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Anderson pursues another school of study after M.B.A. and law


Deb Anderson has a vast willingness to learn. Just as she studied Spanish in her early days of college, she is now absorbing another area with its own systems and language: county government.

Anderson is not afraid to learn new things, as her educational and career histories demonstrate. She began her role as fiscal adviser to the Polk County Board of Supervisors last spring. She brought with her a background in working with budgets and government dating back to 1996, when she worked for the Legislative Fiscal Bureau as her first job out of law school. She also had her M.B.A., and saw the position with the state as a prime way to apply her law and business education.

“I never intended to practice law,” Anderson said. “For me, it was more about the educational experience. I knew that it was a great background for a variety of careers.”

Anderson says her legal background helped her to feel more comfortable in sifting through the legislative material, as well as reaching her own conclusions.

“One thing that I see is that it (law school) really taught a new way of thinking,” she said. “My approach to analyzing topics is maybe a more logical, thought-out process of how to tackle an issue because there’s a set methodology for resolving issues when you go through law school.”

By the time she decided to work for the county in 2001 as a budget analyst, she had some foresight on the type of information decision-makers need to make informed choices. However, she has found that knowing the type of information she needs is one thing, and finding it is another.

“I’m always learning,” she said. “It’s not like I have all that information at my fingertips, since I haven’t been here that long. But the board is very willing to give me the opportunity to learn about something, and we work well together.”

Sometimes an issue comes up unexpectedly, so she takes time to do her research to weigh the financial implications of the options.

“The board understands that I might not always have the answers, so even if something comes up that I don’t anticipate, they are willing to give me the time to go back and research it, and they’re receptive to the information that I provide them,” she said.

Anderson realizes that many people might not want a job like hers because they find it intimidating, but she says she enjoys the learning experience and the fast pace and variety that her work offers.

“I guess there’s always an issue that’s popping up that people need to know the financial implications of their decisions that they make,” Anderson said. “It’s good to know that the county is excited about having young people here, and they’re willing to give opportunities to and share information with someone who has the willingness to learn.”

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