Iowa Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds wasn’t the girl in seventh grade who one day aspired to run for office. However, throughout her career, Reynolds learned that in order to be a change agent, involvement is the key to accomplishing that change.

Reynolds, who has served as lieutenant governor since 2011, is at the forefront of many initiatives in Iowa. Among her accomplishments, she works to advance STEM education in the state, especially among young girls. She helped launch Million Women Mentors to foster that goal. She also works to recruit more women to run for office. 

“Reynolds works to highlight the incredible achievement of women in their communities … and to ensure young women have the resources available to them to achieve their goals,” said Renee Hardman, president of Hardman Consulting LLC. “She works to break down stereotypes and foster growth in STEM-related career fields that we know are the jobs of tomorrow. Simply put, Reynolds is building Iowa for today and tomorrow.”

Reynolds, who grew up on a farm near St. Charles, started her career working for an independent pharmacist in Mount Pleasant, whom she calls a great mentor.

“He taught me that what set us apart from the big corporations was customer service,” she said. “That’s what we bring to the table — the importance of treating people well.”

Reynolds and her husband relocated to Central Iowa. She worked for the Clark County Treasurer’s Office and eventually ran for county treasurer. After knocking on “every door in the county,” she was elected to the job, which she held for four terms. In 2008, she was elected to represent District 48 in the Iowa Senate, before she was selected as Gov. Terry Branstad’s running mate during his 2010 gubernatorial campaign. 

Some of her most rewarding experiences include leading a trade mission to China, as well as the first time she raised her hand to take the oath of office. When asked what she’s most passionate about now, Reynolds doesn’t miss a beat as she talks about the importance of STEM-related education in Iowa.

“With STEM, there will be so many opportunities for our kids here in Iowa, especially girls and the underprivileged,” she said. “It will open doors for them so they can decide what they want to do. The sooner we engage them, the better chance we have.”

Family also is important to her, and keeping that work/life balance. Reynolds and her husband recently welcomed their seventh grandchild and look forward to backyard camping and attending baseball games.

Reynolds said she is inspired most by the people of Iowa — she visits all 99 counties each year — and those she works with on state initiatives. 

“I get my energy from the citizens of Iowa,” she said. “And bringing people together and collaboration is so important. I get to do the cheerleading, but there are so many people who make things happen in this state.”

Three areas of influence

She is Iowa’s 45th lieutenant governor, a former state senator — the first woman to represent Iowa’s District 48 — and county treasurer.

She is co-chair of the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council and Iowa Partnership for Economic Progress, and honorary chair of Million Women Mentors and Employer Volunteer Initiative of Iowa.

Reynolds is chair of the National Lieutenant Governor’s Association.