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University of Phoenix alumna Jennifer Goddard named Chief Executive Officer of YWCA Charleston

By Sharla Hooper

Goddard steps into the leadership role following an extensive nationwide search

University of Phoenix is pleased to announce that alumna Jennifer Goddard has been named Chief Executive officer (CEO) of the YWCA in Charleston, West Virginia, following former CEO Debby Weinstein’s retirement earlier this year. Goddard, who earned her Master of Arts in Organizational Management in 2004 through the University of Phoenix while working full-time, was unanimously selected by the YWCA Board after an extensive nationwide search. As CEO, Goddard will help establish the vision for the organization and lead the YWCA through opportunities and challenges in the Charleston community.

“I strongly believe that my University of Phoenix degree program enhanced the skills and knowledge to get where I am today,” Goddard states. “It helped prepare me for a leadership role because the coursework was meaningful and relevant to my career, and I met some great people along the way who helped build my confidence. Learning in an online environment was a fantastic experience and really fit my needs as a working adult.”

Goddard began working for the YWCA Charleston in 2016, serving as the organization’s chief program officer. In that capacity, she worked with program directors and stakeholders to promote the YWCA’s mission of eliminating racism and empowering women while delivering critical support services to women and children throughout a three-county region. The YWCA Charleston has programs dedicated to child development, supporting victims of domestic violence, services for those experiencing homelessness, fostering racial equity and inclusion and housing for elderly abuse victims.

“I’m incredibly proud of our University of Phoenix alumni,” states John Woods, Ph.D., provost and chief academic officer. “Jennifer’s accomplishments, and the accomplishments of so many of our graduates, speak to the University’s mission of improving lives through higher education,” shares Woods. “It is fantastic to see Jennifer’s hard work and perseverance pave the way for a leadership opportunity and position her to make a positive impact in her community.”  

Goddard earned her master’s degree from the University of Phoenix in 2004 and chose the University at the time because it offered her the flexibility of online schooling while working full time. She says she believes the flexibility and pace of the program was critical to her success: “At the time I was working a demanding and travel-heavy job and needed to fit my classes in when I could,” Goddard shares, “and sometimes that meant logging on at five o’clock in the morning. As difficult as that was, I had my cohort there to encourage me and knowing that some of my fellow students were also working jobs and pursuing their dreams made me realize I wasn’t alone. I am so glad I got the opportunity to push myself out of my comfort zone - and it absolutely paid off.”

University of Phoenix online master's business degrees feature advanced business and leadership concepts that can apply to a variety of fields with roles in business administration, management, and health. Courses are taught by faculty with an average of 28 years of industry experience and students may qualify for admission to a competency-based degree that may help them reach graduation faster and for less money. Traditional courses are six weeks long with up to 17 course start dates during the year that students may begin classes.

About University of Phoenix

University of Phoenix is continually innovating to help working adults enhance their careers in a rapidly changing world. Flexible schedules, relevant courses, interactive learning, and Career Services for Life® help students more effectively pursue career and personal aspirations while balancing their busy lives. For more information, visit