Biography of Dorothy Stubblebine, Secretary
It didn’t matter growing up where Dorothy Stubblebine was living – and she split her childhood between Philadelphia’s Cobbs Creek neighborhood and South Jersey farmland – because people always sought her advice.
“I was always the one my friends came to when they had a problem,” she said. “My mom used to call me Dear Abby.”
That gift led Stubblebine into an executive coaching career, including the past dozen years as managing principal of DJS Associates, where she frequently works with “stuck” executives or those taking on a new role.
But Stubblebine didn’t follow a traditional path to business success.
The oldest of four children, Stubblebine didn’t initially attend college because her father believed women in that era had no need to be college educated. Instead, Stubblebine got married and began raising her first two children. But the itch for higher education was strong so, while in her 30s, she enrolled at Rowan University and completed her degree.
After graduating, Stubblebine’s first job was a personnel rep position at K-Tron International, a company that provides process automation systems and other services related to bulk material handling. Then it was off to Elkins-Sinn, Inc., a small, generic injectable pharma manufacturer.
From there, Stubblebine landed at Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, spending almost 20 years as vice president of human resources. When the company sold her division in 2000, it was time to hang her own shingle.
Her business today is split between executive coaching, organizational development and working with New Jersey companies to keep them in the state through the N.J. Manufacturing Extension Program. She also does adjunct work for Career Concepts, International.
Stubblebine’s business caters to her strengths.
“I like to solve problems,” she said, noting that many people approach problems in the same way, which can lead them into a rut. “They don’t seem to see different ways of solving a problem. I really like helping people see the possibilities.”
That said, Stubblebine is careful that clients reach decisions on their own.
“You have to be careful with coaching because it’s not therapy – you’re not treating anyone,” she said. “I can’t solve it for them. They have to come up with it themselves.”
Family businesses present interesting challenges, which Stubblebine tackles as a coach at The Family Business Institute at Rutgers School of Business – Camden.
In one instance, Stubblebine worked with a small manufacturing company where the owner was looking to transition out and make his son the president. Stubblebine coached both men, but soon realized the father didn’t want to get out of the business. She ended her coaching of the father, but continued preparing the son. Two years later, the father realized the son was ready for the job and the transition occurred.
“A lot of people don’t trust anyone else to do the work,” she said, indicating that a common outcome of her coaching is that business owners, who regularly take on too many tasks, open themselves to sharing the load.
Stubblebine has certainly shared the load since joining GPSEG several years ago. At her first meeting, she sat next to former Chairman Dwayne Patterson, who soon convinced her to serve as a screener for potential new members. Eighteen months later, she was co-chair of the Membership Committee and six months after that was chair.
And earlier this year, she was elected to the GPSEG Board of Directors.
“With GPSEG, it’s all about giving,” she said. “I have coffee with more people than I can count. It’s just a matter of giving back … GPSEG has that mantra.”
When she’s not working or involved with GPSEG, Stubblebine rarely rests.
Rowan University’s remained an important part of Stubblebine’s life, including stints as president of its Alumni Association and vice chair of its Business Advisory Board. She also helped in the late 1990s to recruit the university’s dean of the William G. Rohrer College of Business.
Stubblebine and her husband, Michael, have four children and 11 grandchildren, who keep them busy when they’re not sharing their love of cooking. She’s an avid ballet fan and a supporter of another kind of ballet – the Philadelphia Phillies.
And Stubblebine counts her time performing with the Cathedral Singers of Camden as a highlight of her life. That group performed in Paris, Italy, Poland and the Czech Republic.
Other board positions include the Gloucester County Red Cross, SODAT of New Jersey, Inc. and her church’s administrative board.