Goldie Bockstruck didn’t want to be a lawyer at a natural gas company when she arrived at the University of Southern California as an undergraduate. Back then, the current director and associate general counsel of regulatory at Spire hoped to join the entertainment industry as a screenwriter.
It wasn’t until her senior year that Bockstruck began to reevaluate her plans. With her acceptance into the University of Missouri School of Law, she started down an altogether different path, one that has taught her the value of remaining open to avenues as unexpected as the field of law once seemed.
Although Bockstruck applied to law school with the intention of practicing entertainment or sports law, the law market had taken a downturn by the time she completed her degree in 2006. On the recommendation of the then clerk for the Supreme Court of Missouri, Tom Simon, Bockstruck applied for and secured a position as an assistant prosecuting attorney at the Cole County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.
The role was a far cry from what she had once envisioned herself doing, but she didn’t feel like she could be picky when so many law school classmates were still struggling to find jobs. “The mindset at the time for me, and many others, was to network like your life depended on it, take advantage of every contact, and, most importantly, get some experience,” she explains.
During her four years at the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, Bockstruck developed a specialization in domestic violence prosecution. She took pride in the meaningful nature of her work, which she extended into the community by instituting Cole County’s inaugural domestic violence program. She also chaired a committee on children affected by human trafficking, spearheaded by a local state representative.
As rewarding as the role proved to be, Bockstruck was ready to challenge herself even further. “I never wanted to be the person who was doing the exact same thing for three decades. I definitely fit the millennial mold in terms of switching jobs every few years,” she admits. “But it’s because I’m always looking for different experiences and ways that I could become better at what I do.”
Bockstruck heard about openings at the Missouri Public Service Commission, a government utilities regulator, from then commissioner Robert Kenney, who would later be appointed chairman of the Commission. The prospect of learning about an area as niche and ever evolving as energy law appealed to Bockstruck, as did the collaborative nature of working for the Commission.
“It wasn’t just law that I focused on, but so many other facets as well. There was accounting and engineering. I had the opportunity to work with expert witnesses on some complex matters. That interested me a lot,” Bockstruck says of her involvement with the staff counsel’s and general counsel’s offices at the Commission. She continued to broaden the scope of her work when she became chief of staff to Chairman Kenney around two years later.
When the chairman’s term expired, Bockstruck chose to explore in-house options at energy companies. She landed on a corporate counsel position at electric and gas utility company Vectren, which CenterPoint Energy acquired in 2019.
Not long after Vectren’s acquisition, Bockstruck found out about an open position––the one that she currently holds––at Spire. At first, she wasn’t sure that her level of experience aligned with the requirements for a director-level appointment. Her mentors, however, encouraged her to pursue the role. “They knew that I had the abilities and the skills,” she says. And ultimately, “I knew that I did, too.”
Building mentorship connections has been a key form of networking for Bockstruck, and she has certainly appreciated her legal mentors’ advice over the years. Yet she emphasizes that a strong network should span colleagues across multiple fields. Indeed, Bockstruck cites the relationships she’s forged with people in departments and industries other than her own as crucial to achieving goals throughout her career.
Bockstruck’s network has also reinforced her receptivity to diverse opportunities. Reflecting on her openness, she concludes, “You get the experience that you make. It doesn’t have to be the box that someone else puts you in. You have the power to develop a box for yourself.”