Eastern Mennonite University’s new director of the leadership and organizational management program brings an expansive and global perspective to her role. Christine Sharp, who holds a doctorate in strategic leadership from Regent University, has spent most of her professional career working to empower people from “all walks and stages of life” as leaders who can transform their organizations and the lives of others.
The program offers a bachelor’s degree in leadership and organizational management (LOM). Students can add concentrations in aviation, health care and restorative justice for more specific professional training and career options. Cohorts are enrolled at both the Harrisonburg, Virginia, main campus and the site in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
Graduates of the LOM program, which started in Harrisonburg in 1993 and in Lancaster in 1997, number more than nearly 1,100.
Sharp also directs three more programs: the online associate’s degree in interdisciplinary studies, general education and early enrollment for high school students. In her role, she will also collaborate with community business, schools, and non-profits to assess needs and develop programs that provide new access to educational opportunities.
“We’re delighted to welcome Chris to our leadership team at EMU. She has been a very engaged adjunct faculty member since 2018 who has demonstrated outstanding teaching ability as well as commitment to student success and the EMU mission and vision,” said Mary Jensen, associate provost of EMU at Lancaster. “Our faculty and students will benefit from her deep experience in global leadership development, pastoral and church administration and professional coaching.”
Sharp says the unique learning model and objectives of these programs fit her passion for empowering others, from high school students to adults returning to complete their degrees, to those who have not had opportunity for further education. “My life passion is to see others discover leadership gifting they did not realize they had. As one discovers these strengths, the impact is multifaceted in personal and professional life. I thrive when students embrace leadership concepts and apply these discoveries in their real life experiences.”
The LOM cohort model, which values discussions around and application to real-life experience, builds trust among students and enhances learning, Sharp says. “The ‘case studies’ used in class come from our learners who have jobs and families and who face victories and challenges every day. Before long, each student realizes they have something to offer, and leadership application begins to happen organically.”
Developing leaders who seek to provide transformative workplaces and organizations has been part of Sharp’s career path for many years. She served in ministry at Global Disciples as an associate director/leadership development specialist, focusing on training, development, and coaching of indigenous church leaders and pastors across five continents. Prior to this assignment, she was the executive director of Brethren In Christ World Missions, giving oversight to vision casting, human resources, finance, missionary training, deployment and pastoral care, as well as internationally partnering in strategic planning, church development, and conflict resolution with Brethren In Christ churches globally.
“In working with people across the globe, I found a hunger from all walks of life in wanting to learn how to empower their employees, how to build effective teams, how to develop strategic plans, and how to create thriving organizations,” she said. “It’s exciting to be a part of EMU’s mission, which seeks to provide an educational path for leaders who share the same vision.”
Sharp holds a doctorate in strategic leadership from Regent University, an MS in organizational leadership from Regent, and a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Messiah College. She is also an ordained pastor in the Brethren in Christ Church and holds a professional coaching certification from the International Coaching Federation.