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The Borland-Manske Center at Concordia University Irvine

The Townsend Institute for Leadership & Counseling

Concordia University Irvine

Experience transformational education that operates at the crossroads of competence, character, and connection through the Townsend Institute’s life-changing counseling and leadership programs.

Students in front of Grimm Hall

About the Institute

The Townsend Institute at Concordia University Irvine offers fully accredited online graduate degrees, professional certificates, and bachelor's degrees in three content areas: Organizational Leadership, Executive Coaching and Consultation, and Counseling. Masterful psychologist and relationship expert Dr. John Townsend founded the Institute to address both the head and the heart, incorporating scriptural truths with current neuroscience. Discover how the Institute’s approach goes deeper than behavioral change and moves us to growth.

Dr. John Townsend Dr. Townsend and students in front of Grimm Hall

About our founder

Dr. John Townsend is a New York Times bestselling author, leadership consultant, psychologist and relationship expert. He has written 35 books, selling 10 million copies, including the bestselling Boundaries series and The Entitlement Cure, an ECPA 2015 Book of the Year finalist. For more than twenty years, Dr. Townsend has engaged with leaders, organizations and individuals around the globe, offering them life-changing solutions to their problems. He hosts his own online live video call-in program, “Dr. Townsend Live.” He is also co-host of the nationally-syndicated talk show “New Life Live” which is heard in 180 markets with 3 million listeners. He is the founder of the Townsend Institute at Concordia University Irvine, and is active and instrumental in its growth. Dr. Townsend holds a B.A. in Psychology from North Carolina State University, a Master’s in Theology from Dallas Seminary, and a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Biola University.

Jon Acuff - Bestselling Author
Sue Johnson, Ph.D. - Therapist, Research Professor
Miles McPherson - Senior Pastor, the Rock Church
Henry Cloud, Ph.D. - Bestselling Author
Gabe Lyons - Founder of Q
Donald Miller - Bestselling Author

About our Fellows

When you make a choice to invest in your future by continuing your education, you want to be sure your time is well spent. That’s where the Townsend Institute at Concordia University Irvine offers a distinct advantage. In addition to top-tier faculty, Dr. Townsend has assembled a world-class team of influencers, author-teachers and practitioners with broad platforms who are widely recognized. Enrolled students will connect to these top thinkers and practitioners in the monthly virtual symposia.

About our faculty

Trained on the Townsend model, our faculty is made up of practicing professionals who have real-world experience applying the very principles they teach at the Townsend Institute. Students will gain a deep understanding of human motivation and the dynamics of high performing teams and organizations.


Christmas Thomas, Margaret


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

Donna, Washburn


Dr. Washburn is a 1998 graduate of Evangel University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work. She went on to receive her master’s degree in Social Work from Missouri State University in 1999 and her PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision from Regent University in 2015. Her professional experience includes working with the adolescent population in areas such as school social work and as a therapist for teens in residential treatment, providing clinical supervision and consultation for social workers and counselors. Her areas of interest and past research include issues of abuse and neglect with children, negative behavioral functioning of adolescents, clinical supervision and social advocacy in the mental health field. Dr. Washburn has worked in Christian Higher Education for 20 years and has enjoyed many roles including teaching, administration, research and supervision. She is passionate about leading the CUI Townsend Institute Counseling Program and assisting the next generation of counselors in reaching the hurting world with excellence in clinical practice.

Degrees Earned

  • Ph.D., Counselor Education and Supervision: Regent University
  • M.S.W. - Master's of Social Work: Missouri State University
  • B.S.W. - Bachelor's of Social Work: Evangel University
  • LCSW - Licensed Clinical Social Worker- Missouri

Shelton, Deena


Dr. Deena Shelton is a Licensed Professional Counselor Supervisor in Texas and has a variety of experiences in clinical, educational, and nonprofit settings. Like many counselors, she feels a strong connection to her calling of helping others and feels equally passionate about training new counselors. She focused her counseling expertise in couples and families, career counseling, and supervising new counselors as they seek licensure.

Previously, Dr. Shelton has worked in university career services, administration and advising for online graduate counseling programs, and in coordination and executive management of nonprofit organizations. She has worked community services such as advocacy for children in foster care, federally funded education programs, and community-based crime prevention initiatives. Her research focuses include adoptive families, parenting, supervision in counselor education, and research methods. She is passionate about volunteering for her community and serves in volunteer groups and on local boards to help promote change in her community.

Dr. Shelton is passionate about teaching new counselors in practical and connective ways. In addition to helping educate students about the process of counseling, she strives to mentor them in their personal development and professional identity. As most counselor educators, she loves helping students understand how they can connect with clients to promote change. She also loves teaching students how topics like research, assessment, evaluation, and documentation fit into the role of a counselor and how they enhance a counselor’s ability to serve clients well. In addition to serving as a faculty member, Dr. Shelton is the Field Experience Coordinator, overseeing practicum and internship experiences for students.

Degrees Earned

  • Ph.D., Counselor Education and Supervision, Walden University
  • M.A., Community Counseling, Stephen F. Austin State University
  • B.S., Psychology, LeTourneau University

Ashlie Andrew


Dr. Andrew earned her Bachelors and Masters Degrees from California State University, Long Beach and her PhD from Regent University in Virginia. Her research interests include family communication, organizational communication and crisis management. She has taught at both private and public colleges and universities. Some of her past courses include Public Speaking, Workplace Communication, Interpersonal Communication, Small Group Communication, Organizational Communication, Journalism, and Interviewing. Dr. Andrew enjoys working at Concordia University because it allows her to combine her love of teaching and leadership with her Christian beliefs. Dr. Andrew resides in Northern California with her husband Brian and their daughter Brilie Kate.

Degrees Earned

  • Ph.D., Communication, Regent University
  • M.A., Communication Studies, California State University of Long Beach
  • B.A., Communication Studies, California State University of Long Beach

Fugitt, Gilbert


With more than 20 years of experience in higher education and ministry leadership experience, Gilbert has honed a sense of working with organizations to build health and high-performance. Gilbert has tremendous experience working with individuals and teams to create a strategic plan that will give measurable results and help you achieve success.

Prior to working with the Townsend Institute, Gilbert was the Associate Vice President and Dean of Students at Concordia University Irvine. While serving in that role, he gained extensive experience leading teams in working through stressful situations and building a healthy culture.

Gilbert brings a doctorate in Organizational Leadership from Pepperdine University that has given him a unique perspective to help clients find what motivates them to do their best work. He has worked with many individuals to create a plan for them to explore their unique path to see and overcome the barriers that are limiting their growth. He utilizes his experience in StrengthsFinder and Emotional Intelligence in working with individuals and teams.

As a faculty member and leadership and executive consultant, Gilbert works consistently with leaders and organizations to make significant changes that have a long-term impact. Gilbert’s goal is to create a culture of trust where people feel the freedom to achieve at the highest level.

Degrees Earned

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

Thompson, Michelle


Michelle Thompson is the Director of the Executive Coaching and Consulting program in the Townsend Institute at Concordia University.  

As a Leadership and Growth Coach, credentialed as a Professional Certified Coach by the International Coaching Federation, she brings a breadth of executive leadership experience in the non-profit and for-profit sector combined with almost two decades of involvement with the Townsend Growth Model.  

Degrees and Certifications

  • M.S., Organizational Development, Abilene Christian University
  • M.A., Children's and Family Ministry, Bethel Seminary
  • B.A., Elementary Education, Concordia University Chicago
  • Professional Certified Coach (PCC), International Coaching Federation 
  • Certificate, Conflict Resolution and Mediation, Abilene Christian University

Program Faculty

Coleman, Shelley


Shelley Coleman is a Licensed Professional Counselor in West Virginia and holds specialty certifications in Emotionally Focused Therapy and Supervision. She is completing her Advanced Somatic Experiencing Training for full certification in 2021. Shelley’s clinical work has focused on couples and families, as well as trauma recovery and group work. She completed her master’s degree in Professional Counseling at Liberty University in 2012. Shelley started teaching for the Townsend Institute in March 2017 and felt immediately drawn to counselor education. Shelley will complete her PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision from The University of the Cumberlands in August of 2021.

Previously, Shelley has served in several community advocacy groups that provide support for women navigating domestic violence and complex trauma. This remains an area of interest as she focuses her research on women living with domestic abuse and ways to better inform counselors to provide support for women and children seeking safety and healing from its impact.

Shelley is passionate about counselor education and supervision. Teaching field work continues to be a favorite part of her teaching experience as she has taught practicum and internship since starting her work at the Townsend Institute. Shelley wrote the Foundations of Marriage and Family Counseling course for the Townsend Institute and thus, remains passionate about teaching future counselors to excel in their work with couples and families. Shelley is a recent addition to the core faculty for the Townsend Institute and is excited to continue her work of educating future counselors to be highly skilled professionals who will be the leaders in their field as they bring the care and compassion of the profession to their clients and their communities.

Degrees Earned

  • M.A., Professional Counseling, Liberty University
  • B.S., Church Counseling, Liberty University
  • LPC, Licensed Professional Counselor – West Virginia

Lorraine Gordon


Dr. Lorraine Gordon earned her degree in Counselor Education and Supervision from Capella University. Dr. Gordon is a National Certified Counselor and is a mentor for the National Board for Certified Counselors Foundation, Mentor Program. She is a Disaster Mental Health Responder for the American Red Cross. Dr. Gordon’s professional experience spans Mental Health, Teaching, Counseling, and Healthcare. She has extensive experience working in community mental health, private practice, and within a teaching hospital in a variety of capacities. Dr. Gordon is an On-Demand Military & Family Life Counselor (MFLC) at Fort Dix. Her areas of interest include trauma, crisis management, online counseling learners transitioning into internship fieldwork, family, and Multicultural Counseling. Dr. Gordon served as Adjunct Faculty at Middlesex County College. Dr. Gordon’s ministry involves Family Life, Youth and Young Adults. She operates a Community Counseling office within her church. She serves on her church school Board and especially enjoys helping learners achieve their educational aspirations. Dr. Gordon resides in Central New Jersey with her husband, a retired Air Force Senior Master Sergeant, they are the parents of five adult children. For relaxation she enjoys hiking, speed walking, camping, traveling, and gardening. Dr. Gordon is committed to higher education and is a life-long learner, she is enthusiastic about integrating her counseling experience with academics.

Degrees Earned

  • Ph.D. Counselor Education and Supervision, Capella University
  • M.S. Human Services - Mental Health, Capella University

Angela Jackson


Dr. Angela Jackson is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor experienced working in clinical settings (youth and families) and as faculty with diverse populations. A graduate of Virginia Tech, she holds a Ph.D. in Counselor Education with a concentration in Race and Social Policy. She specializes in building rapport with clients and clarifying the basis for their presenting issues. For example, what’s beneath the surface of client’s symptoms for anxiety, depression, faith conflict, or family of origin trauma? Dr. Jackson has gained a unique cultural awareness of the family dynamics and relationships particularly with the African American population. Therefore, she welcomes broader roles beyond therapist (educator, faith advocate, resource person) by providing culturally responsive treatment that includes tailoring her skill set with the clients’ unique needs. She makes herself available to clients including being present when collective societal issues such as systemic racism or marginalization are the presenting issues.

As core faculty of the Masters in Counseling Program in the Townsend Institute for Leadership and Counseling, Dr. Jackson considers empowering students in the classroom and clarifying their “professional counseling identity” as no small task. With the high rewards of becoming a licensed professional counselor coupled with the awesome training of the Townsend character/competence model, students are set up for success.

Lastly, Dr. Jackson's passion for mental health and cultural competency is also evident as the owner of Culturally Competent Therapy as she has specialized in culturally responsive treatment with clients for over ten years.

Degrees Earned

  • Ph.D. Counselor Education, Virginia Tech
  • M.Ed. Community Counseling, Kent State
  • B.S. Industrial Management, University of Akron

Brenda Keck headshot


Brenda Keck, Ph.D., LMFT has been practicing as a therapist since 2008 and teaching since 2014. She grew up overseas (East Africa) and much of her work has been in the missionary community in the U.S., Asia, Africa and Europe. She is passionate about promoting resilience, health and healing in the emotional and spiritual lives of ministry leaders. Her specializations include: issues of cross-cultural living, Third Culture Kids, Trauma recovery, compassion fatigue/secondary traumatic stress, resilience and wellness. She also finds great joy in mentoring and teaching a new generation of counselors!

Brenda has been married to her husband (a pastor) since 1981 and enjoys time with her grown twin daughters, a son-in-law, and one crazy dog. She lives in the Pacific NW and spends part of the summers in Alaska with her husband where he runs a fishing lodge. Some things she enjoys outside of work include horseback riding, hiking, hot yoga, salmon fishing with her husband, and sharing a pot of English tea with good conversation.

Degrees Earned

  • PhD Counselor Education and Supervision, Regent University
  • MA Marriage and Family Therapy, Richmont Graduate University
  • Bachelor’s in Education, Guidance & Counseling, University of North Texas

Mark Newmeyer


Dr. Newmeyer is a licensed professional clinical counselor and supervisor in Ohio and Virginia with over twenty years of clinical and consulting experience in mental health services, addictions, and trauma. He is a professional member of the American Counseling Association, which recognized his achievements by honoring him in 2004 as an Emerging Leader. Dr. Newmeyer is an active member of ASGW and also serves on the Editorial Board for Measurement and Evaluation in Counseling and Development. He enjoys running, including several marathons and recently a 50K.

Paylo Matthew


Matthew John Paylo, Ph.D./LPCC-S (OH), LPC (GA), is a professor of counseling at Concordia University Irvine. He has over 12 years of experience in counselor education and 20 years of clinical experience in various settings including community mental health centers, prisons, hospitals, adolescent residential treatment facilities, and college counseling centers. Matthew is passionate about implementing evidence-based interventions within therapeutic relationships that highlight empathy, unconditional positive regard, and genuineness. He has presented and published extensively in the areas of diagnosing and treating mental and emotional disorders. Matthew co-authored two books on assessing, diagnosing, and treating mental and emotional disorders. In addition, he has published numerous journal articles and book chapters on trauma, evidence-based treatments, offender treatments, adolescent counseling, social justice counseling, and the implementation of the DSM. Matthew has received a number of teaching and research awards including the Distinguished Professor of Teaching at Youngstown State University and the Research and Writing Award from the Ohio Counseling Association (OCA). In addition, Matthew completed two terms as a governor-appointed member of the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker, and Marriage and Family Therapist Board.

Degrees Earned

  • Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision - (CACREP- Accredited) - University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA
  • M.A. in Community Counseling - (CACREP- Accredited) - Slippery Rock University, Slippery Rock, PA
  • B.S. in Business - Grove City College, Grove City, PA

Phifer, Joy Kelly


Dr. Joy Kelly Phifer holds a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Counseling and Counselor Education from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG). Her previous degrees include a Master of Science and Specialist in Education dual degree in Couple and Family Counseling, a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, and a Bachelor of Arts in Dance Studies all from UNCG. Currently, she serves as a National Certified Counselor (NCC) and a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor (LCMHC) in the state of North Carolina, treating individuals, couples and families in an outpatient, private agency setting. Clinically, she maintains special training in Emotionally-Focused Couples Therapy (EFT) through the Carolina Center for EFT and trauma-specific training as a Certified Clinical Trauma Professional (CCTP) through the International Association of Trauma Professionals. In her clinical practice, she promotes the power of the counseling relationship, in that it has the unique potential to serve as a catalyst for individual insight, progressive change, and overall mental health wellness.

As a counselor educator, Dr. Phifer maintains a special passion for the classroom in providing experiential and transformative experiences for her students, where she enjoys teaching classes in counseling skills, career counseling, sexuality counseling, family violence, and more. Additionally, Dr. Phifer holds a strong passion for the clinical supervision process in helping developing counselors hone their clinical skills with a focus on providing high quality therapeutic services for clients. Her areas of research interest primarily relate to the prevention, treatment, and recovery experiences of victims and survivors of intimate partner violence (IPV), alongside research implications in couple and family counseling practice - all of which reflect her spiritual calling to the field.

Dr. Phifer is passionate about the performing arts where she enjoys social dancing with her husband and attending live concerts. In her free time, Dr. Phifer enjoys traveling, watching movies full of suspense and drama, and spending time with close friends and family.

Degrees Earned

  • Ph.D., Counseling and Counselor Education, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro
  • M.S./Ed.S., Couple & Family Counseling, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro
  • B.S., B.A., Business Administration, Dance Studies, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Stafford, Kaitlyn


Dr. Kaitlyn Stafford has various clinical experiences spanning from working with service members and veterans in inpatient treatment to providing counseling to those suffering from addiction in an outpatient setting. She has also managed intensive outpatient and outpatient addiction treatment programs for adolescents, women, adults, and clients with co-occurring mental health and addiction disorders. Since 2017, Dr. Stafford has owned and operated a private practice in Hawaii and remotely, where she specializes in treating complex trauma in adults. Additionally, she enjoys counseling service members, veterans, and their families and conducting group therapy.

Dr. Stafford is an EMDR certified clinician and provides EMDR and trauma therapy consulting. She is passionate about mentoring future and current clinicians to offer competent, trauma-informed care. Dr. Stafford is also committed to helping educate clinicians on the military culture and how to successfully and ethically navigate a telehealth practice. She also serves as a supervisor, consultant, and faculty member for a counselor training program in Ukraine. Her current research interests and endeavors include: the career and life satisfaction of military spouses who have advanced degrees, military culture, and trauma.

Dr. Stafford is proud of her South Louisiana roots and the art of cooking and eating that comes with them (gumbo, jambalaya, and shrimp and grits are regular favorites in the Stafford house). She enjoys yoga, hiking trails with her husband, son, and pup, and drinking a good cup of coffee on the lanai.

Stokes, Jeremiah


Dr. Jeremiah Stokes is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) in the state of Florida, a National Certified Counselor (NCC), and a Board Certified PTSD Clinician with the American Psychotherapy Association. He utilizes various modalities of counseling that can be considered integrative, relational and organic. Jeremiah has a great deal of experience working with a multitude of clinical issues. He works with adolescents, adults, and families. His research interests are in the areas of wellness, counseling cancer patients, and substance abuse counseling.

Degrees Earned

  • Ed.D., Argosy University
  • M.S., Walden University
  • B.S., University of Central Florida

Adjunct Faculty

Michael Anderson


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

Wendy Balman


Wendy supports leaders in navigating the sometimes awkward, challenging and exciting opportunities that surround organizational leadership. Her belief that each individual has a unique contribution to bring that is vital to organizational success is the driving force behind her work. Creating a thriving organizational culture that results in high energy, productivity and high trust relationships is her vision of success.

Wendy holds the Professional Certified Coach credential with the International Coach Federation. She uses several assessments as tools to provide greater awareness and touchstones for growth and learning for individuals, teams and throughout an organization. Her favorite starting point is an exploration with her clients on their strengths and where they are brilliant. This provides a positive foundation for addressing what may not be working for them. Wendy works as a Leadership Performance Coach at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard and is owner and lead coach for Creative Coaching Solutions, a leadership and organizational coaching company.

Degrees Earned

  • M.A., Organizational Systems Renewal, Seattle University
  • B.A., Organizational Management, Concordia University Chicago


Bobbi has a Masters in Counseling degree. She is a Billings, MT based Townsend Leadership Director, leadership coach, therapist, and founder and director of the AJ Blain Foundation. She has specialized experience in characterbased growth and works with leaders and others to help them maximize their organization's' performance and to have balanced and healthy lives. She has extensive experience with personal growth, loss and grief.

Bjorndahl-Jay, Jill


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.

Callahan, Eileen


Eileen Callahan completed her graduate and post-graduate education in clinical social work and psychotherapy at New York University. Currently, she is pursuing a Certificate in Spiritual Formation through Soul Shepherding, a non-profit ministry aimed at helping pastors and ministry leaders foster a closer relationship with Jesus Christ. Eileen Callahan is a licensed psychotherapist and executive coach who helps clients experience real transformation in their personal and professional life. As founder of RESTORE Executive Coaching Experience, Eileen leads clients through an exclusive program designed to overcome depletion, stress and disconnection. As a personal growth and leadership facilitator for Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend’s Ultimate Leadership, Empower Now, and One Week Intensive for Therapists workshops, Eileen has helped hundreds of participants identify goals, overcome obstacles and grow as leaders.

Cline, Becca


Becca is a licensed professional counselor in Michigan and licensed mental health counselor associate in Indiana.She holds a Master of Arts in Counseling from Huntington University and is currently participating in a Townsend Leadership Group in southern Indiana. Becca has attended workshops with Dennis Del Valle in Effective Group Process and Experiential Group Training as well as completing the One Week Intensive for Counselors hosted by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend. Her clinical experience includes individual, couples, and group psychotherapy in a private practice setting. Becca is passionate about helping her clients flourish personally and professionally through leveraging the healing power of relationship to unlock increased capacities to navigate the challenges of life.

Degrees Earned

  • M.A. Counseling, Huntington University

Davis, Barry


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

Prof. Brooke Benda


Dr. Michele Fleming is an executive coach, therapist, speaker, and writer. Michele earned her Doctorate Degree in Clinical Psychology from the Rosemead School of Psychology after enjoying a successful career in international sales and marketing. Prior to entering graduate school, Michele worked as a Director for the Diocese of San Diego, giving her a unique perspective on the challenges of both business and ministry leadership. She first starting working with Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend as a facilitator for Ultimate Leadership, Empower Now, and One Week Intensive workshops, where she helped hundreds of participants improve their performance, enhance their relationships, and launch their dreams. Dr. Fleming maintains a private practice as an executive coach, and she is a Director for the Townsend Leadership Program in Atlanta, GA. She has presented at universities, business groups, churches, youth groups, and ministry events. She also blogs for several websites and has been featured on EWTN satellite radio.

Degrees Earned

  • Ph.D. Clinical Psychology, Biola University

Flores, Pamela


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.

Hooper, Matthew


Matthew’s personal and professional pursuit of holistic growth are at the center of his life and work with others. He holds degrees in Communication from Biola University (1994) and Christian Ministry and Leadership from Talbot School of Theology (2001). Spiritual Development and Pastoral Counseling were the specialized emphases of his graduate work. Matthew also received a certificate in spiritual direction from the Archdiocesan Spirituality Center in Los Angeles. Currently, he is studying to complete a doctoral program in Higher Education Leadership at Azusa Pacific University. Over the past 17 years, Matthew has cultivated his vocation toward influencing the holistic development of emerging adults, leaders and professionals. Currently, he serves as the Associate Dean of Students at Biola University. In recent years, Matthew launched a professional consulting business (TRACK 3 Leadership Development) integrating Christian spirituality, psychological insight, and intentional community for the purpose of holistic leadership development. He finds unique inspiration for his work in creation, spiritual friendship and the daily pursuit of humility as the highest virtue for human growth. Matthew, his wife, Sheela, and their three children, Annie, Breeana and Jarren, live, work and play in northern California.

Degrees Earned

  • Ed.D. Higher Education Leadership, Azusa Pacific University (in progress)
  • M.A. Spiritual Development, Biola University
  • B.A. Communications, Biola University

Hotchkiss, Steve


Steve is owner and doctor for Veterinary Healthcare Concepts for the past 25 years. He leads this multiple discipline practice with general and emergency services including orthopedic and neurosurgery. Steve is an avid outdoorsman, rancher, and pilot. He is instrument rated and certified in high performance aircraft. Steve has a passion for developing students and investing in their lives. He and his wife Lisa led the college class at their church for many years, which grew to a weekly gathering of over 200 students under their leadership. Steve and Lisa have served in leadership capacities and as local board members of Young Life, an organization designed to introduce high school kids to Jesus Christ. Steve currently is a director for the Townsend Leadership Program.

Houston, Nancy


Nancy has a Master’s in Counseling and is a speaker, teacher, counselor and coach. She is a Director for the Townsend Leadership program in New York City and the Dallas Fort Worth area. She is in private practice as a Licensed Professional Counselor specializing in individual, marital and sexual issues. She is also a Certified Sex Therapist. She was on staff at Gateway Church for over five years, serving in the Marriage and Family department and Intimate Life. She loves to help people grow into their full potential, empowering them to be truly alive. Nancy teaches on topics ranging from relational health to sexual and spiritual growth and development.

Prof. Scott Livingston


Scott has a Doctorate in Organizational Leadership from Indiana Wesleyan University and an MBA from the University of Illinois at Springfield. His undergraduate degree is in Pharmacy from Drake University. He has been working in the leadership development and executive coaching field for over twenty years. Scott is passionate about developing leaders and publishes a weekly blog giving insights on current research in the field. Scott holds a PCC certification from the International Coach Federation and also is a Master Certifier for the Bar-On Emotional Intelligence Assessment published by Multi-Health Systems. In addition Scott is adjunct faculty in the doctor of organizational leadership program at Indiana Wesleyan teaching both Critical Inquiry and Organizational Learning.

Degrees Earned

  • EdD, Organizational Leadership, Indiana Wesleyan University
  • MBA, University of Illinois Springfield
  • Pharmacy, Drake University

Lowman, Melanie


Melanie Lowman, MA, LMHC completed both her Bachelor of Science in Youth Ministry (2000) and her Master’s of Arts in Counseling at Huntington University (2012). After the completion of her Master’s in Counseling she served as a therapist in both community mental health and private practice. Her area of specialty includes working with trauma, PTSD, physical and sexual abuse, anxiety and depression. In addition, she has group, child, adolescent, couples, premarital and geriatric clinical experience. She also provides mental health services for military veterans, active duty men and women and their families. She is a member of the Star Behavioral Health Providers registry that assists military veterans, active duty men and women and their families in seeking mental health treatment. In addition, to her clinical work she conducts locally workshop on such topics as relationships and trauma.

Degrees Earned

  • M.A. Counseling, Huntington University
  • B.S. Youth Ministry, Huntington College


Ben received his Masters in Counseling at Huntington University. He has worked with kids and teens for the last seven years in a variety of roles and has a passion for youth development. Ben has worked at Compass Rose Academy for the last 4 years as Philosophy of Care Coordinator. Here, Ben helps bring the therapeutic model to the residential setting by bridging the gap between therapy and everyday living. Ben is an avid soccer fan.

Makin, Gregg


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


Joel is a licensed mental health counselor and holds a Masters degree in mental health counseling from Huntington University. He has completed a post-masters degree in addiction counseling from Indiana Wesleyan University. In addition, Joel is a certified Gestalt therapist and currently enrolled as a member of the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis and is training to become a certified hypnotherapist. His clinical experience includes lead therapist with youth in a residential care program; behavioral technician at a facility for sexually maladaptive youth; and as a private practice clinician. Currently he is an addictions counselor at a community mental health agency, in Marion, Indiana where he is leads group psychotherapy using Supportive-Expressive Psychodynamic Therapy and 12-Step Facilitation Therapy group modalities to help facilitate long-term dynamic/characterological change. He has been a featured workshop speaker both locally and nationally on topics ranging from addiction treatment to experiential-focused psychodynamic psychotherapy. Joel is on the NFL list of approved therapists.

Prof. Leah Nelson


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

Paessler-Chesterton, Heather


Like most counselors and those in the business of people helping, Dr. Heather Paessler-Chesterton (“Dr. C”) has a heart for the hurting. A Regent University graduate, Dr. C earned a PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision and has spent the past decade as a counselor educator and faculty member at Walden University. Her background is also rich in clinical work, specializing in the treatment of children and adolescents, with an emphasis on trauma and attachment. Dr. Chesterton’s work has spanned the country as a consultant, researcher, mentor, and supervisor. She speaks at local and national levels on working in diverse settings and meeting the needs of challenging youth. Dr. C is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, a National Certified Counselor, and she also holds certifications in school counseling. Dr. Chesterton is also a Disaster Mental Health Volunteer for the American Red Cross.

While Dr. C has been blessed to have experienced a wide range of professional opportunities, she feels particularly called to the role of “people helper,” as well as being of service to other people helpers. She and her husband have been active in urban youth ministry and reside in Western New York with their three young children. As faculty and Director of the Masters in Counseling Program, she is dedicated to partnering with both students and faculty in order to empower them toward remarkable goals and to help prepare them as their own professional calling unfolds.

Degrees Earned

  • Ph.D., Counselor Education and Supervision, Regent University
  • M.A., Community and School Counseling, Regent University
  • B.A., Sociology, University of Wisconsin—Eau Claire


Randall Rheinheimer graduated from Grace College with a BA in psychology and Bible Studies. He received his MA in Marriage and Family Therapy from Biola University and his PhD in clinical psychology from California Graduate Institute.

Dr. Rheinheimer has been in private practice since 1987, providing individual, family and group therapy. He has offices in Santa Ana and Encinitas. He is currently a group facilitator for the 'Ultimate Leadership' seminars conducted by GrowthSkills in Costa Mesa, CA. He also serves on the board of directors of GrowthSkills. He has also worked with Drs. John Townsend and Henry Cloud providing individual, family and group therapy in an in-patient hospital program.

Dr. Rheinheimer has taught as an Adjunct Professor at Trinity College of Graduate Studies in Anaheim, CA., classes included; Psychodynamic Therapy, Treatment Skills and Dream Interpretation. He is currently teaching at the Townsend Institute at Concordia University, classes include; Beginning and Advanced Treatment Skills, Group Therapy, Psychopathology, and Practicum Supervision.

Dr. Rheinheimer has worked with several churches. He was a presenter for ‘Wednesday Night Applications’ at Mariners Church in Newport Beach, CA. He developed a program similar to the Wednesday Night Applications for Richmond Community Church in Yorba Linda, CA. He has conducted seminars in numerous churches on various topics including; forgiveness, anxiety, depression, confrontation, as well as presenting various books by Drs. Townsend and Cloud. He currently is involved leading growth groups at his home church, North Coast Church, in Vista, CA.

On a personal note, he and his wife enjoy living near the beach, cycling, backpacking and finding adventure whenever-wherever-however they can.

Degrees Earned

  • Ph.D. Clinical Psychology, California Graduate Institute
  • M.A. Marriage and Family Therapy, Biola University
  • B.A. Psychology and Bible Studies, Grace College

Scott, Jeff


Jeff Scott is a business owner and Lay Pastor. He is an entrepreneurial leader in both the business world and the church. He has 45 years of management and leadership experience. He has been responsible for starting new divisions for companies he worked for. Mr. Scott also was a Business Manager responsible for a $100 million dollar profit center for a Fortune 500 company.

In the church Mr. Scott has been responsible for starting The Discipleship Walk which is a 3 day discipleship retreat leading people into a deeper relationship with Christ. Over 10,000 people throughout the US have been involved with this movement since its inception in 1989. Mr. Scott was also responsible for starting and developing the Alpha Course at his church into one of the largest courses in the US. He has served on the National Board of Advisors for Alpha USA. In addition to his involvement with Alpha in the US he has also trained over 500 churches in Nicaragua and India on how to develop and run their own Alpha Courses. He has taught the spiritual gifts class at his church for the past 15 years where over 1500 people have learned about the Holy Spirit and how the Holy Spirit has gifted each of them personally.

Mr. Scott’s teaching experience includes 45 years teaching the roofing industry as well as in the church environments. He loves teaching and helping his students understand how biblical principles work in both the church and business worlds.

Sinardi, Catherine Collins


Dr. Sinardi holds a Bachelor's degree in Psychology from St. Cloud State University and a Master's degree in Counseling from California State University, Long Beach. She became a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in 2006. In 2011, Dr. Sinardi completed her Doctor of Education degree in Organizational Leadership at the University of La Verne.

Professional Experience

Dr. Catherine Sinardi is Director of Healthcare Management, overseeing the following degree programs: Bachelor of Arts in Healthcare Management (traditional and online) and Master of Healthcare Administration. She teaches a variety of courses in aforementioned programs, and is an instructor in the Townsend Institute’s Master of Arts in Counseling curriculum. Previously, she was Regional Director of Clinical Services at Children’s Institute and Director of Quality Assurance and Program Evaluation at Counseling4Kids, both in the greater Los Angeles area. She also worked in private practice as a licensed counselor and held various administrative positions at ChildNet Youth and Family Services in Long Beach.

Spring, Madelinei


Madeline received her Masters degree in Mental Health Counseling from Huntington University. Madeline has several years of experience working with teenage girls and their families in a residential treatment facility that is built upon the Townsend’s model. Madeline also provides therapy for individuals, children and couples using the affect-focused, Competence and Character Model in her work at Wabash Friends Counseling Center. She’s passionate about psychodynamic group therapy and leads support/process groups for grandparents who are raising their grandchildren, as well as a Leadership Development Program for leaders in the Friends’ church which includes both didactic teaching and psychodynamic group work.

Degrees Earned

  • M.A. Mental Health Counseling, Huntington University
  • B.A. Psychology, Malone University

Tackett, Ginny


Ginny is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Consultant, Speaker, Executive Coach, Adjunct Professor and Townsend Leadership Director who brings 23 years of experience to her industry. She received a Master of Science in Counseling from Indiana University Southeast, a Bachelor of Science in Education from Indiana University Bloomington and her Marriage and Family Certification at Indiana Wesleyan University in Indianapolis, IN. Additionally, Ginny leads two Townsend Leadership groups, working with multi-level leadership from various industries nationwide. With 15 years in the field of education, Ms. Tackett is passionate about helping leaders overcome and eliminate the obstacles that may be preventing them from reaching their full potential. She challenges leaders to access deeper emotional and relational connections, which will profoundly affect their personal and professional lives. A dynamic and inspiring speaker, Ginny has lectured on workplace relationships, leadership, culture and organizations.

Degrees Earned

  • M.S. Counseling, Indiana University Southeast
  • B.S. Education, Indiana University Bloomington

Thacker, Karen


Karen was first introduced to Dr. Townsend in 2008 when she attended the Ultimate Leadership Intensive. She attended the inaugural One Week Intensive for Counselors in 2010 and the year long Counselor Training Program with Dr. Townsend and Scott Makin in 2012-2013. Karen has a BA in Psychology and an MS in Counseling. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor in Colorado where she has been in private practice since 2007. Her primary focus with clients is guiding them toward understanding the roots of their issues, compassionately accepting them where they are, and encouraging them as they move through the growth process. She uses Emotionally Focused Therapy and EMDR in addition to the Townsend Character Structure model. Karen is a Marriage Coach with the Smalley Institute through which she conducts one to three day marriage intensives for couples in crisis. She has served as a volunteer counselor with Azmera, an organization dedicated to restoring and refreshing Kingdom-minded women who serve overseas. Karen is a blogger and author of Surviving the Scarlet Letter: Freedom from Shame and Journey Forward Workbook: Daily Steps to Achieve Emotional Balance & Healthier Relationships.

Degrees Earned

  • M.S. Counseling, University of Phoenix
  • B.A. Psychology, Bucknell University

Weaver, Marianne


Dr. Marianne Weaver lives in La Grande, Oregon with her two kids, Bethani and Aaron. Dr. Weaver is a licensed psychologist in Oregon, and was licensed as a Marriage and Family Therapist when she lived in California. While in California, she had a private practice for several years where she had the fortunate opportunity of working with many families, kids (doing play therapy), couples , as well as individuals. She enjoys working with those who have experienced trauma (she is a a Level 2 EMDR provider), and those who are struggling with various addictions, eating disorders, depression, anxiety, and relationship problems.

She is currently the director of, and a practicing psychologist, in the Counseling Center at Eastern Oregon University (EOU) and really loves working with the college student population. Along with doing tons of fun therapy with students, she also teaches a 400 level Family Systems Theory and Therapy class in the Psychology Department, and a Clinical Interventions in the Classroom course in the Master of Arts in Teaching program. Living in a more geographically isolated area has enabled Dr. Weaver to practice rural psychology. She can rarely go to the store, or even for a walk, without seeing either a current or past client. This has challenged her to become very authentic and integrated in her everyday life. Dr. Weaver also maintains a small private clinical and coaching practice with a home office in La Grande, and shares that one of her favorite memories is when a client drove to his appointment in his tractor.

Dr. Weaver has been teaching counseling classes in the Townsend Institute since Spring, 2017. Her greatest passion is helping students heal and grow in their relationship with self, God, and others; equipping them to become a phenomenal therapist and/or coach. She marvels at how God has brought her back to her alma mater, allowing her to participate in the Great Commission by developing healers within the body of Christ.

Degrees Earned

  • Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology (emphasis in Family Psychology) from Azusa Pacific University (2002)
  • M.A. in Marriage and Family Therapy from Azusa Pacific University (1993)
  • B.A. in Behavioral Science (minors in Psych and Soc) from Concordia University Irvine (1991)

Wilhelm, Juliana


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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