IWF’s Executive Director, Dawn Oliver Wiand, kicks off our “Why I Mentor” blog series for National Mentoring Month.

Why I Mentor

By Dawn Oliver Wiand

According to the Iowa Women’s Foundation SHE MATTERS: We Listen and Iowa Wins
economic self-sufficiency report, a lack of mentors is a barrier to success for Iowa’s women and
girls. According to community leaders from across the public and private sectors, there is a
lack of role models and mentors available to women to help guide and build a sense of
empowerment. In addition, there is a lack of mentoring programs in school, work, and other


Throughout my career, I have had the great fortune to have several exceptional mentors. These
amazing women helped guide me and encourage me as I navigated the workforce, raised a
family, and volunteered in my community. Their words of wisdom and modeled behavior have
helped make me the woman I am today. I am eternally grateful!


When I returned to Iowa a few years ago, I learned about the lack of mentors. I decided I wanted
to give back and mentor other young women the way I had been mentored. Today, I can
honestly say, it is one of the best decisions I have ever made.


Through the Women in Business (WIB) program at the University of Iowa Tippie College of Business, I
have had the great fortune to mentor three extraordinary young women. Women I have learned
more from then they have learned from me—it is a two-way street. Here are my key takeaways:


Being a mentor is fun—you share stories, knowledge, and experiences.

Being a mentor is empowering—you foster ambition and encourage confidence.

Being a mentor is enlightening—you gain knowledge and learn skills that are useful in both your personal and professional lives.

Being a mentor is heartfelt—you become lifelong friends.


“We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.”—Winston Churchill


A few of the wonderful young ladies from WIB.