Dr. Bekele Shanko

Founder and Chairman of the Board of Reference, Professor

Dr. Bekele Shanko has a B.Sc. degree in Statistics & Mathematics from Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia, a M.A. degree in Organizational Leadership from Azusa Pacific University in California, and a Doctorate of Transformational Leadership from Bakke Graduate University. Dr. Shanko’s doctoral thesis, Emerging Leaders Initiative (ELI): A Manual for Developing Transformational Leaders in the Ethiopian Context, was used to lay a strong foundation for establishing GATL.

Dr. Shanko has worked with the Ethiopian government for five years and held various leadership positions with Cru, a global missionary organization, since 1993. These include national director for Ethiopia for five years, regional director for 23 countries in southern and eastern Africa for 11 years, and global vice president since 2010. In addition to founding GATL, Dr. Shanko has also pioneered the establishment of Global Alliance for Church Multiplication (GACX). Intentional development of emerging leaders is one of the strongest passions of Dr. Shanko.

Dr. Michael Whyte

Chief Executive Officer, Professor

Michael M. Whyte is the Provost Emeritus and a Professor at Azusa Pacific University.  As Provost from 2002 to 2010, Michael led six schools, one college, and 400 fulltime and 700 adjunct faculty. He supervised enrollment management, academic services, and seven regional campuses.  Michael now teaches in APU’s leadership department, the MBA program, and in doctoral studies.  With over 15 years of accreditation experience, he has also served as a Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Commissioner.  He holds a B.S. in International Affairs/American Politics from the USAF Academy and a M.S. and Ph.D. in Education from the University of Southern California.  Michael was Senior Associate Professor at the USAF Academy, a National Defense Fellow and Visiting Professor at Howard University, and a Professor at Northern Arizona University.  Michael and his wife, Robin, have been married for 40 years and have three children and six grandchildren.

Prof. Rev. Mike Wicker, Ph.D.

Chief Academic Officer, Professor

Based on his research on transformational leadership in the African context, Prof. Mike Wicker believes change happens from the inside out. Mike holds a Ph.D. in Educational and Organizational Leadership and Master’s degree in Community and Regional Planning from the University of New Mexico, USA. Wicker worked as a missionary civil engineer, team leader, college lecturer, national coordinator, and academic dean in southern Africa. With over 35 years as a missionary with Cru – Campus Crusade for Christ International across the African continent, Wicker currently serves as an Associate Professor for the International Leadership University in Burundi, Cameroon, DRC, Kenya, Nigeria and Zimbabwe. In addition, he serves as the Director of Education and Communication for the International Leadership Foundation. Since his African name given to him is “Tsepo”, meaning “Hope,” Wicker’s calling is to bring hope and spiritual encouragement to those around him. He is married and has three children and one grandchild.