Intentionally Changing the World: Dr. Hammond, a Woman Who Does


It’s easy to think too much, but if you only think about something, it isn’t going to happen.

“Intentionality” is an important word in Dr. Rachel Hammond’s vocabulary. “It’s easy to think too much, but if you only think about something, it isn’t going to happen,” she told me when I asked for her best piece of advice.

Dr. Hammond practices intentionality every day of what she calls her “triple-booked” life.  In addition to being the chair of the Business Division at Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids, Michigan, she is also a full-time professor and presenter who has written multiple articles for business publications. While working at the university full-time, she recently finished her Doctorate degree. She leads a women’s development group for students, faculty and staff on campus and is the faculty advisor for a student entrepreneurship group through Enactus. In addition, she advocates for the Dressember Foundation, is active in her church and finds time to participate in urban adventure races, (scavenger hunts with an intense athletic component). And if all of that weren’t enough, she is a devoted mother of three!

In spite of her busy schedule, Dr. Hammond made time to speak with me about her work and her passion for making the world a better place.  

Dr. Hammond began her studies in communications, but soon discovered a love for management, as it combined both the theory and practice of how people interact, and also incorporated a psychological component. “If you’re working with a group of people, you need to figure out who they are as individuals and motivate them to see [the same] vision and want to work toward it,” Dr. Hammond told me.

Enactus, a worldwide organization dedicated to community improvement, allows her to help students tap into the power of those different facets of management to create projects that identify needs and implement solutions for specific problems. Every fall, for example, the campus hosts an International Artisan Market where nonprofits and artisans are brought together and given an opportunity to sell their work and share the stories of their organizations. “It’s a way we’re helping create sustainable incomes for artisans around the world,” she told me.

As a woman in the business field, Dr. Hammond considers herself fortunate that she has never felt unsafe, but there have been times when she has had to work harder than her male counterparts to earn respect. She credits a former female supervisor with helping instill in her the confidence to push against the institutional structures that make it difficult for women to achieve the same level of success as their male coworkers.  

The women’s development group gives Dr. Hammond a chance to pay that mentorship forward. It developed after she heard Sheryl Sandberg speak about her book, Lean In. Lean In circles were being launched around the country and she wanted to be a part of that movement. “One of my colleagues and I decided we wanted to get one of these groups going on campus to help support females and give them a place to talk about their personal development and to be a positive place for us to learn together.”


Dr. Hammond strives to teach young women to have the confidence to see themselves as influencers in the world. “Sometimes, it’s simply a matter of finding places where skill and opportunity intersect and pushing into those opportunities. I always like to say to the women who go through our program that whatever your career path looks like, it’s not going to be a straight line.”

Her journey as a Dressember advocate has been an extension of her commitment to the empowerment of women. “Everyone should have the opportunity to live a life where they’re able to make their own choices.”

Her team of students and coworkers raised $2,792 for the foundation in 2017.

“I’ve really enjoyed being a part of Dressember. It’s been a way for me to connect to something bigger. My daughter, who is a freshman in high school, has already decided she’s going to do Dressember with me this year, so I’m really excited about sharing that with her.”

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Dr. Hammond realizes it’s easy to get overwhelmed when faced with the world’s problems. Her advice to individuals looking to make a difference in the world is to focus on their own spheres of influence first. “Often, we forget making a difference in one person’s life, or raising $25 for Dressember, or talking to someone who didn’t know human trafficking existed in Grand Rapids, Michigan, is making a difference.”

Dr. Hammond’s passion is contagious, and I left our conversation feeling inspired to put intentionality into action in my own life. Thank you Dressember Advocate Jory Grooters, for nominating your friend Dr. Hammond, an amazing Woman Who Does!


It is not too late to be a part of the impact!

Right now, thousands of people around the world are taking on the creative challenge of wearing a dress or tie in the month of December. The reason? To bring freedom to the 40+ million around the world still trapped in slavery. Your donation or participation in Dressember 2018 is part of a movement to end human trafficking for good.

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About the Author

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Jeanette Bouchie is an adult services librarian at the Vigo County Public Library, where she has worked for 18 years. She is also a freelance writer and is thrilled to have the opportunity to work with Dressember to increase awareness of human trafficking. She also enjoys reading, tap dancing, traveling, getting dressed up and attending the occasional comic con.