Posted August 7, 2014 by Missy Burgess 


This past week, I had the opportunity to serve as a co-lead facilitator for I-LEAD® 2014 at Southern Illinois University–Edwardsville. It was a bit of a full-circle experience for me, as it was where I started my higher education leadership journey as an undergraduate. I will admit that it was difficult for me to leave my campus this year for 10 days to serve in this role. Various summer projects, new staff transitioning in, and other priorities had me questioning whether or not I was doing the right thing. However, as I told one of my ILEAD2014colleagues on the way to the airport, “I know this is where I need to be, and I will come back to campus with a new perspective on the challenges here.” Ten days later, this statement has never been more true.

I am back in my office, catching up on the more than 200 emails in my inbox but also reflecting on how inspired I feel by the colleagues and students with whom I interacted. I decided to dedicate this post to sharing my gratitude for those inspirations.

  • To the students of #teamawesome and #smurficuda: You inspire me to continue the work I do every day. Your passion, energy, and commitment remind me to keep going, as you are the ones who will make a difference in the world!
  • To Michelle Smith and Brian Magee: You inspire me to go above and beyond to make every interaction I have with a student or volunteer the best one possible. You remind me to be adaptable and positive in the face of challenge and to never take myself too seriously.
  • To Daniel Gray, my partner in crime, my co-lead: You inspire me to relax and have fun with the job that I do. Relationships matter, sometimes more than the focus I place on the tasks.
  • To Josh Peters-McBride- You inspire me to have heart in every interaction I have with a student or staff member. You are an incredible listener and reflector, and I learned so much by serving as your partner.
  • To the small group facilitators: You inspire me to continue to learn and grow. Your full commitment to the experience challenged your students to get the most out of the program, but along the way, you changed and grew as a professional. I need to remember this every day.
  • To the interns: You inspire me to help grown new professionals in our field. I hope the Kool-Aid tastes a little sweeter after this week, and if all of our new professionals work as hard as you do, our field will only continue to grow.
  • Finally, to Kody Rother: You inspire me to continue to work on the areas I need to grow. Your sleep-deprived airport agreement to encourage at least one heart every day for the next 365 days and serve as my accountability partner to do the same will ensure that I carry out the impact of I-LEAD® for the next year. We welcome anyone else who wants to join our challenge!

As I finish my term with the I-LEAD® program, I am selfishly quite sad that it is over, but I am confident it will continue to challenge and grow those who will continue to carry the program forward. Thanks, ACUI, for providing this experience. The #inspiration it provides is life changing!

Missy Burgess

Missy Burgess is the Associate Director for Student Involvement at University of Wisconsin–Oshkosh.

Missy supervises student leadership and involvement staff in the Reeve Memorial Union, including volunteer service, student organizations and emerging programs, Reeve Union Board, leadership, diversity and inclusion, and greek life. She holds a bachelor’s from Southern Illinois University–Edwardsville, a master’s from Kansas State University, and a Ph.D. in educational leadership from the University of North Dakota.


Thank you Missy for writing this. The program has grown tremendously under your leadership. You are also an inspiration to me!
Comment posted 08/07/2014 5:23 PM
Note: To post a comment to The Commons, you must login to the ACUI website.
about the commons
The Commons is the online hub to discover new ideas and learn what is going on in the college union and student activities profession.
more ...
about the contributors

Meet the ACUI members who have volunteered to share their knowledge and insights as regular authors in The Commons.

more ...