Megan Early Alter
Born and raised in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Megan moved to Iowa City in 1995 to finish doctoral work after living in New York City for 7 years. She has called Iowa City home ever since.
Megan has a B.A. in Dance and English Literature, and an M.A. in English Literature, both from New York University. She holds a Ph.D. in English Literature (emphasis in 19th century British Literature) from the University of Iowa. She has taught as a visiting professor in the English Department and Sexuality Studies Program at the University of Iowa, and at Cornell College and Upper Iowa University.
She is currently a manager in Test Development at ACT, English Language Arts; is a member of Corporate Giving Committee and Volunteer Services Committee and on the steering comittee for United Way Fundraising Week at ACT.
Megan has been a “Big” with Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Johnson County for the last four years. She volunteers with the Community Engagement Committee, Community Review Panel, and Advocacy sub-groups of IWF. She is on the planning committee for the Johnson County American Heart Association Go Red for Women annual luncheon.
A fun fact about Megan, she was an NCAA All-American in Springboard Diving and the 1 and 3 meter races.
A native of the Iowa City area, Amanda has served as the Community Relations Officer for Hills Bank since 2013. She has enjoyed a long career with Hills Bank, beginning as a part-time teller during college and in 2003 serving as the Community Relations Administrative Assistant. Amanda attended West Branch schools, Kirkwood Community College, and the University of Iowa.
Amanda is actively involved with many organizations in the community, including the Alzheimer’s Association, United Way of Johnson County, the Crisis Center of Johnson County, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Main Street West Branch, American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois, Big Brothers Big Sisters Bowl for Kids’ Sake, Habitat for Humanity and the Johnson County Historical Society. Amanda has served on the IWF Ovation and Luncheon Committees since 2014. In her free time, Amanda enjoys the outdoors, animals, traveling, music, horseback riding, furniture restoration and spending time with family and friends.
Janie currently serves as Board Chair, Co-CEO and General Counsel of SouthGate Companies, a family-owned, local real estate development, construction, home-building, investment and property management company. She earned a BA and JD (Juris Doctor) from the University of Denver and a MFA in Creative Writing (fiction) from Queens University of Charlotte.
Janie has lived in Iowa City since 2004 and is a past member of the Police Citizen Review Board of Iowa City. She has been an active member of IWF’s Grants Committee. She is a Denver Broncos fan by birth, an Iowa Hawkeye fan by marriage and a Green Bay Packers fan by heart!
Kathy is Senior Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer with Northern Trust Institutional Asset Management. She holds a BBA in Finance from the University of Iowa and an Executive MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
She is a board member of youth Guidance (WOW – women focused program) and a community volunteer with Ronald McDonald House Charities, Junior Achievement of Chicago, UCAN and Chicago Scholars. Kathy is the program founder and coordinator for NT Women in Asset Management which focuses on building and fostering the talent pipeline for women in the industry/business unit.
Kathy has moved back to Iowa City with a great network and fundraising experience.
A native of northeast Iowa, Laurie earned her B.A. in business administration and politcal science from Wartburg College. She holds a law degree from the University of Iowa College of Law (with high distinction). She is an attorney and Senior Vice President at Shuttleworth & Ingersoll. Her legal work focuses on real estate and business law, banking, and mergers and aquisitions.
Laurie’s community and personal involvement focuses on issues impacting women, children and underserved populations. A few include: Prairie School Foundation Advisory Committee, Junior Achievement of Eastern Iowa, Inc., Womens Leadership Initiative of United Way of East Central Iowa and Affordable Housing Network, Inc.
Alison Ames Galstad Past President
Originally from Wisconsin, Alison has called Iowa home since 1985. She holds a Bachelors Degree in Piano Performance from Northern Michigan University and a Masters Degree in Library and Information Science from The University of Iowa. She also attended graduate school in Musicology at Michigan State University, and completed the coursework and exams towards her PhD in Musicology at the University of Iowa.
Alison has served as the Director of the Coralville Public Library for the past 20 years, seeing the Library through a major expansion and renovation project. Prior to coming to the Coralville Public Library, she served as an Associate Professor in the Library at Cornell College, and also taught in the Women’s Studies Program at Cornell and chaired that program for two years. While at Cornell, she also served as the College’s Affirmative Action Officer for three years. She has been involved in various library organizations over the years, including service on several committees within the Iowa Library Association as well as committee service within the American Library Association.
Alison served on the Iowa City Human Rights Commission for six years, chairing that commission for the last three of those six years. From 2009–2011, she served on the Vestry of Trinity Episcopal Church, including service as Senior Warden for the Parish. She has also been active with the Preucil School of Music for many years as an accompanist. She has served on the Preucil School Guild and on the Preucil Board of Trustees. Alison is currently serving as President for the Board of Directors for the Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature.
Nancy is a native of St Louis, Missouri, and has called Iowa home since 1972. She received her J.D. from the University of Iowa College of Law in 1976 and served as a Professor in the Tippie College of Business teaching Law and Ethics to undergraduates and MBAs for about 40 years. She held several leadership positions including Associate Dean of the Undergraduate Program in Tippie, University of Iowa Ombudsperson, and Director of CIMBA. She retired (mostly) in 2014.
Nancy is past President of the University of Iowa Retirees Association (UIRA) and continues to serve on their board. She also serves on the boards of Riverside Theatre and TRAIL of Johnson County (Tools and Resources for Active Independent Living). She has been active with IWF on the Grants Review Committees for the past several years. She loves traveling, photography, and hanging out with her spouse, friends and the household dog and cat.
Danette was born and raised in northern Iowa and has lived most of her life in central Iowa with short stints in Kyoto, Japan, Chicago, IL, and Iowa City, IA. Danette has a B.A. in Business Administration from Clarke University, Dubuque, and an MBA from the Tippie College of Business, University of Iowa. She is currently the Assistant Dean Graduate Programs in the College of Business and Public Administration at Drake University. She has worked in academic administration at Iowa State University and the University of Iowa.
Danette is married to Patrick and is mom to Bekah. When she is not busy with Bekah’s dance, she enjoys reading and spending time relaxing with family and friends.
Lori is a Native of Waterloo, Iowa, and currently resides in Cedar Rapids, where she recently completed a Masters of Strategic Leadership degree at Mt. Mercy College. She earned a BA in Interdisciplinary Studies from University of Iowa, with emphases in music, English and art.
Lori has worked as an arts administrator (fundraising, educational programming) for various organizations in Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN, including the Minnesota Center for Book Arts and American Composers Forum. She also served as Director of Development for the Northeast Florida Easter Seals Society in Jacksonville, FL.
Lori became an active volunteer on behalf of the arts in Sioux City and was part of the founding Board of the Sioux City Symphony’s Symphony School. She was President-elect of the Sioux City Art Center before moving to Cedar Rapids.
Lori has been a very active volunteer in the Cedar Rapids public schools and was a former teacher at the Orchestra Iowa Symphony School. She is a Linn County Master Gardener and has served on local boards including the Paul Engle Center, Cedar Valley Montessori School, Ecumenical Community Center, Iowa Children’s Museum, and Friends of the Marion Library.
Chelle Lehman Vice President
Chelle is a native of Illinois and has lived in the Iowa City area for 27 years. She holds a B.A. degree in Biology and Elementary Education from the University of Iowa, and a M.S. degree in Biology from the University of Nebrask Kearney. She is the Women in Science and Engineering (WiSE) Director for Recruitment and Outreach at the University of Iowa, and the Project Lead the Way Outreach Direcvtor for Diversity and Implementation at the University of Iowa.
She is an Affiliate Director of UIowa WiSE Femineers™, co-Vice Chair for the University of Iowa Council on the Status of Women, and chair of the IWF Grants Allocation Committee. She is a member of the Celebration of Excellence and Achievement Among Women Committeee at the University of Iowa, and a member of the Iowa Governor’s STEM Council STEM Equity Workgroup. Shelly is a member of the Big 10 STEM Summit Committee serving on the Recruitment and Retention of Undergraduate Women and Women of Color in STEM. She is currently a certified K-12 teacher in the state of Iowa. Her hobbies include stained glass, biking and traveling.
Sarah Jean Leonard Secretary
Originally from Nashua, Iowa, Sarah received a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Iowa in Art History and Religious Studies, and a JD from the William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul, Minnesota. Sarah was one of the founding members of the William Mitchell Veterans Assistance Organization, and was an Elder Justice Scholar, with research focusing on felony-level neglect of vulnerable adults.
As an attorney, Sarah practiced estate planning and probate law. She currently serves as a Trust Officer at US Bank.
Sarah is currently a board member of the Altrusa International of Iowa City and Mercy Foundation. She is a certified facilitator for Honoring Your Wishes, and volunteers with the Ladies’ Football Academy.
Stan Miller Treasurer
Originally from Kansas but a long-time resident of Johnson County (via Long Island, New York, and Bloomington, Indiana), Stan is a retired CPA, Partner and Assurance Director with McGladrey & Pullen (now RSM US), whose clients included many nonprofit organizations and foundations in Iowa and beyond. He currently assists nonprofit organizations in improving their financial management and oversight and serves as IWF’s Treasurer.
Stan is a long-time board member of Elder Services, Inc. and a volunteer for medical transportation with them. He also volunteers with Compeer of Johnson County and Goodwill. He is a current or past board or finance committee member of Summer for the Arts, Downtown Association, Big Brothers- Big Sisters, Iowa City Public Library Foundation, and Housing Fellowship. In his free time, Stan is an avid hiker, biker, diver and frequent traveler.
Rachel was born and raised in Yorkshire, England and moved to Iowa City in 2008 to work for the University of Iowa Health Care. She holds a B.S. in Government from the London School of Economics, UK. She is currently employed by the University of Iowa as Chief of Staff in the Office of the Chief Information Officer. Her professional background includes knowledge in organizational change, human resource leadership and strategic communications. Early in her career, she taught English in Greece, Ecuador and Mexico.
Rachel’s community involvement includes IWF Grants Review Committee and Community Outreach Committee member. She is a board member at Little Angels Learning Center daycare, a luncheon co-chair for Go Red for Women, and a mentor for the University of Iowa Tippie Women in Business Student Mentorship Program.
Rachel is married to Jason and they have two sons. She enjoys playing piano and violin, running, and travelling.
Originally from the Quad Cities, Jen is the owner and partner at de Novo Marketing – a full service creative firm located in the NewBo District in Cedar Rapids and founded in 1997. Prior to this, she served as VP of Communications for Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa & Western Illinois.
Jen is the immediate Past-Chair (current trustee) of the Cedar Rapids Community Schools Foundation, a member of the NewBo District Board, Mentor in Residence at Iowa Startup Accelerator, and Past-President and Past-Sustaining-Chair of Junior League of Cedar Rapids. She is a past board member of Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois.
A self-described political junkie and amateur bird watcher, Jen is “mother to two young women, wife to a pretty cool guy, and feeder of two lousy cats.”
Jill Olsen President
Originally from Mount Vernon, Iowa, Jill was a member of IWF’s Leadership Circle for two years prior to her membership on the Board of Directors. She currently serves as board president. Jill received her BA from Rutgers University in New Jersey and her MA from Winthrop University in Rockhill, South Carolina. On her return to Iowa, she earned both her Ed.S. and Ed.D. degrees from Drake University in Des Moines. Jill taught at the high school level in New Jersey, South Carolina, Wisconsin, and Iowa, later becoming Principal of Emerson Elementary School in Marion, Iowa.
She is a retired school administrator and Graceland University Graduate Program Instructor. Jill was the recipient of many awards and unique opportunities as an educator. She was named a Christa MacAullife Fellow for Iowa and was named Iowa Teacher of the Year. She was a Fulbright Memorial Scholar to Japan, a Teacher of Excellence Delegate to Russia, and a Scottish Rite Doctoral Fellow. She originated the idea of Silver Cords for Service for high school seniors.
A graduate of the Leadership for the Five Seasons leadership program in Cedar Rapids, Jill has served as member and former Chair of the Iowa Commission on the Status of Women, Chair of the Iowa Department of Human Rights Board, and Governor of Rotary District 5970 (northern half of Iowa). She also served two terms on the Iowa Commission for Volunteer Service. She is currently serving as co-chair of the Rotarian Action Group4Clubfoot & Iowa’s Gift to the World (Poneti Method), the Vice-General Chair of NCPETS (training for incoming Rotary Club presidents) and is a delegate to Rotary International Council on Legislation. Jill is a recipient of Rotary’s highest honor, the Service Above Self Award. Jill resides in Mount Vernon.
A native of Wisconsin, Anne has called Iowa home for the past 12 years. She received her bachelor’s degree from American University in Washington D.C. where she worked for several non-profits and lobbying organizations after graduation. Currently, she leads the Marketing Engagement for Aura Cacia, a brand of Frontier Co-op based in Norway, Iowa. Anne developed the brand’s social giving program Positive Change Project, which has granted more than a half million dollars in two years. Prior to this role, Anne spent eight years at Rockwell Collins in various corporate communications positions.
Anne has served on the Iowa Children’s Museum Board and has been active with IWF Grants Review for the past several years. She loves traveling, participating in anything fitness-related, and spending time with her husband Jeff and their fur-baby Norman.
Rachelle Hunt Russian
Rachelle is a native of Cedar Rapids and currently resides in Des Moines. She has a B.S. in Business Administration from Alabama State University, a M.S. in Management from the University of Maryland University College in Adelphi, MD, and a Strategic Decision and Risk Management Certification from Stanford University. Rachelle is a sales specialist with Wells Fargo Home Mortgage. Her career includes more than 20 years in the financial services industry and public service, including federal banking supervision and regulartion, financial services advisory services, pension administration and financial markets and community investment public policy analysis.
Rachelle serves on a number of committees and is the Vice Chairman for the Iowa Commission on the Status of Women, Commissioner for Des Moines Civil and Human Rights; Treasurer for the Des Moines Chapter of The Links, Inc.; and serves as the State of Iowa Connection and Social Action Coordinator and Strategic Planning Chairman. She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. chapter Iota Zeta omega Chapter in Des Moines; a board member and finance committee member of Corinthian Gardens; and volunteers for Investing in My Future (IIMF) where she serves as a committee member of the Walter Nathaniel Alexander Russian Scholarship Committee.
Previous volunteering includes leadership in the Junior League of Des Moines, the Alabama and Iowa Special Olympics, Urban Financial Service Coalition, Friends Board of the Iowa Commission on the Status of Women, and Girls Scouts of Greater Iowa.
Rachelle enjoys spending time with her family, friends, Corinthian Baptist Church family, and going to class car shows with her husband Walter. She appreciates the opportunity to help women and girls in Iowa and has a lifelong passion for community service.
A long-time IWF supporter, David is the past Chair of the Board of Directors for TRAIL, a nonprofit organization that aims to help older residents live and age safely and comfortably in their own homes. He also serves as a Volunteer Counselor with the Senior Health Insurance Information Program and is a singer with the Chamber Singers of Iowa City. He is retired, with experience that includes teaching, social work, mediation, ethics consultation, and nonprofit board membership.
David enjoys travel, the outdoors, good food, cooking, reading, live music and theater.
A native of Holstein, Iowa, Leighton currently lives in North Liberty with his spouse and three children. He earned JD and MBA degrees from the University of Iowa and a BA in Philosophy from the University of Chicago. He is an alum of the Leadership Five Seasons (Cedar Rapids), Community Leadership Program (Iowa City), and the Leadership Iowa (statewide) programs.
Leighton’s professional career has focused on business advisory services – first with an investment firm, then in banking, and most recently at accounting and consulting firm BerganKDV. He currently serves as Adjunct Lecturer at the Tippie College of Business at the University of Iowa, teaching courses in the Finance department
His community service includes board roles with Cedar Rapids Rotary, Legion Arts, North Liberty Pantry and others. He has also been involved in social entrepreneurship with events like Beat the Bitter, Pulling for Honor, and the Wingman Project. Leighton was recently named “Person of the Year” by the Iowa City Press Citizen for his role in starting the “100+ Who Care” group in the Iowa City area.
Dr. Elizabeth Swanson
Serving as President of the Board from 2013-2015, Liz is originally from the Waterloo-Cedar Falls area. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing, a Master of Science degree in Nursing, and a Doctorate (PhD) in Student Development and Personnel, all from the University of Iowa. She served as the Board’s Vice President before serving as President.
Dr. Swanson has over 40 years of service in various capacities to the University of Iowa including staff nurse, instructor, tenured faculty member, Chair, Associate Vice President for Health Professions Education, and Associate Dean for International Programs. She currently serves as Associate Professor and Director, External Relations at the University of Iowa College of Nursing.
She also has a record of scholarship with the publication of 39 peer reviewed papers, 11 edited books, 15 book chapters, 6 commentaries, 60 international, national and local presentations, and external and internal grants.
Liz is a member of a number of boards and committees, including being a manuscript reviewer for Journal of Nursing Scholarship, Journal of Nursing Languages and Classification, Geriatric Nursing and Midwest Nursing Research Journal and has served as chair or member of 48 student Theses or Dissertation committees.
Dick is a lifelong resident of Iowa City attending elementary and junior and senior high schools here. he has a B.A. from Stanford University and a J.D. from the University of Iowa. He has practiced law in Iowa City since 1975 and is partner in Phelan, Tucker, Mullen, walker, Tucker & Gelman, LLP. He is married to Buffie Tucker and they have two adult daughters, Jessica and Ashley, both of whom live in Iowa City.
When Dick isn’t working, he enjoys sports, gardening, travelling, art and art museums, and spending time with family and friends. He is a long time supporter of IWF.
Shanell has served as the Administrator of Early Childhood Iowa, Iowa’s early childhood systems building initiative, since 2004. She has experience in government policy creation, program implementation and building community supports. She holds an associates degree in Business Administration from the American Institute of Business, and studied at Simpson College.
Shanell is a member of Iowa’s State Child Care Advisory Committee and was recently selected by Governor Reynolds to serve on the Children’s Mental Health Board. Shanell provides extensive leadership in supporting the state’s quality rating system for child care environments, offering first-hand experience to strengthen partnerships that promote quality programming. She serves as a high school youth group leader, president of her church women’s group, and coordinates various community ad hoc groups including an annual golf tournament fund raiser to promote Tori’s Angels – a community-level foundation to support children with life-threatening illnesses.
Shanell is a lifelong Iowan as she grew up in Audubon and currently lives in Panora with her husband Dave. They have two adult children, Madellyn and Mitchell. Her interests includ kayaking, golfing, exercise groups, book club and gardening.
Originally from Nevada, Carrie is the Director of Private Banking and a Wealth Advisor at the University of Iowa Community Credit Union in Iowa City. Prior to this role, she served as Associate Vice-President and Branch Manager at First American Bank.
Carrie has served on many boards and committees in the area, including Junior Achievement of Eastern Iowa, Habitat for Humanity, Housing Trust Fund of Johnson County, Iowa Business Club.
Carrie is a graduate of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
Zach is a proud graduate of the University of Iowa. He is an advocate for LGBTQ rights, and co-founder of Scouts for Equality which led the national campaign to end discrimination in the Boy Scouts of America. His testimony before the Iowa House Judiciary Committee about growing up with gay parents was You Tube’s most watched political video of 2011.
Zach is the author of best-selling book My Two Moms: Lessons of Love, Strength and What Makes a Family. Along with his sister Zeb, he created The Woman Cards – a line of playing cards featuring original, hand-drawn portraits of women who changed the world even though the deck was stacked against them.
Zach holds a masters degree in Public Policy from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. He was recently elected to the Iowa Senate representing District 37. He resides in Coralville, Iowa.