Within the past two years, the Masonic Medical Research Institute (MMRI) has seen an influx of talented faculty and staff enter their ranks, and they do not plan to stop anytime soon. Lisa Cooper joined the MMRI team as Controller on December 30, continuing the expansion of the Institute’s capabilities and future success. As Controller, Lisa will oversee all financial reporting and compliance policies in order to ensure that all operations run smoothly. “I will be looking at the organization as a whole and determining whether there are more efficient and secure ways of performing accounting related tasks” said Lisa Cooper.


As a non-profit research institute, grants and federal funding are commonly awarded to the MMRI. While these grants make it possible for the scientists to continue their research, they come with guidelines that must be followed. “Lisa Cooper’s role will ensure that MMRI is compliant with all regulations and can continue to be a worthy recipient of these awards” said Susan Bartkowiak, Interim Director of Administration/Grants Administrator at MMRI. The addition of a controller will enhance financial reporting by aiding in the prompt and efficient flow of processes, as well as accurately allocating costs and maintaining up-to-date policies and contracts. Furthermore, she will oversee internal controls to maintain adequate checks and balances to support a cooperative environment.


Lisa comes to MMRI with a full knowledge base that can expertly determine the accuracy of the numbers, designate the most effective process to maintain consistency and review software to procure the best option for MMRI’s needs. “Remaining in compliance with financial matters is a prime responsibility of any company or business. The addition of Lisa will elevate MMRI’s financial procedures and improve the overall efficiency of the Institute” said Dr. Maria Kontaridis, the Gordon K. Moe Professor and Chair of Biomedical Research and Translational Medicine and MMRI Director of Research.


Lisa Cooper joins MMRI with an impressive background in the world of accounting. Originally from Wisconsin, Lisa graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire with an Accounting degree, working as an internal auditor until becoming a CPA. From there, Lisa took her talents to Upstate New York, gaining further experience as a CPA at a firm in Cicero, NY. Her next step included becoming the Comptroller of Affiliated Organizations at Onondaga Community College where she spent three years, until moving on to become the CFO of CNY Works, Inc. in Syracuse in 2011. “While the position at CNY Works was rewarding in many respects, the Controller opportunity at MMRI offered new challenges in a quickly-evolving organization that is doing very meaningful work” said Lisa.


Lisa comes to MMRI with a positive outlook on the future success of the Institute. “With the quick expansion of funding and the expectation of further growth, I hope to focus on strong communication and collaboration with the administration and scientists to provide accurate, up-to-date and comprehensive information on grant spending related to expected spending on various grant-funded projects, as well as donor activities” said Lisa. Her goal is to become a resource for the Board, management and researchers for not only financial information, but also innovative ideas that enhance accountability, efficiency and internal control, which will ultimately assist with the future success of MMRI.

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