Get to Know: Kisha Beard

Kisha in a white IPF shirt sits on a bench in a shady area.

Danielle Fowler

October 11, 2021

Kisha Beard wants Spartan students to know that she and her team, IPF Custodial Services, has their backs now that in-person classes have resumed.

"We're a big part of them and they're a big part of us," said Beard, who was recently promoted to a custodial supervisor position. "I want them to know they can trust us, that when they come into a building it's a safe environment to go to classes. We're here and we're dedicated to keeping campus running."

She began her journey at MSU as an on-call custodian twelve years ago. She was working as a certified nursing assistant at an elderly care home, taking care of patients with Alzheimer's and dementia.

"I did that for 10 years," Beard said. "That was my passion."

When her son was beginning to think about college, she started looking for an additional part-time job. A friend encouraged her to apply with the custodial team at MSU, but when she was called in for an interview, she came down with the flu.

"I was so determined to not miss that interview that I was drinking tea, everything I could to get myself there," Beard said. "The interviewer, he knew. He could see it in my eyes. But to this day he tells me, the reason I hired you is because you came while you felt terrible, you sat through the interview and still answered the questions!"

Kisha wearing a white IPF shirt and a green MSU face covering, sitting outside in dappled sunlight
Kisha Beard, who started as an on-call employee, is now a supervisor with IPF's custodial team. NICK SCHRADER/IPF

Beard's dedication to excellence and supporting the people around her hasn't changed.

"I make sure I have my teams' back, but also build trust with my partners that my team is going to do what they need to do."

Beard pursued a full-time position and worked her way up to operations supervisor at the Veterinary Medical Center, where she also covered a vacancy in the Clinical Center. That's when the pandemic hit.

"I told my team: I know everyone's worried, I am too," said Beard.

She and her team were working 24/7 with the clinicians at the Veterinary Medical Center who were operating MSU's emergency veterinary services. "But I said, we have to take what it is and make sure everyone's safe, including the animals."

Beard can't say enough about her team while they were working during the pandemic. "I was so proud of my team because they were nervous, but they also still came to work. Because they cared about that building, about the people, about the animals. I was so grateful that we all stayed positive and kept going."

A grey and white shih tzu dog lays on a couch and looks at the camera
Beard's furkid, Gizmo.

Now in a custodial supervisor position, Beard credits her start as an on-call employee with providing perspective that makes her an effective supervisor.

"I feel that I'm able to get employees where we need to be because I've done what they're doing," said Beard. "My goal is to make sure that everybody is getting the training and support that they need so that we're all on the same page. I want to make sure they know I'm here for our customers, sure, but I'm here for them."