Executive Excellence: Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds

Gov. Kim Reynolds of Iowa is living proof that any dream is possible if you are willing to work. It took decades of overcoming adversity, balancing work and motherhood, and enduring late nights for Gov. Reynolds to earn her college degree at age 57.

“I faced a lot of adversity in my life, and could have just crawled in a corner and gave up. But I was not going to let my three daughters see their mom give up,” Gov. Reynolds explains in a video released by the Foundation for Government Accountability (FGA).

“It took me 40 years to get my college degree–but I did it.”

Gov. Reynolds’ strong work ethic and resilience are reflected daily in her policy agenda. Her administration—led by mostly women—understands the struggles of working parents and fights for policies that help Iowa families obtain the education and workforce training needed to have good jobs.

“I’ve surrounded myself with really strong, capable, hard-charging, compassionate women,” Reynolds says. “My chief of staff is a woman, the majority of my senior team are women, I have really strong women leading various agency positions. It’s not because I planned it—it’s because they earned it.”

Right now, the Reynolds administration is working to remove barriers and increase pathways to work for all Iowans, including apprenticeships. Apprenticeships offer an alternative to burdensome and expensive occupational licensing requirements, keeping people working and out of dependency. Ninety percent of people who finish an apprenticeship end up getting a job.

Gov. Reynolds believes nothing should stop people who are motivated to work hard and provide for their families—especially not the government. “When I tell my story about getting my degree at the age of 57, I hope that says to adults it’s never too late,” Reynolds says. “Don’t ever give up on your dream.”