Beth Eppinger Wilkins '03

Major

Communications

 

Favorite Course

 

Organizational Leadership with Dr. Jeff Myers

 

Favorite Professors

 

Mr. Michael Palmer & Dr. Jeff Myers


   

The transient nature of life as a Navy wife has given Beth Wilkins the opportunity to put her Political Communications degree to work in corporate America, the federal government and non-profit agencies in the relatively short time since she graduated.
 
Within two years of receiving her degree, Beth was offered a job in the office of the Secretary of Health and Human Services in the office of Global Health Affairs in Washington, DC.
 
"I worked directly with the secretary's special assistant for global health and gained a vast knowledge in the intricacies of global health and U.S. policy in this area," Beth explained. "I was directly responsible for all outgoing secretarial correspondence on international affairs, including drafting and editing of  letters to and from foreign ministers of health as well as strategic players in various health agencies and NGO's (non-government organizations). On a daily basis I corresponded and interacted with foreign embassies and United States embassies overseas on international health issues. In addition, I researched and wrote briefing materials for meetings on international health issues and assisted with briefing books for international travel for the Secretary."

While working in DC, Beth met her future husband, Kip Wilkins, through a mutual friend from Bryan. In 2006, after Kip and Beth got married, they moved to Washington state and Beth began working with the Boeing Company.
 

Beth, her husband Kip in his Naval
dress uniform, and their daughter
Lucy attend a relative's wedding


 
"I primarily worked with engineers; and I was hired for my background in communications for the purpose of being a communications liaison between Boeing and their global partners on the 787 project," Beth said. "Boeing used partners throughout the world to build various plane parts, but the engineers were failing to communicate with one another to gain closure on issues to complete the project. I was primarily responsible for ensuring that Boeing and their partners reached agreement on the how's and when's of completing various 787 deadlines, and did this through facilitating and conducting brown and green room meetings with Boeing and global partner engineers. Basically, I managed the communications and logistics for a complex team assignment and ensured deadlines were met accordingly. I interacted daily with businessmen and women across the globe and gained an increased understanding of the corporate business world as well as international business.”
 
Because of Kip's career in the Navy, the couple relocated to Norfolk, Va. While in Virginia, Beth earned an M.A. degree in Human Services Counseling from Regent University and began working as a home-based counselor for at-risk children.
 
"After working in political communications and business, I determined that interpersonal communications are where my strengths lie," Beth explained. She did home-based counseling with children aged 13-17 and enjoyed the opportunity to come alongside individuals and form mentoring relationships. Beth credits her communications classes with Mr. Palmer and her role as editor of The Triangle with helping her discover her passion for counseling.
 
As editor, “I learned a lot about management and the difficulty of making tough decisions,” Beth said. “Numerous situations in that position challenged me to weigh personal emotions against professional and ethical standards of decision making. The position taught me a lot about responding versus reacting to a situation, the challenges of making objective decisions when personally involved, and the difficulty of understanding the fine line of ethical versus sensational journalism. I think my experience in that position has informed the way I look at things today. It forced me to recognize many of my own strengths and weaknesses and showed me the value of teamwork and the benefits of seeking to understand multiple facets of a picture, story, or situation. In many ways, I believe that my position as Triangle editor prepared me to become the counselor I am today.”
 
Over the next year, Beth and Kip relocated to Florida where Beth did volunteer work at a crisis pregnancy center. In July 2008, she traveled through Malaysia with Global Mosaic International and trained pastors in basic counseling.
 

 

The Wilkins family after their
recent move to Boston

Beth and Kip now live in Boston with their baby daughter Lucy. Although her daughter occupies most of her time, Beth hopes to develop a mentoring program that teams up older women with younger women. Beth witnessed the benefits of mentorship firsthand during her years at Bryan when professors' wives befriended her.
 
"Bryan was one of the best choices I've ever made," Beth said. "I gained a lot of confidence. My professors taught me how to think, not what to think. I learned how my worldview directly affects my decisions in my personal and professional life. It helped me understand other people and where they are coming from."
 
As a Navy wife, Beth probably will continue to move all over the U.S., but her love for people and penchant for ministry will follow her. Although a vocation in counseling is very different than her original fast-paced career in government, Beth believes any job can be a ministry. “Your worldview informs every job you have,” she said. “You can have a career in a 'worldly' corporation and still be serving God."