Dawn Crim, Class of 2005

IB is celebrating 20 years of the 40 Under 40 in 2020, and will be catching up with past recipients to see what they’ve been up to since they were honored. This week features Dawn Crim, secretary, Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services.
Watn Dawn Crim (primary) Headshot

What have you accomplished in your professional life/career since your 40 Under 40 selection?

I am excited to share my professional career continued with increasing levels of responsibility: special assistant to the chancellor; associate dean for external relations in the School of Education; assistant state superintendent of schools; and now secretary of the Department of Safety and Professional Services for the state of Wisconsin

What accomplishments, milestones, or endeavors have you attained in your personal life since your 40 Under 40 selection?

I was elected president of the Madison Network of Black Professionals, trustee on the Edgewood College Board of Trustees, vice president of the Madison Rotary Foundation, and chair of the Community Advisory Committee for the Overture Center for the Arts.

If you were to “do it all over again,” what (if anything) would you do differently throughout your career?
I actually would not do anything differently. I think the timing of the moves were just right.

How did your 40 Under 40 selection help your career?
My 40 Under 40 selection helped me make more contacts with the Madison business community. Up until that point, I had primarily connected with the education communities, both K–12 and higher education.

What is something that you have a new passion for since the time of your induction — either professionally or personally?

Over the years, my passion has grown for the arts. My time on UW–Madison’s campus provided the opportunity to become more intimately involved with the arts. During my time in the chancellor’s office, I worked with the city of Madison and Overture Center on a variety of funding models and discussions of shared performance spaces. While at the School of Education, I worked closely with the art and dance departments, and theatre and drama joined the school. At the same time, we had Tandem Press and we established The Studio, an art space in the dorm for students who wish to continue their arts involvement not as their major, and we established the UW Division of the Arts. Over this same period of time, my own kids’ arts passion flourished. My son decided he wanted to pursue a career in dance and my daughter grew more serious about piano and violin. This exposure and support for my kids ultimately lead me to chair the Community Advisory Committee for the Overture Center.

Based on your experience, do you have any advice for today’s young professionals (under 40)?

I would share that it is exciting to be promoted quickly but sometimes the movement can happen too quickly. It takes time to be exposed to a wide variety of experiences or to gain expertise that can be drawn upon later in your career. Gaining exposure to a variety of situations and developing areas of expertise early on gives you time and opportunity to try out different approaches. It allows space to make mistakes that don’t have high consequences. I would say even though you may be eager to move up or move on, staying a little longer might help you develop both breadth and depth that can serve you well in the future.

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