Meet UWPIAA President-Elect Megan Luebke (’09B)

Megan Luebke ('09B)
September 4, 2020

 

I remember feeling like such a lucky ten-year-old when Carolyn (‘97D) and Duangporn (’97D) hung out with me in my playroom and painted my fingernails. And then, if I remember correctly, one of them read my future from the palm of my hand. I wonder if, at that time, they knew that their redheaded host sister would eventually travel with Up with People (UWP), work at the Denver headquarters, join the international alumni association’s Board of Governors (UWPIAA), and become the 21st president of the UWPIAA next year.

If they did, they certainly didn’t tell me!

I grew up in a small farming community in Southwest Minnesota. My parents were public school teachers and instilled in me an intense passion for learning and public service. I have one older sister who is also in education. I always envisioned that I would be a teacher myself until I learned the amount of patience it required. 

I graduated from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota in May 2009 with a BA in Organizational Communications and minors in Business, Theater, and Spanish. Just prior to my graduation, my parents flew to Florida for vacation. I knew I was about to graduate during a recession so I gave them copies of my résumé to have on hand . . . just in case. On the flight back to Minnesota, they sat next to a man named Alain Thiry (’75C). Alain had just been named the President and CEO of UWP. My mom mentioned that we had hosted two UWP cast members in the late 1990’s and she didn’t know that Up with People was still around.

Who hasn’t heard that line before?!

She told Alain that she thought UWP would be perfect for her youngest daughter and give him my résumé. He contacted me shortly after and while I was intrigued, I was bound and determined to find a job and start my career. When unemployment lingered through May and into June, I finally reached out to Alain to apply for the upcoming Up with People cast: Cast B 2009. I applied one month before Staging began. Shout out to my Admission Counselor, Rob Prytherch (’92A), for accepting me into the program even though he noted that I spoke “really fast.”

Megan with her castmates from Cast B 2009.

I traveled with Cast B 2009 from July through December. Our tour took us to the Southwest United States, Mexico, Denmar, Sweden, Finland, Germany, and Poland. I was a Promotions Intern in Veracruz, Mexico and was one of the pianists in the stage band affectionately called The Wizards. I sang “Oye El Boom” and “Carrickfergus” in our show, A Song for the World.

Following my tour, I was hired by the Minnesota Lynx Women’s National Basketball Team. I worked as their Marketing Manager for three seasons from 2010 to 2012. During that time, we won a World Championship and I have the championship ring to prove it! In 2011, I was fortunate to be a part of the Rose Bowl Parade cast that traveled to Pasadena, CA. In 2012, Alain – still the President and CEO of UWP –  recruited me to work at the headquarters in Denver. I moved to Denver in October 2012 and began working in UWP’s advancement and fundraising department. My highlight of each year was coordinating UWP’s annual fundraising gala. Seeing hundreds of UWP alumni and friends come together for a common cause always brings tears to my eyes.

During my time at UWP, I was fortunate to assist with the Experience Program, unique travel opportunities for alumni, families, and friends that often coincide with a current UWP tour. This program offered me the opportunity to travel to Rome, Amsterdam, Stockholm, Florence, Copenhagen, and Paris, and meet many amazing alumni. 

I joined the UWPIAA Board of Governors (BOG) in 2016 as the Era Representative for Casts 2004 and Beyond. I’ve attended almost every reunion – either in a UWP staff member or BOG capacity – since 2013 and traveled to Leiden, The Netherlands and Ennis, Ireland for European Alumni Meetings (EAM) in 2017 and 2019 respectively. If you’ve never been to an EAM, I highly recommend it!

Megan with fellow BOG members and other EAM 2019 attendees in Ennis, Ireland.

All of these experiences – being a host family, traveling with Cast B 2009, working for the organization, and serving on the BOG – have culminated into such a fierce passion and dedication to UWP. I am thrilled to take a next – giant! – step forward and serve UWP alumni as the incoming President of the UWPIAA. My tenure as President-Elect began on September 1 under current President T. McCreary (’68B) and I begin my Presidency on September 1, 2021. I look forward to connecting and reengaging with as many of you as possible. Please feel free to reach out to me via email at meluebke@gmail.com.

Comments

  1. Hi Megan, my name is Ted Agatsuma (71-72A) and I served the BoG of UWPIAA as an Asian Rep from 2010-2014. I am very happy to know that you will be the President of the UWPIAA from Sep 2021. Best luck and enjoy it! Should you need any support from Japan, please contact me.

    Best wishes,
    Ted Agatsuma

  2. Megan, congratulations and thank you for the big shoulders for big ideas to rest upon . Somehow, I’m trying to connect our spirit of bringing people together, and apply it to today. Somehow using music to bridget the gaps, that are currently in front of us. With humanity and song. That’s my two cents as an alumni

  3. Hi there Megan
    My name is Audrey Smits and I travelled in UWP several yrs ( vocal instructor, production support , CAP Cast …)
    Congratulations, enjoy your new adventure and I hope to hear more from you in the future .

    Greetz, Audrey Smits – The Netherlands

  4. Megan – I am thrilled you have taken on this incredible responsibility. Congratulations. You will be a wonderful Madam President!

  5. Dear Megan — Congratulations and THANK YOU! Thanks for taking on the UWPIAA leadership role in these extraordinary times. I wish you success, but I also wish you joy in this journey. BTW, thanks to your parents, too, for the amazing job they did instilling in you your core values of goodness, service, and leadership.

  6. Congratulation Megan ! Warm Regards from New Jersey. Jorge Antonio Miramontes Cast E 81 Encore ! Peace and Harmony all over the World !

  7. You go, gurl! Congratulations. Anticipating great(er) things.

  8. Just reading your bio I believe we’ve found the perfect President! Good wishes and much luck sent your way.

  9. We first met on a phone call a few years ago, she called me personally to thank me for my donation. We struck up a conversation and quickly became friends. She seemed like a leader then and now she is that leader! I’m thrilled,

  10. Are you still a Minnesotan?

  11. Congrats Megan! Though we’ve never met, we have something in common. My friend Alain accepted you int0 UWP and in 1974 late after a show for members of the royal family in Brussels, I accepted Alain. Two very good decisions for UWP. Best of luck!

  12. Congrats Megan! We look forward to witnessing you in your official capacity. Best wishes!!

  13. Who knew a chance meeting on an airplane could’ve changed your whole life so dramatically! Welcome, Megan, and best of luck to you!

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