CityU Faculty Profile: Ranodda DeChambeau
Stay Focused and Avoid the Rabbit Holes. Or Not
To be a successful educator it is important to let go of distractions and to stay focused on the task at hand, even more so if you are a doctoral student completing a dissertation. If you are unfocused, you can head down a rabbit hole and disappear. But don’t lose sight of topics that stimulate your curiosity, says Ranodda DeChambeau, an instructor in the School of Applied Leadership and School of Management. Often times the ideas that percolate on the back burner are intriguing for a reason. She suggests making a list of subjects or ideas that interest you, or build a stack of books to explore when your formal education ends.
You will find joy and be challenged as you dig into the ideas you put aside, says Ranodda.
Her Leadership Philosophy: Know Thyself
Ranodda’s leadership philosophy incorporates three main ideas: 1) know yourself, 2) know your people, and 3) cultivate the skills that enable meaningful and productive conversations to take place, both one-on-one and with your team. So much of what we talk about in leadership falls into one of these areas of responsibilities, says Ranodda. None of these areas are easy, but they are the skills needed to lead a team successfully. Effective leaders must also identify ways that motivate human behavior, which is linked to human development. Ranodda’s interest in what makes us human led her to the areas of neuroscience and positive psychology. Now that Ranodda has made the connection between human development, leadership and neuroscience, learning something new has become a much richer experience for her. The most prevalent idea Ranodda has taken from her doctoral studies is the discovery of the interconnectivity between so many topics.
Life Changing: Working with Adults
Ranodda’s first teaching job changed the trajectory of her life: teaching and working with adult learners. Helping adults realize their life’s dream by completing their degree while juggling the many facets of adulthood was an extraordinary experience for Ranodda and her students. She knew this aspect of teaching was her destiny. Throughout her career and educational journey, Ranodda has remained focused and finished one task at a time. She encourages her students do the same.
Enjoy the Process
She also hopes students will enjoy the process of learning. When in the middle of a long educational journey, regardless of what letters are granted at the end, life can get overwhelming if all the tasks that need doing are cluttering the brain. Don’t think of all the tasks, just focus on the next job at hand, Ranodda says.
As a student, enjoy what is in front of you, Ranodda recommends. Don’t take classes just to get through, but revel in every moment, especially “when you read deep into the night because the writer or the topic has caught your interest and you see the possibilities in a new way.”
Growing a Family, Life’s Work and a Ph.D. in Human and Organizational Development
Ranodda was born in Eastern Washington and is the youngest of four girls. She received a BA in Business Administration from Western Washington University, and in the summer after graduating, she moved with her husband and young daughter to Fairbanks, Alaska, where she managed the seasonal staff for Princess Tours. Two significant events occurred while living there: her son was born in the middle of the first snow storm of the season, and she completed a Masters of Business Administration at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
Ranodda and her family returned to the Seattle area, and, while working at Holland America Line, she completed a Masters in Adult Education. She met Corrine Holden, and when Corrine became a SOM Academic Program Director, she hired Ranodda as an instructor. Ranodda helped build the curriculum in organizational development, sustainable marketing practices and hospitality management. She has also held positions at the City of Bellevue and Puget Sound Energy.
In 2015 Ranodda completed her Ph.D. in Human and Organizational Development through Fielding Graduate University. Her dissertation centered on understanding organizational paradox, where she studied how employees experience consistent role conflict that is paradoxical in nature.
The Deep Dive: Choosing a Dissertation Topic
For Ranodda, the dissertation process was not as difficult as she thought it would be. She recommends that doctoral students pick a beloved topic for their dissertation, because lots of time is spent delving into every aspect of it. The deep dive into a familiar topic and then discovering there is so much more to know is exciting and overwhelming at the same time, she says. Fortunately she chose the right topic for her dissertation, because she is still highly motivated to continue the work that she started. Currently, she teaches in the Business Administration Management (BAM), Masters of Leadership (MAL), and the Educational Adult Leadership (EAD) programs. Ranodda has also taught in Mexico, and recently she taught at the Vietnam Banking Academy, a CityU partner.
When You Know Better, Do Better
At the end of a training or course, Ranodda shares this credo from Maya Angelou with her students, and tries to embody it herself: “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” We are delighted to have Ranodda as part of the faculty team in the School of Applied Leadership. Thank you for the role you play in SAL, in SOM and at CityU!