Sierra Vista alum among first doctoral WBU grads
Confidence can be a powerful thing. Just ask Angelica Landry…. Make that Dr. Angelica Landry.
A native of Iowa but a longtime resident of Sierra Vista, Ariz., Angelica was part of the first cohort of Doctor of Management degree program, earning the advanced degree in December 2018. And that’s quite an accomplishment for someone whose early years in higher education were not as smooth as she hoped.
“After high school, I wanted to go to the university but things just didn’t work out,” she recalls. “I went to a community college but didn’t stay long.”
As the years passed, she moved to Arizona and life moved ahead. Her husband Keith, an Army veteran and a contractor, began attending Wayland and started encouraging Angelica to do the same. With two children to care for – now 16 and 11 – she doubted the ability to juggle school and work and motherhood. One day while helping Keith review for an exam, she realized she could do it and wanted to give it a try.
The journey begins
Angelica enrolled at the Sierra Vista campus of Wayland in 2012, taking both face-to-face and online courses from the start.
“I found that I really could do it with a few little changes,” she said. “I was working at a medical office and the main doctor was retiring, so after a while my husband encouraged me to just focus on my studies and not work.”
She soon finished the bachelor’s degree and was asking that “what’s next” question common to graduates. In class one evening she got the answer.
“In one of my last classes, my instructor shared his story and something clicked inside me and I wanted to keep going,” she recalls. “I talked to the advisor about a master’s degree and got some good information.”
With Keith’s blessing and encouragement, she enrolled in Fall 2014 for the MBA degree, carrying a full load so she could finish quickly. About halfway through that degree, she began seeing posters on campus about Wayland’s new doctoral program in business that was soon to begin.
“I never dared to dream that I would do a doctorate,” she laughs, “but I kept seeing it and kept thinking about it. I talked to a professor who encouraged me and then talked to my husband about it.”
Dancing toward doctor
Angelica enrolled in the inaugural DM cohort and started classes in the summer of 2016. A trip to the Plainview campus shortly thereafter introduced Angelica to the people who were leading the degree program. And it spurred her Pioneer pride.
At the same time, the Sierra Vista campus had an opening for an advisor, and Angelica easily slid into that role, being able to focus on her advanced degree and help other students work toward their own.
“I loved the instructors and the staff there so I thought it would be great. It was great to see the other side of the desk,” she said. “It gave me a much greater appreciation for how the processes work. Everybody knew what I was doing and were supportive of me as well.”
Being part of the first cohort for the degree meant Angelica and her classmates were part of WBU history. It also meant they were “guinea pigs” of sorts and were helpful in shaping the doctoral program for students after them. The camaraderie was invaluable.
“It was a great to have the same group through the whole program, and we were able to encourage each other and motivate each other,” she said. “We knew it would be worth it to help folks coming after us to have an even better experience. For me to be able to pass on great advice gave me more motivation and sense of purpose as well.”
From that first bachelor’s course to her applied doctoral project at the end, Angelica said she loved the Wayland experience and gained so much knowledge. But the confidence she gained has been priceless. It’s set her up for the next chapter of life and given her powerful tools to succeed.
The next chapter begins
That next step will probably be inside the classroom as well. Armed with a love for education that started in childhood and was spurred on by her Wayland time, she feels most suited to teaching from this point forward. She’s already teaching adjunctly for WBU and waiting to see where other openings may arise in higher education.
Amid all this, life will surely continue to include lots of community service. Angelica and her family have been actively involved in service, and she was nominated at Sierra Vista’s Citizen of the Year this summer.
She serves on the Salvation Army advisory board and says she is passionate about people having access to food they need to survive. She has served and prepared food, distributed in different citywide efforts and helped at a homeless shelter with her family. She also likes to volunteer at a local vineyard that uses sustainable practices, and the family often helps with local Relay for Life and symphony projects alongside friends and coworkers. The family is active in First Baptist Church in Sierra Vista as well.
“I love it here in Arizona, and we’re going to be staying here. For me, to be able to get out and do something for my community means a lot to me,” she says. “The experience (of being a nominee) was cool to see what all these other people are doing in the community too.”
Reish builds on challenges to become consultant
“Sometimes a lot of the things we see as stumbling blocks are actually stepping stones,” says Bob Reish, a 2007 graduate of the Wayland Baptist University campus in Phoenix. “Those challenges and opportunities were stepping stones to what I am doing now.”
Though the journey has been winding, Bob is currently a certified business coach, consulting with businesses of all sizes and industries. He also loves working with churches and helping them operate more efficiently. All of this comes from years of experience in sales, leadership and in church ministry. And from those “stumbling blocks” he mentioned.
Bob started his education with an associate’s degree in electronics, then moved to another Phoenix institution, aiming for a teaching degree. He didn’t complete that but took his love for teaching into youth ministry, later finding Wayland as a place to complete the degree, going full circle back to education.
Honing his skills
Being a business coach seemed a natural progression for Bob, who said his work experiences always put him working with people. He first ended up in the insurance industry, first as an agent. But after a year, he ended up back in the classroom, this time as a corporate trainer for new agents in Arizona and California. He spent 10 years in that field, unknowingly honing his coaching and training skills and systems.
“At the insurance company, I had a boss that didn’t like me but I got huge approval ratings from others. He would try to get me fired, but the Lord intervened and kept me there,” he recalls. “I wasn’t able to promote or move forward and I was frustrated, but I now realize I was honing my systems without anyone interfering. I finally decided I could do this on my own.”
“This is what I was born to do, and those years were preparation for what I am doing today,” he said. Along the way, he often served bi-vocationally in ministry and, for a time, served in full-time ministry. That experience gave him a great foundation for applying the Bible to practical work settings.
Hanging out a shingle
Bob launched his business in April 2015 and was full-time by September of that year. He built the business with a passion to help business owners and professionals who know they are productive become even more successful. His goal is to help those companies – regardless of size or mission – to be more productive in less time, increase profits with less cost and still maintain their quality of life. Bob said ministry can be similar; the “doing good” can be busy and take over the lives of those in ministry, zapping the quality.
“Whether I’m helping an entrepreneur, a million-dollar business or a ministry, it’s all about seeing where they are and where they want to be and closing that gap,” he says. “To me it’s all ministry, and all the principles come out of scripture, which has all the answers to tell us how to live.”
One of Bob’s favorite aspects of business coaching is helping his clients find the answers to the questions they have themselves. He likens it to the story of Jesus asking his disciples “who do you say that I am?” While he knew the answers, Jesus wanted them to work through the solution and gain the wisdom along the way. So it is with his work.
Making ministry effective
With a background in ministry service, Bob finds particular reward in consulting with churches and the unique issues they face while juggling a business model with a ministry mentality. Typically he works with pastors directly to find out their needs, commonly in communication or leadership. Knowing the Bible is just one aspect of their roles, and usually not the area of concern.
“They are expected to be the CEO of a business but they don’t know where to begin. When we can help them with the business side, they can improve their resources and also do better ministry,” says Bob. “The ministry side can’t thrive well without the business side thriving too. Pastors have to learn to balance both sides and their own family life so they enjoy their lives.”
Regardless of the size of client’s business or their experience, Bob said the concepts and needs are usually similar. Leaders need someone to listen, hold them accountable and have passion for what they do. The confidentiality Bob provides can be essential, especially for pastors who often do not have a true confidante. A key aspect of his consultation is changing the way people think.
“My whole business is based around the Proverb that how we think is what we believe and how we feel. A lot of times those are dependent on what we think, and our actions are just a byproduct of what we believe,” he said. “It’s not just changing our emotions. I know how to get people motivated and out of their seats, but that lasts about two weeks. It’s not about emotion but about having a true paradigm change that doesn’t change back.”
Army employee honored as distinguished alumnus
Jeff Ebbing was honored with the Distinguished Alumni Award for the Sierra Vista Campus of Wayland Baptist University during the commencement ceremony held Saturday, Sept. 7, of the Phoenix and Sierra Vista campuses.
A 2016 graduate of Wayland with a Master of Education, Ebbing is an instructional designer in the Learning Innovation Branch of the U.S. Army. In thatrole, he designs interactive multimedia instruction that is implemented Army-wide and courses that are within the purview of the Army Intelligence disciplines. He has also designed face-to-face courses for soldiers at all ranks across multiple occupations.
At the same time, Ebbing is an adjunct instructor for Wayland in English and in the new BASC classes – Best Achievement Strategies for College – that introduce new students to the college environment and help them succeed.
Ebbing is also pursuing a second master’s degree with WBU in the humanities. His undergraduate
degree is in international studies and Spanish from the University of Iowa.
When not working, Ebbing is active in the soccer community in Sierra Vista, coaching for Buena High School and serving on the Sierra Vista Soccer League Board. He also captains a team in the local league. He and wife Caitlin are also active members of Thunder Mountain Church and lead a small group together.
“Alumni like Jeff show that being a productive member of the community can happen both at work and in other organizations, and we are incredibly proud of the contribution that Jeff makes in his impressive work with the Army and in Sierra Vista,” says Teresa Young, director of alumni relations at Wayland. “These things make him a great choice for the Distinguished Alumni Award for the campus and our university.”
The Wayland Alumni Association recognizes an alumnus from each of its 13 campuses throughout the calendar year, culminating in the homecoming awards banquet and the presentation of the Alumnus of the Year chosen from the 13 honorees. By the end of 2019, a total of 18 individuals will be honored by the university for their accomplishments, representing a wide breadth of professions, locations and military backgrounds.
Phoenix honors education chief as distinguished
Wayland Baptist University honored one of its alumni at the April graduation ceremony in Phoenix. Amid a backdrop of degrees and commencement addresses, Elton Madden was named the Distinguished Alumni Award winner for the campus for 2019.
Madden serves as chief of the education, training and testing section at Luke Air Force Base, the original site of Wayland’s branch campus in Phoenix and still an active office. A native of Gadsden, Ala., Madden spent two and a half years in the U.S. Army Reserves and more than 24 years in the U.S. Air Force, serving as an education and training specialist. He retired in 2011.
Besides the bachelor’s degree he earned at Wayland in 2008, Madden also has a master’s degree in human resource management from Webster University and a professional manager’s certification from the Community College of the Air Force.
Outside of work, Madden is active in the Antioch Church of God in Christ in Peoria, where he is vice president of the usher’s ministry and is a zone leader, engaging and caring for members in his zone. He also volunteers with the church for a homeless feeding ministry and works with young basketball players to develop their skills.
Madden and wife Octavia have four sons: Donte, Diante, Philip and Dalvin. He enjoys spending time with family and church family.
“Wayland is so grateful for the many servicemen and women who join our family as alumni and go on to serve their community and country in ways outside of their military service. That’s what makes Elton Madden such a great choice for this award,” says Teresa Young, director of alumni relations. “After putting in his own service, he continues to assist current service members in their educational pursuits through the offerings at Luke. We are proud of his accomplishments.”