Women You Should Know: Emily Klym

3 mins read

Chief Financial Officer for the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation

By Arielle Windham 

Empowered by Ladyboss Lifestyle

For Emily Klym, summer growing up meant a road trip to Medora. Every year, the family would make the drive from Edgeley to the historic western town to take in the sights and sounds of the Badlands. Over time, Klym began to mark the milestones of her life with trips to the town and its namesake musical.

“I feel like my life has really come full circle,” said Emily Klym, Chief Financial Officer for the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation. “I remember the drive out when I was probably a sophomore in high school. My dad brought up the idea of going to college out west. I hadn’t really thought about it before, but Dickinson State was the perfect size and filled with opportunity. After that, I never looked back.”

Like the larger-than-life Theodore Roosevelt, Klym has tapped the enduring spirit of the west for inspiration, confidence, and ultimate success.

Western Words of Wisdom

Medora woman keeps her feet on the ground and her eyes on the stars

“Whenever you are asked if you can do a job, tell ’em, ‘Certainly I can!’ Then get busy and find out how to do it.”

—Theodore Roosevelt

Klym didn’t set out to be an accountant, but she found herself drawn into the coursework at Dickinson State University.

“Most people have this picture of accountants as introverts who are good at math,” Klym said. A self-proclaimed extrovert, she feels her love of problem-solving and order has a greater impact on her success than her math skills. “Accounting is an amazingly broad industry. There’s a place for just about everyone! It’s about finding the role that fits your personality and skill set.”

A single major and minor turned into a double major in accounting and business administration. Involvement in the Theodore Roosevelt Honors Leadership program also led to a minor in leadership studies that has contributed greatly to the leader she is today. After graduation, she entered the public sector with Brady Martz & Associates. When an opportunity opened up with the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation, she took a leap of faith.

“It was scary,” she said. “I didn’t have experience with nonprofit accounting, and there wasn’t a daycare in town at the time. Growth doesn’t happen by staying in your comfort zone—I knew I had to get comfortable being uncomfortable to develop my career and confidence further.” That’s not to say confidence has always come easy for Klym. Like many women, she struggled to balance her career and motherhood as well as suffering from some degree of imposter syndrome. This inner battle almost kept her from continuing her professional growth and applying for the CFO position when it opened in 2021. However, she has found a way to flip the script and use her personal strengths to grow her career.

“Instead of dwelling on why you can’t do something,” she said, “try to answer why you can. What about your personality makes you capable? For example, I have a mother’s empathy but can also implement tough love when it’s needed.”

“It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed.” — Theodore Roosevelt

For Klym, this reframing of her strengths changed everything. She was able to take on the responsibilities of CFO with confidence. She was able to communicate and build trust with board members and stakeholders.

“More often than not, we put up our own roadblocks. By changing how I thought about things, I was able to recognize the roadblocks weren’t really there.”

“Believe you can and you’re halfway there.” — Theodore Roosevelt

Theodore Roosevelt often spoke of grit and perseverance. Of the power of believing in yourself. For Klym, the philosophy of the region’s most famous resident has played a part in her own path to success. By developing her strengths and forging confidently ahead, she looks to continue Medora’s growth and economic success ahead of the 2026 opening of the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library.

“The Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation is working with local stakeholders to make this a year-round destination” Klym said. “From the musical to our Old-Fashioned Cowboy Christmas, happening December 8-10, Medora continues to build on the entertainment, history, and family fun that was such an important part of my childhood—and so many others across the region!”

Additionally, she is working to help other women reframe their self-perception and build their confidence through advocacy and involvement in groups like Women Empowering Women, of which she is a founding member.

“Shifting your perspective and growing your confidence can be a game changer,” Klym said. “Surrounding yourself with the women who believe in you is the first step on that journey!”

Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation

Life Skills Center Campus

PO Box 198
Medora, ND

Bismarck Office

1611 E Century Ave, Ste 100 Bismarck, ND
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