As the daughter of a United Nations diplomat, Narbeli Galindo was destined for a life as a global citizen and a focus on entrepreneurship. Born in Bogota, Colombia, she lived in Geneva, Switzerland, from age 10 through high school.
“I remember as a young girl thinking that our international life was normal, that most people had a similar lifestyle surrounded with people of all cultures, races, ethnicities, and beliefs,” she recalled. “I figured they traveled as much as we did to interact and work with all kinds of people around the world.”
The Baker community will soon benefit from Galindo’s international experiences and more than 20 years promoting Kansas City as an economic development player worldwide. Beginning on Aug. 1, she will serve as the William Everett and Mary Ellen Mealman Endowed Chair of Business Leadership and Innovation at Baker.
“I was so pleased the Baker leadership team was thinking about going this direction by developing this position and am excited to lead this role for the university,” Galindo said.
Galindo relocated to the Kansas City area from New York City in 2000, when she joined Sprint, traveling to Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and Europe, meeting with governments and agencies and hiring people to put together telecom offices. For the past 5 ½ years, Galindo served as the director of international trade and affairs for KCMO under the Economic Development Corporation. In that role, she helped identify resources for and provide advice to local companies looking to expand globally as well as to foreign companies seeking export and investment opportunities in Greater Kansas City.
“I went from corporate to teaching, to running a business, to promoting an amazing city and its people,” said Galindo, who founded Narbeli’s Imports LLC in 2003. “Now I am fortunate to lead an important role at Baker University, preparing students to become successful international entrepreneurs.”
At Baker, Galindo will engage with the Greater Kansas City business community to promote the interests of students and to teach international trade and introduction to international business courses. She will also lead the development of courses related to entrepreneurship, emphasizing the importance of business leadership and innovation.
“Narbeli’s extensive experience in local and global business development will be an asset to our community and provide exceptional learning experiences for our students,” Baker President Lynne Murray said. “We value the support and vision of the Mealmans for funding this important positon that will benefit students on the Baldwin City campus.”
Galindo’s international connections will have a direct impact on Baker students pursuing real-world opportunities. Her mission is to teach students to become a stronger and successful entrepreneur in this ever-changing world.
“I have the flexibility to work with many international companies,” she said. “When students are looking for internships, it will be easy for me to be able to talk to companies and let them know I have a student who has an emphasis in international business or accounting.”
For her efforts to increase Kansas City’s visibility and vibrancy as an economic development center, Galindo was awarded in 2018 with the first World Trade Center KC Go Global KC Outstanding Economic Development Agency Award. In 2019, she was honored as the International Trade Council of Greater Kansas City’s Women in International Business Legacy Award for her international efforts benefitting the city. Last year, she was selected as one of the 50 Missourians You Should Know by Ingram’s magazine.
Galindo earned a bachelor’s degree in finance from Abilene Christian University and a Master of Business Administration in international marketing and management from Thunderbird School of Global Management before relocating to Kansas City for a senior international marketing position with Sprint. She taught business and finance at the University of Missouri–Kansas City and MBA classes at Baker. Galindo has held leadership positions at Cerner, AT&T, Warner-Lambert, and Pfizer.
The endowed chair is supported by a gift from William Everett Mealman, a dedicated Baker alumnus, who graduated in 1951 and is committed to education and an entrepreneurial spirit. He was a longtime CEO and serves as Chairman of the Board of PBI-Gordon Corp., a medium-sized manufacturer headquartered in Shawnee, Kansas.