Servant leadership & strategic decisions boost enrollment to largest in the school’s history

As businesses, organizations and churches expand further into the fast-moving, global marketplace, so too has the need for leaders who cultivate significant, far-reaching impact — and who do so ethically and morally.

It’s a responsibility esteemed by Dr. Doris Gomez, a 2006 graduate of Regent University’s School of Business & Leadership (SBL). Just months into her new role as SBL dean, Gomez and her team welcomed a record 722 students for Spring Semester 2015. While extremely pleased with these record-setting numbers, Gomez is intent on reaching further as she lives out the very leadership skills and character qualities she honed both as a student and a Regent faculty member for nearly 10 years.

“There’s not a single organization anywhere in the world, including the church, that doesn’t need people who have leadership skills, competencies and positive character traits,” she says.

For Gomez, this translates into training students to lead confidently, emboldened by a servant’s heart while prepared to make the hard business decisions. It’s also about guiding and instilling “above-and-beyond” Christian principles that apply to business and leadership. “You read reports of organizations filled with employees who only give 40 percent. They just wait around until they can leave the office at five o’clock,” says Gomez. “These are not the people who we hope to graduate; we want our students to take ownership.”

After serving as SBL’s interim dean in 2014 — and living by her conviction to own her work — by year’s end, Gomez was unanimously voted in by Regent’s board of trustees as the school’s dean.

In her new role, Gomez hopes to help students harness both their creativity and their character. She understands full well that a good idea, corporation, product or service can be destroyed by something as simple as bad leadership.

Teaching good leadership skills and nurturing others is part of Gomez’s calling — a drive and a mandate that practically runs in her blood.

Having grown up in the heart of Austria, her rich accent is a memento of a childhood spent in Bruck an der Mur. She also carries with her a wealth of experience, after working alongside her mother in the family business — in interior and exterior home lighting manufacturing. For years, Gomez would sit in on meetings and travel around the world for business.

“My parents worked very well together, but it was my mother’s business mind and leadership that was an incredible, positive force,” says Gomez. “From her I saw unbelievable opportunities.”

Gomez says her mother’s compassion and fun-loving attitude, joined with her ability to make “hard business decisions,” significantly shaped Gomez.

Eventually, her work selling chandeliers with the Austrian Trade Commission led Gomez to New York, where she began her Ph.D. studies online at Regent. She relocated to Virginia Beach, Virginia, in 2003 to be closer to the scholarly community.

Through her new proximity to Regent campus, Gomez landed her first job at the university in 2004 as a special projects manager in what was formerly Regent’s School of Leadership Studies. When she completed her Ph.D. program in 2005, she began teaching adjunct in tandem with directing the school’s M.A. in Organizational Leadership program.

Today, Gomez continues to hone her Christian perspective on leadership, strengthening both the quality of the school’s programming and its enrollment numbers. The MBA program has seen the greatest student growth, with a 50 percent enrollment increase since Spring 2014. The M.A. in Organizational Leadership program has seen a 30 percent increase.

For 2015, U.S. News & World Report ranked Regent’s online MBA program in the top 100 of the “Best” in the nation.

The school’s leadership program ranked in the top 50. Further, several new concentrations are in development for the school’s MBA and M.A. in Organizational Leadership rosters, including Not-for-Profit Management, Innovation Managment, and Healthcare Management, and additional concentrations are under consideration. The school’s online doctoral and traditional on-campus programming is thriving as well.

“While I’m pleased and humbled by the numbers, this isn’t just a job for me — this is a ministry, and the numbers represent people and kingdom influence,” says Gomez. “Whatever I’ve done at Regent, I’ve always had the sense that this is what God has called me to do.”

Gomez hopes the same for her students: to always embrace Christ’s Great Commission and Commandment in their lives and work.

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