Dawn Goellner

Business Professor Dawn Goellner began teaching college-level English courses early on in her career, but soon discovered a different passion: the administrative work she often did behind the scenes for these classes.

After going back to school, her master’s degree in business administration opened doors to a new and exciting career on an international level. Goellner served as a commercial attaché in the United States diplomatic corps in countries such as South Africa, Venezuela and Mexico.

Since she knows that an M.B.A. opens career doors, Goellner now finds herself heavily invested in Bethel’s M.B.A. program as the director. I recently spoke with her about her life in and beyond the business world.

Q: What is your educational background?

A: I received my bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English from the University of Nebraska. My M.BA. is from Syracuse University. I am finishing a Ph.D. at Regent University.

Q: What was it that first attracted you to the English field?

A: I majored in English because I loved to read and was a pretty good writer, and because it was considered an appropriate major for a woman.

Q: What led you to your current job at Bethel?

A: God led me. My late husband and I were both teaching at secular colleges in the Washington, D.C., area. [But] we both felt that a Christian college would be a better fit for us, so we began looking at colleges that had two jobs available.

Q: Can you briefly describe your role as the director of the M.B.A. program?

A: I recruit students, interview students to help identify those who can succeed in the program and hire faculty to teach the courses. I am always trying to think of better ways to market the degree [and] am constantly changing up my class lectures and discussions, because there is always something new happening in marketing, advertising and management leadership.

Q: What is your favorite part of the job?

A: Watching people find the career that God is calling them to. Sometimes when people take a marketing class, they suddenly realize that they love it and are gifted to do it.

Q: What is the greatest difference between working with graduate students and traditional students?

A: Graduate students are driven! They want to write perfectly and get A’s on all of their exams. Since most M.B.A. students also have full-time jobs and families, they really can be stressed. Traditional students can be much more relaxed and can be wonderfully creative, sometimes coming up with better solutions to problems than the corporations themselves have devised.

Q: Describe your greatest accomplishment in the business world.

A: My goal when I was in the diplomatic corps was to leave a place and its people better than they were when I met them. I had the opportunity to negotiate some very gratifying outcomes between the U.S. and other governments. I also led church plants in Lesotho and Venezuela [and taught] in an evangelical seminary in Caracas, helping them through a time of leadership crisis.

Q: What are your future plans?

A: I will be getting married in June. [My fiancé] Jake is a pastor; I always said I would never want to marry a pastor. People who know about my life know that I have been widowed twice. For me to think about getting married again means seriously trusting God.

Q: How did you meet your future husband?

A: We met on eHarmony. I know that folks in [this] generation wouldn’t find that scary; but for me, it felt really high risk. I was kind of “bullied” into signing up on eHarmony by family members who said that if I didn’t sign myself up, they would do it for me.