Annette Kendall’s office is filled with books and papers. They look to be out of place, strewn about the room. But to Kendall, they each have a place and their place is exactly where they are.
Kendall sat down and removed the beanie from her head. Although it is 3 p.m., her smile is still bright.
Kendall is a postdoctoral student at MU in the Division of Applied Social Sciences. Her research at the university is in collective entrepreneurship within the U.S. artisanal cheese industry. Kendall also teaches two classes, Fundamentals of Entrepreneurship through the Agricultural and Applied Economics Department and Strategic Management through the Trulaske College of Business
Kendall grew up in a rural New Zealand town. She was diagnosed with an unknown liver disease when she was 9 and was told she had only 10 more years to live.
She has been defying the odds ever since.
After a successful liver transplant at the age of 19, Kendall worked as a receptionist for an accounting firm. It was her cleverness and tendency to become bored quickly that led Kendall to think up new ways to keep herself occupied at work. In addition to transcribing documents for her boss, Kendall also started a curriculum vitae review service for patrons of the firm and their children. When computers were introduced in the firm, she learned the new computer system and helped others install and use their new machines. Kendall even took extramural classes in English literature at the local university.
Kendall’s willingness to learn new things caused her to be recruited for a variety of jobs in many fields.
“I never really applied for a job,” Kendall said, shrugging her shoulders.
Kendall went on to work as an administrator for training programs, an accountant, a computer specialist at a construction company and a CEO for a charity that ran retirement homes, all before receiving an undergraduate’s degree.
The truth is, she still does not have one.
After being headhunted by several larger firms, Kendall decided she wanted to pursue a Master of Business Administration, which she did on the weekends while working full time. She would later go on to get another master’s degree to have enough credits to pursue her post doctorate. This is what led her to MU.
Kendall’s approach to teaching is different than many other professors.
“Our students are the coolest students,” Kendall said, as a huge smile stretched across her face. Kendall proposes a relaxed style of classroom instruction: if you want to show up, show up, if you have something better to do, do that instead. She tries to make each class period worthwhile to the students.
Emma Boase, a master’s degree candidate and research associate at MU in DASS said Kendall was her point of contact as she was traveling from New Zealand to MU. Boase said Kendall made herself available during the whole moving process, even picking her up from the airport. Boase said this level of care and compassion from Kendall is also applied to the students in her classes.
“She is always willing to go the extra mile for her students,” Boase said. “She understands what students think and need from an education system.”
Drew Cox, a junior agribusiness management major echoed Boase’s thoughts. Cox took Kendall’s Fundamental of Entrepreneurship class and enjoyed how Kendall taught and the passion she showed for the subject.
“She was awesome as a professor,” Cox said. “She was always approachable and connected really well with the class.”
Kendall said being around students and faculty is what has kept her healthy. The positivity she is around is improving the functionality of her liver.
“I love what I do here,” Kendall said. “I care about being able to help people. If I have skills and can be of assistance to people that’s what I like to do”
Kendall is thankful for the opportunities MU has brought her.
“You don’t have to do this. You get to do this,” Kendall said. “I’m so lucky. I can’t imagine doing anything different now.”
Any students who are interested in taking Fundamentals of Entrepreneurship or Strategic Management with Kendall can talk to their adviser to see where it fits into their grad plan.
Additionally, any students who run their own business and would like some help from the entrepreneurship class are encouraged to email Kendall.