Jennifer McDonald Perry
Jennifer McDonald Perry
Age 38  |  Director of corporate communication/public relations, Iowa Health – Des Moines

Jennifer McDonald Perry says it’s easy to pick her out of the lineup after an outing riding all-terrain vehicles with her family.

“I’m the one covered in dirt,” she said. In other words, she is assigned the task of bringing up the rear.

“Personally, I’m more of a beach and a book person,” Perry said. “But I don’t get the chance to do that very often.”

That she gets a chance to take a breather is a bit of a wonder to at least one co-worker at Iowa Health – Des Moines.

“She often finds herself rushing from board meetings and presentations to become a chauffeur for dance lessons, doctor appointments and soccer practice. What I find amazing is that, after giving so much, she still makes time to contribute to our community,” wrote Sid Ramsey, vice president of business development and marketing for Iowa Health – Des Moines, in a letter nominating Perry for Forty Under 40.

Perry has three children: Tyler, 19, Seth, 12, who has already authored a 200-page book, and Ciara, 9.

She has been the public relations and media coordinator for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Wine Opener, which is a series of wine tastings held around the country to benefit the organization. She also is active with the Brain Injury Association of Iowa.

In addition, Perry volunteers with Bible school, vacation Bible school and Sunday school at Prairie Ridge Church in Ankeny.

Her involvement with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and the Brain Injury Association result from a near-fatal case of Group B strep meningitis that Ciara experienced when she was 1 week old. Ciara was baptized the night she was admitted to Blank Children’s Hospital.

“We didn’t expect her to make it through the night,” Perry said.

All told, Ciara was hospitalized for six weeks. She suffered a traumatic injury as a result of the illness and has cerebral palsy.

Perry’s co-workers also expect Ciara to take her mom’s place some day.

“She has become the little queen of Blank Children’s Hospital,” Perry said.