Debby Thomas

Debby Thomas, PhD

Assistant Professor of Management


Office: Hoover 120

Debby Thomas joined George Fox in 2016 as an assistant professor of management. Prior to her arrival, she served as a missionary in Rwanda, Africa starting in 1995. In Rwanda, Thomas started a holistic community development program and started several small businesses. She has also taught elementary and middle school, lead multiple efforts in Rwanda, and is a corporate management trainer. She holds a PhD in organizational leadership (2015), a master's degree in global leadership (2009), and a bachelor's degree in elementary education and international studies (1994).

In her free time she enjoys cooking, taking long walks, nature, and spending quality time with her family. Thomas lives in Newberg with her husband, David, and has four children: Bree, Aren, Gwen and Alandra. 

Professor Thomas Teaches:

  • Leading and Managing People
  • Organizational Behavior
  • Personal and Organizational Effectiveness (MBA)
  • Foundations of Management and Leadership (DBA)


  • PhD, Regent University, Virginia - Organizational Leadership
  • MA, Fuller Theological Seminary,CA - Global Leadership 
  • BA, George Fox University - Elementary Education and International Studies 

Research Interests

  •  Empowering leadership
  •  Empowering leadership in cross-cultural contexts
  •  Women in leadership
  •  Quaker practices and their effects on women leaders historically and in contemporary society
  •  Leadership styles for international development


  • Chappell, S. and Thomas, D. (due for publication 2019, special topic edition) The shadow side of teaching Classroom as Organization (CAO). Journal of Management Education.
  • Thomas, D., Rahschulte, T. (2018). TheModerating Effects of Power Distance and Collectivism on Empowering Leadership and Psychological Empowerment and Self-Leadership in International Development Organizations. International Leadership Journal, 10(3), 3-39.
  • Thomas, D. (2018). Jesus’ Cross-Cultural Model of ‘Leader As Servant’ In Luke 22:24-30. Theology of Leadership Journal1(1), 67-78.
  • Thomas, D. (2014). Comparison of Rwandan and American followership styles. Journal of Leadership Education13(4), 124-135. doi:10.12806/V13/I4/C13
  • Thomas, D. (2014). Learning curve in Rwanda: A long journey of transformation. Evangelical Missions Quarterly50(2), 222-225.
  • Thomas, D. (2014). Daniel as an example of exceptional cross-cultural leadership. Journal of Biblical Perspectives in Leadership6(1), 58–66.
  • Thomas, D. (2014). Love as a replacement for fear in the workplace. Emerging Leadership Journeys7(1), 27–33.


  • Thomas, D. (2018). Empowerment and holistic community development in Rwanda In Thompson, R.J., & Storberg-Walker, J. (Eds.). Leadership and Power in International Development: Navigating the Intersections of Gender, Culture, Context, and Sustainability. London, England: Emerald Publishing.


  • Thomas, D. Panel of authors of book chapters in the book Leadership in International Development.ILA, October 2018.
  • Thomas, D.  and Chappell, S.Experiential workshop on how to teach Classroom as Organization. ILA, October 2018.
  • Chappell, S.and Thomas D. The Golden Shadow of Classroom as Organization. MOBTC, June 2018
  • Thomas, D.  and Chappell, S. Panel presentation on how to teach Classroom as Organization. MOBTC, June 2018.
  • Thomas, D. (2017, June). Giving Voice: How Quaker methods can support women’s voice into organizational decisions. Interactive round table discussion at the ILA Women in Leadership Conference, Rochester, NY.
  • Thomas, D. (2014, October). Comparison of Rwandan and American Followership Styles.Presentation at International Leadership Association (ILA) pre-conference on Followership: San Diego, California.