2013 Women of Influence Winner: Linda Grandquist
Thursday, August 01, 2013 7:00 AM
Linda Grandquist recalls, when she was 5 years old, walking down the street with her grandmother, who was one of the first female chiropractors in the country. People would pass by and say, “Good morning, doctor.”
“I never thought anything about it,” Grandquist said, until her grandmother pointed it out. “I remember it like it was yesterday, that she bent down and said how proud she was of herself that she was a woman doctor.”
That influence helped Grandquist become a strong woman as well, she said. In the 1960s, Grandquist and a friend started a business that was essentially a temp service for female medical assistants or dental assistants. At the time, “no one was doing that.” In the late 1970s, she embarked upon a real estate career and had a sales volume exceeding a million dollars her first year. At that time, she was “one of the very few women in the million dollar club.”
“I always thought everything was possible,” Grandquist said. “And I try to tell my kids that, and my grandkids especially.”
Grandquist got a lot of joy out of supporting her late husband, Ken, who helped found Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino and was the longtime owner of the Iowa Cubs. Grandquist, largely on her own, started Universal Farms to breed racehorses. They were both such big baseball fans that they rarely missed an I-Cubs game, except for their daughter’s wedding.
More recently, she joined the Prairie Meadows board of directors, where she serves on the legacy grant committee. She said the organization receives more than 500 grant applications, and she reads them all.
In addition, her current passions include serving on the board at UnityPoint Health, volunteering with the Animal Rescue League of Iowa and serving on the Blank Park Zoo board.
Talk to Grandquist, and it’s not hard to see where she gets her passion for getting involved in the community. A visitor to her house gets a hug, and she seems to have a knack to immediately make people feel at ease.
Grandquist said it is in her personality to work hard but stay out of the spotlight. She’d rather give others the chance to earn the recognition.
“I guess all my life, I feel like I’ve been so lucky. So to me it makes me feel good to make other people shine,” Grandquist said. “I don’t have to be out front.”
She recognizes that she’s had great mentors, and has tried to mentor other women along the way. She tells those women to make sure to pass it down.
“I always say to the kids, ‘Wake up every morning and think about one good thing you are going to do that day,’” she said. “And then when you go to bed, think, ‘OK, what was one good thing that I did?’”
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