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Preparing for Battle: The CJ Phillips Story

Clindon Phillips, a student of Regent University, poses on the Regent campus in Virginia Beach.

Today, the mind of CJ Phillips is army strong, resilient, and focused on the mission. However, when CJ had the desire to further his academic career, he, like many, wrestled with finding the perfect fit for his interests, his professional background, as well as his plans for the future. Fortunately, CJ’s steps were ordered by the Lord, and they brought him to Regent University. Here, CJ found out that the curriculum was challenging, but he was built for it.

Q. Who is CJ Phillips professionally and personally?

A. I am a career soldier—an Army strategist. I enlisted my junior year of High School and served continuously since 1994. Currently, I am the III Armored Corps G5, responsible for approximately 90,000 soldiers. I am also a father and husband; both of these roles I consider my most important.

Q. How did you know that Regent University was a part of your life’s journey?

A. I looked at multiple PhD programs, but when I found the Doctor of Strategic Leadership with a concentration in Strategic Foresight at Regent University, it sounded like a match. 

Q. What school of study are you a part of and what were your expectations about the program?

A. I am a part of the School of Business & Leadership. I was not sure my writing skills were up to the task, but I found that I enjoyed the reading and writing aspects of the program.

Q. How are you able to fit your course work into your existing lifestyle?

A. During my first residency, I was told that there would be times when I would have to choose schoolwork over other activities, but I found that I could do most of my course work by getting up early and devoting every other Saturday to school. This has allowed me to make time for most of the family’s activities.

Clindon "CJ" Phillips, a student of Regent University, with his family.

Q. How has your Regent experience surprised you?

A. It changed the way that I communicate with subordinates and superiors. I am more deliberate now in my leadership.

Q. Tell me about the connections that have been pivotal to your Regent experience?

A. The professors are phenomenal. I know that each one of them cares about my progress and learning.

Q. What have you learned about yourself?

A. I am good at retaining information and responding to questions during live discussions. Dr. Diane Wiater (a course professor) commented on my responses and asked me if I had ever considered teaching.

Q. How do you use what you’ve learned to grow and develop the soldiers that you lead?

A. I now use Northouse Leadership Surveys as a part of my leadership counseling. I start off with a self-assessment and discuss the areas that they want to improve on in the next year. Each quarter, I follow up with another leadership survey that requires others to evaluate their leadership skills. Having the ability to identify different leadership types enables me to be intentional in their development.

Q. How has your relationship with God changed since you’ve been a part of the Regent family?

A. Like many people, my relationship with God has peaks and valleys, but I think it is now stronger because of my Regent experience.

Q. If you could speak to people considering Regent, what would you say?

A. If you want a program that is less about the degree at the end and more about the journey along the way, then this is the program for you. And before you start, have an honest conversation with your family and have everyone commit to you completing the journey. 

Q. Once you graduate, what are your plans for the future?

A. I plan to finish up my doctoral project and studies, and continue to serve the Army with my best. My time in the Army is ending sooner rather than later, and my wife said I cannot retire until I have planned for what’s next. Therefore, I am exploring the possibility of teaching or a leadership position at a university. I still have a lot of coaching, teaching, and mentoring to offer.

Q. What scripture has been a beacon of light as you walk out your Regent journey?

A. “The joy of the Lord is my strength.” Nehemiah 8:10

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