5 Questions with Speaker Missy Gluckmann


Today’s post in our new ‘Five Questions’ series with our fabulous Melibee speakers is with none other than the founder of our hive, Missy Gluckmann! I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Missy through the interwebs for over 2 years now as I’ve volunteered with Melibee Global, and I have to say that she is as genuine and passionate about international education as her site, Melibee Global, would have you believe. Read on below to glean some insight from her and I think you’ll see why she would make for an exciting speaker at many international education events!

1) Finish this sentence. Culture is…

Missy presenting at Binghamton University for International Women's Day 2012
Missy, presenting virtually for Binghamton University’s Int’l Women’s Day 2012

Culture is everything. It explains why we are the way we are, our values, our limitations, our habits, our practices and preferences, our way of “beeing.” Culture is the key to communication, knowing ourselves, relating to others, and increasing awareness of it builds a road map to peace in our world.

2) If you had a plane ticket where would you go tomorrow?

Tomorrow, I’d want a round the world ticket and I’d need to make a few stops! First, I’d say Boston, Massachusetts. Surprised? So am I! My husband’s family is rooted in that part of the world and I miss them a lot. We have many nieces and nephews there who are growing like weeds and I’m missing a few chapters of their youth and that makes me sad. (The same goes for my nieces in NY, but at least I see them a tad more than my husband’s family…although I’m still heartbroken about not seeing them all regularly.)

I’d also want to stop in Fairbanks, Alaska. My dear childhood friend died recently and that is where she chose to make her home for over a decade. I want to see the place that she spoke so magically about and to explore the power of nature and the indigenous people in that region of the world.

Missy with her "brother" Sergio.
Missy with her Brazilian brother, Sergio.

I’d also love to jump on a plane to Guaymas, Mexico to see my “brother” Rodrigo and my “niece” Camila.  Rodrigo was an exchange student who lived with my family in high school and I haven’t met his daughter yet. I’d also like to return to Florianopolis, Brazil to spend time with my other “brother” Sergio and his family. He was also an exchange student from my high school days.

The final stop on this little jaunt would be Chiang Mai in Thailand. It is still on the bucket list!

3) A “single story” you’d like to disarm…

There are so many, but the one that stands out these days is the single story we repeatedly witness here in the US: African Americans are criminals, violent and not worthy of basic human rights. Imagine being frisked and searched for no reason but the color of your skin? Imagine being shot and killed for picking up a pellet gun in a store while you’re shopping?  While it seems insane, it happens to our African-American brothers and sisters regularly in this country and that hurts.

4) Why we should care about your “passion”/area?

Missy, Danilo and Tony take a "selfie" after a 5 hour hike near Quito, Ecuador, 2013.
Missy, friend Danilo and Missy’s husband Tony take a “selfie” after a 5 hour hike near Quito, Ecuador, 2013.

The short answer is because it is a path to peace in this world – and that should be of interest to everyone. The other answer is that exploring culture is practical for not only work, but everyday life. People who have joined in on our work describe it as innovative, informative and dare I say FUN?!

5) What makes you a great speaker?

I’m way too humble to say that I’m a “great” speaker, but I do think that I have unique and valid ideas to share. I also have no qualms at all about being vocal about challenging the status quo in a number of areas – higher education, international education and how we “teach” culture. I believe that when I do speak with others, they feel motivated to “bee” the change they want to see in this world and to explore their “truth” with more intent and commitment. This approach is very much rooted in my deep respect for the life and work of Gandhi. While I’m certainly not Gandhi, I hope to capture an audience with an ounce of his integrity and strength of voice and character.

So, that is our fearless leader, Missy! Missy’s passion for culture, identity, and social justice would make her a great speaker at events ranging from International Education Week activities on college campuses to returnee conferences for recently returned sojourners. She’s also a great fit for engagements dealing with entrepreneurial female leaders and challenging the status quo—exciting stuff! Contact the hive if you are interested in booking Missy to speak at an event you are planning.


  1. Amy Peterson says:

    Social justice is also a particular interest to one of my esteemed professors. She has taught me that culture is more than the basics of a language,their flag, and typical foods. It is in the heart and soul of the people, what motivates them. Why their governments make decisions and how the United States influences them. I strongly support your views and recommendations. I hope you garner the support you need to make the changes you hope to. The world may seem vast, but if we take the time to look around, we can see so much more of ourselves in others.

    • Hi Amy. Thank you for your comment! Your professor is spot on and I’m glad her work has influenced you. Culture is so much more than the things we “see” – it is very much about those that we don’t see. We are hosting a gathering about this next week in Asheville, NC – http://www.swarm.melibeeglobal.com – perhaps something you can come to in the future! I think you’d really like the conversation. Keep “beeing” the change you want to see in the world, ok? Best, Missy

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