Learn more about Danielle and why she’s involved with Women United in her spotlight blog!
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am a native Iowan. I got my BBA from the University of Iowa, where I met my husband of 34 years, Randy, who is an attorney. We have two children: a daughter Abby who is an attorney in Denver and Will, who is a second-year law student. We have been in Cedar Rapids for about 20 years. I spent most of my working life in the pension industry, but I have always wanted to own my own business. In 2015, I fulfilled my dream of opening my own women's clothing boutique named MODE. It has been a crazy, fun experience and we are excited to celebrate our 5-year anniversary in August!
When not working, we like to travel… or we used to. We were supposed to be in France right now. I love to read and swim, and have decided I'm going to golf this summer. I have zero patience, but I also started trying to bake during the shutdown! 2020 is the year I bake.
What would you say is your motto or a quote you like to live by?
I don't have a quote that I live by, but I do tell my children that it costs you nothing to be nice and treat people well.
What causes are you most passionate about? What are your favorite ways to give back to the community?
These are extraordinary days we are living in. My children remind me daily how privileged they are and how privileged I am. I acknowledge and appreciate the easy life I have. As I mentioned, I spent most of my career in the pension business. When I first started out at Principal in Des Moines, there were a lot of women (girls, really) my age in our business: young, right out of college and I never thought we were discriminated against or felt we were treated differently. But there was ONE female VP and no women on the company executive team at that point.
Now as I listen to my daughter talk about her days at work, she is so conscious of being the only woman in the room or on calls most of the time, out of a nationwide team of many. She’s often surprised by what they say, and so am I. As the Taylor Swift song says, she is having to run as fast as she can wondering if she'd get there quicker if she was a man. And the answer is, she would.
So that leads me to answer…
Why did you decide to get involved with United Way and Women United?
Women need help. We have always donated to United Way, but the Women United piece is where my interest really lies. The village is shrinking and if you have children and no partner, no family, no money, and no or poor education, it is a recipe for disaster. We all see it every day. There are larger areas of need to be addressed in women’s health care. Women United allows you to take action toward making health care accessible and affordable; and that is a step in the right direction. I joined this committee to help improve the lives of women and children, the same reason I sit on the Waypoint board.
Do you have any advice for others who want to be more active in the community?
Say yes. Say yes if someone asks you to help—and not just sit on a board, but really help. Volunteer to help with a fundraiser, volunteer to help clean the kitchen at a shelter or pick up diapers for a diaper drive. And don’t do this just on Thanksgiving or at Christmas—do it all year round. You aren't really "too busy". If you feel strongly about an organization, ask how you can help them- they'll tell you.