The Courage to Live with Passion and Purpose

By Allegra Simpkins

Dr. Gloria Burgess is one of Seattle’s most esteemed public speakers.

She has presented keynote speeches to tens of thousands of people in nearly 30 countries, written popular books and helped many people realize their full purpose in life, and she happens to be coming to speak at Shoreline Community College.

Her background as a woman of color, rising from poverty and dealing with racism and sexism has made her passionate about helping others create a life based on their individual passions and their own values and purpose.

While growing up, Burgess had just a simple idea of who she wanted to become as an adult.

“(I wanted) to be a good human being towards others,” she said, as well as “a good student.”

Burgess has broken through barrier after barrier by not only becoming the first black female executive in the computer industry, but by launching her own consulting company, honoring both the legacies of her father, Earnest McEwen Jr., and his benefactor, author William Faulkner.

McEwen had a strong impact on his daughter.

“My biggest inspirations include my mom and dad,” Burgess stated. “They both overcame extreme hardships in their life, so I had great role models.”

While working as a janitor at Ol’ Miss, McEwen spoke of his desire to attend college and provide a better life for his family. The act of speaking up about his aspirations to a professor (Faulkner) would enable him to realize his dreams.

Today, Burgess is realizing her own dreams: traveling the world, speaking to groups and consulting for corporate companies, including Microsoft, Starbucks and Boeing.

“When I first launched my business, I never thought for a moment that I’d fail,” she said.

This type of confidence in oneself is the epitome of what Burgess believes in.

Her company, Jazz International, is all about maximizing inherent strengths and instilling her audience with powerful leadership skills and the ability to live an authentic life.

She does this by inspiring others to find the vital core of their creative genius, and the rest is history.
Burgess’ talk, “The Courage to Live with Passion and Purpose,” will teach those who attend how to live out their dreams and create a life based on doing what they love.

The event takes place Tuesday, Nov. 8 at 12:30 p.m. in the PUB Room 9208.