Former Police Sergeant
Fulfills Dream to Motivate Others

Written by Judy Tierney

Every once in a while the stars align, and along with support from the right people and lots of hard work, things fall into place. That’s how it worked out for Jim DeLung, PhD, Business Administration with a specialization in Organizational Leadership. A retired sergeant from the Phoenix Police Department, DeLung found his passion early on. He honed his skills with great mentors and spent his extra hours and weekends pursuing his dream to become a motivational public speaker.

Jim DeLung (PhD, Business Administration, President & CEO of DeLung International)

Jim DeLung

DeLung kick-started his dream and today runs his own leadership development firm, DeLung International, composed of nearly 30 consultants who help companies across the United States and Canada achieve their missions and goals. He credits his 20 years in law enforcement, coupled with what he learned in the PhD program at NCU, for his success. “Surrounding myself with good leaders and mentors helped me understand what it means to be a servant leader. In addition, my NCU PhD education as a professional researcher helped me learn what it means to build an organizational culture.”

DeLung cut his teeth on public speaking early in his career when he was personally selected by Stephen Hennessy, curriculum director for the Phoenix Police Department, to be part of their advanced training team for race, culture and ethnicity. “He saw something in me when I was younger,” recalls DeLung. “I got the bug and loved everything about it, from being face-to-face with a large crowd, all the way down to the lunch conversations where you really delve down and lend your experience and education to people.”

“As a police officer, you are often with people during some of the worst times in their lives.”

Jim DeLung, PhD

While much of his time with the force was spent in administration, working on the streets and actively participating on committees with community stakeholders, the experience instilled in him a humility and understanding of different personalities that DeLung has carried with him over the years. “As a police officer, you are often with people during some of the worst times in their lives,” he explains. “That maturation process, where I learned everything from politics to compassion, continues to help me reach people in a way that creates a feeling of partnership and assurance.”

Fast-forward 10 years, and DeLung was juggling his police work with a burgeoning part-time consulting business, burning vacation hours and spending his weekends traveling out of state for speaking engagements. He hired consultants with different areas of expertise to complement his own and watched his business grow organically.

“Often you see people as they retire, running from the frustrations of their career,” says DeLung. “As I began making something out of nothing, forming relationships across North America and creating opportunities for others to go out and speak, I realized I was running toward my dream.”

DeLung’s inspiration to add a doctorate to his credentials came from his father, a high school dropout, who entered the military and eventually went on to earn a PhD and become a college professor. DeLung chose NCU for its accreditation and the flexibility of getting his doctorate online. Although he was hesitant to start the program because of the immense amount of time required, DeLung clearly isn’t one to shy away from hard work, so he enrolled and powered through the challenge.

Today DeLung uses his personal experiences, including both the ups and downs, as part of his honest, in-class lessons.

DeLung stresses that the decision to start a doctoral program is not one to be taken lightly and advises people to get their finances in order first and ensure that they have a personal support system. DeLung’s NCU professors and advisers provided the additional support he needed. “I can say without hesitation that my NCU mentors were absolutely top-notch and my dissertation chair, through his constant communication and positive inspiration, is one of the primary reasons I completed the program.”

“Not finishing was not an option for me because that’s not who I am at the core,” DeLung reflects. “I don’t believe it’s possible for me to be the inspiration to people in other organizations if I spend time thinking about quitting.”

Today DeLung uses his personal experiences, including both the ups and downs, as part of his honest, in-class lessons. “It makes me relatable,” he says. “People understand that this was by no means an easy accomplishment.”

In a world where people spend an inordinate amount of time telling others all the things they can't do, DeLung insists on helping people explore the possibilities. He cites a quote by Henry Ford, “If you think you can do a thing or think you can't do a thing, you're right.”

“If you have a dream, wrap yourself around the people and things that are positive in your life, and watch it come true,” he concludes. “It is all about making a commitment to yourself because you can’t get there until you take that first step forward.”