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Forty Under 40: Rob Barron

Special assistant to the president, Grand View University


What are your goals in your role in your organization? 
I am responsible for government and community relations at Grand View University. In addition to advocating for state and federal policies that are fair to our students, I work to keep Grand View essential to Greater Des Moines by leveraging our gifts to meet community needs.

What are your goals for community involvement? 
I founded the Latino Political Network to educate and empower Iowa Latinos. I received the 2017 Grinnell College Wall Alumni Service award, and the funds will allow LPN to hire an organizer. Our goal is to elect Iowa’s first Latino mayor, legislator and hundreds of others to offices across Iowa. Sen. Harkin talked often of a ladder of opportunity: our obligation to create systems for others to achieve at or beyond one’s own level of success. From my perspective in public service and education, I am compelled to add rungs to the ladder to help others reach their dreams.

What is that drives you? 
What I take from my ethnic heritage and upbringing is that I am fortunate to have the personal and professional success that I have enjoyed thus far and that many have sacrificed for me to have opportunities. My ethic is to use my success as leverage for the next generation.

What are your aspirations for the future? 
Build the Latino Political Network into a dynamic, statewide force for empowering Latinos by raising money and continuing to deepen our network. Realize the potential for development on Des Moines’ east side with Grand View University as an anchor. See Des Moines Public Schools become the nation’s model for urban education.

Reasons he’s a Forty:

1.) Rob is serving his second term on the Des Moines School Board and has held the roles of chair and vice chair.
2.) He led the creation and implementation of Grand View University’s Views Forward Project, which is bringing hope to the east side of Des Moines through food rescue, a community garden and a free ticket program for the neighborhood.  
3.) He created the Latino Political Network, a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating and empowering future Iowa political leaders. 
4.) He worked for 13 years for Sen. Tom Harkin in a variety of roles.


See all 2018 honorees

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