In this series of posts, we are asking Lakelanders to share what is inspiring them in the world of art and media. We hope sharing these recommendations will help you find your next great read or the perfect flick to add a little something extra to your week.

This week we are featuring Bethany Thomas. Bethany is the vice president for student development at Southeastern University and has been with the university since 2008. She was appointed her current role in 2017 and is the first female vice president in the university’s history.

Bethany has served the university in a variety of roles and has also worked in the office of the provost at the University of Miami. She is also a part of the 36th class of Leadership Lakeland.

A born-and-raised Lakelander, Bethany graduated from Lakeland Christian School in 2001 before going on to pursue higher education. She holds a Bachelor’s in Business Administration, a Master’s in Human Services in Marriage & Family Counseling and is currently pursuing her Doctorate in Education.

Bethany and her husband, Louie, have been married since 2012, have two 90-pound yellow labs named Piper and Finley, and enjoy boating during their free time.

Here’s what’s inspiring Bethany this week:


The Way of the Shepherd by Kevin Leman and William Pentak

I love this incredible book on leadership. It addresses the secrets of managing productive people. And I love how the book reflects on shepherds leading their flocks in relation to how leaders lead their employees.  


Pieces by Steffany Gretzinger

This song inspires me to love people unconditionally as Christ loves us.  


Anacortes, Washington

I got to visit this town a couple weeks ago and go on a hike with wolves through an Airbnb experience. It was inspiring and beautiful. I feel the most at peace when I can be outside surrounded by beautiful landscapes. 

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I am always inspired by people who do the right thing no matter what, and I’m always looking for companies that do hospitality well. This week I am inspired by All Creatures Animal Clinic.  After every check-up with their patients [animals], they call a week later to follow up with their owners and see how they are.