Alumna: Katie Addleman Thieman
Class Year: 1997
Home: Springfield, Missouri
Job: Financial advisor at Edward Jones
Family: Husband: Brent Thieman ’07 MEd; Kids: Brooks, 5, and Annie, 3
What is the last book you read?
The 4 Disciplines of Execution: Achieving Your Wildly Important Goals
What is something people may be surprised to know about you?
I was on the Dr. Oz Show. My sister-in-law and I had gotten tickets to see his show. I was only supposed to be an audience member, but they asked me to be in a segment about breaking through your barriers. I talked about how I’d had a baby, lost the baby weight, and breastfed for 10 months.
Why did you decide to attend William Woods?
I almost didn’t.
I was actually supposed to go to a college in Arkansas. I was registered and had my classes ready to go. But when I went down there for a family visit kickoff in the beginning of August, there was something about it that just didn’t feel right. I knew I wasn’t meant to go there.
When we got home, my parents and I drew a map of colleges and where we were going to look. I had to go somewhere, after all.
I remember the feeling I had when I was walking around William Woods College with my family. We were heading to Tucker, and I remember thinking: “I think I’m going to school here.” Then, when we got in the car, my mom turned to me and said “I think you’re going to go here”, and I said, “I think so, too”. And that was that.
Some of my best decisions haven’t been based on anything logical. I just felt it. Sometimes you have to go with your gut.
Where has life taken you since The Woods?
After graduating, I moved to St. Louis and lived with a sorority sister. Five years later, I moved back to my hometown of Springfield, Missouri.
I’ve been working for Edward Jones, a financial services firm since 1998. I love it here. I get to help people save and invest their money, plan for their retirement, education, etc. — whatever their goals are. I love helping clients build their wealth, organize it, manage it, protect it, and transfer it.
This certainly wasn’t very detailed career move. I didn’t plan it. I was an English Communications major and this had nothing to do with my major. My neighbor in St. Louis was a Westminster College graduate and a friend of mine during college. He worked at Edward Jones and encouraged me to come work there.
Yet again, a major life decision was made by following my instincts. And I couldn’t be happier.
What has surprised you the most about life after college?
That my closest, dearest friends are still from William Woods. I have very close high school friends and have made great friends since college, but my core group is still from William Woods and the Alpha Chi Omega sorority.
My mom passed away in 2009 and I remember at her funeral there were 10–15 of them sitting there, through the entire visitation and funeral. I felt like they were my army. They were there if I needed them. A whole bunch of us went on vacation to Mexico last year (no husbands or kids!), and after that trip, we all got necklaces that said #MyArmy.
That has been the loveliest surprise of all.
When you’re in college, you love each other, but you don’t realize that potentially these are the people you’re going to go with through life, death, marriage, business building, kids, problems, whatever. College is really the beginning of these life-long friendships.
Whenever I run into anyone who went to William Woods, or see them on Facebook, there’s still a connection and a camaraderie — even if we weren’t in the same sorority. I think when you go to a smaller school, there’s a sense of all being in the same village.
What is your favorite memory of your time here at William Woods?
It was probably Bid Day for the sororities. It always marked the beginning of the school year. The air just felt fun because everyone had been gone during the summer and was getting back together. We would have rush, then Bid Day, a celebration of our new members and of the school year starting. Classes hadn’t really begun yet, so that pressure hadn’t built up. It was lots of excitement and optimism that time of year.
Did you have any favorite professors?
My senior year, I took a class with an English professor named Dr. Carl Kremer, who has since retired. As seniors, we were really in the depth of the major. There were only about six or seven of us in the class, and we were all in the trenches together.
I would pop into Professor Kremer’s office and visit with him. You could just stop in to discuss what was going on in the classroom, what you were thinking about your future, or even what was going on in the world.
Why do you think it’s important to stay involved with The Woods?
When I look back on my time at William Woods, it was a major changing time of my life. I look at all it gave me: a good education, a fantastic career that I’m thrilled with, my nearest and dearest friends. I love the idea of giving back and seeing the students succeed and get to experience what I experienced.
I feel like I had the all-American college experience. There’s nothing I wish I would have had. And there’s nothing I hope more for my kids’ college experience when they go to college than to feel that way at the end of it.
How did you like being part of a sorority?
I think being in a sorority made a big difference in my life. I run a business now, and when you’re in a sorority, that’s what you’re doing. You deal with different personalities, work with a budget on different social events, manage the democracy system by voting for things and giving speeches. You learn so many things that are relevant to everyday life. It made me a stronger person.
Overall, I am a stronger woman because of my time at William Woods.
Are you looking forward to Alumni Weekend?
I’m celebrating my 20-year reunion this year and am the chairperson for the class year during Alumni Weekend. And I’m so excited.
When we were first out, my friends and I came back for reunions the first couple of years, but then everyone started getting married and having kids. We still get together, but haven’t been back to campus in a while – maybe 16 years.
In particular, I’m dying to see Sorority Circle, which must be great for all of the girls. I’m also excited by getting it see it as a co-ed school. When I was there, it was the last year it was all women. I’m excited to feel the energy and see what it’s like.
Do you have any advice for current students?
Give it your all. Don’t shortchange yourself by not focusing on your academics. Do the best you can.
And when you have time to play, enjoy it. Don’t run home every weekend. Part of getting the college experience is being on campus. When it’s the weekend, absorb and relish that. Get out and have fun with friends. Take advantage of all the opportunities that the school and town offer.