Gloria J. McEwen Burgess, PhDGloria J. McEwen Burgess, PhD
Inspirational Speaker and Educator

Dr. Gloria J. McEwen Burgess is an internationally recognized expert in transformational leadership. She collaborates with nations, NGOs, communities, organizations, teams, and individuals as strategic catalyst, trusted advisor, mentor, consultant, and executive coach. A best-selling author, she is also an inspirational speaker and educator who positions her work at the potent intersection of leadership, equity, and artistry. One of the few practitioners who integrates the arts into her practice and work, she draws on her expertise in theatre, music, poetry, visual art, dance, and design. Whether working with business executives, government officials, hospital administrators, engineers, educators, physicians, attorneys, social workers, nurses, firefighters, or students, her focus is singular—transformation, individually and collectively.

A former executive in information technology, education, human services, and philanthropy, Dr. Burgess has served as interim college president as well as program head, lead faculty, and faculty for Executive Leadership at University of Washington, University of Southern California, Seattle University, and IEDC Bled School of Management in Slovenia. She also designs and leads Executive Leadership Institutes for clients in corporate, information technology, health care, government, civic, financial, faith-based, arts, and educational settings.

A dynamic, sought-after speaker, Dr. Burgess has presented on six continents in diverse contexts, including the South African Embassy, Kenyan Parliament, Paraguay’s Office of the President, Sankofa Young Leaders of Color Institute – Ghana, International Coach Federation – Australasia, Microsoft, Google, Boeing, Starbucks, Delta Sigma Theta, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Women’s Economic Forum. She masterfully integrates insightful commentary with personal engagement, weaving the arts into her inspiring keynotes and transformational learning experiences to foster courage, creativity, healing, humility, hope, and resilience—qualities we all yearn for and need as 21st-century citizens.

Born in rural Mississippi, Dr. Burgess came of age during the turbulent Civil Rights era in the United States. She says, “Growing up in the dehumanizing conditions of the Deep South formed me into the person I am today. The bigotry and hatred I experienced made me better, not bitter. God was equipping me for my calling, which is about inspiring and equipping adults and youth and to live, lead, and serve well in our interconnected, global community.”

Dr. Burgess’s best-selling books include Legacy Living, Flawless Leadership, and Dare to Wear Your Soul on the Outside. Her book Pass It On! is an inspiring, sumptuously illustrated visual biography about the intertwined legacies of her father, Earnest McEwen, Jr., and Pulitzer Prize-winning author and Nobel Laureate William Faulkner. Learn more about her work: