CEOs, businesswomen speak at Iowa State’s Young Women in Business Conference

Around 200 students in ninth to 12th grades from across Iowa gathered in the Memorial Union on Wednesday to hear several speakers and participate in breakout sessions as part of Iowa State’s Ivy College of Business’s annual Young Women in Business conference.

The conference is designed to encourage young women to explore majors and careers within the business world.

Faculty chair of the event and Ivy College of Business professor Jennifer Kreiser hopes the conference continues to show career options within business to younger students.

“I hope that [students] learn how many opportunities are available with business and that they get an idea that business is not just sitting behind a desk and working on a computer all day,” Kreiser said.

Miriam De Dios Woodward, Iowa State alumna, was one of the speakers at the event.

De Dios Woodward graduated with a bachelor’s degree in both marketing and management from Iowa State and later graduated from the University of Iowa with a master of business administration degree.

Today, De Dios Woodward is CEO of PolicyWorks, as well as senior vice president of Affiliates Management Company. She also serves on the Board of Trustees for Grand View University and as a board director for the Food Bank of Iowa.

One of the things Woodward touched on was how as a child, she never saw businesswomen in the media.

”I always looked for a woman in a suit on TV, and I don’t remember any that I could really look up to,” Woodward said. “Specifically women of hispanic heritage like myself, that was probably out of the question.”

When talking about her success since graduation, Woodward stressed the importance of seeing the bigger picture and helping others along the way, and quoted a concept she called “doing well by doing good.”

“A company can grow and be successful by helping its partners, its customers and its communities be successful.” Woodward said.

Among the students attending the conference was Kyrie Schut, senior from Ankeny High School.

“I’m hoping to narrow my major down to something more specific and I am excited to see all the opportunities here,” Schut said.

Isabelle Rydell, senior from Spencer High School, has been attending the conference for the pas three years.

“I’m excited to learn a lot of new things that I haven’t gotten to learn in high school,” Rydell said.