Bethany Freeland - About Me

Background

I grew up in North Dakota. A really great place to grow up if it weren't so cold! I wanted to see more of the world as well as escape the cold, and planned to leave the state as soon as I could.

I ended up applying for college in Michigan at Kalamazoo College. I am happy I did, because I met interesting and wonderful people there, and got a great education. I also had the opportunity to learn a foreign language for the very first time, and to study abroad in Strasbourg, France.

After graduating with a double major in Art and Music, I ran out of plans. I joined a restaurant chain as a manager, transferred to Florida where they were opening new stores, and - after a couple of years - returned to Michigan, this time to Ann Arbor.

Ann Arbor has proven to be a terrific place to live. This is a place where learning is valued, where kids growing up are the smartest I've ever seen. They challenge accepted norms and thinking, and try in earnest to make the world better.

Ann Arbor is also a place with rich cultural offerings. There is a thriving arts community, great music, talent wherever you look. Ann Arbor is also one of the best places to eat! We have a great representation of food, from middle eastern - a favorite - to Thai, to French and more.

Career

As Business Analyst with Mott Children's and Von Voigtlander Women's Hospital administration, I look for ways to transform data into stories. What is happening? How can we improve? Where should we focus? In a large and complex organization, my job is both challenging and rewarding.

Previously, I was Corporate Development Manager for a small, privately held automotive components manufacturer, where I managed marketing, human resources and benefits, information systems and quality and environmental management systems. There I had the opportunity to work in many roles, and lead a variety of exciting projects as the company experienced dramatic growth, acquiring additional job duties when the market constricted.

I have had a fun career, and have worked with people I enjoyed and admired. I have discovered new fields and new abilities: when you work for a small company, things need doing, and you do them.

I found that I loved creating databases, and that they satisfy me on multiple levels:
1) I hate accounting, and feel like I am wasting time if I have to manually enter columns of numbers, or search in large spreadsheets for missing pennies. Databases can eliminate manual entry by tapping into existing data sources. Instead of writing formulas referencing cells in spreadsheets, a database has assumptions and calculations built in that grow with the data, and new analyses are always possible.
2) Databases can do neat things, so they satisfy my need for creativity. Again, I don't like unnecessary manual entry: I would rather populate fields automatically or with the touch of a button. I like making clear, concise, meaningful, reports.
3) Databases present an intellectual challenge, and are windows into other worlds. Creating a database for someone else means you have to understand their processes, their needs and preferences, where they get information and what information they need to do their jobs better. Working with others to develop a database is fun, challenging and enlightening.

A few years back, I got a part time job evenings and weekends teaching database design concepts and critical thinking on line. Courses were 5 weeks in duration, and there were generally up to 15 people in a class. I wrote lectures, assigned and graded coursework, interacted with students, and learned as much as they did.

Personal

My interests also include home projects. I am working on improving my drywall skills: it's the mudding that's the challenge! I like woodworking, furniture refinishing and painting, but can do a lot more. I create databases just for fun, and try to figure new things out.

I also like writing, reading, art, travel, and time in the sun.