By Elizabeth Exline
“She’s got a wonderful skill of listening and understanding,” says her friend and colleague Dorothy Arthur. “She’s helped me numerous times to deal with personal issues, always being able to help me see things less emotionally without judgment and offering solid advice.”
Felton exudes calm assurance, a quality that has emerged through experience. She has learned to trust her instincts.
“Every time I ignored that small, still voice, I’ve either kicked myself or regretted it,” Felton says. “Because I know that whenever it pops up, I listen. And look where I am today.”
That instinct was what told her to go back to school in 2000. She came to University of Phoenix (UOPX), but the timing wasn’t right. She was working 60-hour workweeks and her two young children needed whatever time she didn’t spend at work. So, she stepped away from her program, devastated.
But that voice returned in 2013. And she listened, switching from an information technology program to a Bachelor of Science in Business degree with a focus on entrepreneurship, which she successfully completed in 2016. (The program she completed has since been retired.)
“I think it’s fear that holds people back from so many different things … and they don’t even know the fear is driving their decision to do something or not do something,” Felton says. “But I’ll tell you this about me. If I had to talk about fear, I would use it in the sense of, ‘What will happen if I don’t do something versus what will happen if I do?’ … You don’t know what’s going to happen if you do whatever the thing is, but for sure we have ideas of what’s going to happen if you don’t. You have to move forward.”
Stepping away the first time crushed her, largely because Felton is not one to give up on anything, ever. So, when the epiphany came to return to school, she wavered only for a moment before committing.
“Sometimes the second chances do come around,” she says. “But if you don’t recognize it, you could let it pass you by.”
“Her managerial style is what I’ll reference as a rare commodity these days,” explains Ash Watts, a learning and development consultant at Cisco. “She approaches her work in an ‘open state’ and does so as objectively as possible. [She has] open eyes to see the landscape, open ears to actively listen, open hands to help out, an open mind to consider the thoughts of others and, most importantly, an open heart to feel when and where she needs to pivot.”
Felton also has, by all accounts, an impeccable work ethic. Whether she’s researching, mentoring or stepping up to help out, she brings her full self to every endeavor.
“Judith’s work ethic and morals are amazing,” Arthur adds. “She is a very hard worker, extremely thorough, works to do the right thing and does not give up on difficult or challenging projects.”
That explains her current enrollment in the Doctor of Management program at UOPX. Felton didn’t think she’d return to school after her master’s degree, but she realized the doctorate would marry together the disciplines and knowledge gained in her bachelor’s and master’s degrees.