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Dr. MaryJo Burchard

Subject Expertise: Leadership Development, Self-compassion/Self-care, Change Readiness and Change Leadership, Effective Teamwork, Building Trust,  Organizational Communication, Conflict Resolution
Education: PhD in Organizational Leadership from Regent University; MA in Leadership and Organizational Studies, Peacemaking and Conflict Studies, BA in Management and Organizational Leadership from Fresno Pacific University
Hometown: Hanford, CA, but lives in Virginia Beach, VA today
Home Church: Saint John the Apostle Church in Virginia Beach, VA

I have taught for over 25 years in many settings, including kindergarten and business college in Japan, third and fourth grade and K-8 performing arts in a private Christian school, children's ministry in numerous churches, and leadership coursework on the undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral levels. I still teach part-time in higher ed, but my primary focus now is helping organizations, teams, educators, and other leaders create humane environments amidst major disruption and recover from workplace trauma and disorienting change. I believe self-compassion, a sense of belonging, trust, and curiosity are human essentials for everyone – including those teaching and leading others.

Professional Experience: Two years teaching English/intergenerational missionary work in Japan; 1 year Christian radio; 1 year elementary education (private school); 5 years full-time children's ministry (20+ years total), 2 years of youth leadership development for community nonprofits; 15+ years in higher ed (11 years full-time); 4 years internal corporate training/ coaching/ consulting for municipal government; 2+ years full-time leadership and organizational training, coaching, consulting for government, corporate, educational, healthcare, and nonprofit settings; developed and delivered training for educators in a specialized trauma-informed urban school;  developed and delivered trauma-informed leadership and trauma-informed teams training for long-term organizational recovery following workplace mass-violence; currently conduct executive coaching for leaders navigating radical disruption in global corporations. 

Personal Experience: I have been shaped by perspectives from all over the world. Spending several years as a child on an international college campus shaped my understanding of God's love for and dynamic engagement with the world. I've led camps and outreaches for children, youth, and families in Japan, Taiwan, the Marshall Islands, Mexico, England, and the United States. I met and married my husband in Japan, and we adopted our son in Ukraine. Over the course of his childhood, our son faced nearly 20 reconstructive surgeries, speech therapy, and interventions to navigate learning with dysgraphia. Our family's journey to help our son heal, grow, and discover who he's meant to be has deepened my hunger to creatively explore how to connect with, encourage, and strengthen every member of the learning journey, including students, their families, and the leaders who teach and facilitate the growth of others. My work with trauma-impacted children and teachers in schools parallels and informs my work with trauma-impacted employees in the workplace. It has all shaped my appreciation for compassion as a standard need in every human (ad)venture and a key to resilience and empowerment in every context.

Scholarly Interests: Change readiness, leader compassion (for self and others), (re)building and measuring trust for leaders and teams, belonging in the workplace and the classroom, trust in healthcare, trauma-informed leadership, team-building, and education, the role of biblical understanding of calling and mission on leadership, the role of play in workplace resilience

Honors and Awards: Keynote speaker on Change Readiness - Citibank N. America Town Hall Meeting (2020); Keynote speaker on Belonging - Hampton Roads Diversity and Inclusion Consortium (2019)’ President's Award, Fresno Pacific University (2013); Presented my research on the impact of ethical fit on performance at the International Study of Leadership Conference in Bristol, UK (2012) Facilitated workshops on trust and change readiness for the International Leadership Association global conference (numerous years); Presented my research on the role of self-talk on self-efficacy at the Autonomous Learning World Caucus in Oxford, UK (2011)

Publications: Contributed articles and chapters for numerous peer-reviewed journals including Journal of Biblical Perspectives on Leadership, Emerging Leader Journeys, Palgrave Handbook on Organizational Spirituality, and MedEd Journal; content editor for Theology of Leadership Journal. I Can Be an Instrument of Peace (a picture book based on the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi) published 2021.

Recommended Reading: Leadership on the Line (R. Heifetz & M. Linsky); The Mindful Self-Compassion Workbook (K. Neff & C. Germer); The Humanitarian Leader in All of Us (F. LaFasto & C. Larson); Dare to Lead (B.Brown); Virtuous Leadership (A. Havard); The Body Keeps the Score (B. van der Kolk); Confessions (St. Augustine); History of the Church (Eusebius); Letters to a Young Catholic (G. Weigel).

Favorite Bible Verse: Isaiah 57:15 ~ "For thus says the high and lofty One, the One who dwells forever, whose name is holy: I dwell in a high and holy place, but also with the contrite and lowly of spirit, To revive the spirit of the lowly, to revive the heart of the crushed" (NAB).

Favorite Music: Billy Crocket, Libera, Vince Guaraldi Trio, OK GO, Elbow, Pentatonix, Indigo Girls, Paul Simon, Sting, Matt Redman, U2, Michael Bublé, Harry Connick, Jr.,  Earth, Wind, & Fire, Norah Jones, Jack Johnson, Walk Off the Earth, Ben Rector, Conner Youngblood, Handel (Messiah), John Michael Talbot, Gregorian chant. 

Favorite Activities: Hiking, singing/participating in live music performances, writing children's books, exploring and travel, visiting cathedrals, nights of praise and worship, storytelling, beach walks, baking, community service, painting, reading and discussing works from the Inklings. 

Family Info: Married since 1992; one grown son, Victor; a chihuahua-pug named Stanley.

What Matters: Embodying God's heart by making the world kinder, more beautiful, and more humane than we find it.

Pet Peeves: Pat answers, lack of curiosity, unwillingness to incorporate humor and wonder into life

What I Like About FPU: I love FPU's desire to restore what's broken in every area of society, from peacemaking to redemptive teaching, to building a community where isolation prevailed. They embody a whole-person approach to development, which looks a lot like the heart of Christ to me.