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Dr. Dionna in the Community



July 2013


As if getting kidnapped as a baby was not enough to ruin me, growing up poor in Washington, DC and living in a home where I didn’t know when the electricity or water would be turned on to be off again, was like the end of the world! I even thought when me and my siblings were forced to live in a car because no one wanted to take all of us in at one time, was enough to shut down any goals I had to succeed in life. I began to have some hope that I could actually make it out when a family friend took my family in but when I had to sleep on a cold floor while several mice circled my body as if I was a murder victim in a chalk outline; my hope of surviving was crushed!

The bullying started in school and I had no reason to live but the innocence of my siblings encouraged me to believe in my abilities. As the oldest of eight, I felt a duty to protect my mother and siblings by suffering through whatever pain came my way. It was around this time in my life that I begin to learn who God was and what he could do for my life, so I began to pray for change. I realized that I was making a sacrifice that was far too big for a young girl. I learned just how bad the hand I was dealt in life was when my uncle decided to get in bed with me. Never did I think this man would introduce me to things that were beyond my understanding for the next four to five years of my life. When I was punched in the face by my first love, I thought I deserved it! I had no idea I was a victim of physical and sexual abuse. The older I got, the harder life became because I was afraid to share what was going on with me in fear that my siblings would see I failed. I was always told I was a good sister so I did what it took to maintain that expectation although it caused me so much turmoil in my life.

It took me hearing the word molestation from someone in graduate school before I realized what happened to me was a crime. That is when I learned to accept my failed experiences and embrace my voice to help others! Although I was robbed of my innocence, I’m happy to report that I am a healthy and successful woman that has conquered a fourth of what God has planned for me. I am now a true believer in Christ, a psychologist, life coach, business owner of Energetic Life Coaching, LLC, author of two books, a professor, motivational speaker, mother and wife.

Failed experiences are meant to force us to work harder and get more! Failing is the beginning of learning how to succeed in life. I finally believed in my ability to change not the world but my world and in result it would help others change their world! Once I understood that, I realized I had to go through all those things in order to be the powerful woman I am today and now I make a living showing others how to BE THEIR OWN LIFE COACH!

Remember everyone goes through some turmoil in life! We cannot go through nothing and in return expect something! We have to go through something in life to get more than nothing out of life!

Written by Dr. Dionna Hancock-Johnson


Front Line Pic

Spotlights – Spring Edition – May 2013


Faculty Spotlight on Dr. Dionna Hancock-Johnson: On a Mission to Conquer and Help

Hello phenomenal; meet Dr. Dionna Hancock-Johnson! She is a doctor, wife, mother, certified life coach, motivational speaker, professor, scholar, community activist, founder, and author extraordinaire, all by the tender age of 33. She is on a mission to conquer and help! She has dedicated her life to helping those who are not self-motivated and energized about making a new start in their life. She gives her clients the support they need to help create a personalized action plan for their personal situations; she gives them a purpose!

Her passion in life is working with young women and men, helping them find their purpose in life. In 2010, Dionna founded Energetic Life Coaching (ELC), LLC. She is in the process of building her second company, Dr. Dionna Hancock-Johnson International, LLC. Both companies offer several life coaching programs for individuals from all walks of life. She is also a motivational speaker and has presented at speaking various speaking engagements on topics related to blended families, motivation, molestation, abuse, building positive energy, and making difficult life decisions. She is currently volunteering her time as a life skills counselor at Pasadena Recovery Center, where she runs her own life skills group once a week.

Dionna also reaches out to help a wider audience with several publications. Her first children’s series, “Where did my half-brother come from?” is designed to help children ages 4-8 in blended families embrace their half-siblings when they are introduced to their family through a difficult parenting situation and or live outside of the home due to divorce or separation. Dionna has also published her first self-help title and second book, “Be Your Own Life Coach: How to Life Coach Yourself Into What You Want,” which is designed to help readers understand their purpose in life, what they want out of life, and strategies to start reaching their goals.

“That would be enough for most people, but there is much more to the life of this doctor!” said Dionna, who has always been a lifelong learner and high achiever. She is currently an associate professor here at APUS, teaching child and family development courses, and previously instructed at Iowa State University. She earned her B.A. from the University of Oregon in psychology and sociology, a M.S. from Iowa State University in human development and family studies with a specialization in family studies, and a Doctorate of Education (EdD) in Counseling Psychology with a concentration in Counselor Education and Supervision. She has also gained additional certification as a Life Strategies Coach (LSC) in Rancho Santa Margarita, CA.

Dionna is a Washington, D.C. native, though she recently relocated back to the sunny hills of California to build up her empire. She is married to the love of her life and, together, they have a seven year old son. They enjoy trying new family activities together in the Los Angeles area and hanging out with their Maltipoo, Skippy.

We say bravo to Dionna for all of her hard work and dedication inside the classroom and out!

Contributed by Jennifer Souza

Dr. Dionna Current and Previous Community Involvement

Life Coach, Psychologist, Author and Motivational Speaker

As a life coach, psychologist, author and motivational speaker, I am currently spreading awareness about my services and books through various paid speaking engagements, book talks and book signings all across Los Angeles.

In addition, If available I also provide very minimum pro bono speaking services to some organizations across the Los Angeles area teaching individuals how to become their own life coach.  

Pasadena, CA

Pasadena Recovery Center

As a life coach and psychologist, I volunteered counseling and life coaching services to clients from all over the US who come to PRC to get help with overcoming their drug and alcohol addiction. In addition, for almost a year I was appointed to run the first Life Skills Group Sessions ever offered at PRC – once a week.

Los Angeles, CA

Los Angeles Mission

As a life coach and psychologist, I volunteered & teamed up with Monday Night Mission and a few friends to feed the homeless warm Spaghetti, PB & J sandwiches, water and other necessities on LA’s Skid Row.

Miami, FL

Life Coach, Author and Motivational Speaker

As a life coach, author and motivational speaker, I volunteered my time spreading awareness through various speaking engagements, children book talks, and classroom readings to Elementary School Children, the YMCA programs, juvenile delinquents, pregnant teens, first-time mothers, and blended families all across the Miami-Dade County.

Charles Town, WV

APUS Admissions Department Compendium Newsletter

As a monthly contributor to the Volume I 2011 Series, I volunteered as a writer and maintained a column titled “Life As We Know It” where I discuss various topics on how having negative peers can affect your future goals; how to determine what life means to you; how hard it can be to figure life out without a clear vision; how to take the next step in life to fulfill your life long desires; how to accept changes that comes along with making a decision; and how change can come along and catch you from the blindside but it’s important to be prepared.

Manassas, VA

APUS Career Stimulus Program (CSP) Scholarship Committee

As a committee member, I volunteered 2 months of services reviewing over 200 essays from adult learners who were interested in attending American Public University System (APUS)/American Military University (AMU). Potential students were selected based on specific criteria’s that could demonstrate their financial need, drive and determination to succeed.

San Diego, CA

American Diabetes Association

As the prize sub-committee chair member, I volunteered 3 hrs a month in preparing prizes for our Walk for Diabetes Kickoff Event in August of 2007 and Walk Event in November of 2007. Position was from June 07 to November 07. Also hosted the Walk for Diabetes Pancake Breakfast at the San Diego Firehouse Museum in the summer of 2007.

County of San Diego Depart of Housing and Community Development

I volunteered as a member of the Housing Authority Resident Advisory Board where as a team we discussed proposed changes to the Section 8 and Public Housing Programs and the annual and five-year PHA Plans. The Board meets two times a year.


Iowa State University Master’s Student (Ames, IA)

Proctoring Exams

I have gained experience as a proctor for several large university classes during their finals.

Youth and Shelter Services

I have gained therapeutic volunteer experience as a sit-in student from ISU for a chemical dependency group one night a week for two hours and a troubled youth group for an hour and an half one night a week.

Faculty Forums

I have gained experience in learning how to facilitate and maintain a proper classroom, how to provide an exciting learning environment for your students by attending several faculty workshops on the Iowa State Campus.

Dean of Graduate Students Retreat

I have gained experience attending this retreat to help enrich the undergraduate students in making choices for their future, and also to help them accomplish a final goal to help all students get the assistant they need when we see them in our daily environments.

Howard University Master’s Student (Washington, DC)

The Learning Academy

I have gained experience doing a part-time job as a Group Facilitator at the Learning Academy. The Learning Academy is a program sponsored by Howard University that is directed towards working with troubled youth. The academy provides a safe environment for the youth to attend to after school. The group facilitators’ job is to monitor the students homework assignments, have class workshops on managing their money, help them to prioritize their personal and professional career goals, administer “The Wonderlic Math and Reading Test” this is used to assess the students academic achievement levels), provide work activities, role-playing for future job interviews, and help them with their college applications if provided by the students.


University of Oregon (Eugene, OR)

Department of Youth Services

I have gained experience doing volunteer work at the youth services for several months. My job was to counsel at risk youth all across the Lane County for two hours.

Psychology Peer Advising

I was an advisor in the Department of Psychology Peer Advising during my senior year. My job was to help students with their current and future class scheduling, grade changes and answer campus related questions, help relieve their anxiety about being on campus, as well as their daily class stress.

Crisis Intervention

I was a volunteer, and in the past have gained practicum for the campus crisis hotline. My job was to help students cope with campus trauma and stress situations, when they call the hotline. The program offer services beyond the university body. I have worked with people who were coping with homosexuality, date rape, drug and alcoholic addiction, homelessness, unwanted pregnancies, loss of jobs, and suicidal thoughts.

Black Student Union (BSU)

I was a member of the BSU for three years. It is a traditional place that has helped the black students get to know each other at the University of Oregon. The BSU has helped me to feel comfortable as a black student to come together with other black students in planning events, placing meetings, discussions, and to also study and do homework as well as gain everlasting friendships.

Oregon Gospel Ensemble

I was a member of the Gospel Ensemble for three years, which represents as one of the best choirs on campus. The choir class was a place for me to come and sing after a hard day of school and work. Our job as a choir has been to reach out to the community by singing gospel for the Senior Citizens Home, the City of Eugene News, and for a large number of Campus Events.

Black Woman of Achievement (BWA)

I was a member of the Black Women of Achievement for three years. Before I became Co-director, I was apart of a program that helped black women to come to meetings and enjoy being around other black women. My job as a co-director was to help black women feel comfortable about their surroundings and about being a black woman at the University of Oregon. Along with the other director, we held fundraisers and, outings, and social gatherings that helped the black women get to know one another.

Women of Color Outreach Program

I was a spokeswoman and a member of this program for two years. As a native of Washington, DC, I was chosen to speak on a panel about my “Family Traditions.” The program has helped me to come in contact with other minority women and to feel confident about who I was as a black student and a minority woman on the University of Oregon campus.

Iowa State University Undergraduate Student Exchange (Ames, IA)

Black Student Alliance (BSA)

During my one year as an exchanged student, I became a member of this program for only one year. The program helped me come together with other black students on outings, gatherings, socials, and nominations. BSA was a way for all the black students to get to know each other at the Iowa State University Campus.

New Beginnings Gospel Choir

I was a member of this program for a year. The Gospel Choir was a volunteer program at ISU. The program helped me to connect with other ISU students in learning more about God, through singing Gospel. As a choir we have done a numerous of events throughout the ISU campus, and the City of Ames. The choir’s most popular annual event was “Harumbaah” which is celebrated during the Christmas/Kwaanza Season.