “Our donors are some of the smartest, most accomplished people, and I’m always learning from them,” Lisa says. Read on to learn about the path that led Lisa to WNET, her favorite places in Clinton Hill, and more.

lisa-ueki-finalWhat is your background, and how did you land at WNET?

Previously, I was on the Development team at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, and spent a good part of my time on our largest corporate sponsorship for Live From Lincoln Center, so it was a nice transition coming to WNET. My love for the arts began during my childhood, as my Mom is a professional pianist and I grew up surrounded by arts and music.  I enjoy meeting new people, and have always gravitated towards roles that involve interaction with clients, so it was a natural fit when I discovered a job in Development for non-profit arts.

For our Media with Impact campaign, we’ve been asking viewers to share stories describing how THIRTEEN has influenced their life. How has THIRTEEN (or the PBS station of your childhood) inspired you?

I was born and raised in Hawaii, and watched a lot of Channel 11 (PBS Hawaii).  We didn’t have cable, and it was one of the only stations I was allowed to watch. I even remember negotiating TV time with my Mom from a very young age. I’d map out all of my homework and how long each assignment would take as a justification to finish watching my favorite programs. Of course, I watched a ton of Sesame Street and Reading Rainbow. Great Performances was my way of vicariously visiting New York!

What projects are you currently working on?

I work on a variety of local and national projects. We’re getting very close to completing funding for a new local documentary, Chinese Americans of New York & New Jersey. I also particularly enjoy helping to match donors’ interests to align with and support our work, like American Masters’ upcoming film Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise and Cyberchase.

The Development Department hosts selected events for donors throughout the year. Are there any events you have worked on that were especially memorable, and is there an upcoming event you’re particularly excited about?

Hands down, my recent favorite was the Hamilton’s America screening at the United Palace Theater this past fall. The event was a really wonderful culmination of the combined effort from all parts of the company working together. We were able to raise additional funds for dedicated digital and social components to promote the Great Performances film, and being able to host a number of different groups at the screening added such incredible energy and excitement to the evening. I’m looking forward to our annual President’s Circle dinner this year featuring Ken Burns’ The Vietnam War, which premieres in September.

Where do you live? What are some of your favorite places in your neighborhood?

I live in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn and particularly enjoy the incredible craft beer selection literally in my backyard at Hops Hill. Also, the Emily burger is every bit as amazing and extravagant as it sounds!

What book are you currently reading?

Francoise Gilot’s Life with Picasso — at a donor’s recommendation; it’s fascinating! — and Jonathan Lethem’s Girl in Landscape.

lisa-ueki-dog-charlieDo you have a special interest or hobby outside of work?  If so, tell us about it!

I’m mildly obsessed with my terrier rescue, Charlie (pictured at left, looking adorable). He’s very high energy and sort of a brat, so I’m always looking for healthy homemade dog treat recipes to keep him occupied and out of mischief. I’m a huge fan of CitiBike – it’s so convenient, and a great way to trick myself into exercising more regularly!

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