Three Alumni Honored by Twin Cities Business Journal

The Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal honored its annual 40 Under 40 Awards recipients in March 2022, and three Bethel alumni were among them: J. Christopher LaTondresse ’05, Hennepin County Commissioner; Lynn (Bowman) Camp ’05, vice president of corporate finance, United Properties; and Roger Maldonado ’07, associate attorney, Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath. We asked them about their jobs, their Bethel experiences, and their advice to Bethel students seeking direction and purpose in their future careers. Here’s what they told us.

 

J. Christopher LaTondresse ’05

philosophy and political science major

Hennepin County Commissioner

 

Tell us how you got from Bethel to your current role.

Since graduating from Bethel in 2005, I’ve devoted my career to public service in a variety of roles both inside and outside government. I started my career at Sojourners, a faith-rooted social justice advocacy organization, served in the Obama Administration at USAID, helped lead my hometown school district through the early months of the COVID-19 crisis as vice-chair of the Hopkins school board, and have grown national advocacy movements around hunger, human trafficking, and educational equity in a variety of other roles.  

I currently serve as a Hennepin County Commissioner, a full-time elected role leading Minnesota’s largest local government, and second largest government in the state. Our county board oversees a $2.4 billion annual budget that intersects with every imaginable topic: human services, economic development, public health, public safety, transportation, and the environment—just to name a few. 

The common thread across these roles is a sense of vocation deeply rooted at the intersection of faith, public service, and the common good—all themes and values that Bethel helped shape and integrate. 

What advice do you have for students interested in working in government or politics?

There’s a lot of pressure on college students to find clarity around their career trajectory, often at the expense of vocational discernment. “What’s your five-year plan, and what are the steps you’re going to take to get there?” This really boils down to a career question. I honestly had no idea how to even begin answering a question like this in my early twenties. I remember feeling rather insecure about it with graduation looming large. 

So I charted a different course, one rooted in different kinds of questions that, frankly, a liberal arts education prepared me well for: What bigger questions are you most eager to gain greater clarity or insights about? What type of people do you most want to grow with? Which issues, deep down in your bones, do you really, truly care about? These are the questions that cut to the heart of vocation. 

I spent the better part of my twenties seeking out opportunities that helped me live into these larger vocational questions, rather than pursuing the next obvious career move. It’s perhaps the road less traveled, but following these questions has made all the difference. 

 

Lynn (Bowman) Camp ’05

business major, finance and accounting emphasis

Vice President of Corporate Finance, United Properties

 

Tell us how you got from Bethel to your current role.

Being an auditor at Grant Thornton for my first three and a half years out of college and getting my CPA license built a solid foundation of accounting knowledge that opened up a number of avenues. I then spent six years in various finance roles at non-profit organizations learning how to use my financial skillsets to support missions I cared deeply about. (I was fired from one of those jobs so it has not always been a smooth ride.) Four of those years I was able to work part-time as I sorted out how to also be a mom, which I never anticipated loving so much.

At the end of 2015 I joined United Properties as a senior financial analyst, shifting from accounting to forecasting and analysis. I didn’t have a whole lot of experience in this area, but my hard work was remembered by the CFO I had worked with at Grant Thornton and is now my boss. This full-time job allowed my husband (Brandon Camp ’04) to stay home full time with our boys and has been a good fit for our family, because we’ve found that kid and house management is more than a full-time job!

What I love about my job today is that while I am still involved in financial analysis informing strategic thinking, I am also involved in discussion about how to improve the diversity of players in the commercial real estate industry and other non-quantifiable opportunities for real estate.

How did your Bethel experience prepare you for career success?

I learned how to learn quickly at Bethel, which set me up for success at my first job as an auditor at Grant Thornton. But I also grew in my faith and appreciation for diverse voices through classes, experiences, and relationships—which set a value foundation that is involved in all that I do.  

What advice do you have for Bethel business students?

Take this gift of time you have at Bethel to ground your values and invest in friendships that encourage those values in you. Then stay engaged as you enter the next phases of life to ensure your trajectory aligns with your values. It is so easy to let career, others’ definition of success, and social media dictate what you should do or what consumes your time.

 

Roger Maldonado ’07

political science and theological studies major

Associate Attorney, Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath

 

Tell us how you got from Bethel to your current role.

After Bethel, I attended law school at the University of St. Thomas School of Law and have been practicing law for eight years, four of those years at Faegre Drinker. Three weeks into my first semester of law school, I was notified that I was deploying to Iraq/Kuwait, so while my Army deployment delayed my law school, it was a life experience that made me into a better person, leader, and communicator. 

I’m currently an associate attorney at Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath. I represent lenders, investors, purchasers, and contract counterparties in restructuring and insolvency matters, and in all aspects of structuring, documenting, and collecting secured loans. I also represent corporate trustees, creditors, equipment lease lenders, investment firms, and large financial institutions in state and federal courts, including bankruptcy court.

How did your Bethel experience prepare you for career success?

Bethel helped me grow into the person I am today by challenging me academically, which prepared me for law school, but also strengthened my view of the world and my place in it as a servant leader.

What advice do you have for Bethel students?

My advice would be to try as many experiences and opportunities as you can during your time at Bethel, to help you know what you don’t want to do as a career. Doing so will point you toward the doors that match your passion.

 


https://www.bethel.edu/news/articles/2022/march/40-under-40

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