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Clear your schedule: your future is calling

Apr 13, 2015

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Tiffany O'Donnell

Tiffany O'Donnell is the CEO of Iowa Women Lead Change. She joined the organization as COO in 2015, succeeding Diane Ramsey in June of 2017. She is an Emmy-award winning news anchor and reporter who spent nearly 25 years in the television news industry.

Tiffany-ODonnell-2v1_small.jpgThey say it isn’t everyday your future comes calling. In my case, I called it. I think it was a Tuesday:

“This is Tiffany O’Donnell from CBS2/Fox. I hear Martha Stewart is speaking at the Conference. Is she available for interviews?”

That question would change the trajectory of my life. A chance cancellation by the scheduled moderator of the Stewart keynote led IWLC CEO Diane Ramsey to call back the “reporter who asked about an interview.” It seems Stewart didn’t like to give speeches. She preferred to be asked questions on stage. (“Are you available?” Ramsey asked. “Um, I think I can clear my schedule,” I casually-on-the-outside but-screaming-on-the-inside answered.)

On that Conference Day, with Stewart waiting in the wings to take the stage, I remember a dear friend taking my shaking hands in hers. She said, “Tiff, this is a game changer.” Not sure it calmed my nerves, but it certainly resonates today. We had no idea.

I met IWLC that day. It was like I had found my tribe. The women in the audience that day were so intelligent and accomplished yet thirsty for more. They knew so much already but wanted to know more. Do more. Be better.

From that day on, I would stay in touch with IWLC, volunteering for existing and new events. I watched audience after audience leave more determined to break down personal and professional barriers; and be more capable of doing it.

Those experiences, along with the wise advice of many dear friends and mentors, led me to take my passion for the organization a step further. In July I’ll become this great organization’s Chief Operating Officer. It’s a new chapter in the story of my professional life. For this journalist, there are no scripts or teleprompters. We’re writing this new story. Together.

Hard to believe it was just two years ago. On a Tuesday. I called IWLC. Today, it’s calling me: “Hello, Tiffany? It’s your future on the line…are you ready to take the call?” I’ll clear my schedule…

Onward & upward!



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