Although some crave praise for their work, Beth Witten, Ward 3 council representative, says she prefers to simply focus on the work at hand and making the city of Auburn everything it's citizens' need.
"I'm not 'Beth Witten, Ward 3 council representative,'" she said. "I'm just Beth Witten."
Running for the council seat was a type of "epiphany" for Witten.
"I didn't see a better way to get more invested in the community," Witten said.
When the idea to run for Ward 3 council member popped into Witten's mind, she discussed it with her friends and family, receiving no backlash and all positive responses.
"Fortunately, the voters felt the same way," Witten said.
Originally from Macon, Georgia, Witten moved to Auburn with her husband 19 years ago for work. The couple met at Georgia Southern University where she studied logistics.
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"We were ready for a new chapter in our lives," Witten said.
After moving to the Lee County area, Witten began working for a trucking company. She stayed with the business for six years and commuted to work every day.
In 2005, Witten began working as a development officer for the American Red Cross. Witten said she became "entrenched" in the Auburn community for the first time.
Witten had recently given birth to her daughter Kate, who is 11 years old now. About the time when Witten began working, disastrous weather was tearing through Alabama and Red Cross representatives and workers were fairly busy.
"Here I am, a new mom with a job, just trying to make a difference," Witten said. "I loved the job. I loved knowing that I was making a difference and helping people. I met so many people along the way from lots of businesses and organizations."
As time went on, Witten became more involved with city groups, organizations and businesses. Witten served for Leadership Lee County, a leadership program funded by the Auburn Chamber of Commerce, and held a diplomat role for the chamber.
Shortly after her time with the chamber in 2010, she opened her own business called The Blue Shoe. It was located on East University Drive, and the boutique was "before it's time," Witten said.
"It wasn't the best time to branch out and open the store, because the economy quickly took a turn," Witten said. "But, the community was supportive. It was just about the time when people were beginning to really shop online and things were changing."
Witten said she became very passionate about supporting local businesses and advocating for community-run businesses. After owning her personal business, Witten joined the chamber board and got involved with committees that stressed the importance of the little businesses.
"Through membership and my involvement, I focused on educating the residents and citizens on the importance of supporting local businesses and the economy," Witten said.
Today, Witten owns Blue Turtle Creative. The company handles marketing, branding, event management and community support, Witten said.
She has a team of mostly Auburn interns working with her at Blue Turtle Creative. The motto for the company is, "Play your best today."
Alongside her day job at Blue Turtle Creative, Witten serves the Auburn community through her council seat.
Witten said that her past in business has helped her to understand and see other points-of-view, but that she is able to see the big picture.
"Decisions aren't made in a silo," Witten said. "When a citizen comes with a concern or a question, it's not just one aspect. It almost always affects some other area, and that's what I find important to explain. I try to work with each person to develop a plan that keeps everything on track."
"It's been a ride, it really has. ...There has been some really unique situations placed in front of [the Council]."
According to Witten, the council as a whole has a collaborative dynamic. Witten enjoys working with her fellow council representatives, despite the occasional disagreements.
"We take our jobs seriously, but we aren't afraid to laugh at ourselves," Witten said. "There are meetings where we leave saying, 'That was a great meeting,' and other where we all agree to try not to repeat. In the end, we all respect each other. We are all there to make a difference."
Witten said she is a council representative because she wants to ensure that Auburn continues to be a safe and productive place for her children to live, learn and grow up. Witten believes that if she works hard, Auburn will stay on the right path and excel.
"When I think, 'Why Auburn?' I think, quality of life, quality of education, quality of faith and church life, quality of friends and community," Witten said. "I can't tell you how many people come from other places and brag on how well Auburn does."
Fun facts about Beth Witten
1. Favorite Activity outside of work: Long, nice dinners with the whole family (i.e. Acre and Hamilton's)
2. She love, love, loves turtles
3. She likes reading poetry, especially Walt Whitman
4. She's a "foodie"
5. Witten tore her ACL from jumping the hedges at the 2013 Iron Bowl
6. And she loves to make tailgate food for Auburn games, specifically sausage balls
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