The Iowa Women’s Foundation has unveiled the 5th edition of Ovation: A Tribute to Iowa Women and Girls. Special celebrations were held in Cedar Rapids, Des Moines, Fort Dodge and Cedar Falls.

Ovation is IWF’s signature annual publication that pays tribute to women and girls across the state. This year’s edition features the stories of 97 amazing women who have made a difference in the lives of the people around them. They are wonderful examples of mentors, advocates and role models. The beautiful stories told are a homage to those featured. They inspire others to reach their goals and enjoy their dreams. Personal tributes are sponsored by family, friends, colleagues, and/or community members who value the impact these women have made.

This year’s edition features stories of  high-powered women whose achievements in business, politics, medicine, agriculture, athletics, and education give the next generation of Iowans something to aspire towards. It features the woman who devotes her time to being the world’s best Grandma, the administrator who keeps the office running, and the neighbor who regularly checks in on the elderly couple next door. There are so many stories of passion, talent, persistence, spirit, and drive. Ovation honors a woman who ran seven marathons on seven continents in seven days; a founder of a community daycare start-up that now employs 18 people and continues to grow; a woman who has done so much for the League of Women Voters that many in the organization refer to her as “Mother Superior”; the author of twelve cookbooks, the most recent published by Random House; a wife of a world-renowned orthopedic surgeon, she was a professor and leading Cervantes scholar in her own right; and the first Sudanese-American to win elected office in the United States. There are more stories including the first woman who lead Polk County Medical Society for 28 years; a long-time advocate for environmental sustainability; an academic whose book on music therapy has been translated into four languages; a woman who has played a key role in the success of two non-profit Iowa movie theaters; a retired director of human resources who spins her own yarn; and someone whose colleagues call her “the glue”.

The Iowa Women’s Foundation is committed to improving the lives of Iowa’s women and girls through a diversified mix of funding and action: research, grantmaking, advocacy, education, and collaboration. IWF is the only statewide organization working to enhance and improve women’s economic self-sufficiency. The Ovation book is one avenue of fund raising that impacts the work of IWF. To learn more about submitting a tribute or supporting the publication as a sponsor, please contact us at 

Photography by Paul Reimann and Amber Geller

2018 Ovation Sponsors


US Bank


Rockwell Collins



Hills Bank and Trust Company


Van Meter


John Courtney & Cathy Bader Courtney

Simmons Perrine Moyer Bergman PLC

Luncheon Sponsors

Frontier Co-op

Great Western Bank

James Investment Group, Inc.

MidwestOne Bank

SouthGate Companies

United Fire Group


Benson & Hepker Design