By |Published On: January 31st, 2017|Categories: Alumni, University Communications|

Kimberly McGee, PhD, at the graduates’ community meeting at Session

During the recent graduation for the School of Leadership Studies, PhD student Kimberly McGee reflected on the power of using the word “no.”

McGee earned her doctorate in Organizational Development & Change. Her inspiring speech follows:


Recently, someone told me, “You have the privilege to say no.”

This gave me pause because I believe no is a word that people choose to use or not use.

And I recognize that the consequences of saying no will differ from person to person.

I must admit, I’m quick to say no. And my committee and family can attest to my attachment to the word no.

No is a good word. And I encourage my daughter, Erica, to use it often.

Erica, say no to self-doubt. Say no to guilt. Say no to other’s prescription for your life. There will always be a chorus of naysayers, and on one or more occasions I will be among them.

Say no to me, too.

But more importantly, say yes!

Say yes to the unknown. Say yes to deep and enduring friendships. If your life’s dreams don’t scare you, say yes to the ones that do.

I’ll close with one of my favorite quotes from Marianne Williamson:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?”

Erica, we are beautifully and wonderfully made. And, yes, we really are fabulous!

And to my beautiful and fabulous family, friends, and committee who said yes to me and walked with me along this journey, thank you.

And a special thank you and high praise to my parents who instilled in my sister and me the value of education and encouraged us to achieve and aspire to do more than they did.

Moving forward as Dr. McGee, I’m excited to see where life takes me and I’ll cherish deeply those who supported, challenged, and encouraged me along the way.

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