Faculty & Staff

Directors

Christmas Thomas, Margaret

Biography

Dr. Christmas Thomas joined Concordia University ten years ago where she is an Associate Dean and was a leader in starting the Townsend Institute and has been instrumental in program design and launching of the PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision.

Prior to Concordia she led National Counseling/Academic services for the world’s largest human services provider and consulted internationally in the areas of counseling, education and special education services. She has helped host several national conferences for counselors and educators, provided coaching consulting and presented on these topics across the United States and the United Kingdom.

Degrees Earned

  • Ph.D., Education and Leadership, Barry University
  • M.A., Counselor Education, University of Central Florida
  • B.A., Psychology, University of North Florida
Makin, Scott

Biography

Scott has a Master’s in Counseling Psychology and is the Executive Director of the Townsend Institute for Leadership and Counseling. Scott was previously the Founder and Director of the Wabash Friends Counseling Center for 21 years. The counseling ministry grew to 7 satellite offices in surrounding cities with over 20 clinical staff. In addition to this Scott created a yearly psycho-educational conference that became one of the largest one-day conferences in the Midwest for nearly 25 years. Scott is also an executive leadership coach and business consultant. Scott met Dr. John Townsend in 1996 and has co-facilitated 5 different teams with John. Scott is also a Senior Director of the Townsend Leadership Program and runs a group out of Indianapolis.

Degrees Earned

  • M.A. Counseling Psychology, Trinity International University
  • B.S. Psychology, Houghton College

Faculty

Prof. Brooke Benda

Biography

World traveling, adventure seeking adrenaline junky, motorcyclist, husband, and father Michael Anderson. After a brief hitch in the US Army National Guard, Michael joined the staff of Cru and continues to work in vocational ministry with Cru's Athletes in Action. He teaches and consults in leadership development, team building, and communication all over the world. Among his resources are degrees in Electrical Engineering (AS), Communication Science (BA UConn), a master's degree in Communication and Leadership from Gonzaga University, and decades of experience in executive leadership. Michael is also a certified executive coach, CoreClarity Facilitator, and Action Learning Facilitator. It is his great joy to work as an adjunct at Indiana Wesleyan University and Concordia University, Irvine as he leads people and teams around the world to wild success.

Degrees Earned

  • M.A. Communication and Leadership, Gonzaga University
  • B.A. Communication Science, University of Connecticut

Biography

Jill has a Ph.D. from Capella University in Organizational Management with an emphasis in Leadership. She has a M.S.M. from Notre Dame de Namur University with an emphasis in Project Management. Jill’s experience spans from 12 years in the collegiate classroom to working in the board room as a business executive for more than 20 years. A dynamic and seasoned entrepreneur with a track record in developing and implementing effective business processes, Jill has experience in managing and leading internal teams, creating win-win relationships with vendors and suppliers to improve cost-efficiency across the supply chain, and tracking adherence to organizational strategy, strategic objectives and action plans. Currently she is the chairman and CEO at NSI (Nutritional Services, Inc.) in San Carlos, CA.

Davis, Barry

Biography

Barry Davis is a Career and Executive Coach with Gift of Self Career Services. LLC. Holding a Master's degree in Clinical Psychology from Millersville University and a Pastoral Degree from Lancaster Bible College and Graduate School, he is designated as a Certified Master of Career Services by the National Career Development Association and is a licensed minister of the Gospel. An adjunct professor at Concordia and Huntington Universities and an active blogger (on both career and faith), he has written for the Social Media Examiner, NCDA and the Middle Atlantic Career Counseling Association’s newsletters. Davis’ presentation experience includes keynoting for MACCA, presenting to the Eastern Association of Colleges and Employers, Maryland Career Development Association, Human Resource associations, Business Executives Networking Group, Lancaster Young Professionals, and various organizations, colleges and universities on diverse topics including The Blessings of Failure, Creating Luck, and Leading through Conflict. A certified AVA Analyst and Certified Talent Consultant for advanced assessment training with the Institute of Personality and Ability Testing, he also holds certification in Critical Incident Stress Debriefing from the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation. Over his 25+ year career, Barry has worked with thousands of people in diverse industries in dealing with the age-old question "What do I want to be when I grow up?", whether they are taking their first career steps or transitioning into a new field entirely. He has extensive experience in working with companies and individuals in the throes of employment and life transitions and continues to learn what all he wants to do! Barry is passionate about integrating Biblical truth in all he does, often noting that "all truth belongs to God." On a personal side, he is an inveterate reader, pushing books on anyone who comes within earshot (he has over 190 book reviews on Goodreads), and has completed over 30 full marathons.

Degrees Earned

  • M.S., Clinical Psychology, Millersville University of Pennsylvania
  • B.S., Bible/Pastoral Studies, Lancaster Bible College
Cummins, Rich

Biography

Rich Cummins is the Vice President for Institutional Advancement at Bethel College (IN). With more than twenty-years in senior leadership and experience with c-suite positions, Rich is a life-long learner who is oriented toward growth and constantly pursuing ways to challenge himself and those around him. Having received a Master of Arts degree in Organizational Leadership and an Advanced Executive Coaching credential from the inaugural Townsend Institute Class at Huntington University, Rich desires to help others lead at the highest level possible by developing a strong character, healthy relationships, and high performance. Currently, Rich is pursuing his doctoral degree in higher education leadership from Bethel University in St. Paul, Minnesota. Additionally, Rich is an executive coach who is certified in the EQ-i 2.0 and EQ 360 emotional intelligence assessments.

Degrees Earned

  • Ed.D. student in Higher Education Leadership, Bethel University (In Progress)
  • M.A. Organizational Leadership, The Townsend Institute at Huntington University
  • B.A. Political Science, Purdue University
Flores, Pamela

Biography

Pamela has received her Masters in Counseling from Dallas Theological Seminary and was part of the Inaugural class of the Townsend Institute at Huntington University where she received the Advanced Executive Coaching Credential. She is a Leadership Coach and Organizational consultant with the Townsend Leadership Group. She is now an active TLP Director, co-leading a group in the Dallas-Fort Worth Area. Pamela is certified in the 16 PF and also offers the Myers Briggs, Strong Interest Survey, and Emotional Intelligence Assessments. Pamela has received training from Dennis Del Valle in Process Group Dynamics and Experiential Training as well as several psychodramas trainings under the Bridging Harts Institute and Psychotherapy. Pamela has also completed both the Ultimate Leadership Workshop and One Week Intensive for Counselors in Newport Beach, California hosted by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend. She coaches individuals and teams to build self-awareness, improve communication skills and deal with conflict in a way that solves problems and helps people grow.

  • Fugitt, Gilbert Fugitt, Gilbert
  • Organizational Consulting and Change Theory
  • Administration 300 A/B
  • (949) 214-3057
Fugitt, Gilbert

Biography

Gilbert has an Ed.D. in Organizational Leadership and a M.A. in Psychology from Pepperdine University. He currently is the Dean of Students at Concordia University Irvine and has taught Christianity and Contemporary Culture for several academic programs throughout campus as one of Concordia's most endeared instructors. In addition to his leadership and teaching roles at Concordia, he has worked for many years as a Director of Christian Education at Our Savior Lutheran Church in Arcadia, California, where he developed servant leaders within the church and the youth ministry. At Concordia University, he is passionate about developing wise, honorable, and cultivated student leaders. He has conducted numerous presentations on servant leadership, community service, and many relevant issues critical to college age students.

Degrees Earned

  • Ed.D., Organizational Leadership, Pepperdine University
  • M.A., Psychology, Pepperdine University
  • B.A., Theology, Concordia University, Seward, NE
Livingston, Scott

Biography

Scott is the president of Livingston Consulting Group and IntegratEI, where he partners with professionals with a focus on emotional intelligence to improve their execution and performance in their organizations. Many of his clients have expressed that he works with “heart and edge,” meaning that he’s friendly and engaging, but also holds his clients accountable to their performance objectives.

Makin, Gregg

Biography

Gregg has been the Group Life Pastor at Living Faith Christian Church on Long Island, NY, joining the staff in 1983. He primarily invested his time in training and developing church leaders. He is now transitioning to be a Leadership Coach at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard in VA.

He loves to bike, run, and play tennis, racquetball and disc golf. He's been married to Joyce for 38 years and together enjoys hiking, kayaking, and hitting the beach. He is dad to four adult children and Eleanor, his granddaughter. Growing up in central PA, he began his personal relationship with Jesus Christ as a teen. And during those years, became an avid Pittsburgh Steelers, Pirates, and Penguins fan!

Degrees Earned:

  • PhD in Organizational Leadership, Regent University Virginia Beach, Virginia 2005
  • Masters of Science in Education, Hofstra University Hempstead, New York 1992
  • Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, Houghton College Houghton, New York 1982
Prof. Leah Nelson

Biography

Leah Nelson is an experienced leader with over 23 years of leadership experience in the military and business sectors. As a coach, she has helped individuals and businesses achieve next level outcomes. She carries a unique leadership perspective combining relationships with the need for results in both the personal and professional realms. She specializes in helping both men and women achieve their vision and achieve significant growth in both their professional and personal lives.

Leah completed her undergraduate studies at the United States Naval Academy. She served for 13 years in the military, where she was a Helicopter Pilot and a Leadership Instructor/Facilitator. Following military service, she has spent the last 20 years as a small business owner working in coaching, recruiting, leadership training and development, sales and marketing, and small business development. She received her Masters of Organizational Leadership through the Townsend Institute at Huntington University.

Helping others achieve their goals and design their lives with excellence and balance is one of Leah’s greatest joys. An avid athlete, Leah recently completed the Boston Marathon.

Degrees Earned

  • M.A. Counseling Psychology, Trinity International University
  • United States Naval Academy
Thompson, Michelle

Biography

Michelle has a Master of Arts in Children and Family Ministry from Bethel Seminary, St. Paul, MN. She has a Master of Science in Organizational Development and a Certificate in Conflict Resolution from Abilene Christian University. Currently she is Executive Director of Leadership Development & Training at Greater Houston YMCA Association, Houston, TX. Previously, she was the Senior Training Manager at Cameron in Houston, TX. She was the Executive Director at CrossPoint Community Church in Katy, TX and the Next Generation Strategic Leader at St. John in Ellisville, MO.

Wilhelm, Juliana

Biography

Juliana Wilhelm, MA LCPC is the founder and director of Cardia Counseling Center, Carol Stream, Illinois, where she has been providing effective counseling therapy to individuals and families for more than 19 years. As director, she has trained and supervised clinical therapists and has partnered with leaders to strengthen both their personal and professional lives.

Through the thousands of face-to-face hours of therapy and coaching with high capacity leaders in both the public and private sector, she has first-hand knowledge of the type of impact created when leaders are equipped with skills such as emotional intelligence and are strengthened in their personal character competencies. Benefits range from employee productivity, positivity, and retention, to less burn out at high-level positions and satisfying personal lives.

Through her personal experience as a participant in the Townsend Leadership Program and as an instructor in the Townsend Institute for Leadership and Counseling at Huntington University, she is well-equipped to facilitate change for leaders from all walks of life.

In addition to teaching at Huntington University and her private practice, Juliana is an adjunct instructor in the graduate program at Wheaton College and has taught at Indiana Wesleyan University. She has led ministry groups at Willow Creek Community Church and has been the featured speaker/instructor at conferences for lay and professional audiences both nationally and internationally.

Ms. Wilhelm holds a Bachelor’s degree from University of Wisconsin, Madison, and a Master’s degree from Wheaton College, Illinois. She is a licensed clinical professional counselor (LCPC) in the state of Illinois.

Degrees Earned

  • M.A. Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Wheaton College
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