Beth is a Strategic Plan Coordinator for the State Bar of South Dakota, a state organization for attorneys in South Dakota. The State Bar has a mandatory membership for those practicing law in South Dakota. Beth has Bachelor degrees in Criminal Justice and Psychology as well as a Law Degree. She works to implement and manage the strategic plan of the state bar which encompasses benefits, education, public outreach, and governance. Beth oversees volunteers who facilitate moving the strategic plan forward.
Beth didn’t pursue this career– she says the door just kind-of opened for her. After college, Beth was an Educational Leadership Consultant for Alpha Xi Delta, a role that paved the path for her to learn about strategic planning. In her position, she traveled nationwide living out of her suitcase in dorm rooms and even on friends’ sofas. This prepared her for the next step in her career – law school. She applied to four different law schools and was accepted into USD (University of South Dakota), so she decided to come home and start law school.
While in law school, Beth worked as a legal assistant for a local attorney. Upon graduation, she passed the bar exam and applied to the public defender’s office. Unfortunately, she didn’t receive an offer. At that point, she started working for the Disability Rights of South Dakota. After five years, she told her boss she wanted the Grant Director position and also a raise. Good thing she asked because she got both! She had held the Grant Director position for two years, and at the time, one of her friends who served in the Strategic Plan Coordinator role was moving on to become a judge. When the position opened, she applied for it and received an offer!
What Did You Want to be Growing Up
Growing up, Beth wanted to be an astronaut. She was really interested in science and loved learning about the planets, astronomy, and how things were created. She would have also “settled” for just working for NASA.
While she isn’t in space, her childhood dream still plays a role in her career today. Her position merges creativity and analytical thinking, through the application of law, to create and implement changes that improve people’s lives.
Beth was always a good student and involved in EVERYTHING, i.e. sports, speech and debate, and many other school organizations; however, once she started attending law school, she realized she couldn’t do it all and scaled back.
Beth said she would give this advice to young women: “If you are interested in advocacy work, explore working for non-profits. While a law degree is not required, it is helpful. Start exploring, get internships. It’s never too early to job shadow someone you admire. Do not put too much emphasis on any personality or career assessment tests.” The results of Beth’s assessment said she should work in a flower shop. Clearly, her talents extend beyond the tips of roses. So, even though Beth finds career assessments fascinating, she doesn’t place a great deal of credence on their results.