Lisa Queenin tabled as new director of legislative relations

By Alyssa Creamer


Recently, the University of Massachusetts took on Lisa Queenin as director of community and regional legislative relations.

A search was conducted for the position, and Queenin, the former manager of state government relations at Children’s Hospital Boston and a former legislative aide was chosen based largely on her previous experience.

According to a University release, Queenin “cultivated relationships with elected officials, staff and community leaders, managed the hospital’s 1,700-member grassroots advocacy network, developed strategic alliances with organizations and coalitions on priority issues and directed the hospital’s advocacy agenda on state policy.”

“Even though health care and education are different sectors,” Queenin said. “I feel I will be playing a similar role at UMass.”

“When I saw the position,” she continued. “I thought it was an opportunity to first become a director and expand the role into more community relations.”

Queenin plans to support several existing and soon-to-be-developed events along with programs that will “foster better relations between the campus and its local neighbors.”

“From what I understand of it, it’s hard to bridge a connection between the campus and its neighbors. There is a lot of great work the community and students are doing here, and reminding students to be mindful of the neighbors in terms of what they may be doing on the weekends and working with neighbors to let them know all of the positive things that are happening on campus is important.”

Queenin hopes to assess existing programs and develop new ways to build positive relationships with neighbors and community groups.

“UMass is such a huge part of the community. It is a major employer, major resource, and it’s important to make sure that we’re leveraging as much as we can from the area,” Queenin said.

Queenin had primarily dealt with state relations at Children’s Hospital Boston, but she also had experience within community relations and is making integrating that kind of work into her new position one of her “initial plans.”

“I loved my previous job,” Quennin said. “So I really wanted to wait until the right thing came along. I was really excited and lucky to see this position posted in the Chronicle of Higher Education.” She also stated that since her marriage in June to Jon Queenin, she and her husband had been looking to move out of the Boston area to western Mass. She was employed at Children’s Hospital Boston for six-and-a-half years.

Queenin stated there is a “steep learning curve” but she is excited to learn more as she “gets to know the area and its community leaders and residents.”

“I’ve met a lot of people who have been in the trenches, and they are helping me learn about the area,” Queenin said.

Another challenge Queenin acknowledged is her goal to become well versed in issues surrounding higher education.

“It’s not to say that I haven’t followed the issues of higher education, so the information is not all new,” she said. “But I am certainly getting know the culture of the University… I expect there are a lot of people to learn from, and I won’t be shying in asking them for help.”

“In Boston, I had a similar orientation when I first started and it’s a similarly complex organization. And here with nurses and faculty, and with staff and students, I think there are a lot of parallels, so I’m ready to dive and really learn.”

In hiring Queenin, the role of director of community relations has also been expanded to include regional legislative relations. She will be focusing on western Mass. delegation and local staffs.

According to a University release, from 1994 to 2004, Queenin worked in the office of state Senator Therese Murray (D-Plymouth), who chaired the Senate Ways and Means Committee and is now Senate president. She was the Senate liaison to the Joint Committee on Human Services and Elderly Affairs and eventually secured a position as the senator’s legislative director.

“With her work at Children’s Hospital and the Massachusetts State House, Lisa brings the right mix of experience and skills to this critical position,” said Nancy Buffone, executive director of external relations and university events at UMass Amherst in a release. “As UMass strengthens its ties to the local communities, Lisa will play a key role in working with civic and business leaders, community members and local legislators. She is a great addition to our team and I look forward to having her represent the campus.”

Alyssa Creamer can be reached at [email protected]