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A Transfer of Property

September 13, 2022

I wasn’t terrible at math in school, but I certainly did not enjoy it—especially when it involved letters.

But at our ADDO team retreat last month, I learned a new equation that I appreciated. 

Dr. Melenie Lankau took time out of her busy schedule to drive to Athens to speak to our team. She was the advisor for UGA HEROs (the charity I worked closely with in college), helped influence and impact the study abroad program we created, was an associate dean at Wake Forest University, and is now a leader at Chick-fil-A, Inc. I have known her personally for 15 years, and I’m so grateful she came to our retreat to speak to our team. 

She started her talk like this: “I am here because of transitive property. I have a long history and connection with Kevin, Garrett, and Jackie, and I care about them and what they do. Because I care about them and what they do, and because they care about the rest of the ADDO team, I care about what you do.” She then went on to explain the transfer principle in math, or you may have learned it as the transitive property in school.

If A=B, and B=C, then A=C.

In other words, Dr. Lankau cares about me, Garrett and Jackie, we care about our team, so she cares about our team.


Dr. Lankau unpacked for us the importance of relational equity as we work to inspire people today to impact tomorrow. She was willing to come and invest in our team because of the relational equity Garrett, Jackie, and I have made with her over the years. She genuinely cares for the success of each person on our team because she cares about our success.

Dr. Lankau’s message reminded me of the many people in my own life who have extended transitive property for my good. There are people who have loved me, believed me, and stood in the gap to help me and the people I am leading succeed. For example, Coach Vince Dooley believed in Garrett and me, so when we asked him to join our study abroad program with students in Africa and Europe, he was willing to do it. Later, when we asked him to be involved with our first ADDO Gathering, he didn’t hesitate. Coach Dooley believed in me, and I believed in something, so he believed in that thing too. 

Consider how you’ve experienced this principle in your own journey. 

Has someone’s belief in others led to their belief in you? Or has someone’s belief in you translated to an impact in other areas?

Consider the people in your life who have endorsed, advocated for, and made a transfer of property for you and your work. If you’re able, thank them for it!

While many things have changed in our world, relational equity still matters, and it matters a lot.

Then pay it forward. Think about someone you care about so deeply that you are willing to care about (and support) the things they care about, as well.


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