Beth Mickelson has been an assistant for over 20 years in a variety of industries including law, healthcare, environmental services and construction.

beth mickelson leader assistant podcast

In this episode of The Leader Assistant Podcast, Beth shares her story of perseverance and encourages assistants to remain professional no matter the circumstances.


Treat employees like they make a difference and they will.

– Jim Goodnight


beth mickelson leader assistant podcast


Beth Mickelson has been an assistant for over 20 years in a variety of industries including law, healthcare, environmental services and construction.

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Beth Mickelson 0:00
Hello my name is Beth Mickelson and today’s leadership quote is from Jim goodnight. Treat employees like they make a difference and they will

Podcast Intro 0:16
The Leader Assistant Podcast exists to encourage and challenge assistants to become confident game changing leader assistants

Jeremy Burrows 0:30
The Leader Assistant Podcast is brought to you by goody. If you’re starting to think about holiday gifts for your team like I am, goody is a game changer. They have amazing gifts that people will really love including brands that give back to charitable causes. As a longtime executive assistant, I’ve always been nervous about holiday gifting season. But thankfully, goody’s platform lets you send one gift or hundreds at the same time without ever worrying about shipping details. Can I get an amen? With goody your gift recipients provide all their shipping info, and they can even swap out your gift for another option if they prefer. It’s free to start gifting and you can get a $20 credit when you sign up. Oh, and if you mentioned you heard about goody from The Leader Assistant Podcast goody will add an extra $10 credit to your account. Go to to start gifting today. Hey friends, thanks for tuning in to The Leader Assistant Podcast. It’s your host Jeremy Burrows and welcome to episode 192 You can check out the show notes at And today I’m very excited to be speaking with Beth Mickelson. Beth has been an assistant for over 20 years in a variety of industries, including law, health care, environmental services and construction Beth how’s it going?

Beth Mickelson 2:02
And thank you.

Jeremy Burrows 2:04
What part of the world are you in?

Beth Mickelson 2:06
Boise Idaho.

Jeremy Burrows 2:07
Awesome in Are you from there? Or did you transplant to there?

Beth Mickelson 2:12
I have lived around the country in the United States and I moved from Michigan to Idaho six years ago.

Jeremy Burrows 2:19
Nice. Are you were you born in Michigan from Michigan?

Beth Mickelson 2:23
No, I was actually born in Iowa. But I have lived in Wisconsin, Florida. Seattle, Washington, Iowa, Michigan and then Boise, Idaho. So quite credit mix.

Jeremy Burrows 2:36
Yeah. Which is your favorite place to live so far.

Beth Mickelson 2:41
You know, Boise is a great place to live. But Seattle’s beauty is unmatched.

Jeremy Burrows 2:46
COF a little bit about yourself personally. Do you have kids? Do you have cats? Do you have hobbies?

Beth Mickelson 2:51
I have three grown children and I have been married for over 30 years. And I really love to travel.

Jeremy Burrows 2:58
Awesome. Congrats on the over 30 years. That’s amazing.

Unknown Speaker 3:02
Thank you.

Jeremy Burrows 3:04
So tell us a little bit about how you, you know, Rewind a few years and tell us how you got into the assistant world.

Beth Mickelson 3:12
Well, I actually did pursue a degree in secretarial science. That’s what it was named quite a long time ago. And right out of college, I worked for a law firm. And I also worked for a children’s hospital in Michigan. And then in Southeast Michigan. We had moved there and I then pursued a company or it was it was recruited by a company to just come work in their HR department. And it was an environmental company. And they worked around my children’s school schedule. And it was fantastic. And eventually in that company, I became an executive assistant. And I worked for a tremendous vice president who immediately had me work with his executive leadership team and taught me all about environmental health and safety. And truly mentored me and grew me and made me so much more in that field. And I was doing metrics and large projects in permitting. And it was tremendous. But in 2014 The company was sold to a company that was based out of Boise, Idaho. And so I worked remotely for a new VP in Boise, Idaho. In my previous VP walked out the door and he took the payout from the acquisition. So the new VP in Boise, Idaho he would call me every single morning on his way to work and we would do a rundown of the day’s events and decisions that he needed to be that that he needed to make And it was a tremendous opportunity. I was so thankful for it. He could have let me go after the acquisition, but he didn’t. And he would fly me out to Boise, Idaho occasionally to work on projects with his own leadership team, and truly was a mentor as well. And about a year and a half after I started working for him remotely, he was in Boise, I was in Michigan, he recommended me to the president of the company. And I was so grateful for the, and the President did call me. And he said, Beth, I need a new assistant. But there’s only one catch, you have to move to Boise. You can’t stay in Michigan. And so I went home that day and talked to my husband and I said, the President called me today. And he liked me to come work for him. But there’s only one stipulation. We need to move out to Boise. And my husband and I had been married about 25 years at that point. And my husband is tremendous. And he said, Beth, you said yes, right. And I said, Well, I wanted to ask you, and he said birth, you know what, you have moved around for my career for almost 25 years. And this time, I want to do this for you. So he quit his job. And we moved our family out to Boise, Idaho, in 2016. And I started working for the president of this environmental company. And it was transformational. And I learned so much because at that point, I truly sat at the executive leadership team table. And I really felt like I was sitting with subject matter experts, interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary. And they were it was like a mini MBA, sitting at that exec executive leadership team table. I saw so many presentations, I grew so much. It was amazing. There was only one thing though, the president. At first, we didn’t have a great relationship. And it was the first time in my career that it happened. And it became very hurtful. I’m afraid there were some hurtful things said, and I actually reached out to you Jeremy by email, and I just want to counsel, I just had never experienced that before. I’d always been loved everywhere I went, I was in shock. But I just in the end, I decided I was going to stick with this guy. And I was going to give him my very best no matter what. And I was going to make him look good. I was going to speak well with him everywhere. I was going to just make him look fabulous. And after a couple of years, the relationship changed. And he just gave me more and more opportunity. And it was a transformational 180 degree difference truly, in our relationship, I was just so thankful for that transformation. And I mean, in the in this last year, it’s the greatest story ever, because in this last year in February, my company was we had to announce that we were being sold COVID was really, really awful on our company. And we actually put our selves under cost preservation to just protect our financials. We were publicly owned. But yet, our stock price had fallen in half. And therefore we had to announce that we were going to sell. And so I went along with the executive leadership team, we did due diligence for the buyer for three weeks straight we we closed our doors, we went under lockdown, we worked really long days to produce all the due diligence that the buyer requested. We worked with our our advisors in Manhattan to produce all this data. That alone was tremendous. It was a huge experience for me. I have no regrets. But it was terribly sad because by that point, cumulative I had worked for the company for 17 years. And I was totally sold out for that company. And so we announced on February nine, and we could not obviously tell our employees until the day of and I was put in charge of all internal and external communications as far as the coordination was can concerned, we had hired some consultants, but I worked hand in hand with our buyers as far as those communications and issuing the press release, and arranging the webinars and, you know, all the documentation, the the announcement to our employees. So it was just a really great opportunity, but very, very sad to announce to our employees, because we had created a culture of teamwork in our company, and we really believed in linking arms to make that company successful. By that time, we were 3600 employees. So we announced and then I was put on the integration team for communications with the buyer. And then on beginning of May, we officially close the books and we sold in to make a long story short, I was not kept with that company, I was because I worked for the CEO, I was cut. And so my CEO went to bat for me. And he, when he knew that I was going to be cut, he sent out an email to all his fellow presidents in the area and said, I have a great assistant, I’d like to recommend her. But I didn’t know he had sent out that email. And I actually he had given me he had given out my personal email address, but I didn’t know that he had promoted that. And so I started getting a flood of email inquiries from from presidents in the area that wanted to that wanted to interview me. And I’m just looking back at the fact that our relationship has started up poorly, but then it had totally turned around. And now he was recommending me. And he wrote the recommendation letter of the century. And I was just so thankful that, you know, I hadn’t given given up that I had remained faithful. And I learned so much along the way. So anyway, here, I have of the inquiries, I interview with a bunch and I chose a new president whose culture I completely believe in and matched the culture that we had instilled at the company that I just left. And this new president is just, he has totally given me already tremendous opportunity. And I’ve only been there seven weeks. So it has been quite a journey. But I have to say that if there’s one piece of advice is do it just do the right thing. No matter what, I did draw the line in the sand

at times, and I think that that’s important, too, but remaining. Just keeping your dignity and make remaining professional and giving your best no matter what the circumstance. That’s important.

Jeremy Burrows 13:25
Well, Beth, thank you for sharing that. So what let’s talk radical for a minute. What’s maybe, you know, when you reached out to me, and you’re like, this is this is difficult, what do I do? What’s maybe one or two things that helped you persevere and say, you know, what I’m going to stick with, with the situation and, and give it a chance.

Beth Mickelson 13:57
You know, I loved the company so much, I loved my coworkers, there were tremendous colleagues in the company, I felt that that was worth pursuing. I felt I could learn a lot through the experience. I was already learning so much just working for President. So I felt like there was a learning curve that was beneficial to me. And I also felt like, you know, what, anyone who follows me, I want to set a standard to for this position. I felt like I’m not going to leave until I leave well

Unknown Speaker 14:39
that’s yeah.

Jeremy Burrows 14:41
So was there a moment that things kind of shifted and started looking up or or a scenario or anything that you can pinpoint?

Beth Mickelson 14:57
I think that um, I think that he probably noticed that I was faithful no matter what. I think that he even though, you know, our relationship was difficult at times, I think he could see that. I think that I saw an interesting curve. When I made a video about his 15 year career with a company. And I dug everywhere for pictures history, asked his colleagues for his favorite songs, and I surprised him. So, yeah, I created a video about a 15 year history.

Jeremy Burrows 15:48
So it shows that, or you showed him that, you know, you were paying attention and that you valued the journey that he had been through.

Beth Mickelson 15:59
Yeah. And I think, you know, he, he just, he just became the best boss ever. Through it all. And I’m thankful for that.

Jeremy Burrows 16:15
That’s awesome. Well, let’s, let’s talk about a couple of things. I’m looking at your, your story on LinkedIn, and you do a great job of filling in a lot of blanks as far as the different things that you were part of, and the different initiatives that you’re a part of. So, you know, for example, a couple of things that stood out were, you know, says, trained hundreds of employees on software, including senior leadership, give us give us a little bit of insight to that, like, what was the software you were training them on? How did you end up getting into that role, or that position where you were the one training the team on this, that said, software?

Beth Mickelson 17:02
Thank you. So you know, it was such a funny thing. One of the VPS that I worked for, taught me SharePoint, and at first I remember when I was introduced to it, I felt like it was such a different way of thinking. And that was years ago, and I love tech. And so I kind of taught myself a lot of the apps in office 365, not to SharePoint. And I just, I started getting asked about things. And so I just started doing webinars, and it was all different crowds. And then I started building SharePoint portals in the company. And I have, I’ve built so many. And it was just to increase efficiency in our company. It was everything it was internet, it was reporting a multitude of things. And so I really kind of became an expert on that, but also just really a lot of the office 365 apps, and I still love it. And I’m still learning because Microsoft is always rolling things out there. So I’m still learning all the time. But now what’s exciting in this new company, they did not have knowledge of office 365 and SharePoint at all? No, really. Yeah, they had started using teams, but they really didn’t know anything about it. So they are like, so excited that I’m going to be building SharePoint portals for them. And I’m starting the whole webinar life with them in November, in teaching them, and I’m excited to open up the door to them. It’s exciting.

Jeremy Burrows 18:51
What’s one of your maybe use cases for something in office 365, where whether it’s, you know, word or OneNote, or teams or whatever, what’s one of your favorite use cases, for the software that specifically helps you in your role as an assistant, and or maybe that you’ve seen other assistants use it, to help them.

Beth Mickelson 19:19
You know, it’s such a universe, the whole platform, but I would have to say the biggest thing for an assistant is that many people can be in a document at the same time. So you send out a link and everyone gets in there, and everyone works on it at the same time. You’re not passing things around. That’s awesome. In addition, there’s versioning so you can recall a previous version in case something is messed up in life. And so it is just that is probably the single most thing but there are many, many things in the platform that are amazing

Jeremy Burrows 19:59
and had Have you done much? It sounds like you’ve been in the Microsoft environment for a while. Have you done much in the Google? You know, professional environment?

Beth Mickelson 20:10
I wish I had. And I think that you do, Jeremy. So I’d love to get a webinar. But I have watched, of course, I use Gmail. But that’s not the same. I have watched one webinar of the suite there. And I would love to learn that because I’ve heard it’s very similar. And I’ve heard Google is a pretty tough competitor. Yeah.

Jeremy Burrows 20:39
Yeah, well, personally, I’ve been in Google for so long that I don’t even know if I would take a job that would require me to switch to Microsoft, to be honest. But yeah, there’s some similarities to both in their workspace or we’re, you know, Office Suite, software, but I personally like Google, so. Okay, so that there are hundreds, probably 1000s of assistants, actually, that will listen to this conversation. What’s one thing that you’d like to leave with, or encourage, or challenge assistants listening today?

Beth Mickelson 21:25
You know, I have to say that, like, so many have mentioned before me, you are a valued, and you speak at every level of the organization, and you have the ability to change lives and impact others. And I would have to say that no matter what remain the professional, and that are what the circumstance.

Jeremy Burrows 21:55
Awesome, and what would you say, is maybe a key characteristic? Or how would you define what you see and what you what you feel, being professional means, in general for for assistants.

Beth Mickelson 22:14
So, we as assistants proudly deal with a lot of personalities, every single day. And so some people are not at their best, and how you respond reflects your professionalism. So I have a saying I often I say to others, when you’re faced with something that’s a little difficult when someone says something to you, and you feel like responding quickly back, don’t do it. Practice the pause. Think about it before you respond when someone’s not appropriate. So practice the buzz.

Jeremy Burrows 23:02
Love it, practice the pause. Because then be the name of my next book. Or the name of your book that that’s where you need to write a book called practice pause. I love it. Awesome. Well, thank you so much for sharing your story. And again, you know, I put a call out on LinkedIn to say, Hey, does anybody want to be on the show? You sent me a message. And you know, that’s not an easy thing to do. It takes courage and it’s risky to put yourself out there. So I appreciate you and your career and what you’ve done with your executives you’ve worked with and the teams you’ve worked with, and how you’ve led well throughout your journey and thanks for sharing your story.

Beth Mickelson 23:46
Thank you Jeremy for this time.

Unknown Speaker 23:59
Please review on Apple podcasts.

Unknown Speaker 24:08


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