As the Chief Administration Officer, Venessa provides supervision and leadership to Facility Services, the department of Public Safety, Environmental Health and Safety, Human Resources, and the Office of Events & Conference Planning. Additionally, Venessa oversees the University’s insurance portfolio, institutional contract management, and Title IX compliance.
Venessa is the staff liaison for the Board of Trustees' Buildings & Grounds Committee. She serves as a member of the President’s Council and is directly involved in strategic decisions affecting the future of the University.
After graduating from Drake Law School in 1992, Venessa clerked for a federal district court judge and then moved to Washington, D.C., to work as a labor, benefits, and employment attorney in a private law firm. Venessa returned to Des Moines in 1994 to join the legal staff of Meredith Corporation, where she, among other responsibilities, served as the primary attorney for the book publishing division. Venessa joined Drake in 2001 to become director of human resources, and she was named assistant vice president for business and finance in 2009. In June 2014, Venessa became associate vice president for administration.