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Dr. Tabitha Anderson, In Service for Justice

The Virginia Beach Courthouse
The Virginia Beach Courthouse.

Dr. Tabitha Anderson works as a champion for justice as Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney with the City of Virginia Beach. She chose to strengthen her insight and increase her value by earning two post-graduate degrees from Regent University, a Juris Doctor from the School of Law (2000) and a Doctor of Strategic Leadership (DSL, 2021) from the School of Business and Leadership.

Dr. Anderson’s commitment to truth and fairness fueled a desire to support other prosecuting attorneys who strived for justice, expertise, and service.

Regent University Alumna, Dr. Tabitha Anderson
Dr. Tabitha Anderson

She recalled, “I wanted to use the knowledge and understanding I gained through Regent’s DSL program to create a process that despite being compelled—provides justice, healing, and opportunity.”

Her arduous work and good intentions birthed an innovative training program written to unlock and develop the servant leadership qualities that prosecutors need on the job, every day.

 “The program uses behaviors and competencies of the servant leadership approach and applies them to the multiple, and sometimes competing, duties and responsibilities of a prosecutor,” stated Anderson.

According to her research, the criminal justice system puts great emphasis on providing management training, but very little is geared towards leadership.

“Prosecutors are required to complete extensive yearly ethical and legal training. Yet, leadership development training is not required,” Anderson surmised. “Understanding that they are two different, but important competencies made me focus on the one that was missing.”

“A man’s gift maketh room for him, and bringeth him before great men.” – Proverbs 18:16

Dr. Anderson identified a void in the field of criminal justice and developed a solution to address it. That ingenuity got her noticed by prominent curriculum experts in her field.

Furthermore, the findings from her program’s pilot study generated even more approval—83% of the participants thought that servant leadership was important for prosecutors—while an even more impressive, 100% thought this kind of training was beneficial for both new and seasoned prosecutors.

Dr. Anderson’s program is now scheduled for a “big picture” introduction at Virginia’s state-wide training in the coming months. It will be followed by an in-depth presentation later in the year.

“The training program seeks to refocus prosecution through the lens of leadership,” Dr. Anderson explained. “The idea is that prosecutors are public servants-in-chief, and then leaders.” Robert Greenleaf’s classic teaching was not the leader as servant, but the servant as leader. That idea can get lost in the rush of violent crime, crushing caseloads, multiple stakeholders with contrasting interests, and personal goals.”

Dr. Anderson was also given the opportunity to present her program in the Proceedings of the 2021 Regent Research Roundtables hosted by Regent University’s School of Business & Leadership.

“We are incredibly pleased with Dr. Anderson’s impact on the legal system in Virginia,” stated Dr. Doris Gomez, dean of the School of Business & Leadership. “May many more states

embrace this invaluable education and increase its reach and impact.”

Developing this training has generated unforeseen thrills for Dr. Anderson, but what surprised her the most was how easy it was to develop the project once she got past her own initial reservations.

“At first blush, servant leadership does not sound like a plausible fit for prosecution.” Anderson assessed. “I discarded it at the beginning. However, once I fully understood what servant leadership entails, it made all the sense in the world.”

One of the many lessons that helps to define Dr. Anderson’s work is Regent University’s teaching on servant leadership. Jesus made it clear that the true practice of leadership wasn’t self-seeking or self-serving. Mark 10:44 reads, “…whoever would be first among you must be servant of all.”

“Regent University gave me the educational foundation to do what I am doing and the courage and commitment to do it in a way that serves my community,” affirms Dr. Anderson.

Dr. Anderson is excited about what is ahead for her and her program.  However, that hope inspires her to look back through her Regent experience with gratitude for the educators and leadership that encouraged her towards even greater success. 

She will always remember the powerful example set by Dr. Diane Wiater, the insight and time shared by Dr. Kathleen Patterson, and the generous enthusiasm and unwavering support from Dr. Doris Gomez. Seeing the beauty of servant leadership in action helped her find her purpose, as she continues to point others in the direction of service.   

“If you not only want a degree, but also a creative process that challenges you to actually make a positive difference in the lives of others, Regent is the place to do it,” suggested Dr. Anderson.

As the hands and feet of Christ, Regent University is committed to raising up Christian leadership to change the world. Dr. Anderson has made this her mission; one that keeps her devoted to the task of being more for the sake of others.

Dr. Tabitha Anderson concluded, “We should never stop learning or creating something new. If you love what you do and the people you do it with and for, then you will never stop trying to make things better.”  

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