The philosophy behind a career

Naomi Williamson

Naomi Williamson ’78 is co-owner of Sanctuary, a restaurant in Minneapolis’ Mill City district. Of all her career experiences, Williamson said that the restaurant business is “far and away the most difficult.”

She’s a lawyer, a seasoned business operations executive, a mother of two, a biotech entrepreneur, and a restaurant owner. She’s also a philosophy and political science double major, and an Auggie. 

In the years since she graduated from Augsburg College, Naomi Williamson ’78 has charted a career path that has taken her into multiple, disparate industries and types of organizations. 

“I like the challenge,” Williamson said. Each new opportunity introduces “a new orbit of people and a different knowledge area.”  

Indeed: After completing her bachelor’s degree, Williamson went on to earn a law degree at the University of Minnesota Law School and worked as a litigator at Larkin Hoffman, one of Minnesota’s largest full-service law firms. From there, she joined Honeywell, where she spent 15 years in contracts, marketing, sales, process quality, and supply chain management. After that, she helped a medical pathologist with a successful biotech start-up, and, then, in 2007, she started a restaurant with her husband, Roger Kubicki, and veteran restaurant owner Michael Kutscheid—while also working on the side as an aircraft manufacturing contracts and negotiations consultant.

Williamson’s appetite for digging into a challenge and seeking new knowledge was evident even before she launched her professional career, however. She fell in love with philosophy, she said, after trying to make sense of the writings of Immanuel Kant.  

“It took me four hours to read 40 pages” she said. “I didn’t fully understand it, but I thought that if I did, I might be able to find the answers I was looking for.”

This willingness to do the hard work to make sense of things is so consistently woven into Williamson’s educational and career choices that it appears to be more of an internal drive, a calling, than a choice.

“I just can’t get myself on easy street,” she joked. “I’m always doing something to make sure that my next step is just as hard as the last one.” 

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