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Davidson Centre for the Professions to get new leader as co-founders retire

Dec. 18. The Davidson Centre for the Professions, which provides disaster relief services and
clergy renewal programs, has named Suzanne Denise Schilling as its new leader effective Jan. 1.

Co-founders George and Gordon Jacobs, the husband-wife team who have provided professional development and renewal programs for ministers and lay leaders since 2003, will fully retire in six months. Both will remain on the board.

Gordon (left) and George Jacobs co-founded the Davidson Centre for the Professions in 2003.


“When Gordon and George approached me with this opportunity, there was a combination of feelings, a mixed cocktail of humbling and exciting—humbled that they had trust and faith to pass the torch and exciting knowing I would be a part of the legacy living on,” said Schilling, who will become director and managing partner.

Schilling will continue the Davidson Centre’s legacy of valuing inclusion of all faith communities. Schilling’s roots in the United Methodist Church will complement the deep ties that George and Gordon Jacobs have in the Presbyterian Church.


Schilling began her association with the Davidson Centre in 2019 as one of several coaches providing leadership and life coaching support to program participants. She holds the International Coaching Federation’s Professional Certified Coach credential (PCC). As the sole proprietor of Suzanne Schilling Coaching LLC, she has journeyed with individuals and groups for more than 25 years.

Suzanne Schilling

Schilling is an active lay member and clergy spouse within the Western North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church. She and her husband, Rick, are relocating from Spruce Pine to Mint Hill, where he will lead Blair Road United Methodist Church.

George and Gordon Jacobs are active in the Presbyterian and Episcopal churches. In 2003 they started what was then called the Davidson Clergy Center with support from relationships they built while George led First Presbyterian Church of Sumter, SC, in the 1980s and 1990s.

The Concord residents envisioned creating a safe and supportive space for clergy to focus on wellbeing. The Davidson Center for the Professions now welcomes clergy and lay leaders from across the country and around the world in a four-day program that promotes spiritual, emotional, intellectual and physical well-being.

The Presbyterian Board of Pensions recently named the Davidson Centre as one of seven organizations worldwide to provide health and wellness programs for clergy. The Davidson Centre has long provided disaster relief for Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, including in Newtown, CT, and several other communities where school shootings occurred.


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