Helping others find their professional 'sweet' spots

Robert Houk • Jan 2, 2019 at 10:48 PM

Bethany H. Flora is beginning the new year with a new job. Flora officially took over the duties of president at Northeast State Community College, Blountville, on Wednesday.

She most recently served as a tenured associate professor at East Tennessee State University in postsecondary and private sector leadership at ETSU’s Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis. Flora joined the ETSU faculty in 2011 after serving four years as assistant provost at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, where she earned her doctorate in educational leadership and policy studies and higher education administration in 2008.

She was appointed president of Northeast State by an unanimous vote of the Tennessee Board of Regents on Nov. 13.

Flora considers herself as a “cat person,” and likes to unwind by doing section hikes on the Appalachian Trail and visiting national parks.

What do you consider your No. 1 priority as the new president of Northeast State?

I have three overarching priorities for Northeast:

1.) Student Success

2.) Excellence in Programs and Services

3.) Organizational Health

Do you have a strategy or philosophy for dealing with difficult situations?

Difficult situations can be helped by saying three simple words — “Tell me more.” Bracket immediate reactions or responses and solicit counsel from trusted advisers.

What’s the best piece of advice you have ever received?

Live your life so that those who are the closest to you are the ones who respect you the most.

What motivates you as a professional?

The most motivating thing to me as a professional is seeing students and colleagues find their professional sweet spot, and taking satisfaction in knowing that the person and our region are stronger and better because of it.

Have you made any resolutions for the new year?

Yes — to run three  laps around Northeast State’s J. Allen Hurley Wellness Trail three days a week. The arboretum walking trail is incredible. Hold me to this!

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