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2016 Most Influential Women Honoree: Gloria Galanes

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Gloria Galanes believes much can be accomplished when it doesn’t matter who gets the credit.

“In all my work, both at the university and within the community, I have worked with others to accomplish whatever our goals have been,” says Galanes, dean of the College of Arts and Letters at Missouri State University. “I believe outstanding leaders have figured out how to work with others to accomplish important tasks and to ensure that the group gets the credit and the acknowledgement.”

Galanes says leaders must be able to inspire others by communicating a vision, but they also must be flexible with that vision to be sure to include others in the creation of the final outcome. She works to offer people ownership.

“There is nothing much inspiring about carrying out someone else’s orders, but when people have the opportunity to create the vision and put something of themselves into it, they work with joy and passion,” she says.

Galanes holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan, a master’s degree from Bowling Green University and a doctorate from Ohio State University. She has been with MSU since 1986, where she has served as the department head of communication and mass media and is the founding director of the Citizenship and Service Learning program. She moved into her role as COAL dean in 2012.

“As a dean and university professor, I am keenly aware of my responsibility to help develop young people so they can take their places as civic leaders,” Galanes says. “I love spotting talent and helping people find a way to put their talent to use.

“My mentors helped me find opportunities to develop both my skills and principles, and I try to do the same.”

She is especially proud of her work with the Mayor’s Commission for Children, which started as Every Kid Counts, for which Galanes was a board member. It was her applied research class that conducted the initial research to determine the most pressing needs of Springfield’s children.

“My work with MCC was deeply satisfying, because it enabled me to show young people how they can use their expertise to improve their communities, helped focus the community’s attention on the lives of children in our community and encouraged funding organizations to support efforts to improve the lives of children,” Galanes says.

She also served on the Community Foundation of the Ozarks board after starting out as a volunteer.

“My work with CFO was gratifying because of the dedication and expertise of the staff and other board members who truly care about making Springfield and the region a better place to live,” she says. “CFO has done that, in part, by bringing many segments of the community together, and I am proud to have had a part in that.”

Galanes is grateful she’s been able to combine her academic and civic interests, saying she is inspired by MSU’s public affairs mission, which encourages her to contribute her talents to improving the life of the community.

“I have tried to instill that passion and desire to serve in others, including my students,” she says.


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