Shipp joined the Boettcher Counseling Center in January, where she works in the same office she had in 1985, when she had just completed her Ph.D. in counseling psychology. She currently is a part-time counselor at the center, as well as the founder of a leadership consulting business, PL Shipp & Associates. The tagline on her website, “Leadership and Service,” is indicative of the direction Shipp’s life has taken.
“You can’t separate the two. Part of my job is to serve,” she says.
Shipp has a legacy of leadership and service. After graduating from CC with a degree in political science, Shipp earned a master’s degree in counseling from George Washington University, then served as a counselor and administrator in Colorado Springs School District 11 for 15 years. “I found I wanted to spend more time with the kids, and I couldn’t do that. I was restricted by time and the calendar.” So she returned to school to earn her Ph.D. from the University of Denver. Upon completing her doctorate, she served as a counselor at CC, opened a private practice, and started working at the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL). “Juggling three jobs became too wild, so I left CC to concentrate on my practice and CCL,” she said.
Her private practice focused on adolescents and their families, while at the Center for Creative Leadership she led executive training and development courses and managed their nonprofit programs. The two positions were not as disparate as they might seem. “I’m a cognitive behaviorist; I believe thoughts drive behavior,” Shipp said. “In both cases, I worked at getting at the root cause of who you are, in order to help that person on their journey, to be the best they could be.”
Shipp ran her private practice for 15 years, in some cases seeing former District 11 students who came to her with their own children.
In 2007 she started PL Shipp & Associates, an executive coaching and leadership consulting business, based in Colorado Springs.
Working with students was a primary reason she was eager to return to CC, and in many ways, her life has come full circle. She was a student at CC in the ‘60s, dealing with questions of identity, relationships, and adjustment issues. Today, she counsels CC students with the same concerns. “It is rewarding to connect with them. I just want them to recognize who they are and maximize their potential. These students have so much to offer.
“I am passionate about connecting with people,” she says. That connection, especially with friends from the class of 1969, has intensified over the years. Shipp gathers with about 15 friends and Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority sisters each year. “People might have to miss one gathering, but no one ever misses two years in a row,” she says. “We’ve become even closer now that we have some age on us. These are unconditional friends, people who knew me before I was ‘Dr. Shipp this, and Dr. Shipp that.’ These are very strong CC connections.”