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Hello {soon-to-be} Doc,

I'm Dr. Ensign and I'm happy you're here.

First of all, congratulations on your doctoral journey so far! This photo is of me and my dissertation Chair on graduation day at Pepperdine University—one of the best days of my life. This can soon be you!
Read on to learn how you can get across the finish line with my help.

5 Ways I'm Uniquely Positioned to Help

1. Guide With Both Teaching + Industry Experience. I've worked in the classroom, the board room and on the factory floor. I draw on 14 years of university teaching experience and 20 years of hands-on operational experience to guide doctoral students to finish their dissertation research so they can graduate.

2. Leverage & Share Multi-University Research Experience. I specialize in working with organizational leaders and international students who have returned to school for advanced degrees. I've assisted students from Columbia University, Pepperdine University, Fielding University, Arizona State University, Indiana Institute of Technology and other schools which allows me to leverage and share best practices across universities.

3. Guide With Professional Coach Certifications and Experience. If you are an organizational leader, I understand the demands of your job because I have worked with thousands of leaders globally as an executive coach. I also serve as Chair and Committee Member for doctoral students so I understand the dissertation process. I bring a unique skill set to our relationship because I understand both your professional and research interests.

4. Bring International Student Expertise. If you are an international student, I understand how difficult it can be to navigate language and cultural norms. I was an ESL teacher and currently teach an Individual Study Abroad course in a PhD program. I also have two adopted adult children who earned college degrees as non-native English speakers.

5. Ability to Meet You Where You are Now. Often times students have taken research courses months (or years) prior to their dissertation phase. They don't need to repeat entire courses, but need to remember or learn the parts that apply now. I call this just-in-time teaching. Whether you are in coursework now, have completed coursework, or are a bit derailed and ABD ("all but dissertation") executive coaching combined with just-in-time teaching and guidance can help you optimize your doctoral journey or get back on track to finish your degree.

Contact me to get started!

What it looks like:
Zoom Sessions with Kim & Elnaz (doctoral candidates)
Pets welcome!
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I Understand Your Situation

If you are a doctoral student who returned to school for an advanced degree, you are likely juggling a leadership role at work, plus home/family responsibilities, and your academic studies. I get it.

  • Your dissertation research is important and exciting - it may be one of your greatest accomplishments!

Taking Notes
  • You don't have time or money to waste, and yet, the dissertation process can feel unclear, elusive, and downright frustrating. Not to mention, at times it is a lonely and isolating process.

  • You want your degree to be a stepping stone in your career, but you're not sure if or how your research topic will help you get promoted, jump career tracks, or start a new business.

Stressed Woman
  • You want access to research, writing, and editing resources, just in time, as you need them.

  • You want someone who understands what you're going through, to talk through your ideas with, and get guidance from, but you don't have enough time with your Chair and Committee.

  • You need someone who understands the research process. You may have taken research courses months or years ago, so you want someone who can teach you (or remind you) what you need to know now and how it applies to your unique situation.

  • You sometimes wonder if it is all worth it, if you'll ever finish.


You can do this.

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Bringing You a Unique Combination:
Executive Coaching +
Doctoral Level Just-in-Time Teaching

I teach in a PhD program, chair dissertations, serve on committees, and serve as an external reviewer and subject matter expert. I am also actively researching and publishing scholarship myself and serve on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Transformative Education.

As an industry executive with operational and entrepreneurial experience, I understand your professional pain points. My aim is to be your collaborative thought partner, private Professor and Executive Coach as together we explore how your research will impact your career and the world. I completed my doctorate while working full time and you can too.

During the dissertation phase, you are carrying an increased emotional load.
Your dissertation research project has measurable "weight."
It's time to finish your research, graduate, and get your life back.

Stop feeling isolated with a "trial and error" process and instead get guided, more efficient assistance. 

Will you earn your degree one day
or will you make today day one of your path to graduation?

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Sample of Research Supervised by Dr. Ensign

A Phenomenological Study Exploring U.S. College Students' Study Abroad Experiences: Understanding Self-Leadership Through Initiators and Outcomes of Transformative Learning  by Dr. Keith Wallace

Moving Towards a Grounded Theory Study Exploring Leadership Styles of Latina Small Business Owners in the United States by Dr. Cynthia Sims-Robinson


Perceived Sensemaking and Communication Effectiveness in Complex Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning Environments: A Quantitative Study on Software Engineers in Multinational Companies by Dr. Amanda Holst

Employee Experiences of Role Disruption Due to Digital Transformation by Dr. Natalie Dais Murray

The Leadership Experiences of Black Pastors in the United States and Jamaica: A Descriptive Case Study by Reverend Dr. T.D Robinson


Immigration as an Antecedent for Changes in Leadership Behavior: A Study of How Buddhist Leaders' Immigration From Myanmar to Indiana Affected Their Self-Reported Leadership Behaviors  by Dr. Kimberly Lehman


The Use of Social Media as Collaborative Learning Tools: The Experience of Adult Learners by Dr. Elnaz Taherizadeh

Preparing Students for a Global World: Developing Global Skills in a Virtual Community of Practice via an International Peer-to-Peer Program by Dr. Tonya Ensign and Rachel Ensign, J.D.

The Making of a Ph.D.: A Case Study at Pepperdine University by Dr. Tonya Ensign and Dr. June Schmieder-Ramirez


A Qualitative Descriptive Study of Small-Scale Farms and Lead Farmers' Perspectives on Organic Farming in LaPlata and Montezuma Counties by Lukman Lukman

Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) in Generation Z's Habits of Watching Streaming Platforms: A Study of Students at Saint Enoch in Bogor, Indonesia by Suciani Suciani

You are not here by accident.

Now is the time.

Invest in yourself today.

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