Interim Athletic Director for the University of Minnesota, Beth Goetz, shared the sideline recently with U of M President Eric Kaler.

Interim Athletic Director for the University of Minnesota, Beth Goetz, shared the sideline recently with U of M President Eric Kaler.

The phrase “in the spotlight” comes from the early days of indoor theatre, when a solo actor performed alone at center stage in a perfectly round circle of light. The speaker at the Good Leadership Breakfast this Friday is University of Minnesota Interim Athletic Director Beth Goetz – who was thrust into spotlight last fall. Tickets are sold out, but if you want to be on the waiting list, register here.

Instant pressure to perform

Good Leadership Breakfast Speaker - Beth GoetzIn August of 2015, Beth found herself in the spotlight when her boss resigned suddenly because of self-reported inappropriate behavior. And the spotlight got hotter when high-profile Gophers head football coach, Jerry Kill, resigned due to health complications just four weeks later. Beth admits she is more comfortable behind the scenes…but she is performing in the spotlight with grace and dignity as the story plays itself out on the evening news.

Anyone watching Gopher Athletics closely may ask if the whole program is built on shaky values. “What keeps me going is my core belief that we can be successful doing things the right way, for the right reasons,” Beth said with confidence. “As the interim leader, I can influence the success of our program by operating with transparency and making sure we are doing the right things.”


A lifetime of preparation

Beth Goetz is a calming voice of reason with Minnesota Gopher fans expect the program to rise again.

Beth Goetz is a calming voice with Minnesota Gopher fans, who expect the program to rise again.

Beth grew up in a strong family as the oldest of four girls. “I was the prototypical oldest child – very independent and competitive, but also a caretaker,” she explains. Her identity was shaped as a hardworking, multi-sport athlete in high school and college. “I was never the best athlete on my teams, but I was a captain because I could stay positive and steady under pressure – and the girls would follow me.”

A coaching mentor helped her learn that she could stay positive by choosing who she allowed to influence her thinking. “I love the idea that we shouldn’t let people live rent-free in our head,” she explained. “I’ve learned to shut out the negative people and stay focused on what I can control – that’s a real key for my leadership.”

Hard work

_U5Y3348Perhaps it was the early work ethic that prepared her for the pressure-cooker role she has today. “Looking back, I’ve always taken great pride in working hard,” she recalls. “Ever since my first job working for Domino’s Pizza when I was 14 years old, I’ve always been working. I didn’t want to ask for money…and I discovered I like to work!” she smiled.

That’s a good thing, because a job in the Athletic Department of a university is 24/7. “There is always something with student athletes that needs our attention,” she explained. And with dozens of sports to monitor, she gets to watch one of the Gopher teams compete nearly every day of the year. “It’s a great job for me, because freely I get to watch all kinds of sports that most people pay a lot of money to see,” she shared.

Good leaders stay focused on doing what’s right when thrust into the spotlight. And they rely on a lifetime of preparation to stay positive.

Please share with me: When were you thrust into the spotlight, and how did you perform?