MSL Speaker Author Dr. Gloria J. Burgess


Dr. Gloria J. Burgess, executive leadership professor, speaker and author, will speak at an event hosted by the Catherine T. MacArthur School of Leadership at Palm Beach Atlantic University and the Palm Beach Atlantic University Alumni Association at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, March 21, in the DeSantis Family Chapel, 300 Okeechobee Blvd., West Palm Beach.

Dr. Gloria Burgess, who will speak at March MSL eventBurgess will speak on “Legacy Leadership (Making a Covenant with the Future).” The presentation is free and open to the public. The lecture is part of the MacArthur Leadership Speaker Series. For more information, call Mary Ann Andrino, MacArthur School of Leadership coordinator, at (561) 803-2302.

Gloria Jean Burgess was born in Oxford, Mississippi and grew up in Detroit. Her father, Earnest McEwen, Jr. received a college education thanks to funding from Nobel laureate author William Faulkner, on the condition that his gift be passed on to others, which McEwen did for Gloria and his other four daughters. Burgess attended the University of Michigan, studying poetry with Robert Hayden and drama. She earned her B.G.S. degree in education, anthropology, English and speech communication. She went on to obtain her M.A. degree from the same university in speech communication and theater, earning notoriety as a Distinguished Fellow and Scholar in Direction and Performance. She attended the University of Southern California (USC) obtaining her Ph.D. in performance studies. Burgess continued studying, earning her M.B.A. degree from USC in organizational behavior and design and information systems.

Burgess was appointed assistant professor at the University of Washington College of Engineering, teaching leadership, management, cross cultural studies and creativity to engineering students. She later became director of multimedia development for Aldus Corporation, the organization responsible for PageMaker software. Burgess went on to found Jazz, Inc., an executive coaching and consulting organization. She also founded The Lift Every Voice Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to leadership development for underserved, underrepresented youth. Her continued studies earned her M.A. degree in applied behavioral science from Bastyr University. Upon graduating, she became graduate faculty and program lead for their graduate program in leadership and applied behavioral science.

In 2000, Burgess expanded her coaching and consulting practice and became executive coach to the Dean of Libraries at the University of Washington. She wrote her first book for children entitled “Hold Fast to Dreams: Pass It On!” about her father's relationship with William Faulkner.

An acclaimed international speaker, Gloria Burgess has presented keynotes to tens of thousands of people in nearly 30 countries and has shared the stage with luminaries such as Dr. Phil McGraw, Marianne Williamson, Dr. Bernie Siegel, Jean Houston, John O’Donohue, Marci Shimoff and Immaculée Ilibagiza. She also has been featured on numerous television and radio programs, including NPR and British Public Radio.

Her clients include Microsoft, Starbucks, Boeing, MSNBC, Farmers Insurance, AT&T, Russell Financial, Providence Health Systems, American Business Women’s Association, Executive Women in Texas Government, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, University of Southern California, International Coach Federation, Embassy of South Africa in Switzerland, National Parliament of Kenya, Women’s International Network and AGLOW International. Burgess lives with her husband, John, and daughter, Quinn, in Edmonds, Washington.

Also during the event, the Jerms McGraw Second Chance Scholarship will be presented to two PBA students. The scholarship was created in memory of U.S. Marine Corps 2nd Lt. Jeremiah McGraw. Known by his nickname “Jerms,” Lt. McGraw was a student in the MacArthur School of Leadership while serving as a Marine reservist, part of the 4th ANGLICO unit in West Palm Beach.

Lt. McGraw died on Sept. 10, 2009, during a training exercise in Central Florida while serving his country. He was 22. Prior to his death, Lt. McGraw earned a bachelor’s degree in organizational management from PBA.

Palm Beach Atlantic University is a private, independent university offering undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees in West Palm Beach, Orlando, Wellington and online. The University is dedicated to the integration of Christian principles to prepare students for learning, leadership and service.