May, June & July is about ACKNOWLEDGMENT and CELEBRATION!  Mother’s Day, a million graduations from pre-school to medical school and everywhere in between, Memorial Day, Father’s Day, Juneteenth, Independence Day!  If I left something out charge it to my head and not my heart.

It’s always been easy for me to celebrate others.  As I get older I’m learning to celebrate my achievements, things I would overlook in the past. So, I’d like to share with you that I’ve earned an Executive Master of Business Administration as a “new normal” student in the Class of 2022. 

My leadership journey, faced with obstacles and many sadness’s is not isolated. We all face challenges whether it’s the voices in our own heads or the crushing events taking place in our America. For every challenge and hardship I experienced along with the world for the past two years, I understood that somewhere in the midst of the chaos and uncertainty we would arrive at a new beginning. I still feel that way. New beginnings will only happen with real leadership. Leadership is not passive, it isn’t aggressive. It is intentional, strategic, empathetic, dedicated to do what is right and good.

I enrolled in the Henry W. Bloch School of Management knowing there would be times when I would burn the candle on both ends, spend countless hours researching and writing, sacrificing all personal time to accommodate my mission. I worked tirelessly competing with my career responsibilities and figuring out the new in academics. I won’t tell you how long it had been since I left school but I factored having no time into my life!

A few things happened that I didn’t sign up for when I enrolled in 2019: my husband’s diagnosis of squamous cell head and neck cancer (he’s in full remission by the way), my fur baby Bandit passing away after 13 years of love and friendship, and the world shutting down. All three of these game changers took place in March of 2020.  “This is a rough one Roz!  I don’t know HOW we’re going to do this…but it’s you and God!”  It’s you and God, my grandmother used to tell me that when I was faced with tough stuff.

The recurring theme in leadership and life, the thread of any challenge is the fight we bring into our circumstance. The discipline and the dedication to commit and never give up, if you think hard about the commitment you’ll come up with your purpose. We are rewarded with purpose in the sacrifices our circles of influence (family, friends, our network) contribute to our goals and accomplishments. They show up when we need a little encouragement or a whole lot of push. What are we willing to invest in each other?  How will we invest in each other?  

The situation:  EMBA students are required to participate in international travel for a global management residency.  Portugal here we come, right?!!  A great trip to Lisbon for my friends and classmates became yet another transformation for me. It doesn’t surprise me that I would test positive for COVID the day before returning home. That’s just how I roll! I had to cancel my flight, quarantine for a week and navigate the European health system with a language barrier…by myself and the kindness of a few “angels”.  It wasn’t easy at all. The experience made it onto my ‘you just can’t make this kinda stuff up’ list. 

I did a lot of thinking that week, put a lot of strategy and succession into play after I cried for two days.  Lifelong lessons as the oldest child, a wife, a mother, the responsible one were actualized; the necessary pivoting that comes from failing but never giving up.

You want to hear something strange? When people celebrate, I’m happy because I know somewhere along the way they had to overcome a thing to get to the celebration. I am aware there was a test or trial that introduced itself and they couldn’t make it to the other side without conquering it. We recognize that courage was needed for the position. A weighty decision was needed in order to further a process. All the while, we have remained focused and meandered through the mazes of life to make things happen and complete the journey.

I want to say thank you to my circle for your belief in me, your love and your support! To the Community of Greater Missouri I want to say soak up every opportunity to celebrate life and the sacrifices that have taken place with you and your loved ones!