Leadership Iowa Class of 2018-19 Graduates

August 9, 2019 | Connecting Iowa

As our state’s premiere issues awareness program, Leadership Iowa gives participants a wide range of experiences that focus on the unique challenges and opportunities facing our state today. From October 2018 through June 2019, 40 talented individuals traveled to numerous locations throughout Iowa for two-day sessions to learn about those issues and to gain a better understanding of the role they can play in addressing them.

This year’s participants visited Moravia and Centerville, Shenandoah and Clarinda, Oskaloosa, Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, Cedar Falls/Waterloo, Carroll and Ames. There they learned from experts about agriculture and renewable energy, business/industry, workforce, government, public safety/security, community preparedness and response, education and economic development/community vitality.

The Class of 2018-19 will be remembered for giving preemptive standing ovations before every speaker from the very first session. They have carried on LI traditions like a love of karaoke and the claim to be the “Best Class Ever.” They also continued the self-directed custom of giving back to each community visited during their time in Leadership Iowa.

The class donated to a variety of causes including the City of Centerville’s local ambulance fund, the FFA student chapters of Clarinda and Shenandoah, the Homeless Coalition in Oskaloosa, Wings of Hope International founded by Alec Zama (LI ‘04-05), Cedar Rapids neighborhood revitalization project West Side Rising, Waterloo’s Orange Elementary School ‘Leader in Me’ program and student scholarships for the ABI Foundation’s high school program Business Horizons.

The generosity and dedication demonstrated during and beyond Leadership Iowa by the nearly 1,200 alumni since its inception in 1982 exemplifies the heart of the program.

Here’s what the most recent graduates have to say of their experience:

“It’s one of the most impactful personal and professional learning experiences of my life. The programming alone was worth the investment of time and resources. The relationships created with my fellow classmates are priceless.”

– Matt Rebro, Russell Construction, Davenport

“Leadership Iowa challenged me to think differently and deeply about issues impacting our state while discerning the accelerating complexity and nuances of business, industry and public policy. I am eager to implement the strategies and solutions I learned during Leadership Iowa in my workplace, volunteer activities and region.”

– Jenae Jenison, Central College, Pella

“The curriculum helped me better understand issues facing Iowa’s economic growth and success, as well as identify potential solutions and collaborations that could support this growth. The connections and relationships have already been life-changing, and I’m looking forward to further involvement as an alumna.”

– Charity Tyler, Cedar Rapids Public Library Foundation, Cedar Rapids

To see more of their journey, find “Leadership Iowa” on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. Keep an eye out this fall for an announcement of those selected to be part of the next “Best Class Ever.” Would you or someone you know be interested in participating in Leadership Iowa? Nominate yourself or others at www.LeadershipIowa.com!