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Leadership Academy and LEAD Testimonials

The following testimonials are excerpts from emails that we've recieved about the 21st Century Leadership Academy

Maria Illiakova
2009 UMKC Shear Fellow

Of course I owe the Sue Shear Institute quite a lot!  The Fulbright would not have materialized were it not for my experience as a Fellow in May 2009.  It is such a boost to know that you support emerging female leaders in all fields.  I hope to make the Sue Shear Institute proud of my accomplishments and to spread the word about the great work that you do.

Thank you for the opportunities you have made possible for me!

Lauren Huchingson
2006 Missouri S&T Fellow

When I attended the Sue Shear academy in 2006, it had a huge impact on me and how I viewed myself, the impact that I could make and my potential for a prominent future career. A part of the reason that I am now a successful management consultant in corporate strategy is due to Sue Shear and the women/mentors that I met while attending the academy. Two of my best friends are fellows, one is a consultant and works for the same firm as me and the other is a dentist. The three of us all hold Sue Shear in high esteem and think back fondly on our experiences and the strong, genuine women we met. 

Sue Shear is much more than promoting women for public positions, etc. It's about promoting us to be strong and keep pushing for what we want. I know it might sound very cheesy but it's true, and I am very rarely cheesy. 

The thought of other deserving students not having the same opportunity to attend the academy like we did is very dissapointing. This program is something that I will help to fight for because it is vastly important.  

Rebecca Holmes
2011 Missouri S&T Shear Fellow
2012 21st Century Leadership Academy Intern

The Sue Shear Institute is a very crucial program to keep funding going.  It enables and inspires leaders, regardless of party or ideology leaning.  I personally am a conservative who typically votes Republican and felt very inspired and encouraged through my time with the Sue Shear Institute.  Instead of feeling offended with someone who had opposite views, I have been able to forge some of my best friendships with girls that had opposite views than I do but were able to exchange ideas and information freely, as well as challenge each other to the fullest. 

Lindsay Epstein
2003 Missouri S&T Shear Fellow

Throughout the week at the Leadaership Academy we were able to debate a bill on the House floor; discuss issues that women face like having a career and raising a family; and listen to strong women role models.  That week changed the course of my life and gave me the courage and ability to become a strong woman who could influence future generations and to some extent those in my generation.  

In 2006 I graduated from UMR and moved out to the Washington DC area.  I currently work at Orbital Sciences performing failure analysis on satellites, launch vehicles and manned space flight.  I also am a volunteer instructor for the local Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) and am in the process of becoming a volunteer EMT.  My only political ties are to the Board of Elections in my county as an election official and and work the polls and get out the vote as often as I can.  Most likely none of this would have happened had I not attended Sue Shear and seen other women like me struggling to "break the glass ceiling" and live their lives to the fullest extent.  

Rachel Waldemer
2009 UMKC Shear Fellow

Let me start by saying that I am not concerned with running for political office, and I never have been.  Instead, I am currently finishing up my second year in a combined MD-PhD program at the University of Illinois, which means that I am taking medical school classes while conducting laboratory-based research on adult muscle growth after injury.

And though I have never been overly-concerned with politics, what I am concerned about is human health.  The older I get, the more I understand that political leadership--whether on the community level or national stage--is a powerful thing.  In fact, I believe that when changes are made for the better in this country, it is almost invariably through strong leadership and fair laws.  That is why I am interested in influencing public policy as a physician regarding topics that affect the health and well-being of American citizens, such as medical insurance coverage or immunizations.  It is a long-term, eventual goal that the Sue Shear Institute helped me to realize is possible, and is necessary for the future of safe and effective healthcare in this country.

Elise Hammond
2009 University of Missouri-Columbia Shear Fellow

I believe that it is imperative to have programs that support the development of women leaders in the private and public sector. Our representative bodies must be representative of our population in order to implement the best policy decisions. That means that we need women from all political viewpoints who are qualified and who are able to think critically and independently to serve the people of Missouri.  Thousands of women have been a part of the Sue Shear Academy as Fellows or guests. I am positive that I am not the only one who continues to be empowered and encouraged by the Institute.

I currently work at a church in St. Louis where I manage the children’s ministry and I am preparing now to further my religious education before pursuing a master’s in non-profit management. Through every bump in the road on my personal and educational journey, I have been encouraged by my experiences and interactions at the Academy. The lessons I learned about respecting others, examining the issues, and looking for ways to solve problems, are things I use every day.

Learn more about our fantastic Shear Fellows!