By Hank Bond
The Greenup Beacon
Some people spend their entire life looking for direction but Lisa Henderson continues to pursue academic accomplishments expanding her career and abilities.
She has found apply theories to reality pleasant result of educational achievement and real-life practice.
Lisa Legrand Wood Henderson was born in Columbus, Ohio in 1957.
Her parents are still living, but, “It was my father’s parents who raised my two brothers and me from the time we were very young. They were Boyd and Lucille LeGrand of Portsmouth, where I grew up.
“When my grandfather retired from his job as manager of Herrmann’s Meats, my grandparents moved to South Portsmouth and lived there until they passed away.
“I found myself in this area in 1982 when my first husband took a job transfer with the Department of Corrections to work in Boyd County. We moved from Highland Heights to Raceland.
“I’ve been married to Jerry Henderson, Jr for a little more than 20 years.
“Jerry’s parents are Jerry and Carlene Henderson of Ashland; my husband Jerry grew up in Ashland.
“We have lived in Russell and now Flatwoods since getting married.
“We have four daughters in total. Jerry has a daughter, Katie Henderson, from his first marriage; she is 29 and lives in Erlanger.
“I have a daughter from my first marriage, Sarah Wood, who is 27 and lives in Flemingsburg.
“Together we have twins who are 19, Erin and Emily Henderson. Sarah, Erin, and Emily all graduated from Russell High School. Erin is a student at University of Louisville majoring in psychology. Emily is at Morehead State majoring in biology. Sarah is a high school Spanish teacher, a musician and singer, and an adjunct at Morehead’s Kentucky Center for Traditional Music where she teaches music courses. Katie is currently employed at a restaurant.”
It wasn’t love at first sight, but she and her husband share many things in common.
“Jerry and I were introduced to each other through a mutual friend. This friend knew both of us well and thought we would be a good match.
“He asked me if I was interested in meeting Jerry, so I gave him my phone number to give to him.
“We talked on the phone a few times, took a walk around Central Park on our first date, and married six months later.
“I wouldn’t say it was love at first sight for either of us, but more that we enjoyed doing many of the same things.”
Jerry is a public defender for Cabell County, WV, and has been there 15 years. Before that, he was an assistant prosecuting attorney for Boyd County.
“I’ve often wondered if people become attorneys because they love to argue, or if attorneys just argue a lot because they practice arguing for work.
“For whatever reason, Jerry just likes to argue (even when I’m agreeing with him), but this is not a problem. We have a great marriage. When he argues too much, I just stop listening.”
A lifelong resident of the Tri-State Lisa amassed an impressive list of academic accomplishments and continues to add to the list.
“After graduating from Portsmouth High School in 1976, I attended Morehead State University and graduated in spring 1980 with a bachelor degree in business administration with an emphasis in data processing.
“My intent was to become a computer programmer after graduation. I was able to secure a programming job with Central Trust Company in Cincinnati and started that job on Monday morning following graduation on Saturday.
“That was one crazy, very hectic weekend! I moved out of my dorm, moved into my first apartment in an unfamiliar city, and started a new job in under 48 hours.
“In 1983, I began working for Ashland Oil as a computer programmer.
“They offered a wonderful tuition reimbursement program for employees. Many of my coworkers were taking advantage of this. Their success inspired me to enroll with Morehead State to begin work on a Master of Business Administration degree.
“MSU offered classes in Ashland which made attending very convenient. Completing one class per semester, I finished in 1988.
“Fast forward to 2008: Perhaps it was because of a mid-life crisis, but my thoughts were (and still are) that there should be something more for me than working at Marathon Petroleum for the rest of my life.
“I researched doctoral programs and decided to enroll at University of Phoenix in an online program because this program had the accreditation and flexibility I was looking for.
“Completing the coursework and my dissertation tested my patience and commitment in ways I hope to never repeat.
“During that time, our twins were still in school and involved in many activities.
“My grandparents were in their 90s, so I drove to South Portsmouth every weekend to do things for them.
“It was a lot to do while working full time and keeping up with coursework.
“After five years of not enough sleep and relying on caffeine for survival, I graduated in 2013 with a Doctor of Management degree.”
Her degree is a practitioner degree, more like a JD, MD, or D.Ed.
A Ph. D is more of a research degree, or you could say the focus of the coursework is on the theories of the discipline.
“With a practitioner’s degree the focus is on applying the theories to real situations,” she explained.
Lisa has continued her pursuits with what is now Marathon, plus now she is in front of the classroom as well.
“I am employed with Marathon Petroleum in the IT (information technology) organization and as an adjunct instructor at Ashland Community and Technical College in their CIT (Computer Information Technology) department.
“I started with Ashland Oil in 1983, survived the joint venture in 1998, and continued on in my same position with Marathon.
“I’ve had the opportunity to do information systems work in many areas of business, including laboratory quality control, truck scale, environmental compliance, foreign trade zone accounting, yield accounting, pipeline control, terminal operations, and document control.
“My kids have oftentimes said they don’t really know what I do at work. My title says I’m an information systems integrator and business analyst. In this role, I’m a manager of IT projects, a manager of change, a consultant, an information systems analyst, business process analyst, data analyst, and a technical writer. In summary, I do a lot of customer support, planning, coordinating, analysis, and writing.
“I do these functions on behalf of operations groups in Marathon’s seven refineries.”
From the professional realm, Lisa moved into the college classroom, this time in front of the room.
“Last fall, ACTC gave me the opportunity to teach an online course.
“I’m teaching one online course and one hybrid course (hybrid means it’s online and also meets on campus part of the time) for ACTC.
“I wanted to experience teaching and make sure I like doing it before seriously planning a career change.
“Teaching for ACTC has been wonderful! Teaching online is definitely something I want to continue.
“Teaching face-to-face is still very new for me; it’s too soon to render an opinion on that, but I really enjoy it.
“My plan now is to look for more adjunct teaching work (preferably online) and transition from Marathon into adjuncting full-time.
“Working at Marathon has given me ample experience working virtually and remotely with people who are spread out all over the country.
“I like working this way because I’m very comfortable with it.
“I’ve been researching how other people are able to make a good, steady income as online adjunct instructors.
“By building a portfolio of four to six universities to work for, it is possible.”
Lisa is quick to hand out accolades to those who have helped her reach a certifiable level of accomplishment.
“I have to credit my success to values adopted from my grandparents. They taught me that hard work, education, setting goals, and the Golden Rule are keys to success.
“While in high school, I worked at Giovanni’s Pizza in Portsmouth. Several of the people I worked with were single parents trying to support themselves and their families on less than minimum wage.
“Listening to tales of their daily struggles motivated me to seek a better life than theirs.
“I also have to give credit to the lady and her husband who used to babysit my girls, Akiko and Ron Davis.
“They lived in Flatwoods for years but moved to southern Indiana to be near their children and grandchildren.
“Having a reliable, trustworthy person who made herself available for me and my girls whenever needed, for as long as needed, enabled me to work and go on business trips without worry.
“Akiko and Ron are like second parents to my girls.
“By nature, I’m very stubborn and persistent. Certainly that plays a role in my success, although admittedly these can be negative traits as well.
“I may waffle a while to make up my mind, but once decided, I will have my way (come hell or high water).
“It’s a kind of tunnel vision that keeps me from straying off the path.
“Stephen Covey wrote that a habit of highly successful people is that they “begin with the end in mind.”
“I’ve just always had that way of thinking.”
While computers have become a mainstay in her life it wasn’t her chosen path out of high school.
“Honestly, programming computers was not my first career choice. I wanted to be a school teacher until midway through my senior year of high school.
“A list of starting salaries for entry-level careers had been posted to the wall outside the counselor’s office at my school.
“When I saw that school teacher was near the bottom of the list, my heart sank.
“How could I possibly hope to pay back college loans and survive on a salary so low?
“Accountant was at the top of the list for 4-year degrees, but that was completely unappealing.
“Computer programmer was just below accountant, so that’s how my decision was made,” she said.
“As it turned out, I liked doing computer programming. In the early days, programmers had freedom to be creative; it was even fun at times.
“Over time, the whole field of IT evolved to accommodate changes in technology, business climate, stockholder demands, and legal issues.
“IT workers must be much more specialized and accountable these days. Thanks to Sarbanes-Oxley legislation that resulted from the Enron and WorldCom scandals, a career in IT is very different than it used to be.
“I began reading about Jane Goodall’s work in middle school, and oftentimes imagined myself as a great scientist working in a remote place on important research.
“Her studies sparked my imagination – really, could there be any better work than studying apes in the jungles where they live?
“My assumption was that research was something only the most brilliant people do, and someone like me should maintain realistic vocational expectations for herself.
“Even though I never believed obtaining a doctorate was possible, the desire was always there.
“As an adult who had been out of school for 20 years, it took a significant shift in my thinking to muster enough courage to make inquiries about doctoral programs.
“Making the decision to commit was even more difficult, so I procrastinated. With the enrollment deadline only a few days away, a friend said to me, “I guess you’ll just let the deadline make the decision for you.”
“His words stuck in my head, infuriated me, and sparked me to take action just in time. A doctoral program is oftentimes referred to as a journey across rocky terrain and over a mountain.
“My journey had so many highs and lows, I lost count of them.
“One of the hardest things for me was that several times when I thought I was standing on the mountaintop, another taller peak appeared. Fear of failure added to the stress of it all, but failure is part of the journey and learning process.
“My failures taught me that failing is not defeat and sometimes can be very beneficial.
“Recovery from failure is possible, and success after failure makes it wonderful.
“The greatest lesson of all for me was the value of networking. In residencies, the professors emphasized that completing a dissertation alone is impossible; that if we are to be successful, we must learn to stand “on the shoulders of giants” (famous quote attributed to Bernard of Chartres).
“These were meaningless words to me until the time came that I had to get access to people and places, and get permission to use surveys developed by other researchers.
“I had no choice but to go way beyond my comfort zone. I made phone calls to obtain permissions from authors as well-known in their fields as Jane Goodall is in hers. Why would these amazing people waste time talking to me?
“But they did, and they even seemed interested in my research.
“I used every negotiation skill in my arsenal, even when it was awkward and embarrassing.
“Completing my dissertation was indeed a group effort. My family played a huge role. The girls couldn’t drive yet, so Jerry took over chauffeur duty.
“The girls pitched in to keep the house picked up and laundry caught up. They learned to cook.
“My chairman, committee, academic advisor, statistician, and gatekeepers were vital team members.
“All the coworkers, colleagues, and friends who asked me how it was going were my cheerleaders.
“Their kind words got me through the rocky times.”
Not only educational growth but professional associations have helped Henderson proceed with her professional aspirations.
“I’m an active member of the American Society for Quality, Scioto Valley Section. We have monthly meetings with presentations by area experts on a variety of topics related to quality.
“I was elected to their leadership committee so my involvement will increase this year.
“When my girls were in school, I was very busy with both volunteering and attending their activities.
“When they graduated, I joined East Greenup County Kiwanis to work on projects that help our community.
“It’s a fun group of people who come together once a week for fellowship and a short, informative presentations.
“Besides these activities, I indulge in Coursera courses from time to time.
“Coursera.org offers a plethora of free short online courses sponsored by top universities around the world.
“I have completed courses on a variety of topics that interest me.”
For Henderson it is not all work and no play, but work certainly takes a great deal of her time.
“Other than working two jobs, I love spending time with my family, taking our dog for long walks at nearby state parks, golfing, kayaking, and gardening.
“I continue to read on topics of organizational behavior, knowledge sharing, and risk.
“I want to do more research, but have no plan for that just now.”
Henderson is definitive in her plans for the future.
“My long-term goal is to retire from Marathon and become an online adjunct for three or four universities.
“If I can make that happen in 2015, it’s not really a long-term goal.
“I see myself working for at least another 10 years, and spending time with grandchildren (we have none and are not expecting any yet).
“I hope to enjoy my hobbies for as long as possible.
“I love about anything that gets me outside. In my fantasy world, I lay in my hammock outside under the trees when I do my online adjunct work.
“My wifi signal is strong enough (already tested).
“Goals are attained by making a plan and keeping the intended outcome in mind.
“I’ve always got a plan in mind, but procrastination happens sometimes, especially for things I don’t really want to do like cleaning the basement or washing the car.
“Oh yeah, and that’s another goal….someday I will be organized.”
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