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  • IHS Staff

April's Focus on Social Work - Get to Know Nan Beeler

Recently we caught up with one of our long-tenured colleagues at the Institute for Human Services for an interview about her social work journey. Nan Beeler, MSW has been serving at IHS for nearly 38 years and is currently in a Program Manager role and has many insights and stories to share about her history as a social worker.

What drew you into the field of social work and specifically child welfare?

I grew up in a large Catholic family, where helping others was a high priority.  In fact, all six of my sisters are in the helping professions!  I entered the social work field as a caseworker for Franklin County Children Services because, frankly, there was a job opening there!  But I stayed in the field because I love working on behalf of children and families, and because I believe if we can help them live safe and fulfilling lives, we are helping strengthen the basic units of society.


Did you have any mentors in your career that worked to empower you?

Yes, I have been very fortunate to have several mentors who helped me develop my skills in project management, strategic planning, professional writing, and thinking clearly.  They have made a huge impact on me both personally and professionally. 


Tell us about a memorable career highlight and why it is such a meaningful memory for you?

I have been fortunate to help develop child welfare training systems in many states, Canadian provinces, and even in some Eastern European countries.  This included training and strategic planning.  I especially love strategic planning: helping a group of dedicated, smart professionals engage in a structured group process to envision and plan the future for their training systems.


Having served in the field for many years, what advice can you give to social workers and other human service professionals about longevity in the field?

Find your niche and develop your skills – so you can love what you do and do it very well; find mentors and mentor others; take care of yourself so you don’t burn out: spend time with friends and family, exercise, eat healthy food (and the occasional chocolate!)


Tell us something fun you are doing currently involving self-care and why it is fun/important for you.  

I travel frequently to the Northeast to see my children, daughter-in-law, and two grandsons.  I also love spending time at my cottage in Northern Michigan – it’s instant relaxation and is so beautiful. Additionally, I exercise daily… I have to stay in shape to keep up with my two grandsons (ages 5 and 2)!


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