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Center for Leadership and Organization

Dr. Jenny Broaddus: Leading the Leader

Dr. Jenny Broaddus has spent more than two decades in professional counseling. Her passion is helping leaders be at their best professionally and in other ways. She feels a sense of accomplishment helping executives gain self-awareness, empathy skills, communication skills and many other ways they can be more effective leaders. After several years out of the classroom, Dr. Broaddus found a welcoming, affirming community at the Anderson University Center for Leadership and Organizations.  

Tell us about yourself. 

I am a native Texan. I lived there all of my life. My husband and I met in high school, so we are Texas born and raised. We moved to Williamsport, Pennsylvania, four years ago. We’re in a new location enjoying the seasons. We were kind of looking for a slower pace of life and we certainly achieved that coming to the northeast and living in a small town. It’s home of the Little League World Series, so it’s our biggest claim to fame. We enjoy going to that in August. We usually support the local Texas team—usually a Texas team makes it.  

We moved here for my husband’s job. He found a really great job with a slower pace of life. We get to see him a ton more than we did when we lived in Texas. I’m a mom to six. We have three daughters. My oldest goes to Carnegie-Mellon in Pittsburgh and then I have in high school a daughter and then a seventh—soon to be eighth-grade daughter. And then we had complete surprise blessings. I guess my biggest claim to fame is our surprise triplet boys. They are 11 and they'll be going to sixth grade.  

When I am not doing my job and all of my career endeavors, I am neck deep in kids, which I wouldn't have any other way. They bring me to the brink of chaos and the brink of joy on a daily basis. 

How did you learn about Anderson University? 

I’ve been a licensed professional counselor for over 22 years. I always had a goal to get a Ph.D. in counselor education and supervision. That is a very selective program and it’s only in a few states. I’ve been admitted to two different schools at different times of my life. One was right after I got my master’s degree and ended up getting married. That just didn’t work out because my husband went to med school and there was not a place where I could do that. We moved and I couldn’t attend a program, and then I was accepted into another counselor education and supervision program two weeks prior to finding out about the triplets, and so that just seemed to be the wrong timing.  

We moved from Texas to Pennsylvania during COVID—that wasn't planned, of course. I was between getting my Pennsylvania license, waiting on the state to issue that. It was just a slow process during that time. I was in the house doing hybrid school with my kids. They were home half of the time, went to school half of the time, and so I thought ‘hey this is a great time for me to look into this. At that point really seeing myself staying in Williamsport quite some time and there’s not really a place for me to use those skills in counselor education, supervision—that pretty much is isolating to being a professor and I’m not certain that is the direction of my life. So I started looking at programs that seem to match with people already in leadership or supervisory roles.  

I was in several thriving counseling practices looking for another route for Ph.D. and this particular program at Anderson—Leadership and Organizations—seemed quite intriguing. I caught it at its infancy as well, so it also seemed like a good fit. It was a little daunting. I was nervous that it would be a large learning curve for me as I’m coming from a social/humanities field. I do not come from a business background or anything like that, so I thought there would be a large learning curve. I was pleasantly surprised that my skills were something that was honored, supported and needed in the field of leadership and I thought it was cool that I had something to offer. I wasn’t as far behind as I thought I would be in that program. 

What did you enjoy about your program? 

I enjoyed many of my professors. I very much liked the layout of the program, but I think just the number of different types of people I think are in that program was probably the most relieving. It’s cool to be in any single class where you have people who worked in churches. You have people who are already in higher education. You have people who worked in businesses, people who were teachers and people like myself who are in the counseling field. I was even in class with someone who ran a dance company. I think that was probably the most calming part, just seeing we were from all of these different fields and walks of life but learning about leadership and how that might be applied to our different areas.  

How did you become interested in becoming a counselor? 

It was something that was instrumental for me, growing up as a teenager that my parents allowed me to experience and I found it to be helpful in my growth and self-awareness, just my growth from a teen to an adult.  

I’ve seen it work in my own life. I’ve seen it work in the lives of others, so when I was processing careers in high school, it seemed to be a natural fit. 

I think there’s a misconception that people think if you give good advice you need to be a therapist—I think that’s probably not wise. A person who gives advice is not necessarily someone who should go into counseling, because counseling really is a safe space to focus on someone else in allowing them to come to conclusions. 

It seemed like a natural fit for me, and I never looked back. I went to undergrad at Mary Hardin Baylor, a Christian school in Texas, with the intention of getting a master’s degree to pursue licensure for a licensed professional counselor. 

Tell us about what you’re doing professionally. 

I have been a professional counselor for over 22 years, mostly in private practices, and built successful practices. I built one in particular prior to moving to Pennsylvania. We had a large training institution that was within a church that acknowledged that people within the church struggle with the same issues as people outside of the church. We just need a space to process that, and so while I’m a Christian and there were therapists who worked there who were Christians, we took an approach of professional counseling in a Christian setting. We wouldn’t necessarily call ourselves Christian counselors, because we meet the client where they are. We saw some beautiful things come from that. People who would never come to church came to get a professional counseling experience and start to think about religion and faith.  

When I moved to Pennsylvania, I had to go to tele counseling; we all did as therapists during that time. I started seeing clients on a part-time basis in Texas and Pennsylvania once I got my license. In the past year I’ve specialized my practice to working with executives, and so now I work with leaders in different organizations. It’s still the same professional counseling product, it’s just working with leaders to gain self-awareness, empathy skills, communication skills and it’s been rewarding work. I am completely booked at the moment where I can still maintain my house and my kids, so really not accepting any new clients. I’d love to see that grow in the future.  

I do some editing on the side with different organizations on proposals and things like that. Recently I worked at Bucknell University, about 30 minutes from my house. I did some contract work with them this past fall and spring seeing students as a therapist there. I did that on a part-time basis. 

What was your dissertation research? 

It was a natural fit to explore counseling as it relates to leadership. We started very transitionally thinking about leadership from different theories, and it seems like a lot of the theories, and most of the newest theories like servant leadership, transformational leadership, authentic leadership—all of those kind of espouse that we need leaders who have emotional intelligence, who are self-aware, who are empathic—we want them to have all of these skills. We want them to be balance processors and be relationally transparent. We want all of these skills, but truthfully there is limited research on acquiring these authentic leadership skills or on the targeted behaviors that could develop and hone emotional intelligence. 

We know we want our leaders to have these soft skills, but there’s not a lot of research that talks about how we can acquire them or target behaviors, so it made sense for me as a therapist. I said, “wait, there’s not a whole lot of research in leadership, but I actually know a field that’s well-researched that says people can gain those skills just by experiencing professional counseling or psychotherapy.” My research explored how leaders who have experienced professional counseling describe changes in how they embody emotional intelligence and authentic leadership in their personal and professional lives.  

Would you recommend the Ph.D. program to others? Why Anderson? 

To back up a little bit, I would say “why leadership in organizations or why a Ph.D. in leadership?” It’s just a natural fit for anyone who is in a leadership position or is wanting to pursue a leadership position. I see myself in the future working in higher education and being in a leadership role in that way of being very confident in my skills to be empathic, authentic and transparent.  

For me it’s certainly a stepping stone. It’s good for anybody who might want to pursue it to just help their current skills in their leadership role, who might want to emerge into another arena of leadership. It makes you a better candidate for those leadership positions. 

Specifically for Anderson, for me I found (the Ph.D. program) to be very intuitive, meaning that it’s set up in a very chronological way. It’s set up in an easy way to participate and complete even while having a full-time/part-time job or family, so the fact that you are encouraged to tune in on the days you have classes, but you can also watch videos if you have something on that day. It was easy for me to go to an orchestra concert that my kids are participating in even on a day that I might have class, and that was helpful. Even though I tried to attend as many classes as I could, the ability and the flexibility of that was something I don’t think other universities can offer—especially if you’re in person.  

Even a lot of the online programs require quite a bit more synchronous learning so you have to be there. For me that was very important.  

The other part—I’ve never been in a class where there have been so many different types of people. I really appreciated the diversity in culture. I appreciated the diversity in careers and the diversity in thinking—that was really special to me. 

Another great thing about Anderson. Being away from the classroom for so long… that was a large span of non-traditional education for me. I have some technology skills, but I as daunted by doing something solely on the computer. I think Anderson has made it quite intutitive. Within a couple of weeks, I felt confident in the way it was set up, the Canvas program they use and how the professors uploaded and so... it wasn’t that hard. 

Jenny Broaddus
Jenny Broaddus, Ph.D.
Graduated from Anderson University: 2024
Degree: Ph.D. in Leadership
Title: Psychotherapist offering professional counseling for leaders