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Revamping Leadership; Refining Lives

A graduate degree or certificate in organizational leadership from Concordia’s Townsend Institute helps students devise or redesign their leadership to excel in today’s organizations - for-profit, non-profit, churchwork, or small business sectors. Using our 3C framework (Competence, Character, Connection), along with engagement from faculty, fellows, and Dr. Townsend himself, students will experience growth in both their professional leadership skills as well as their personal and relational lives.


Accessible: Online Classes


Affordable: $635 Cost Per Unit

WASC | Senior College and University Commission

Accredited: WSCUC Accredited


Accelerated: 12-20 Month Program

Start in February or August

  • Help people reach their fullest potential
  • Learn to lead change and enhance performance
  • Personally learn from Dr. John Townsend
  • Engage with world-class Christian thought leaders

Apply Now

Get Started Today

Our dedicated admissions counselors are here to help.

Fellows & Faculty

One of our greatest highlights at Concordia is not only studying the best and latest in leadership theory and strategy, but also having the opportunity to meet and interact with the great minds behind the work through our Institute fellows.These include some of the biggest names in the field, including: Ken Blanchard (The One Minute Manager, Raving Fans, Lead Like Jesus) and Patrick Lencioni (5 Dysfunctions of a Team, Working Genius). We continuously add to our impressive lineup of fellows to further enhance and influence our students’ experience.

Meet Our Faculty

Another strength of our program is our dedicated faculty. In a small learning environment, our professors care about you as a person and work to cultivate mentoring relationships. Throughout the ORGL program, you will partner with qualified instructors whose leadership experience spans a variety of fields and sectors.


Ashlie Andrew


Dr. Andrew earned her Bachelors and Masters Degrees from California State University, Long Beach and her PhD from Regent University in Virginia. Her research interests include family communication, organizational communication and crisis management. She has taught at both private and public colleges and universities. Some of her past courses include Public Speaking, Workplace Communication, Interpersonal Communication, Small Group Communication, Organizational Communication, Journalism, and Interviewing. Dr. Andrew enjoys working at Concordia University because it allows her to combine her love of teaching and leadership with her Christian beliefs. Dr. Andrew resides in Northern California with her husband Brian and their daughter Brilie Kate.

Degrees Earned

  • Ph.D., Communication, Regent University
  • M.A., Communication Studies, California State University of Long Beach
  • B.A., Communication Studies, California State University of Long Beach

Fugitt, Gilbert


With more than 20 years of experience in higher education and ministry leadership experience, Gilbert has honed a sense of working with organizations to build health and high-performance. Gilbert has tremendous experience working with individuals and teams to create a strategic plan that will give measurable results and help you achieve success.

Prior to working with the Townsend Institute, Gilbert was the Associate Vice President and Dean of Students at Concordia University Irvine. While serving in that role, he gained extensive experience leading teams in working through stressful situations and building a healthy culture.

Gilbert brings a doctorate in Organizational Leadership from Pepperdine University that has given him a unique perspective to help clients find what motivates them to do their best work. He has worked with many individuals to create a plan for them to explore their unique path to see and overcome the barriers that are limiting their growth. He utilizes his experience in StrengthsFinder and Emotional Intelligence in working with individuals and teams.

As a faculty member and leadership and executive consultant, Gilbert works consistently with leaders and organizations to make significant changes that have a long-term impact. Gilbert’s goal is to create a culture of trust where people feel the freedom to achieve at the highest level.

Degrees Earned

  • Ed.D., Organizational Leadership, Pepperdine University
  • M.A., Psychology, Pepperdine University
  • B.A., Theology, Concordia University, Seward, NE

Adjunct Faculty

Bjorndahl-Jay, Jill


Jill has a Ph.D. from Capella University in Organizational Management with an emphasis in Leadership. She has a M.S.M. from Notre Dame de Namur University with an emphasis in Project Management. Jill’s experience spans from 12 years in the collegiate classroom to working in the board room as a business executive for more than 20 years. A dynamic and seasoned entrepreneur with a track record in developing and implementing effective business processes, Jill has experience in managing and leading internal teams, creating win-win relationships with vendors and suppliers to improve cost-efficiency across the supply chain, and tracking adherence to organizational strategy, strategic objectives and action plans. Currently she is the chairman and CEO at NSI (Nutritional Services, Inc.) in San Carlos, CA.

Davis, Barry


Barry Davis is a Career and Executive Coach with Gift of Self Career Services. LLC. Holding a Master's degree in Clinical Psychology from Millersville University and a Pastoral Degree from Lancaster Bible College and Graduate School, he is designated as a Certified Master of Career Services by the National Career Development Association and is a licensed minister of the Gospel. An adjunct professor at Concordia and Huntington Universities and an active blogger (on both career and faith), he has written for the Social Media Examiner, NCDA and the Middle Atlantic Career Counseling Association’s newsletters. Davis’ presentation experience includes keynoting for MACCA, presenting to the Eastern Association of Colleges and Employers, Maryland Career Development Association, Human Resource associations, Business Executives Networking Group, Lancaster Young Professionals, and various organizations, colleges and universities on diverse topics including The Blessings of Failure, Creating Luck, and Leading through Conflict. A certified AVA Analyst and Certified Talent Consultant for advanced assessment training with the Institute of Personality and Ability Testing, he also holds certification in Critical Incident Stress Debriefing from the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation. Over his 25+ year career, Barry has worked with thousands of people in diverse industries in dealing with the age-old question "What do I want to be when I grow up?", whether they are taking their first career steps or transitioning into a new field entirely. He has extensive experience in working with companies and individuals in the throes of employment and life transitions and continues to learn what all he wants to do! Barry is passionate about integrating Biblical truth in all he does, often noting that "all truth belongs to God." On a personal side, he is an inveterate reader, pushing books on anyone who comes within earshot (he has over 190 book reviews on Goodreads), and has completed over 30 full marathons.

Degrees Earned

  • M.S., Clinical Psychology, Millersville University of Pennsylvania
  • B.S., Bible/Pastoral Studies, Lancaster Bible College

Jon Kidwell


Jon Kidwell is a leadership development trainer and coach who works with executives, teams, and organizations so they are healthy and effective. He is the Founder/Leader of The Kidwell Team, a leadership development company on a mission to equip and empower leaders through training and coaching so they can lead at their best and get the results their people and the mission deserve.

For over 20 years, Jon served in leadership roles as an employee or Board member in private companies and nonprofits, large and small, ranging from a local focus to global impact. During that time, Jon was VP of Innovation and Operations for a large, multi-million dollar global nonprofit in Houston, TX working with companies such as Apple, Nike, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Pfizer, the University of Houston, and the YMCA of the USA.

In addition to Jon's leadership development business and professional background, he holds a teaching degree from Grand Valley State University and a Master's in Educational Leadership and Administration from Concordia University Texas. Jon has been married to Meghan for 12+ years, they have three wonderful children, and call Houston, Texas home.

Degrees Earned

  • B.A., Education, Grand Valley State University
  • M.A., Educational Leadership and Administration, Concordia University Texas

Frances Leonor


Frances Leonor is grateful to be on the adjunct teaching team at the Townsend Institute. She was born in the Philippines and moved to America 38 years ago. Frances is married with three adult daughters and nine children. Her desire is to live for and please God.

Her professional experience includes Bible, Math and Science at the Middle and High School levels as well as being a School Administrator/Principal at Highlands Christian Schools. Currently, she is an adjunct professor at Concordia University Irvine. Leonor also was the 2018 Concordia Graduate Commencement Speaker.

Degrees Earned

  • Ph.D. Educational Leadership, Columbia International University
  • M.S. Public Health, University of the Philippines
  • M.A. Education, Simpson University

Chad Minor


Chad M. Minor lives with his wife, Jamie, and two boys, William, and Jackson, in Canton, Ohio. Chad was selected as the 2019 Graduate School Alumnus of the Year at Malone University and was recognized in 2018 as a City of Canton Difference Maker by The Canton Repository. He was a Division 1 Student-Athlete at The University of Akron, majoring in Business Communication while playing basketball for the Zips. Chad serves on the Board of Directors at Urban Ark Canton, a food and clothing pantry that distributes to those in need in the downtown area. He is part of The One Center for Leadership which strives to multiply kingdom leaders through catalytic conferences, collaborative workspaces, and customized coaching. Chad is currently studying for a Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership at Regent University in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

Playter, Kellie


Kellie earned her Bachelor's and Master's Degrees from California State University, Long Beach, and is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership from Regent University. She has served on several nonprofit boards in her community, including the Junior Chamber of Commerce and the Ronald McDonald House Charities. She has been teaching college courses since 2008, teaching at California State University Long Beach, and Long Beach City College before finding her home at Concordia, where she can combine her love of teaching with her Christian beliefs. She has taught classes in leadership, communication studies, and business, but tends to focus on leadership, organizational behavior & communication, professional writing, and internship/professional development skills.

Robinson, Rukiya


My consulting journey began at Deloitte in 2003. My entrepreneurial journey began in 2009. Today, I am the founder of e2s Strategies, a Leadership Development and Organization Consulting Firm and the founder of e2s Coaching which is the coaching division of e2s Strategies. Founded in 2016. We create measurable differences in organizations by combining emotional intelligence and behavioral science to bring optimal human performance at the executive, leadership and team levels. "e2s" mean Equipped to Succeed. As the Chief Transformation Officer, I work with organizations in the public and private sector including municipalities, universities, C-Suite Executives, Learning and Development professionals, HR Executives, Small Business Owners, and Entrepreneurs. My consulting work includes customizing strategic interventions and transformation programs for organizations including organization development, culture development, as well as providing executive and leadership coaching, team development, advising and designing professional development programs.

An expert-level Organizational, Leadership & Business Consultant and professionally trained Executive Coach & Certified Emotional Intelligence Expert. This gives me the depth and breadth of experience to source the root of organizational and leadership challenges and create the appropriate strategic interventions. I received my Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership from Concordia University, Irvine, is certified to administer the EQi 2.0 Suite of Emotional Intelligence assessments, and is a Certified Executive Coach through The Townsend Institute for Leadership & Counseling at Concordia University, Irvine accredited by the International Coaching Federation. (ICF).

I serve as an adjunct professor at Concordia University, Irvine teaching students at the undergraduate and graduate level Organization Psychology, Organizational Leadership, Character Development, and Leadership Theory.

I have 3 adult children and a sweet little granddaughter. I enjoy being with my family, nature walks and trails, swimming, beaches, writing, reading, working out, watching business documentaries, eating pizza with my granddaughter and listening to her sing songs and tell stories. Her imagination is entertaining! I am originally from Arkansas and have resided in the Dallas-Ft. Worth, TX area for about 25 years.

I am a fervent believer of Mark 9:23, "Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth."

Tamara Sauer


Professor Tamara Sauer manages over 23,000 alumni of Concordia University Irvine and about 2,500 current parents as Director of Alumni & Family Relations. This involves planning events, designing effective communication materials, strategizing resources for career & mentor services, and anything else that supports the journey of an alumnus/a or current parent. An alum of Concordia University Irvine, Tamara still resides in Southern California with her husband and two sons. Tamara has work experience in a variety of industries including non-profit, food & beverage, corporate retail and marketing.

Degrees Earned

  • B.A. Business Marketing, Concordia University Irvine
  • B.A. Art, Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Support Services, Concordia University Irvine
  • M.A. Organizational Leadership, Concordia University Irvine

Curriculum & Partnerships

The partnerships we’ve cultivated with fellows over the years help provide additional opportunities for our students to achieve more, all on the path towards their degree or certificate. Additional ROIs include assessment, facilitator and EQ certifications. Leadership pioneer James MacGregor Burns remarked decades ago that, “Leadership is one of the most observed and least understood phenomena on earth.” And while we at the Townsend Institute agree the study of leadership is an ongoing journey, we are proud to offer a curriculum rooted in several key areas essential to both personal and professional growth.

Our leadership curriculum is:

  • Theoretical & Tactical
    • Historical leadership theories & trends
    • Organizational change
    • Conflict management
    • Digital communication skills
  • Scholarly & Servant-hearted
    • Cultural humility
    • Neuroscience
    • Organizational culture
    • Emotional intelligence
  • Practical & Personal
    • Dr. Townsend’s Growth Model
    • Team building
    • Human capital
    • Training up talent
  • Typical 7-week courses include:
    • Three synchronous courses with professor & classmates*
    • One virtual Town Hall with faculty/fellows*
    • Classic & contemporary readings
    • Engaging videos
    • Thought-provoking discussion forums
    • Creative assignments (i.e. leadership trainings, podcast recordings, culture analyses, goal setting, EQ assessments…)
    • Ongoing professional & personal growth plan

*All synchronous events are recorded and sent to students if they cannot attend.

Featured Alumni

The Townsend Institute had such an immediate, positive impact on my character development, and my interactions with others, my manager asked what I was doing differently. I shared it was the Townsend Institute. My manager was so impressed with the results of this program that I was reimbursed for the entire cost!

Cheryl Todd
M.A. Organizational Leadership, 2018

Female student on her computer

Join us LIVE!

Experience a new kind of relational education. Join us online LIVE and hear from our faculty, academic advisors, current students, and alumni about their experience in the Townsend Institute.

  • Ask Dr. John Townsend your questions about the Institute and our offerings
  • Learn how our counseling and leadership programs can advance your career
  • Connect with other prospective students exploring our programs
  • Become eligible for scholarships and other prizes by participating in our info session

Founded by best-selling author and leading Christian thought leader Dr. John Townsend, the Townsend Institute at Concordia University Irvine brings together Christians from all across the country and across all walks of life. For years, Dr. Townsend, along with the Institute’s Fellows and faculty, have been transforming lives. Now you too have the opportunity to learn from master practitioners with decades of real world experience.

The M.A. Organizational Leadership will take approximately 1 - 1.5 years for a total of 33 credits. Students will take one or two 7-week courses at a time. Learning activities will involve approximately 10 to 14 hours of the student’s time investment each week. It is suggested that students working full time take only one course at a time.

You will be supported through virtual classroom sessions with your professors and classmates, and through experientially-focused assignments that connect you with fellow students.

Core Courses

  • ORGL 600: Personal Development Skills Process Group (3 units)
  • ORGL 601: Leadership Theory and Character Development (3 units)
  • ORGL 602: Building Healthy Organizational Culture (3 units)
  • ORGL 603: Mindful Leadership: Neuroscience and Emotional Intelligence (3 units)
  • ORGL 604: Leading Change and Motivation (3 units)
  • ORGL 605: Team Building and Conflict Management (3 units)
  • ORGL 607: Ethical Decision Making and Cultural Foundations (3 units)
  • ORGL 608: Capstone Seminar in Organizational Leadership (3 units)
  • ORGL 616: Essential Communication Strategies (3 units)

Elective Courses - Choose two courses

  • ORGL 611: Effective Strategy and Execution (3 units)
  • ORGL 615: Servant Leadership (3 units)
  • EXCC 607: Group Coaching (3 units)

For course descriptions, please see the Academic Catalog.

The Townsend Institute takes a different approach to academics. We know it’s the time you spend with people who have legitimate on-the-ground experiences and have accomplished their goals that has the greatest impact. That’s why we provide students with the opportunity to personally learn from Dr. John Townsend, our Institute Fellows and faculty. Together, they cultivate a relational learning experience, addressing the head and the heart through science and data.

We believe there is great value in frequent, real-time interaction with fellow students and your instructors. Our graduate programs launch with a 4-Day Residency where you will meet Dr. Townsend personally as he and our Townsend Institute Fellows conduct a series of trainings. You will also go through 8 process-focused growth groups – you will not leave the same person.

To learn more about the Institute’s 4-day Residency, attend a Townsend LIVE info session.

The Townsend Institute is housed within Concordia University Irvine, a private, Lutheran university. Located in Southern California, Concordia serves over 4,000 students annually, on campus and online. Centered by a Christian worldview, and guided by the Great Commission, Concordia is home to a thoughtful and caring community of learners.

The Townsend Institute experience invites you to study directly with Dr. John Townsend and master teachers who have decades of experience in leadership and know how to bring transformation, performance, and productivity to teams and organizations. The Townsend Institute has earned a reputation for its relational approach to begin with character growth as a building block for high motivation and performance. Through the Townsend Institute’s online program in Organizational Leadership you will:

  • Gain the skills needed to create high-performing teams.
  • Cultivate a culture that accelerates performance.
  • Create clarity and alignment to mission, strategy, and vision across an organization.
  • Learn how to lead both strategically and relationally.
  • Learn how to work with and direct difficult people.
  • Train in the art of managing your energy versus your time.

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis but we encourage you to have all documentation in two weeks prior to the start of each term. If you have any questions about the admissions process or need any assistance, please don't hesitate to connect with us.

Application Requirements

  • An application with nonrefundable application fee of $50
  • Student Success Fee: $50
  • One official transcript from a regionally accredited college or university that shows your confirmed bachelor’s degree. Official college transcripts must be sent in a sealed envelope.
  • Must have earned a cumulative GPA of 3.00 on a 4.00 scale
  • Written essay (2 pages, 500 words) addressing the following items:
    • Personal, professional, and educational goals
    • In your experience, what is the best way that a person grows or changes? You can add an example of a characteristic about yourself that you wanted to change and how you went about changing it.
    • What interested you in applying to the Townsend Institute as opposed to other programs?
  • Minimum of 1 professional reference required.
  • A current professional resume

Apply Now

Concordia campus from French Hill Dr. Townsend and students in front of Grimm Hall

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