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.
Originally from Des Moines, Diane is the recently retired Vice President and Director of Client Services at LCS in Des Moines, a company managing and marketing senior living communities. She has been an IWF Leadership Circle member since 2013 and a Finance Committee member since 2014.
Diane earned her BS Degree in Industrial Administration and a Minor in French from Iowa State University. She earned an MBA from Drake University.
Diane is an ISU Alumni Association Lifetime member, National Cyclone Club member, and member of the Order of the Knoll. She is also a Bulldog Club member. She is a longtime supporter of United Way of Central Iowa, being part of both the Leadership Circle and Education Leadership Initiative. She has also been a long-standing member of Des Moines Performing Arts.
Diane lives in West Des Moines, having previously lived in Venice, Florida, and Annapolis, Maryland.
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!
Susan is a Program Coordinator for Iowa State University in the Office of Economic Development & Industry Relations – College of Engineering. She holds a B.S. in Human Development, Counseling & Family Studies from the University of Rhode Island and and HR Management Certification from Villanova University.
She has participated in Leadership Iowa and is passionate for the cause.
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.
Susan Judkins Josten
Susan is a longtime Iowa resident, having moved to Vinton, Iowa, at age 2 from Alexandria, Virginia. She has called central Iowa home for 40 years. Susan currently serves as business developer for KJWW Engineering in Des Moines.
Susan earned a BA in Business Management from Simpson College and an MBA from the University of Iowa. Prior to her work with KJWW, Susan’s career included positions in banking, government relations, and economic development.
Susan was elected to the Clive City Council in 2013 and previously served on the Indianola school board. She has been actively involved in a wide range of volunteer activities supporting women and girls, including chairing the Political Equity Committee of the Nexus Executive Women’s Alliance and serving on the Board of 50/50 in 2020.
LaShonda earned her M.A. in Education (Honors) and B.A. in Communications (Honors) from Wake Forest University and now serves as the Business and School Liaison at Kirkwood Community College. Prior to this role, she was the Continuous Improvement Specialist for the Denver Public Schools.
Prior to serving on the IWF Board, LaShonda was active on the Grants and Luncheon Committees. She currently serves as the VP of Operations for the Junior League of Cedar Rapids and on the United Way Cabinet, and has previously volunteered with the Junior League of Denver, the Junior League of Austin, the American Heart Association, SafePlace Foundation, the American Cancer Society, and served as a Dells Children’s Trustee. LaShonda also served as a Grants Committee member at the Women’s Fund of Central Texas.
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 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.
Sara 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.
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 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.
Leighton Smith Vice President
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.
Originally from Oklahoma and after relocating from Kansas City, Buffie has called Iowa City home since 1979. She holds a Bachelors Degree in Art Education from Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Oklahoma.
Buffie is retired from the University of Iowa Museum of Art (UIMA) as Members Council Coordinator, which included responsibilitites for membership, development and public relations. Previous UIMA positions were held in the art education program, and training docents and volunteers.
Past volunteer activities include the Iowa City Chamber of Commerce Community Leadership Program, Iowa City Community School District (ICCSD) Foundation, Iowa City Public Library Friends Foundation Board, Hancher Guild, and service on a variety of committees for public bond referendums for the ICCSD and Johnson County Justice Center.
Buffie is a member of the UI Museum of Art Advisory Board serving as chair and on the nominating committee. She is a member of the UI Senior College Committee and the nonprofit organization 5224Good which provides grants to Johnson County philanthropies.
Buffie enjoys spending time with family, traveling, visiting art museums and attending events at Hancher Auditorium.
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.