The Women's Fund of Southwest Iowa's inaugural Impact for Women Summit was held on Thursday, October 28 at Ameristar Casino Hotel Council Bluffs. Read More.
Special Guest Speakers
Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) and Iowa Finance Authority (IFA)
Debi Durham is a longtime economic and community development professional who serves as executive director of the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) and the Iowa Finance Authority (IFA). Durham was named to the position by Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds in January 2019.
Durham was first appointed to lead IEDA in 2011 and has turned the agency into a successful public-private partnership, landed billion-dollar economic development projects for Iowa and worked tirelessly to expand trade and investment opportunities for the state. She was appointed to lead IFA in 2019, when Governor Reynolds recognized an opportunity to further bolster Iowa’s communities and economy by bringing together IFA and IEDA. Durham prides herself on building coalitions, supporting new ventures and strengthening the state’s industries and communities.
Prior to joining IEDA/IFA, Durham served as president of the Siouxland Chamber of Commerce.
Her several accolades include being recognized as one of the “Most Influential Business Leaders” in the 2020 and 2019 Des Moines Business Record Book of Lists and receiving the Technology Association of Iowa’s “Legislative Advocacy Leader” award in 2017. Durham also was recognized by the Business Record as a “Woman of Influence” in 2016, and she received the Christian Petersen Design Award from Iowa State University’s College of Design in 2015.
Durham holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Marketing and Management from Missouri Southern State University.
Dawn Oliver Wiand
Iowa Women's Foundation
Originally from Des Moines, IA. A graduate from the University of Iowa. Returned to Iowa City after 30 years in Kansas City. She joined the Iowa Women’s Foundation as Executive Director in February 2013 after serving as Executive Director for the Women's Foundation of Greater Kansas City.
She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Work and has worked in the nonprofit field for more than 34 years as a volunteer and professional. She spent the first 15 years in the public housing field, providing direct services, and then moved into nonprofit management, focusing on fundraising and ultimately providing vision, leadership and management to two women's funds.
In 2013, the Corridor Business Journal named Dawn as one of the area’s Movers & Shakers. She was recognized by HER Magazine, a publication of The Gazette, as a 2018 HER Women of Achievement Award honoree.
She truly believes that "improving the lives of women and girls is a must, not only for our families but our communities and, ultimately, our country!"
Intercultural Senior Center
Founder and Executive Director
Carolina Padilla provides leadership for the Intercultural Senior Center's growth, vision, and community reach. She is actively involved with all functions of the organization including fundraising, outreach, partnerships, program development, and direct services.
Carolina immigrated to the United States from Guatemala in 1992 with her husband and three children. Her educational background is in Communication Science. She worked for One World Community Health Centers for 12 years, moving through various health departments and administrative and leadership positions. Shortly after that, she was elected the Director of the Latina Resource Center, a program of Catholic Charities. Her primary responsibilities were to develop social service programs for younger adult women in need of basic skills in English as a Second Language, leading toward employment as well as services for women facing domestic violence.
During this time, Carolina realized that another segment of the population, Latino elders, were underserved. This was the beginning of the Intercultural Senior Center.
Intercultural Senior Center opened its doors in South Omaha on March 19, 2009. During the 10 years of ISC’s existence, Carolina has been a passionate advocate for the elderly of our community. Her contagious enthusiasm has created greater awareness and understanding for the need for services for the diverse aging population. Her determination in the cause she is serving has succeeded in attracting many likeminded friends and organizations who are now funding different programs and services when there was hardly any support during the early years.
Carolina has been actively engaged in serving as a board member for the Non-Profit Associations of the Midlands, Omaha Network, and Nonprofit Executive Institute (NEI). She is in the Advisory Committees at the College of St Mary School of Nursing, the External Advisory Board at Creighton University School of Public Health, Creative Aging, and also at the Methodist Age-Friendly Health Care Committee, Nebraska Caregiver Coalition, Involvement and Advocacy LGBT Seniors. In addition to that, she spends time to provide guidance and leadership at the UNO Hispanic Advisory Committee, the Omaha Public Schools, the Nebraska Refugee Task Force among others. Carolina has been trained in Target Excellence & Execution to Achieve Mission (TEAM) Building Culture.
In honor of Carolina’s many years of service and commitment, the Women’s Center for Advancement has awarded her the Tribute to Women 2020 Award. ISC was accredited by the NCOA (National Council on Aging) NISC (National Institute of Senior Centers) in 2021. The only senior center in the state of Nebraska. 50 Over 50 Nebraska Non-Profit Award in 2021.
Carolina’s legacy to the city she now calls home is this center that has been serving the aging population for a decade and will continue to do so for generations to come. ISC is a testimony of the three most important philosophies Carolina holds dear: Diversity, Inclusivity and Dignity.
The abduction of Elizabeth Smart was one of the most followed child abduction cases of our time. Elizabeth was abducted on June 5, 2002, and her captors controlled her by threatening to kill her and her family if she tried to escape. Fortunately, the police safely returned Elizabeth back to her family on March 12, 2003, after being held prisoner for 9 grueling months.
Through this traumatic experience, Elizabeth has become an advocate for change related to child abduction, recovery programs, and National legislation. Elizabeth triumphantly testified before her captor and the world about the very private nightmare she suffered during her abduction, which led to conviction.
“As a woman business owner, I feel that I have a duty to support the Women’s Fund of Southwest Iowa’s Women’s Summit as a way to give back to our local community,” said Brunow, founder and president of Brunow Contracting. “It is imperative that Southwest Iowa protects, identifies, and supports women, at all stages of life, education, and career. Keeping the women of Iowa empowered and healthy makes for stronger families and strong female role models for our future generations to look up to.”