“I wanted to do an alternative spring break,” she said. “My mom suggested an Indian reservation.”
The week in South Dakota was instructive, she said.
“I just had my high school education of American Indian history,” Dyste-Demet said. “It was a very enlightening trip and led me to law school.”
The Detroit native earned her undergraduate degree at Michigan State University before law school at the University of Minnesota. Today, she works for the Office of the Solicitor, U.S. Department of the Interior advising the Bureau of Indian Affairs. She covers the Great Plains/Midwest area, advising 50 tribes on primarily real estate issues.
What do you find the most rewarding or love best about working in the legal profession?
The job is so intellectually stimulating. You get to think creatively, be challenged, be in a position that you’re never bored. I love working on issues that are bigger than myself; they have meaning and will long outlast me.
What inspires you and motivates you to achieve your goals?
Learning, wanting to be better, to be an expert in my field, and really be a resource to my clients and colleagues.
What’s the best piece of advice that you ever received?
“Don’t take life too seriously.” It’s something I need to practice in my personal and professional life — don’t agonize over decisions; have perspective. Relationships are the most important thing.
What is something that most people don’t know about you?
My first job was scooping ice cream and then I went to waiting tables. I think working in hospitality is so important.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated from it’s original version.
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