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Dr. Gloria Burgess

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Dr. Gloria Burgess

  • Builds bridges across cultural and social divides lifting the magnificence of the human spirit
  • Award Winning Engaging and Inspirational Speaker & Performer
  • Author of “Legacy Living” and “Dare to Wear Your Soul on the Outside”


“Principles for Extraordinary Results”

In her life and work, Gloria excels in celebrating and lifting up the magnificence of the human spirit, inspiring organizations and teams to think outside the box and reach new heights of performance.  Evocative and engaging, in her keynotes and presentations, Gloria draws on her successful experience as an entrepreneur and executive in the computer and human services sectors.An award-winning speaker and performer, she is one of the few speakers who integrates insightful commentary, heart-warming stories and artistic mastery.  Gloria enjoys speaking to audiences around the world and is often requested to speak on authentic leadership and building bridges across cultural and social divides.  Gloria is dedicated to providing organizations with brilliant ideas, services and products that lead to extraordinary results.  Her diverse speaking, consulting and executive coaching clients include Fortune 100 companies, professional development organizations, universities, government, non-profits and churches.  A keynote speaker like no other, Gloria illuminates, inspires and uplifts the spirit of her audience by connecting with the heart as well as the topic at hand. She is engaging, interactive and focuses on what matters most to you.

Legacy LIving
 Legacy Living is a sacred promise, a covenant you make to yourself and to future generations. In her stunning book, Gloria compels us to re-imagine our lives and devote ourselves to what truly matters, not just for ourselves, but as stewards for our children and our children’s children.
In this inspirational book, Gloria Burgess uses the touching story of her father’s relationship with William Dare to Wear Your Soul on the OutsideFaulkner as a starting point to explore a classic topic: how to bring forth the character qualities of love, wisdom, trust, faith, gratitude, creative action, vision, and integrity. Burgess declares the “sacred promises of legacy living” as part of a transformational process that helps us connect to our past by honoring those who came before us, living with intention in the present, and freeing our talents so we can realize our potential. Dare to Wear Your Soul on the Outside also includes practical exercises for fostering greater authenticity and purpose in our lives.

Popular Keynote Speeches and Workshops:

Gloria customizes her presentations to your specific organization and event.

  • Authentic Leadership
  • Transformational Leadership
  • Coaching and Personal Development
  • Diversity and Cross-cultural Awareness
  • Creativity and Innovation
  • Legacy Leadership
  • Legacy Coaching
  • Legacy Living
    • Personal Growth and Intentional Living
    • Intergenerational Care
    • Fundraising

 Audience Members Rave:

“I have attended a lot of conferences and heard many inspirational speakers, and I have to say that hearing Dr. Burgess speak is a truly electric experience. She is just tremendous—positively amazing. I would absolutely recommend Gloria to anyone looking for a speaker or presenter, anyone looking for someone who will make an incredible, inspirational impact.”– Dr. Konji Sebati, Medical Director, Pfizer, Inc., and former South African Ambassador to Switzerland“You have an incredible story and legacy to share and you are a powerful speaker. You hit all the rights notes for our audience. You have an extraordinary gift for weaving together many amazing facets of your life.”-Jill Perry, Executive Director, Providence Hospice of SeattleYou are so gifted at what you do. Your creative energy and talent never cease to astound me, and I have worked with some pretty amazing individuals throughout my career. I am honored to know you and work with you, and we are very fortunate to have you on our team.”-Gifford Pinchot III, Bainbridge Graduate InstituteWe at Impact Capital would like to let you know how much we enjoyed our Staff Retreat. Thanks for helping us learn to ‘open the door’ and ‘break down the walls,’ so we can work more effectively together. Thus, allowing us to help those organizations who build affordable housing. THANKS!!!”-Dee Souza, Impact CapitalIn the time I have known Gloria Burgess, I have renewed hope for the collective soul of the work world. In my work at the University of Washington Department of Training and Development, I meet many consultants. I also hear from employees ready to give up, flattened by life and crushing demands. Most people show up for training with one of two attitudes; either it’s ‘I’m not going to like this’ or ‘fix me.’ Gloria’s style cannot be compared to other consultants because she conjures transformation to a road of hope. It’s the poetry. The experience burns with the sun of persuasion so people take off their coat of pain and trust the whole of themselves. Gloria leads that.She weaves the group in and out of an exchange of ideas, gets people to write their dreams on a piece of paper, to take 60 seconds to compose a poem before the mind can criticize, then gathers this evidence up in a basket. Something bothering you? Write it down and toss it out. Knowing that we each are our best teacher, Gloria makes no pretense of handing over knowledge. What she does: introduce people to their core, not with smoke and mirrors, but with a reflection of their own vision for themselves. This is teaching.”Sally Johnson, University of Washington, Training and Professional Development

Gloria’s Story

Creating a bridge . . .

The legacy Gloria lives was kindled early on by the true-life example provided by her father, and his benefactor, Nobel prize-winning American author William Faulkner.Back in the time when racial segregation reigned in our nation, Gloria’s father worked as a janitor at “Ol’ Miss”—the University of Mississippi. As he swept floors and emptied the trash, he dreamed of getting a good education of his own. Fueled by the determination to make a better life for his family, he courageously spoke to others about his dream. One day, he spoke to a professor about his burning desire to go to college. That professor told Dr. Love, the Dean of Ol’ Miss, about Gloria’s father. Dr. Love told someone else.That someone else was William Faulkner.Faulkner not only paid Gloria’s father’s college expenses, he also made sure that Gloria, her mom and her sisters had clothes to wear.  Faulkner’s generous gift and friendship, along with her father’s commitment to his dream allowed her family to eventually move out of poverty, and out of the South.

From what was . . .

Perhaps more importantly, Faulkner’s taking a stand on behalf of Gloria’s father was his own personal way of chipping away at institutionalized racism—long before integration was mandated. By the same token, Gloria’s father’s willingness to be befriended by Faulkner and the courage and humility with which he received this gift opened doors for everyone in their family. His legacy was his unflagging determination and abiding commitment to his dream of attending college.Because he didn’t see how he could repay Faulkner, Gloria’s father initially declined Faulkner’s offer. Even so, Faulkner insisted that Gloria’s father receive the gift and simply pass the blessing on to someone else along the way.

And what is . . .

In living her legacy, Gloria passes her father’s blessing on to others in return.Described by many as “ . . . a pleasing fragrance of a person who cares deeply and loves all the threads of her life, “ Gloria Burgess is a human loom who synthesizes every aspect of her life and work to benefit others in the most extraordinary way.Gloria speaks and leads legacy journeys worldwide. Mother, sister, daughter, and wife in a 30+ year legacy-living marriage, Gloria is an award-winning poet, author, director, and performing artist. She is also Principal of Jazz, Inc., her executive coaching and consulting firm.Gloria has published Legacy Living as well as three books of poetry, including Journey of the Rose and The Open Door and has written an inspirational picture book for children of all ages about her father’s life-changing relationship with author William Faulkner.  She is currently at work on a new nonfiction book, Dare To Wear Your Soul on the Outsidethe follow-on volume to Legacy Living.Gloria earned a PhD in Performance Studies and an MBA in Organizational Behavior and Information Systems from the University of Southern California. She also holds an MA in Applied Behavioral Science from Bastyr University, and an MA in Speech Communication and Theater from the University of Michigan.

To what can be . . .

Working with people of all cultures, ages, and life circumstances, Gloria’s purpose is singular: to help others lift their voice as instruments for personal, professional, and organizational transformation.Just like the art and discipline of jazz, Gloria’s work is engaging, affirming, and exhilarating. She believes in the power of improvisation, evoking and building on the thoughts and ideas of others to help individuals and organizations get from where they are to where they want to be. As expertise and discipline fuse with creativity and chaos, something fresh is born out of that which is familiar, and something personal out of that which is shared.Gloria knows that the essence of transformation comes from the human spirit and a higher power, which unfolds as a creative, spontaneous conversation with the soul.Sample Client ListAdobe SystemsAntioch UniversityAssociation for Quality ManagementAssociation of Health Care Administrative AssistantsAT&TBainbridge Graduate InstituteBastyr University’s Leadership Institute (LIOS)Boeing CompanyCasey Family ProgramsCingularClover Park Public SchoolsDelta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.Edmonds Community CollegeEdmonds Public SchoolsEqual Employment Opportunity Commission Leadership Conference (EEOC)First AME ChurchFriends of the ChildrenGalef InstituteGroup TheatreGuiding Lights NetworkHelene Fuld TrustHollyhock Retreat CentreInstitute of Electrical and Electronics EngineersInternational Coach FederationIslandWood Environmental Learning CenterLeadership TomorrowLifelong AIDS AllianceMicrosoftMSNBCNew School FoundationNorth Seattle Community CollegeNorthwest Regional Primary Care AssociationPeninsula CollegeProvidence Health SystemProvidence Mount Saint Vincent FoundationQwestRichard Hugo HouseRobert Wood Johnson FoundationSeattle Community CollegeSeattle Public SchoolsShoreline Public SchoolsSigma Gamma Rho Sorority, IncSkagit River Poetry FestivalSouth African Embassy, SwitzerlandState of Idaho Department of Child Protective ServicesState of Texas Department of Child Protective ServicesState of Washington, Department Early Childhood LearningUniversity of Washington, College of EngineeringUniversity of Washington, College of Library ScienceUniversity of Washington, Engineering ProgramsUniversity of Washington, Facilities and TransportationUniversity of Washington, Finance and AccountingUniversity of Washington, Human ResourcesUniversity of Washington, Medical CenterUniversity of Washington, Office of Minority AffairsUniversity of Washington, Training & DevelopmentValley Medical CenterVulcan, Inc.Washington State Association of School Business OfficialsWhidbey Island Writer’s ConferenceWoman Spirit CenterWomen’s International NetworkWrite on the Sound