2017 April Burgess

Gloria Burgess and a group of performers
Gloria Burgess (3rd from left) participating in a workshop she co-led at ILA 2015 in Barcelona, "Leadership Development, the Arts, and Choral Conducting: Theory, Practice, and Experience"

Legacy Living With Dr. Gloria Burgess
Make Your Life Count

By Jill Schreider 

Jill Schreider PhotoJill Schreider is a marketing and communications intern at the International Leadership Association. She is a communications major at the University of Maryland College Park and looks forward to a future working in public relations or human resources. 


“Make a difference in your own life, so that you can make a difference in others’ lives.” That is the motto that ILA member Gloria Burgess, host of the Legacy Living podcast on Talk Network Radio, emulates as she lives her life and inspires others. The program reflects her experiences, artistry, and leadership work, specifically focused on legacy living, which means loving, leading, and serving, in addition to equipping others to do the same. Burgess’s show airs each Wednesday at 10:00 AM. Launched in October of 2016, she is celebrating six months on air at the end of April.

For Burgess legacy living is rooted in what she terms legacy consciousness. “At a fundamental level, legacy consciousness means understanding that we shape the future through our choices and actions here and now, not in some far off future. This is especially true for leaders. Legacy consciousness is about embracing an attitude of living, learning, and leading in deep relationship with ourselves, others, and our world. Legacy consciousness is also an invitation to bring forth your authentic voice and self — your signature presence — to be of service as an instrument of healing and transformation. Unlike many Western notions of legacy, legacy consciousness is undergirded by values, principles, and practices.”

Although legacy consciousness is about “acting with clarity here and now, as opposed to something you think about and deliberately construct at the end of your life,” Burgess’s own identity as an elder plays a part in the idea. “Years ago, when I was growing up, I could count on hearing this kind of wisdom and inspiration from the elders in my neighborhood, which I like to call my personal village. We’ve lost that. We now have several generations who simply haven’t had that kind of loving mentorship. So, part of my vision is being that elder. Being that person on the front porch or veranda, being that kindly teacher who takes time with a student after class to share a few words about art, life, and leadership and how they really aren’t so very different when you understand their deep structure and interrelatedness.”

Toward this end, Burgess endeavors to create the feeling in her podcast of being right there in the same room with each person in her audience. “I want them to know they have a companion,” she says. “I want them to feel as though I’m sitting on a sofa with them or right across the table sipping a cup of tea or coffee with them. We could just as easily be walking along a path, overlooking the railroad tracks, and enjoying the sea breezes, like I do in my own hometown.”

In addition to being a leadership development guru and accomplished poet, ILA members may already know Burgess as the co-convener of ILA’s Arts and Leadership Learning Community. It should come as no surprise then that Burgess has devoted several shows to leadership and the arts including an interview with Poet Laureate Elizabeth Austen on “Poetry and Healing,” and tribute shows to Maya Angelou and Gwendolyn Brooks. Her motivation: “Because we marginalize the arts in so many cultures, I want to lift up the arts — not as something you attend or witness, but as an integral aspect of our lives and as an unlimited source of inspiration.” Her podcast conversation with ILA member Megan Scribner, editor of Leading From Within: Poetry That Sustains the Courage to Lead, delivers this message straight to the heart of leadership.

In addition to Megan, Burgess has also had ILA member Marcia Reynolds on as a special guest. Reynolds is an organizational psychologist and author of The Discomfort Zone: How Leaders Turn Difficult Conversations Into Breakthroughs. Burgess invites ILA members with something to contribute to Legacy Living to contact her at Gloria@GloriaBurgess.Com to discuss appearing on her podcast. “I select guests based on their passion, integrity, and generosity of spirit. I want to host guests who will resonate with my listeners,” she shared. “I select topics based on what I hear from the diverse people I interact with in my work — as a leadership consultant, leadership educator and scholar, and leadership practitioner, and as a creative artist, poet, and social artist. What I hear most often is, how do you do ‘that’? ‘That’ can be anything from how do I find my life’s purpose, to how do I grow myself while I grow my business. In other words, they’re looking for a process, which I hope I share in the form of wisdom, inspiration, and concrete steps.”

Burgess explains that one reason she created the show was to provide greater access to her work and the topics that she speaks, writes, coaches, and teaches on. She also wanted to “provide access to other experts who offer different points of view and perspectives — content that would take me another lifetime to master.” The episodes deliver encouragement and motivate listeners to adapt the idea of legacy living and apply it to their own lives and the lives of others. “I travel a lot and often speak in places that don’t have robust communication networks or the kind of infrastructure we enjoy in the United States. My vision is to provide information about leadership and personal growth to listeners who do not have easy access to this kind of content in their country.”

In addition to tuning in on Wednesdays or on-demand, Burgess encourages those interested in these ideas to check out her many books, including: Legacy Living; Dare to Wear Your Soul on the Outside: Live Your Legacy Now; and her book coming out later this year, Legacy Leadership. For those ILA members receiving our 2017 Building Leadership Bridges title, Breaking the Zero-Sum Game: Transforming Societies Through Inclusive Leadership, later this year, make sure to turn to her chapter, “Unpacking Inclusivity: Lessons from Ubuntu Leadership,” which she jokingly noted “sounds like a topic for a future podcast!”

Speaking of future podcasts, when asked about her upcoming plans she explained that, “as an elder, behavioral scientist, and artist, I’m constantly scanning our environment and seeking, collecting, and filing things away for future podcasts, books, presentations, and material to share with my various audiences — clients, listeners, students, and so on.” Like most writers and podcast hosts, Burgess reads and listens widely. She also takes her inspiration from material culture, the performing arts, and society in general. “I’m inspired by many different sources — the people I meet, the places I travel, poets, poetry, music, science, architecture, dance, language, innovation, culture, sacred places, and children.”

Gloria BurgessBurgess had originally created a 12-month schedule of topics, but she “quickly realized that 12-months was too far out given the disruptive world we live in. My hope is to stay attuned to my listeners and provide programming that meets them where they are and then stretches them a bit farther,” she says. “That’s really what leadership and personal growth are all about — getting people from here to there.” Stay tuned!

Join Gloria Burgess in this journey and be ready to be inspired, Visit http://www.talknetworkradio.com/legacyliving.html or learn more about Burgess at http://www.gloriaburgess.com. Attendees at ILA's Advancing Women in Leadership conference this June can also meet Burgess at her Fireside Chat, "Remember Who You Are." 

About Podcast Playlist

Podcast Playlist shines a spotlight on that digital dynamo of the early 21st century, the podcast.  Each column features a podcast program or individual episodes from different programs that pertain to leadership. If you are unable to see the article above, please log in using your ILA member credentials. Trouble logging in? Please contact our membership team at membership@ila-net.org or 1.202.470.4818.