Baccalaureate Speaker

Dr. Michaela O’Neal Farmer

Dr. Michaela O’Neal Farmer, ‘96 headshot

Dr. Michaela O’Neal Farmer (affectionately known as “Shayla”), an esteemed alumna of JCSU, accomplished her Bachelor of Arts in History in 1996. From introducing the Former First Lady of the United States, Barbara Bush, as a 17-year-old, to delivering highly inspirational and engaging messages to congregations and corporate audiences for over 20 years, Dr. Farmer demonstrates her ability to leverage her God-given talents and gifts regardless of the audience.

While a student at JCSU, she held various positions, including Freshman Class President, Choir Director for the R.W. Johnson Gospel Choir, and Johnson C. Smith University Concert Choir member. Additionally, she joined the Gamma Lambda Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. (FL ’93) and was crowned Miss Johnson C. Smith University ’95-‘96.

Her post-JCSU journey began in Kaiserslautern, Germany where she started her professional career as a Field Representative for the University of Maryland Global Campus Europe (formerly UM in Europe) and later with the Department of Defense. These roles not only gave Dr. Farmer a global perspective that she would use throughout her career, but they also laid the foundation for subsequent transitions to government and corporate Human Resources positions upon returning to the USA after spending six years abroad.

Dr. Farmer has honed her HR expertise while holding key roles in renowned companies, including MTI, Inc (now BAE Systems), Northrop Grumman, Savannah River Nuclear Solutions, the primary Department of Energy contractor responsible for producing and protecting our nation’s nuclear material, Textron Corporation, and currently, Kimberly-Clark Corporation, where she serves as the Plant Strategic HR Leader charged with creating a high-performance culture. 

In addition to her secular career, Dr. Farmer has dedicated much of her life to serving in the ministry. She received her call to the ministry during her first year at JCSU and spent 22 years working closely with ministry leadership, touching the lives of many through her compassion, guidance, and spiritual support.

She holds a Master of Public Administration from Bowie State University and a Doctorate in Christian Humanities (Honoris Causa) from the School of the Great Commission Theological Seminary. Dr. Farmer is a Certified Leadership Coach and Consultant focusing on “Intentional Leadership,” owner of Pinpoint Consulting, and the author of “When the Church Preys: Finding the Courage to Walk Away & Trust Again.” Additionally, she is a national member of the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated. 

A native of Fort Washington, Maryland, Dr. Farmer is married to her husband, Terrance, and they are the parents of two young adult sons, Kameron, and Jaden.