The Women of IWLC

Who are the women of IWLC? They’re just like you. They’ve made IWLC what it is today. And IWLC has made the women you’ll meet here--members of our Steering Committee and other key volunteers--better leaders in all aspects of their lives. We hope their stories will inspire you to take charge and lead change.

Jennifer Lewis
Life Coach

At IWLC’s 2011 conference in Coralville, I elected to attend the Valorie Burton session titled “How Did I Get So Busy?” I often asked myself this question, so I figured I might pick up a trick or two. As it turned out, that session changed the course of my life. I was so impressed by Valorie’s striking balance of practicality and spirituality that I signed up to receive her regular emails. At the time, I was somewhat dissatisfied with my corporate job and had decided to become a life coach; when an email arrived announcing that Valorie was offering a coaching certification course, I signed up—and what has happened since then has been amazing. I am leaving my corporate job to become a fulltime entrepreneur, which includes a life coaching career using the tools that I learned in Valorie’s training course. My experience at IWLC was a key influencing factor in where I am today. Had I not attended the conference session that day, I would not have had the tools in my kit to build the foundation and gain the confidence to leave the relative security of the corporate environment. I will forever be grateful for the impact IWLC has had on my life.

Darice Keating
Executive Vice President, Educational Assessment 


Being a ‘learner’ is an essential part of personal growth. As a part of IWLC, we have the opportunity to learn from well-known individuals, as well as learning from each other. We have the privilege to provide mentoring and be mentored. We are fortunate to have the chance to support each other through successful and challenging events in our lives. Through participation in IWLC, we gain friendships as well as continued ‘learning.’ How terrific is that?


Amy O'Deen
Senior Assistant Director
University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics


I was blessed with the opportunity to work with an amazing cadre of women leaders in taking an idea from Donna Katen-Bahensky, then-CEO of the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics and my boss, and developing the highly successful inaugural Iowa Women’s Leadership Conference in April 2007. Since then, IWLC has blossomed into the robust and much-anticipated series of events and engagement we know today. Through my involvement with this initiative, I have gained so much! Holding Maya Angelou’s hand and listening to her timeless counsel, talking with Arianna Huffington about our children, exchanging e-mails with Alison Levine’s support team as she summited Mt. Everest . . . the list of memorable moments goes on and on. Perhaps the most special and meaningful outcome has been the development of both professional and personal relationships with so many incredible and inspiring women. These connections transcend IWLC events and have enriched my life immeasurably.

Sue Kistler
Community Volunteer/President, Muscatine Charities 
Muscatine, Iowa 

My experience with IWLC began with a phone call from Diane Ramsey, Executive Director. She was recruiting me as a board member and almost instantly I felt her energy and excitement about this organization. Although I consider myself new to this organization, I too have that energy and excitement. Through attending IWLC’s “State of Change 2012” event and the Betsy Myers Leadership luncheon, I have learned that no matter what your role in your community, you can be a leader. I am a community volunteer who believes that volunteer services benefit the entire community on an immeasurable scale. It is through IWLC that I have received support and encouragement for what I do. This encouragement has added great value to me personally and I feel empowered to continue to do more through volunteering. You can learn and lead from what you hear and see at IWLC.

Angel West
Nyemaster Goode, P.C. 

In 2008, I contacted Diane Ramsey about an IWLC sponsorship opportunity. Little did I know that a call to a complete stranger about a conference I had never attended would be the beginning of a journey filled with new friends and opportunities. Since then, I have worked side-by-side with many of the women on the IWLC Steering Committee—women who truly are leading by example. IWLC is more than a conference, luncheon, or workshop. IWLC has given me a chance to connect with people, both personally and professionally. I feel very fortunate to be a part of an organization that is committed to mentoring and passing those skills and opportunities to the next generation, and I have become a better mentor through my experience with IWLC.


Liz Mathis
Chief Information Officer, Four Oaks
Iowa Legislative District 18 State Senator

“Through the years I had attended gatherings where women would say, ‘You know, there should be more women in politics.' Those conversations with other women planted a seed. And it wasn’t until the 2010 Iowa Women’s Leadership Conference, when I was writing the workshop introductions for three female politicians, that I began to think I had the skill sets to run for political office. My journalism background, legislative advocacy and non-profit work in child welfare made me uniquely qualified to understand the beauty and efficacy of the legislative process. The IWLC workshop was that cathartic moment. During my State Senate campaign, I received a note from one of the IWLC workshop’s participants, Jean Lloyd Jones, whom I respect and admire. When I opened the note, the words inside simply read, ‘You Go Girl -- Jean.’”

  Diane Ramsey
Principal Project Manager, Rockwell Collins, Inc.
Executive Director
Iowa Women’s Leadership Conference  

"I would never have imagined in the fall of 2006, when approached for my then-employer's sponsorship of the first Iowa Women's Leadership Conference, that today I would serve as its Executive Director. Since getting involved on the IWLC Steering Committee in 2006, I have gained so much: the opportunity to work with and establish friendships with talented women I would never have met; a whole new set of skills in effectively leading volunteer teams to achieve and exceed their goals; exposure to ideas, messages and leadership approaches that have made me a better person and leader; a passion to help other women maximize their potential to be all that they can, no matter their chosen path: and finally, the confidence to leave the familiar for the unknown to pursue my passion. Every day I am energized by what I do! That energy comes from so many sources -- the fantastic women who volunteer for IWLC, the talented women we hear from who are doing amazing things, and the collaboration with a community of women leaders who want to leave a legacy of eliminating barriers for all women to pursue life to its fullest. For that I am happy, proud, challenged and humble.”

  Shanti Roundtree
Communication/Documentation Specialist
Solution Design Team 

“Picture it: Iowa City, 2009. A local company announces it is closing its doors and 60 solid publishing careers will be cut short, including mine. At the same time, Bankers Trust offers seven Corridor women a scholarship to attend Choosing to Lead, the 2009 Iowa Women’s Leadership Conference. Seizing the chance to apply, I was rewarded and surprised beyond measure. At IWLC, each person’s greeting was a salve; every enlightening session and conversation were like multivitamins to fortify my confidence. How could I anticipate that, once there, I would share a handshake with my soon-to-be future employer, keynote speaker Marjorie Scardino, then-CEO of Pearson? Networking never before felt so empowering! Through participation and a flurry of business cards, I connected to a cadre of dynamic thought leaders who would soon become my colleagues, mentors, and long-lasting friends. IWLC continues to motivate and invigorate me with fresh ideas, leadership tools, and the resolve to accomplish new and greater goals. Imagine what being part of IWLC will inspire you to achieve!”

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