Guest Post: Falling in Love with my Job

Written by Chelsea Ochylski, Manager of Philanthropy at Make-A-Wish® Iowa


I fall in love every day. I fall in love with every story I hear and every wish child I meet. I want to give each child the world and that is why I do what I do and why I love my job. As the Manager of Philanthropy for Make-A-Wish® Iowa, I often receive many questions about what I do. The most popular being, “Aren’t you sad every day?” To answer honestly, while working for Make-A-Wish does have its challenges, more so, it is extremely rewarding.

In my career, every day I get to work with individuals throughout Iowa who have the means and the passion to donate to our organization. Furthermore, I work with volunteers, students and individuals throughout the state who want to better themselves by making a difference in the life of someone else. I get to share the mission and vision of our organization while they help make wishes come true.

Make-A-Wish’s mission is to grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. I realize that mission is much bigger than I am, and I will not lie, there are absolutely days where I would rather lay in bed watching eight hours of FRIENDS than work. Then I remember there is a child who has no choice but to watch hours of TV while receiving treatment and fighting for their life. That is why I get out of bed in the morning.

Even though there are days where difficult conversations are had, complaints are received, or a long drive to northern Iowa is endured, the joy I am inevitably bringing to a child’s life makes it all worthwhile. With our generous donors, I am able to share the impact that every gift has on our wish children, their families, and communities as a whole. For example, that 81% of wish parents witnessed that their child had an increased willingness to comply with treatment when receiving a wish. The money our donors give helps to provide children with the will they need to fight back.

Each day I am amazed by the generosity of college students at Universities around the state, by their endless compassion, and by their will to brighten the day of a child. Students hold meetings, seminars, and fundraisers to raise money and awareness about the impact and importance of Make-A-Wish. These students are making a change on their campus’ around the state and I get to support them and show them the difference they have made at the end of every semester when they adopt the wish of a local child.

Every day I get to Share the Power of a Wish® with donors, students, volunteers, and individuals around the state. Once in a meeting, a donor said to me, “I like you because your passion shines through in everything you do and talk about.” Of course, I politely smiled and thanked him while moving forward with the meeting, but later when I was reflecting on that conversation, I could not help but think that was one of the best compliments I have ever received in my life. Through my career, I have realized my purpose and it is not to simply raise money, it is to share my passion by helping people to realize the true impact they can and do have on others through their commitment to Make-A-Wish. Whether it is speaking to a group about our mission, holding a fundraiser, or running a toy drive that provides enhancement items to our wish children, everyone is making a difference in the life of our children. This result creates a domino effect that impacts the entire community.

I love my job. I love working for a non-profit. Each day presents a new challenge and a new reward. I love sharing the impact an individual has had on the life of a child and their family. I love seeing the unparalleled happiness of a child who has opened their bedroom door after an afternoon nap to see a brand new play set with a red slide in their backyard. I love seeing a child’s one true wish come true.

First Members

This January was an amazing month for YNPN Des Moines. We celebrated our 1st birthday with a bash at Jasper Winery and rolled out our official membership structure.


Having a paid membership base is important for us to continue to offer professional development, social opportunities and resource-sharing initiatives. We’ll admit that we weren’t sure how our membership base would react to the new paid model, but within our first month, we’re proud to have added more than 50 paid members!

Sign up for yourself here. Annual dues are $35, or $15 for AmeriCorps volunteers.

A big shout-out to the more than 50 people who joined in Month One:

Brianne  Sanchez, Des Moines “I Have a Dream” Foundation
Kelsey Tyrrell, Community Youth Concepts
Kristin Huinker, Youth Emergency Services & Shelter (YESS)
Sarah Myren, Orchard Place-PACE
Danny Heggen, Healthways
Katy Heggen, Planned Parenthood of the Heartland
Chad Driscoll, Iowa Commission on Volunteer Service
Kristen Lancaster, The Stelter Co.
Joe Sorenson, Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines
Rachel Bruns, Iowa Commission on Volunteer Service
Michelle Raymer, Iowa Commission on Volunteer Service
Brianne Fitzgerald, United Way of Central Iowa
Zebulon Beilke-McCallum, Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Jessica Ireland, Bidwell Riverside
Jenna Ekstrom, Des Moines Art Center
Ash Bruxvoort, The Nature Conservancy
Ted Heying, Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines
Zack Davis, Organizing for Action
Courtney Howell, Drake University/Dress for Success Des Moines
Shauna Isaac, ICVS-Everybody Wins! Iowa
Remee Sedlacek, Drake University
Heather Binkley, Girl Scouts of Greater Iowa
Arlene Heng, Evelyn K Davis Center for Working Families
Alicia Lavender, Central College
Kayla Burkhiser Reynolds, Catholic Charities
Jason Burkhiser Reynolds, Proteus Inc.
Mindy Euken Cadenillas, Des Moines Public School
Warren Aaberg,  United Way 211
Juan Cadenillas, Polk County Health Department
Jeremy Poland, Thrive United Methodist Church
Lindsay Eastin, Special Olympics Iowa
Joe Crimmings, LS2group
Erin Del Collo, P.E.O. Sisterhood
Kelli Lydon, Des Moines Rehabbers Club
Emily Shields, Iowa Campus Compact
John Mark Feilmeyer, ArtForceIowa
Karla Bromwell, Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement
Amara Hartley, The Salvation Army
Nate Monson, Iowa Safe Schools
Jennifer Chittenden, Des Moines Downtown Chamber
Josh Skipworth, League of Conservation Voters
Emilee Richardson, Science Center of Iowa
Shauna Isaac, Everybody Wins! Iowa
Amanda Thys, WesleyLife
Erin Gille, Community Youth Concepts
Ashley Dockendorf, Make-A-Wish Iowa
Daniel Akright, Drake University
Natalie Koerber, Planned Parenthood of the Heartland
Chantelle Mathany, Alzheimer’s Association
Sunni Swarbrick, Simpson College

Why Become an Official YNPN Des Moines Member?

Over the course of a year and a half, YNPN Des Moines has grown from a small group connecting over coffee to a full-fledged organization with a calendar complete with professional development, resource sharing, social and online networking opportunities. We’re having a blast adding value to our community, and we don’t want to stop here.

In the nonprofit world, “sustainability” is at the core of every programming plan. We’re always looking for sources of revenue and enthusiasm to keep delivering on the mission. To address the issue of sustainability, YNPN Des Moines has launched an official membership structure. Annual dues are $35 or $15 for AmeriCorps volunteers. Consider asking your employer to assume the cost of a membership as part of their professional development budget.

Membership perks include:

  • Free or discounted admission to our professional and social events
  • Eligibility to serve in a leadership role for YNPN Des Moines
  • A subscription to the monthly newsletter and other communication
  • Access to a membership directory and conferences hosted by YNPN National
  • Plus, additional opportunities as we grow our list of partners

We are – and plan to remain – a completely volunteer-driven local chapter of a national organization. Our leadership team believes so much in what we’re doing that we’ve plunked down our own credit cards for everything from reserving meeting space to paying startup legal fees. As our organization grows, so do the costs. As young nonprofit professionals ourselves, we’re not making millions, so we’re calling on our members to contribute, too.



We’re focus our efforts on adding even more value to being involved in YNPN Des Moines in 2014, including a trip to the YNPN National Conference in Twin Cities this June. Road trip!

Engaging Committee Members

StacyGarmon.pngby Stacie Garmon

This can definitely be a challenge. My advice; start your communication with your potential and confirmed committee members early. I typically start 10-12 months in advance. This will allow most individuals ample time to make room in their schedules for the planning process and the event itself.

It is best to have committee members from a variety of backgrounds. Yes, the “well-known” committee members have a broad reach in the community with several connections, but they can also be committed to several projects at one time. Do not be afraid to enlist young professionals and others who may not be as connected; these individuals are driven to succeed, what to get their name out in the community and often are not committed to several projects at one time…meaning they can dedicate more time to your event!

Define clear expectations and goals during the recruitment process. If attending meetings is vital to the success of the process, make sure to state this in the expectations. At times, I have listed that 50-60% of the monthly meetings must be attended to receive recognition on event materials.

Make it clear if they will be expected to solicit for monetary or in-kind donations. Will they be required to sell event tickets? If so, will there be a minimum for each individual to sell?

Many people are not comfortable asking others for money or “stuff” however; they may still be a very valuable committee member. Assign them to a task that fits their strengths; decorations, volunteer recruitment, etc… Do not assign a committee member to a task they are not comfortable with, you are setting your committee up for failure and it will only lead to last minute work on your part and could affect the outcome of donations. If you can assign committee members to tasks they enjoy, they are more likely to stay on schedule and be successful.

Stay connected throughout the planning period, even during those periods of time with less planning action. Meeting with the committee on a regular basis; I typically hold monthly meetings leading up to the event. However, 6-8 weeks prior to an event the meetings will be held every 2 weeks. Create an agenda for each meeting; this will help ensure the committee stays on task. Make sure when the meeting is complete that each individual has a clear understanding of their next steps. Send a meeting follow-up or minutes within 24 hours of the meeting as a reminder of what was discussed and everyone’s required follow-up. In those notes highlight the deadlines that were set at the meeting and of course, do not forget to provide the date, time and location of the next meeting. I typically like to send our meeting reminders 1 week and 24 hours prior.

Hold committee members accountable for the responsibilities they selected. Do not down play the importance of their tasks. Unfortunately, those tasks that the committee fails to complete are ultimately your job. Do not wait too long to step in to ensure the task is completed on time and correctly.

I believe a great committee with an event better leader will make an event successful. Finding the right members is just as important as selecting the right date, venue and auction items.

Get to Know: Lisa Shipley

LisaShipley.jpgName: Lisa Shipley

What she does: Public Alies Iowa, Program Manager

Age: 30

How she spends her free time: Right now I fill it with getting situated with my new apartment. Typically I fill it with walks, spending time with friends, reading a good book, watching movies, volunteering, and being an active Alum through AmeriCorps and Public Allies.

What she loves about her job: Right now I have a dream job (I could only be saying this because I’m still in the ‘honeymoon phase’ since getting hired on haha). My current job over laps many of my passions — leadership training, mentoring/coaching, commitment to service and AmeriCorps, and continuous learning. My supervisor is supportive, encouraging, provides direction with flexibility, and offers a helping hand when she can.

Hardest lesson learned on the job: Knowing when it’s time to move on — from a job, a project, a volunteer position, etc. This was a hard lesson to learn but I’m grateful for the opportunity to learn it now versus later in life. Through this experience of ‘letting go,’ I have learned that by doing such I provide room for others to grow and learn, as well as for me to do the same.

What inspires her: Teaching others any type of material. Not only does it push me to learn more about the subject matter, but it also challenges me to relate the material to them so they would have concrete examples to work with. It’s important to keep educating ourselves and others because I feel the good majority of inaction comes from not being informed. By being more informed about a variety of different topics, we’ll become a less passive society with only occasional interest in life altering topics — trafficking children in the US, the effects on children and their education from inactive parenting, and equal opportunities for all preferences of lifestyles.

How she got to Des Moines: I grew up in the northwest suburbs of Chicago, IL, and for the past six years I have lived in Indiana — attending Ball State University in Muncie, IN, completing a RM-of-service in AmeriCorps, and working with a local nonprofit. September 14, 2013 I moved to Des Moines, IA for a Program Manager position with AmeriCorps: Public Allies Iowa.

What she wishes she knew when she started her career: That I should have paid a lot more attention to the ‘theory classes’ I had while in Undergrad. By doing that information could be applied a lot more easily now.

What she wanted to be as a little girl: Growing up I had interests in teaching and service (nonprofit or government).

Dream job?: My dream job is service based, with 60% being administrative and 40% being direct service. Additionally, the supervisor would not only be supportive and encouraging, but would also be a great coach/mentor. This would provide me with an example to learn from, as well as challenging me exceed my comfort zone(s), so I can reach that next level in my career.

Connect with Lisa on LinkedIn.

Big Thanks to Ingersoll Square

By Brianne Sanchez, YNPN Des Moines founding co-chair

One of the trickiest parts of creating a new organization from scratch is how to grow with very little capital. (Human capital, we have in spades. Cold, hard, cash – not so much.) So far, we’ve relied on the personal generosity of our Leadership Team to pay for food, post-its, etc. But we had our first in-kind sponsor this fall and want to tell you all about it!

YNPN Des Moines was searching for a spot to host our mid-year Leadership Retreat when serendipity smiled upon us. The kind staff at the Ingersoll Square lofts invited us to use their community room, take a tour of the growing development and even bought us Gusto Pizza. Clearly they knew the way to YNP hearts is through our pie-holes.

So our leadership team spent a sunny fall day celebrating our accomplishments over the past six months and plotting world domination the next few months for the organization. We used our willpower to not hold our planning meeting in the Ingersoll Square hot tub or pool, which are right outside the community room. There’s also a workout room.


Frank Levy, one of the Newbury Living business partners who is developing the property, told us a little bit about their income restricted apartment options, and the business in general. Quote of the day: These income restricted apartments might be a good fir for young nonprofit professionals who are “Not properly compensated by society for the value they bring.” Preach, Frank.

Frank is a Harvard Business School grad, so obviously we wanted to pick his brain for startup advice. “Have audacity” he told us. Bring something fresh to the table, and everyone will want to be part of it. We adopted an “audacious” agenda and really appreciated Newbury Living’s support.

If you’re in the market for a new place that’s close to downtown, allows dogs, has in-unit washer/dryer and is owned by a dude as cool as Frank is, consider Ingersoll Square for your new home. It might be closer to your budget than you think. Call 599-0201 or e-mail [email protected]

If you’d like to find a way to partner with YNPN Des Moines, send us a line to [email protected]

Event Recap: Making the Ask

By Kelli Lydon, co-founder of the Des Moines Rehabbers Club, a nonprofit that seeks to revitalize neighborhoods by connecting homeowners to the resources and education they need to fix up and maintain their houses.

At the YNPN Des Moines “Making the Ask” event at Saints Pub in Beaverdale, fundraisers of all levels got to ask seasoned professionals how they get the job done. Zachary Mannheimer, executive director of the Des Moines Social Club, Jack Reed, development director of the Ronald McDonald House, and Emily Williams-Bouska, chief development and communications officer of Planned Parenthood of the Heartland were experienced enough to give sound advice but close enough to their days as rookie fundraisers to relate to the fresh faces in the room.


The range of experience among the crowd made me realize how important these skills are in many different fields and for many different positions within a nonprofit. Development directors and professional fundraisers do great work, but it’s also important for board members, volunteers, and other leaders to know how good fundraising and development is done and to become part of the process.

Our expert panelists were each great mentors in their own ways, but one thing they had in common was that they’d been down in the trenches of fundraising for a while and they’d seen it all. Based on their answers to the host’s questions and question from the audience, I think their advice breaks fundraising down into three stages.

Back at the office, it’s all about preparation and organization. A donor database is crucial and how you use it can be the difference between making a successful ask and looking like a total rookie. It’s important to have a central location for tracking things like where a potential donor has given money in the past, preferences for communication, and contact you’ve had with them. A donor database is the key to adequate preparation for making the ask.

Making the ask is only about 10% of the total time you’ll spend fundraising, according to the panelists. Some tips for the actual fundraising conversation include:

  • Have a definite goal in mind and aim high.
  • Quantify your organization’s impact and why the donor’s gift is a sound investment in your good work.
  • Leave the potential donor with something to mull over after you’re done (a brochure about your organization, a summary of your plan for the coming year, etc.)
  • Learn to read the situation through experience, sometimes through trial and error. Listen to the donor and relate your work to their experience and concerns. Be flexible in conversation and style while remaining committed to your goal and message.

Follow-up after a meeting is just as important as the preparation you’ve done before the meeting. Pay attention to the donor’s preferred method of communication. If the donor states a clear preference for email, follow through with that. If you don’t know, defaulting to a handwritten thank you note is a safe bet. Following up later is also a good way to show you’re dependable and committed to the donor’s interest as well as your own. In addition to a simple thank you for the meeting and (hopefully!) their donation, take the opportunity to answer a question the donor had or provide more details on an area of your work you discussed. If the donor relationship requires a long term strategy to ensure continued support, the three stages end up becoming more of a cycle.

The conversations I had and overheard after the panel discussion showed that there was something in that advice for all levels of development. I know I started scratching down notes immediately about how we could apply these tips to the growth and development of my organization. YNPN has been great for getting young professionals in the room with experienced mentors and this was a perfect example of why it’s so valuable.

Fundraising Event Management: A Timeline Checklist

Is event planning one of the “Other Duties as Assigned” you’ve taken on in your role as a YNP? Tasked with pulling off an auction and not sure where to start? We’ve got you covered.

As Events Manager for a non-profit organization based in Des Moines serving the state of Iowa, Stacie Garmon produces events  for anywhere from 10 to 15,000+ people. She’s responsible for a 3-day children’s festival, auction gala, two golf tournaments and two children’s events, annually. Stacie shared her project management timeline and advice with us in a series of guest posts you’ll want to bookmark!


Event planning is Stacie’s super power and she’s coming to your rescue!

Stacie says:


I work on a continuous 12 month rotation. I have a separate “events” calendar designated for inputting reminders for events throughout the year (when to contact certain sponsors, donors, vendors, etc). This can be a lifesaver during my busier times of the year.

12+ months prior:
The moment an annual event ends is the moment the planning process begins for the following year. As soon as an event is completed, I do a review of current event with the committee for areas of success and those areas that need adjustments in the future. Doing this immediately following the event will ensure it is fresh in your mind. Review the budget, revenue, ROI, sponsors, donors and sales.

  • Select a chairperson /leader. This should be someone who can commit to the entire event process. Selecting the right person can make your event extremely successful!
  • Build your volunteer event committee and create sub-committees as needed.
  • Establish event goals: Gross revenue raised, event budget, attendance desired, and sponsorship dollars.
  • Select event date, venue and entertainment (live bad, auctioneer, performers). When setting a date – do your research. Avoid major sporting events and activities important to your community (i.e. Iowa/ISU game or the Iowa State Fair), as well as other major fundraising events that could cause your supporters to choose which event they will attend.

9-12 months prior:

  • Schedule a meeting with your “procurement” (solicitation) committee volunteers for auction and in-kind items.
  • Brainstorm items to target. Be creative, think outside of the box and do not be afraid to go after those hard to obtain items/packages. Create your “procurement” goals and deadlines.
  • Identify event sponsorship opportunities/levels and benefits.
  • Begin creating event materials. If you do not have a graphic designer, consider hiring one.
  • Database review of sponsors, donors and procurement lists.
  • Start implementing event information on your website and social media pages.

5-8 months prior:

  • Mail/email procurement request (solicitation) letters.
  • Have procurement volunteers begin following-up to request letters 2-4 weeks after mailed.
  • Create “save the date” cards to be emailed/mailed to prior event guest, sponsors and donors.
  • Begin tracking event information: donors, items procured and sponsorships, etc…
  • Continually review procurement results and event revenue progress.
  • Develop save the date/invitation mailing list.
  • Confirm all hired entertainment/auctioneer, decorator, rented equipment, program speakers and honorees.
  • Finalize event decor and “theme” (if required).

2-4 months prior:

  • Begin creating/defining the day of event accounting processes.
  • Finalize invitation mailing list.
  • Begin establishing volunteer duties.
  • Begin recruiting volunteers for the day prior and day of the event.
  • Meet with venue, caterer, entertainers to review details (floor plan, food, timing, flow, special needs, etc…).
  • Begin packaging items together, creating unique auction packages.

3-4 weeks prior: This is the time period where my office begins to look chaotic, but it’s ok!

  • Complete procurement and finalize item packaging.
  • Begin assigning auction items to live vs. silent.
  • Create event signage and displays.
  • Coordinate all day-of event equipment (computers, printers, tablets, etc…).
  • Finalize event floor plan with venue and decorator.
  • Create event program, presentations, speeches, etc…

2 weeks prior:

  • Complete auction item assignment.
  • Create live auction item sequence.
  • Meet with auctioneer prior to completing event program, they often have great insight to where packages will be the most successful. Live auction items are not necessarily items of higher value, many times items are unique and not obtainable by general public.
  • Collect event materials and supplies to take to venue.
  • Finalize day-off event volunteer task list and schedule.
  • Confirm with volunteers that they are still on board.

1 week prior:

  • Finalize check-in and accounting processes.
  • Create and finalize bid sheets and take to printer if carbon copies are needed.
  • Assign guest to tables (if required).
  • Assign bidder numbers to guests.
  • Create and finalize registered guests’ bidder packets (program, bidder number, name tag, table number).
  • Enter last minute registrations as they arrive.
  • Create “walk-in” guest bidder packets
  • Ensure all auction packages are numbers and have corresponding tags/labels.
  • Touch base with decorator on schedule/timeline.

Day Before and Day of Auction: Wear comfortable shoes, stay hydrated and don’t forget to eat! My last large auction event, I was onsite for 20 hours straight!

  • Print event registration lists and reports.
  • Print final day-of schedule and distribute to event staff and volunteers.
  • Deliver all items and materials to venue (if allowed). Often times, I have worked into contract the ability to set-up the day prior. Make sure the venue will be secured if you’re leaving valuable items.
  • Decorate venue as planned.
  • Display auction packages with corresponding bid sheets, signage, etc…
  • Display event signage and other displays
  • Hours before event: hold a meeting for volunteers and staff to review event roles and responsibilities. It helps if this can be held immediately follow-up set-up to give a true picture of the floor plan and flow of the room.

Event Wrap-up: The wrap-up is just as, if not more, important than the planning

  • Invoicing attendees whose bidder number reflects balance due.
  • Arrange for pick-up/delivery of auction items that were not collected at the event.
  • Create notes regarding event issues, changes needed, and ideas for future.
  • Update event binder or electronic files for future use.
  • Thank you letters to sponsors, donors and guests – try to include next year’s event date.
  • Reconcile budget, expenses and revenue.

September Discussion Group Recap: Making the Ask

by Kristin Huinker

If there was a hashtag to exemplify our professional lives it would be #network. (I couldn’t resist.  I mean, we’ve all seen this video, right?) In a culture that’s all about who you know and not  what you know, using your network of friends and family is crucial to personal and professional  development. And it’s just as vital in the nonprofit sector as it is in the corporate world. But  nonprofit professionals, especially young NPs, have a distinct advantage: We get to connect  people to the issues they are passionate about and work alongside them to create change.  We rely on these “friendraisers” to help further our missions and make a difference in the  community.


The September discussion group hosted by YNPN Des Moines was one of a series of  professional development opportunities revolving around “Making the Ask.” The big event  is Tuesday, October 15, where YNPs get to ask the “Experienced Ones” all of our burning  questions (To submit a question or learn more about the event, check out our Facebook event page). In the meantime, below are a few things we took from September’s discussion group.

Ask with confidence – Anytime you ask anyone for anything, assume you will get a “Yes.”  A positive, optimistic attitude is an immediate reflection of the passion you have for your organization or cause.

“No pressure” – One of the “A ha!” moments of the discussion was the overuse of the phrase “No pressure” when asking your personal network to support your cause. Unknowingly, these  two words imply there was pressure to begin with. It also sends the message that their gift isn’t  really all that important (i.e. “If you give, great! If not, that’s okay, too.” Not the best message to  send…see tip #1).


Be mission-focused – Not all fundraising asks are universal. Just because you are passionate  about your organization’s mission or cause does not mean everyone in your network feels the  same. For example, if one friend was to ask me to make a donation to help save sea lions in the  Arctic while another was to ask me to donate to St. Jude Children’s Hospital, I’m going to pick  the kiddos every time.

Friends with benefits – Everyone has something they can give, even if it isn’t monetary. It  could be volunteering time and talents, advocating on behalf of a certain issue, or organizing  a donation drive. Research shows that these “gateway” activities will more than likely lead to  financial support in the future.

You won’t get if you don’t ask – Get over your fear of rejection, people! We get the  satisfaction of seeing our donors’ gifts in action and being part of the solution. But odds are,  they want to feel important, too. It’s a win-win for everyone!

Hope to see you at the big event on the 15th!

No pressure.

Get to Know Stephanie Majeran

Name: Stephanie MajeranStephanieMajeran.png

What she does: Drake University, Assessment Coordinator

Age: 29

How she spends her free time: Running! And teaching aerobics, cooking weird “healthy” foods, hanging out with my hubby and puppy, and working towards a Masters in Leadership Development.

What she loves about her job: I have some great, fun co-workers who truly care about doing their best at any job or task thrown their way! I also enjoy the flexible and more relaxed atmosphere at higher ed institutions.

Lowest point in her career: My low point came after 2.5 years in public accounting when I realized that life was too short to be so miserable in a job, especially when working over 40 hours a week. I learned that while a job and money are certainly important, they should not keep you from being happy, pursuing your dreams, and being yourself.

What inspires her: Right now, I’ve been fascinated with entrepreneurial ventures, so reading articles about the amazing things that these innovative people have created has been very inspirational for me.

How she got to Des Moines: I am a Des Moines native, but went to college in Pittsburgh, then lived in Philadelphia for 3 years, then on to Iowa City for a year and Dubuque for a year and a half, before making my way back home!

What she wishes she knew when she started her career: That getting a degree in a certain area does not mean you have to be stuck in it forever, nor do you have to go down the “expected” path.

What she wanted to be as a little girl: Many things, but the one that stands out is a marine biologist. I fell in love with manatees when visiting Sea World in 4th grade and pursued this occupation until I realized that in fact, I am not a big fan of water.

Dream job?: Being my own boss, where I get to help people do what they are good at efficiently and effectively and design solutions to problems.

Connect with Stephanie on LinkedIn

Would you like us to get to know you? Then say hello!

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