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2019 Women of Influence Honoree: Georgia Van Gundy


For Georgia Van Gundy, collaboration is the key to achieving significant progress. 

“I work with all viewpoints. I like problem-solving, and I work hard,” Van Gundy said. 

With a resume that includes working with diverse businesses across the state and a slate of nonprofits ranging from United Way to the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines, it makes sense that Van Gundy would say that her focus is on “initiatives to make Des Moines an even better place to live, work and raise a family. I want to use my talents to make the community better. I’ve been doing that for 20 years.”

“Georgia is a woman of outstanding character who balances professional life and home life to make an impact on the lives of others,” wrote Emily Raecker, senior research consultant at Principal Financial Group, one of 15 community leaders who supported Van Gundy’s nomination. “I have observed Georgia as she has demonstrated important principles of life including respect, honesty, caring, integrity, compassion, collaboration and citizenship.”

Beth Townsend, director of Iowa Workforce Development, said Van Gundy’s professionalism and integrity stand out. “Georgia is known as an honest broker,” a fact that plays well among lawmakers with whom she works while lobbying at the Statehouse, she added.

And Van Gundy’s personal goal of improving the community shines through, Townsend wrote. “Georgia has a long history of working in her community to make it better by promoting economic growth through her participation as a board member of various nonprofit organizations and committees,” Townsend wrote. 

“I frankly can’t imagine another woman in Iowa, outside of Gov. Reynolds, who better meets the definition of a woman of influence,” she added.

Sally Dix, executive director of Bravo Greater Des Moines, appreciates Van Gundy’s humble work ethic. “She is a hard worker because it’s the right thing to do, never seeking recognition, only results.”

Van Gundy’s influence has touched some of the most pressing issues in Iowa, including workforce attraction and retention. Said Debi Durham, director of the Iowa Economic Development Authority: “Recently, Georgia led town-hall-style meetings across the state to connect [Iowa Business Council] members with the needs and concerns of business and community leaders around Iowa. As a result of these meetings, and the powerful dashboard indicators she maintains for her organization, she is facilitating a new work group focused on increasing workforce recruiting and diversity.”

Van Gundy’s Areas of Influence:

She has molded many activities through her policy work in business organizations and elsewhere. 

Her community work has included leadership roles at United Way, Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines, the UnityPoint Foundation board of directors, the Healthiest State Initiative and the Iowa Innovation Corp. board, among others.

She focuses on integrity and a work ethic, and encourages others to do the same.

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