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A Celebratory Launch

Photo credit: Janet Rogers, Strategic Marketing and Communications
Photo credit: Janet Rogers, Strategic Marketing and Communications

Funds Provided to Support Staff

Amid an air of celebration, University of Missouri-Kansas City staff got their first detailed look at their 2016 gifts of enrichment and assistance. Several guests shared the spotlight and noted resources – both new and old – available to the staff.

Chancellor Leo E. Morton buoyantly took the stage to welcome staff to the launch of the newly- established UMKC Staff Professional Enrichment Fund and the Emergency Relief Fund (SPEER).

“This celebration is dedicated to the champions. You are the university’s greatest asset,” said Morton. “These funds are game-changers for UMKC and a catalyst to examine our commitment to performance development.”

While emergency funds for personnel exist at other higher education institutions, UMKC is one of the few that offers a professional enrichment fund. To address professional enrichment, UMKC alumnus Douglas Enderle shared some of his interesting recent adventures and glimpses into his extensive career at “the happiest place on earth”

Recently named principal costume designer at Walt Disney Entertainment and an Emmy®-award winner in 1993, Enderle said that he learned early, life lessons from his parents, such as obey your parents and color inside the lines.

“I’m sure I didn’t obey any of them, and I have been an ‘imaginer’ of design and ideas since,” said Enderle, UMKC’s 2010 Alumnus of the Year.

Traveling from Los Angeles and having just arrived in Kansas City, Enderle discussed LA’s early-morning earthquake and floods, an “unfriended” message by a good Facebook friend and missing his flight, arriving in K.C. at approximately 2 a.m. instead of 10 p.m.

Interwoven in the woes of his day were some of Enderle’s life lessons and references to individuals who served as mentors at Disney. Among the important lessons he cited: safety, which is the mantra in costume design; skill, knowing your craft before applying for a position where it will be used; balance, maintain balance in your life; and value, value friends and family more than anything.

The afternoon would not have been complete without additional opportunities for laughter.

From the soft-spoken Enderle, to the more boisterous tones used by the Leading Edge Coaching & Development team, “learning through laughter” was the basis for the interactive workshop.

The founders of the Leading Edge, Carol Grannis and Cindy Maher, provided engagement through love, humor and educational learning, and using improvisational comedy, discussions and active learning.

The two-member team discussed the importance of an individual’s personal “buzz” – whether it’s positive, negative or positive but limited. They provided comic scenes to reinforce their points and encouraged staff to work to their strengths with the assistance and encouragement of their managers.

Not to be left out, UMKC’s Susan Wilson, Ph.D., vice chancellor of the Division of Diversity and Inclusion, shared ways in which we, collectively and individually, could create an environment that fosters respect and values inclusiveness – two critical aspects of a healthy and welcoming culture.

Wilson encouraged everyone to be aware of their unconscious biases and to visit the Diversity website for training that will continue to improve the university for everyone.

Morton explained that the fund donors wanted to remain anonymous, but finally agreed to allow their names to be revealed. The two benefactors are devoted donors and volunteers at UMKC and in Kansas City, having served for more than four decades.

“They did what they thought was right to do, which speaks to the magnitude and impact of the gifts.” With that, Morton introduced the donors – Mary Kay McPhee and William E. Pfeiffer. The couple, who received a standing ovation and roses, provided a legacy gift devoted to UMKC staff.

All in all, UMKC staff had an opportunity to learn about professional enrichment, receiving tips from a designer at “the happiest place on earth,” leaders in coaching and development through comedy and the UMKC leader in fostering inclusion and respect.

Eligible staff can apply for both funds. For additional information about the Staff Professional Enrichment and the Emergency Relief Funds (SPEER), including qualifications, visit the SPEER website.

|Wandra Brooks Green, Division of Strategic Marketing and Communications


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