When he first met four other students in his Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) program,Dr. Gabriel Warren ’16 had no idea what benefits those connections would bring him down the road. He was simply looking for people who could empathize with the journey he was on.
Early in his doctoral journey, he connected with his department chair, Dr. Lynn Szostek, who he says was instrumental in helping him complete his degree.
“We stayed in contact while I was in the program and still do today,” he says. “We’re talking about collaborating on a research project. She’s my mentor.”
But that was only the beginning of the support his Walden connections would provide. As part of the DBA coursework, Warren completed two residencies. At one of those, he met four fellow DBA candidates with whom he formed a powerful alliance.
“We were going through all the same things—working full time, balancing families, and working toward our doctorates—at roughly the same time,” he says. “The five of us started holding weekly calls to talk about what we were working on, how we were balancing things, and how to get past any roadblocks. We really encouraged one another.”
Those connections paid off: All of them have since completed their doctoral degrees, thanks, in part, to the support they received from one another.
One of those fellow students, Dr. Linda G. Crosby ’16, became a close associate of Warren’s. What he didn’t realize, however, was how she could connect him to new career opportunities. An associate department chair at Davenport University in Michigan, Crosby contacted Warren after he completed his degree.
“I had no idea she even worked for a university,” Warren says.
Crosby knew about a teaching opportunity he’d be great for. Would he be interested? He was already an instructor at Brown Mackie College in Alabama, but this opportunity opened new doors. Warren is also a professional speaker, author, and founder of an organization that mentors married couples.
“When you’re working on your doctoral degree, no one can really understand what you’re going through like your fellow classmates and faculty members,” he says. “I advise students to start building relationships with professors and classmates from the first class. I can’t tell you how much I benefited from the relationships I’ve built.”