From a very young age Dr. Gae Goodwin wanted to make an impact on the world. After overcoming many obstacles, committing herself to a career in human resources and earning her doctorate, she is now getting to make that impact as an adjunct professor in ACU’s online Bachelor of Science in Organizational Leadership program.
Goodwin is a New Orleans native and proud Saints fan. On Aug. 29, 2005, she was preparing to celebrate a milestone birthday with family and friends from near and far when their plans quickly changed. That week, Hurricane Katrina swept through New Orleans, forcing residents like Goodwin and her family to evacuate the area. While they found safety, all of their belongings were lost in the storm. In the aftermath of the natural disaster, Goodwin was faced with one of two ways to approach the situation – sit in the grief of what happened, or pick up the pieces and create a brand new life for herself. The latter was exactly what she did.
Later in 2005, she and her son moved to Texas where she still resides. She continues to be devoted to her career in human resources, something she had been doing since earning her Bachelor of Science in Business Operations and Master of Science in Human Resources Management at DeVry University in Atlanta, Georgia.
Throughout her professional career, Goodwin has worked in HR capacities regionally, nationally and internationally in the gaming, construction and healthcare industries. Currently, Gae serves as the human resources and general affairs director for Samsung in the heating, ventilation and air conditioning segment where she enjoys mentoring others through organizational development, recruitment, change management, diversity, equity and inclusion, and more.
From student to professor
After working in the HR field and furthering her education, the next step for Goodwin was to earn her doctorate degree in organizational leadership. While looking for a university, she was searching for a place that would not only afford her the opportunity to work and study, but would respect her as a seasoned professional looking to grow. She found those values with ACU Online.
It was Goodwin’s admissions advisor who helped seal the deal. She explained how her advisor prayed with her and encouraged her to begin her journey to get her doctorate. During Hurricane Katrina, Goodwin lost all of her undergraduate work and the thesis from her master’s, which became an obstacle for admission. She recalled how thankful she was that ACU understood her situation and adjusted the acceptance process to help her reach her goal.
After five years in the Ed.D. program and successfully defending her dissertation, Goodwin graduated from ACU Online in May 2020. But even after all the hard work she asked, “What’s next?” She believed she could bring her corporate career experience and wealth of knowledge to the classroom. She reached out to ACU Online and was offered the opportunity to teach as an adjunct professor. “It brought me to tears when I received my offer letter from ACU because it was a dream of mine from a very young age to teach in higher education,” she said.
Creating change in the classroom
Goodwin is currently teaching Theories in Leadership and is enthusiastic about being on a team of strong leaders like herself. Most of that enthusiasm she attributes to her program director, Dena Counts. “She has partnered with me throughout this process and guided me to infuse my corporate experience with academia for the benefit of students,” she said.
Goodwin believes God has extended her the opportunity to make an impact in the lives of students and train them to be effective leaders in the workplace. Her goal is to not only create life-long learners, but open-minded individuals who can change the world. “My one wish is that students lead with an open mind and approach each situation with uniqueness,” Goodwin explained. She has extended her leadership expertise by helping students have empathy for others and meeting them where they are. Goodwin’s motto in the classroom is “Be encouraged because I’m here to help you flourish.”
Outside of her virtual classroom and career, Goodwin loves working with nonprofits and helping other organizations grow and leave a mark on the world. She currently serves on Workforce Solutions’ Workforce Development Board as the board secretary where she helps oversee the business development of 14 counties throughout North Central Texas. She also serves as the director of programs and curriculum development for the non-profit Center of inPOWERmeant Inc. which helps empower and bring hope to families in her community and beyond.
Do you have career aspirations you want to achieve like Dr. Goodwin? Visit acu.edu/online or contact us at 855-219-7300 to discover your next steps. Learn more about how ACU Online’s Bachelor of Science in Organizational Leadership and Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership programs are creating world-changing leaders each day.