The 2017 class of Women of Influence, shown before the April 20 awards ceremony at the Coralville Marriott. Photo: Miranda Meyer
By Angela Holmes
Now in its second decade, the Corridor Business Journal’s annual Women of Influence program has spotlighted many talented and inspiring women leaders who have dedicated themselves to making our region a better place to live.
Ranging in age from 35-55, the 10 women selected for this year’s class have helped shape their businesses and communities through their actions, and continue to set a shining example for future leaders.
As in previous years, nominations were solicited from the Corridor at large, and the completed nomination packets – including résumés, supporting details and letters of recommendation – were given to a selection committee made up of last year’s Women of Influence honorees. The group then had the task of narrowing the field down to 10 women, who were then notified of the honor with a hand-delivered note and flowers.
Once the class was chosen, the CBJ’s reporters and contributors had the similarly unenviable task of boiling down each of these women’s extensive and impressive résumés to a short profile showcasing their influence and personalities.
You’ll find those stories on the pages that follow, and it’s our hope that you’ll get a sense of just how much these women have accomplished – and continue to accomplish – in their careers and lives.
Each class in our Women of Influence program seems to develop its own collective identity. In working on the following profiles and listening to the honorees’ speeches at the CBJ’s annual Women of Influence awards dinner, it became evident that the people surrounding these women have had as much influence on them as they have had on others.
Jennifer Welton, vice president of Bankers Trust, and Cathy Terukina, executive vice president of Folience, both espoused a similar philosophy of “you’re only as good as the people around you,” and spread much of the credit for their accomplishments to their teams.
RaQuishia Harrington, program supervisor for special and underserved populations for the city of Iowa City Recreation Department, spoke of the inspirations received from her parents.
“From a young age, my parents instilled in me the value of perseverance,” she said upon receiving her award. “They’ve always been there for the community. They demonstrated that foundation.”
Alicia Murphy, chief organizational effectiveness officer of Van Meter Inc., spoke of the trepidation that came with moving to her husband’s hometown of Cedar Rapids.
“The Corridor wasn’t my home, it was where my husband grew up,” she said.
But after moving to Cedar Rapids in 2008, she recalled being “overwhelmed by the generosity of the community.” The people she met wanted her to love the community as much as they did, but they had one caveat: “If we are going to invest in you, you’d better step up.”
She has since answered that call, and now encourages people to pass that inspirational message to newcomers and longtime residents alike.
“All of us have the power to use our influence for good. It made all the difference for me,” Ms. Murphy said. “I challenge you to step up. The opportunities to get involved are endless. This is a great place to live and being kind to others is an important gift you can give.”
Christy Shipley, construction manager for Iowa Valley Habitat for Humanity, said she is inspired every day by volunteers who freely give of their time and talents to help others.
“It’s not me being an influence, it’s those who have influenced me,” she said. “They taught me what it means to give back to the community. If I’m a woman of influence, it is because of those who influenced me.”
We hope you’ll be inspired by the stories of these 10 women while reading the profiles in this special issue, and take a moment to thank those who have influenced you on your path.
2017’s Women of Influence: