Publication Date

Spring 2017

Document Type

Project Summary

Degree Name

Doctor of Education



First Advisor

Natalia Ermasova, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Harley Schrink, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Toney Ford, Ph.D.


This phenomenological investigation recruited six female leaders using a convenient sampling method from social media connections and Governors State University’s graduate student distribution email lists to recruit leaders who were once homeless teenage mothers and resided in residential homeless shelters, foster families or without stable living arrangements. The women ranged in ages from 22 to 52. There was no restriction on race, ethnicity, or religion. The study included all women who were once homeless teenage mothers, yet ultimately attained a level of leadership within their chosen profession. Data uploaded into NVivo 11 from surveys and interviews were transcribed and coded using NVivo 11’s software system. The categories and codes collected through this software system were reexamined to see if NVivo 11 software system missed any important words or word phrases. Results indicated that each subject had unresolved issues or missing needs during adolescence. Findings further suggest that despite participants’ initial beliefs, early-fantasized romance did little to fulfill previously unmet needs. Results also indicated that family issues affected participants’ decision to leave home. Four respondents from six participants had experienced the divorce of their parents that initiated self-destructive behavior. Findings further showed that teens had to reach a certain maturity level before realizing their leadership ambitions; the majority of subjects expressed being inspired by their babies to pursue leadership ambitions, with one subject who attributing God as the guiding force in her pathway to leadership.