A Welcome from Dr. Sandra Reid
Dear Prospective or Accepted Student,
Welcome to the Dallas Baptist University family! One thing you’ll quickly come to realize about our community is that we are always thrilled to be joined by new students and we find it integral to our mission that we come to know you personally. With that intent, I’d like to tell you more about what you will find at DBU and some of my own journey to DBU. Perhaps in the threads of my story, you’ll find your own narrative interwoven. When you come to campus, I’d love to have the opportunity to hear of the experiences that have led you to our institution.
If you’ve already made your decision to attend DBU for your Graduate Business Education, you might be wondering what our community is like. Without exception, our students come with a definite sense of urgency for their purpose, their calling. The vast majority want to improve the standard of living for themselves, for their families, and for society overall. 25% come from countries outside the United States bringing with them, taking away with them, a deep understanding of cultures very different from their own. DBU is a place where all cultures come together to learn / expand intellectually and spiritually, a truly global place to learn and to develop into servant leaders. Many international students work as interns beginning in their second year of study in order to gain much needed hands-on experience for honing their skills prior to returning to their home countries. The remaining students in the DBU graduate business programs are working as professionals in industries such as health care, finance / banking, telecommunications, defense, oil and gas, education, logistics, theology, and manufacturing. Our graduate students are serving in various leadership capacities such as project managers, and senior officers leading vast numbers of people stretching over multiple continents to individual contributors with a much more local reach in early stages of their careers. Our alumni are accountants, marketers, financial advisors, educators, theological leaders, entrepreneurs, and logistics officers. Students and alumni alike all share one common passion and that is a calling to make a difference, to be a light for the rest of the world.
My Personal Story
My path, which appeared to me to be extremely indirect, has actually been much more direct than I ever could have mapped out without the Lord to guide my steps. A childhood with entrepreneurial parents from troubled backgrounds, my real strength came from my grandmother who lived in a very small town and who was a deeply religious woman, a pillar of the community and the local First Baptist Church. She taught me Christ’s model to serve others first, always. While it did not shield me from making many unfortunate decisions in my life, it helped me to seek the Lord’s wisdom in everything, to allow Him the opportunity to light my path no matter how dark the road may have seemed at the time that I would have chosen. I am driven, some say, and I am particularly driven to learn, quite passionate about continuous improvement. That drive helped me to complete a degree at night in accounting while working for a large hospital, working multiple jobs simultaneously, and supporting my little child and me. I know how hard it is to balance all of these things, and when I tell students I understand how difficult it is for them, I am speaking from the voice of experience, too. A degree in accounting and I thought I was all set! Oh no, the Lord was still directing me toward DBU unbeknownst to me! He had put wonderful people in my path, selfless givers who invested in me, saw promise in me, and who tirelessly were His voice and hands to push me on to do a graduate degree, so on I went!
Life at American Airlines
What I thought was just a great opportunity turned out to be a phenomenal life-changing educational, developmental, cultural, and hugely inspirational career of over 20 years spent with the American Airlines family! Before I finished my undergraduate degree, I left the hospital and joined a major paint manufacturer with a plant in the Fort Worth area, and I ultimately became an accounting office manager responsible for all back office operations. During that time, we had several state and local tax audits within the many states we did business giving me the opportunity to quickly develop expertise in these various areas. You see, God was using this experience to prepare me for the next steps along the journey for my life for that expertise was why I was hired to be a tax accountant when American was relocating headquarters to DFW.
My life was definitely on fast forward learning at that point! The country was in a deep, deep recession and there were absolutely no jobs to be found! I was always worried, unnecessarily but worried just the same, about being laid off and with no means of supporting my family that had now grown by one! I did not really like taxes, although I loved the people! I asked someone in the area of general accounting to trade jobs with me and I set out preparing the profit and loss statements! It really was as simple as asking someone to change areas with me, and influencing decision makers to go along with it. The experience which lasted for 3 years turned out to be the absolutely best decision “I ever could have made” because it gave me the opportunity to really get to know and understand how such a major airline operated in every little detail. Not only that, it gave me exposure to the most senior, key leaders, and their amazing teams, within the company. It wasn’t long before I had made lots of lifelong friends who would also be a network for me throughout my long career there. American Airlines is, most would say, a technology leader in many ways and before too long, I set out to pursue an MBA with a specialty in technology. Little did I know this would ultimately lead me to service at DBU.
Airport Operations and a Master’s Degree
Although I now was 4 years into the relationship with American Airlines, I definitely knew accounting was not going to be a lifelong passion and I transferred to where the real life-changing experience would occur. I moved to field operations where I could see / touch / experience the true workings of an airline and I loved it!! Serving customers, and those who served them, helping others get to that business meeting, to that missed loved one, back home, on a much-needed vacation, or just out to explore something new. For me, it was utopia! I was always in leadership roles and from there, I was involved with everything to do with business from training, marketing, sales, operations, all things financial, talent resources, facilities, culture / change management and capital assets. In various city locations and division offices I learned what it took to be a critical and strategic thinker, how to be a very good team member and leader, how to plan and execute, how to make mistakes and to avoid them, and the absolute necessity of developing / nurturing long term relationships. I learned what success felt like; often more importantly what defeat felt like. For someone driven and driven to lifelong learning, it didn’t get any better than this along with pursuing an MBA which took 5 years to earn! Every time I wanted to give up because it all just seemed too hard to balance with all the professional and personal demands of a family and a career, that is when the Lord used someone to talk to me, to demonstrate to me, that I could not give up; He was not finished with me. A year after receiving my degree it was on to pursue a doctorate; I had no idea how rewarding and inspiring that experience would be!
Who Needs a Doctorate Anyway!
There were lots and lots of times that I found it extremely difficult to go to work in a highly demanding workplace such as airport operations, take care of a family, go to school and then to have time to study when nothing else was needed from me on a daily basis. Almost immediately after every one of those dark days, the Lord would send someone to intervene, to tell me to move ahead, to encourage me this was the path for me and I found renewal and strength. While in doctoral study, I was so energized by the experience that I ultimately pursued 3 areas for focus, organization behavior / development, education and what would become a great passion for me, marketing. After what I thought was an eternity that had been 10 long years in pursuit, after many, many phenomenal faculty invested selflessly in me, and after lots of endurance from my family who sacrificed so much for me, I finally earned a doctorate degree in 1998!
So I Have a Terminal Degree, Now What?
One can easily see the Lord’s hand on each path direction change that wasn’t really a change after all. Within literally just a few days of my hooding as Ph.D., I was guided by the Lord’s voice to call DBU to ask if they could possibly use someone with a burning desire to teach in a university setting, someone with an MBA in technology and a brand new, not much worn, Ph.D. in other areas of business, with a love for serving, driven to pursue lifelong learning, and with an education from one of the most rewarding groups of people who were part of the American Airlines family. You already know the answer was yes, and I became an adjunct professor teaching undergraduate technology classes in the Fall 1998. Not just an adjunct professor, however! I was in the midst of the most serene environment for study that I had ever before seen! While it was, and is, the most beautiful campus in the State of Texas, I found what was on the inside to be the most beautiful of all! A place where we speak freely, openly, unapologetically from a Christian worldview; where the faculty and staff model Christ-like behavior in love for others; and where God calls students to be transformed so they are the servant leaders they are called to be according to the DBU mission.
Lord, What Does It All Mean?
Ultimately, and with the Lord’s provision, I was able to take early retirement from American Airlines, and to begin as a full-time professor a short time later teaching technology courses at DBU! While my first year serving would be in a totally teaching role, I found it to be more rewarding than anything I had ever known professionally. The Lord speaks to me to this very day through many of the students and especially through the experiences they share with me regarding passages they have throughout their own lives. We share life! We share life in a deeply personal, spiritual, and intellectual way that I know to be very much the DBU distinctive. This knowing that we care for our students deeply, the personal connections we have with each of them, the praying we do together, the happy times and the saddest of times we share, the celebrations and the sorrows, yes, the relationships we have are for a lifetime and eternity. There is not much more rewarding than being called to such a place as this.
I was asked to assume an administrative role at the end of my first year at DBU and I looked forward to serving in such a capacity as Associate Dean. While I continued to teach technology courses at the graduate and undergraduate levels, by 2004, I found that my world was getting ready to change dramatically as I assumed the role of leading the Graduate School of Business. Not only did the role change my professional life dramatically, in it I found the passion that the Lord had been preparing me for all the many years before! Yes, it keeps me up at night and it gets me up early every day, keeping me quite busy all the hours in between! The deep passion for serving to lead others who need our help to be all the Lord has called them to be! Knowing we have students at DBU and not numbers, that they are all called to a higher purpose of serving in far corners of the world, often dark corners, to be equipped with the skills and competencies they need to make a real difference, and that they are free to be the unique individuals with the gifts and talents that can only come from God, being called to such a purpose of serving as His hands and feet on earth. There really is no higher calling.
We are called to be faithful servants of our Lord. No matter how many mistakes we make at our own hand, He never makes any mistakes. If we will just surrender, He does the rest!
We are thrilled to have you join our community and are anxious to see how you grow with our family!
Dr. Sandra Reid
Chair of DBU Graduate School of Business