As Iowa’s first female governor seeks election to a full term as governor, she is encouraging women to be “disruptive voices” in the workplace.
Kim Reynolds has been the chief executive of the State of Iowa for 406 days,ever since Terry Branstad resigned to become U.S. Ambassador to China. Last week, Reynolds spoke about female empowerment at a gathering of women bankers in West Des Moines.
“Iowa needs women who are competitors and provide the big ideas that shape how we live and work now and in the future,” Reynolds said, “women who are not afraid to challenge outdated concepts and they see problems not as barriers, but as opportunities.”
According to Reynolds, this is a “time of transformation” for women in Iowa.
“Iowa needs women who share their intellect and their creativity to drive diversity of thought in the workplace and women with transformational attitudes and disruptive voices that aren’t afraid to confront the status quo,” Reynolds said.
Reynolds has said she sought a seat at the decision-making table from her very first days in the state senate. This is her advice to women who are reluctant to voice their opinions in the workplace: “First of all, you don’t have to know everything and you don’t have to be perfect. You just have to have a passion for what you’re doing and your willingness to make a difference. If I…had waited until I thought I knew everything until I ran for office, I guarantee you that I would have never ran.”
Reynolds first ran for office in 1994. She wound up serving as Clarke County Treasurer for 14 years. As Reynolds prepared to run for the state senate, she attended a candidate event and a man walked right past her to asked her husband what senate seat he was seeking.
“That poor guy, he felt so embarrassed. He was just mortified that he hadn’t thought it might be me that was running for the state senate and not my husband,” Reynolds said.
It happened again this year, as the governor and her husband, Kevin, were entering an event at the National Governor Association meeting in Rhode Island.
“The people at the check-in said…not to me, to Kevin: ‘Governor, which state is it that you’re here with?’ And again, poor (Kevin), he’s like: ‘Well, I’m not the governor. I’m the first dude. It happens to be her that’s the actual governor of the State of Iowa,” Reynolds said.
Women who are forging a path in business and in politics have “moxie” according to Reynolds.
“I love that word because it’s defined as having spirit, determination, courage, energy, know-how and attitude,” Reynolds said.
AUDIO of Reynolds’ speech on June 26, runs 9:45