Celebrating Women in Leadership: Voices from the Cedar Valley

posted on Wednesday, March 20, 2024 in Grow Cedar Valley

In the Cedar Valley, where ambition meets opportunity, the leadership landscape is being transformed by women who are not just an integral part of the workforce but shaping its future. During International Women's Month, we turn the spotlight on remarkable women, whose contributions are vital to our community's growth and innovation.

With women making up nearly 47% of the workforce, Grow Cedar Valley is dedicated to amplifying their voices, connecting them to resources, and celebrating their achievements. This is our tribute to just a few of the many female leaders in the Cedar Valley, offering insights into their journeys, challenges, and the advice they have for the next generation. Join us in honoring these inspiring professionals, who are setting new standards for leadership and paving the way for others.

Crafting Waterloo's Story

Lindsay Pieters is the Marketing Director at Experience Waterloo. Her journey through various facets of marketing—from broadcast media to digital platforms—illustrates her adaptability and a deep understanding of evolving marketing landscapes. Lindsay's approach merges traditional strategies with the limitless possibilities of digital media, showcasing Waterloo's unique narrative to residents and visitors alike.

"Get the internship, do the part-time job, the entry level job. Just start!" Lindsay advises aspiring women leaders, emphasizing the value of practical experience and the courage to embark on new challenges. Her story encourages young professionals to dive into opportunities, underscoring that each step, no matter how small, is a leap toward realizing their potential in shaping the Cedar Valley and beyond.

Leading with Vision and Confidence

Renee Christoffer, President/CEO of Veridian Credit Union, embodies visionary leadership in the financial services sector. Her extensive experience and progressive roles within the industry highlight her adeptness at navigating the complexities of financial management and strategic growth. Renee's leadership is characterized by an unwavering commitment to authenticity, inclusivity, and empowering other women to take their rightful place at the leadership table.

"Be bold and confident. Aim high," Renee encourages young women eyeing leadership roles. Her advice resonates with the belief that ambition and confidence are key drivers in breaking barriers and achieving one's dreams.

Safeguarding the Work Environment

Cortney Matthias' role an EHS Tech at Omega, is pivotal in developing and managing health, safety, and environmental compliance programs. Starting her journey in various operational roles, Cortney's ascent to her current position reflects her relentless pursuit of knowledge and excellence in the environmental health and safety domain.

"Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and try something new," Cortney advises young women aiming for leadership roles. She highlights the importance of embracing growth and challenges, and the power of effective communication and empathy in fostering safer, more inclusive workplaces.

Empowering Safety with Commitment

Lisa Dennis shines as an EHS Specialist at MasterBrand, LLC, where her dedication to ensuring workplace safety and environmental compliance makes a significant difference. Starting her journey in 1996 on a hardware line, Lisa's path to her current role is a testament to her eagerness to learn and evolve within the industry. Her leap into the EHS domain was spurred by a combination of curiosity and the pursuit of new challenges.

"Continue to further your knowledge and understanding of local, state, and federal standards & regulations. Never be afraid to ask questions and never stop learning new things!" Lisa advises, highlighting her approach to overcoming industry challenges and earning respect in a male-dominated field.

Streamlining Academic Excellence

Serving as the Assistant to the Provost & Executive Vice President at the University of Northern Iowa, Amy Kliegl's expertise in managing the complexities of academic affairs demonstrates a comprehensive understanding of university operations and a dedication to supporting educational excellence. Transitioning from the corporate sector to higher education, Amy's career is marked by versatility and a steadfast commitment to personal and professional development.

"For women who are just entering the workforce, I would say that you should be eager to learn but don't be a pushover," shares Amy. Her guidance underscores the importance of assertiveness and the willingness to contribute to and learn from every experience, laying a foundation for impactful leadership in academia and beyond.

Broadcasting Success with Integrity

Overseeing operations, sales, and community engagement, Mary Williams' multifaceted role as Station Manager/General Sales Manager at Coloff Media Cedar Falls, requires a blend of creativity, strategic thinking, and genuine connection with people. Her journey through various aspects of advertising and media underscores a passion for the industry and a resilient pursuit of professional growth.

"Respect yourself. Don't look for ways to be offended. Be confident in your ability," advises Mary to aspiring leaders. Her narrative champions self-respect, continuous learning, and the value of mentorship as cornerstones of a successful career in broadcasting and beyond.

Resources and Opportunities for Women in Leadership

Grow Cedar Valley is dedicated to facilitating the advancement of women in leadership through various resources and opportunities. Visit Women in Leadership for access to community-focused groups, grants, scholarships, networking events, and professional development programs specifically designed for women in the Cedar Valley.

This is just the beginning of our exploration into the impactful stories of women in leadership within our community. Stay tuned for more interviews and insights as we continue to celebrate the achievements of women in our community and beyond.