The Way Up

Developing Women Leaders to Enhance Iowa Higher Education

Keynote Speakers - 2014

Thursday, November 6, 2014

9:45-10:30 am  Opening Keynote Speaker:

Mary Vermeer Andringa
President and Chief Executive Officer of Vermeer Corporation
Co-Chair, Governor's STEM Advisory Council of Iowa

“Life Lessons”

Mary Vermeer Andringa is President and Chief Executive Officer of Vermeer Corporation, a global industrial and agricultural equipment manufacturer located in Pella, Iowa.   With humble beginnings, Vermeer Corporation has grown to become a global organization with more than 2,800 employees worldwide, serving the environmental, construction, mining, forage, trenching and drilling industries.   Today, Vermeer facilities are found in Latin America, Asia Pacific, China, Europe and the U.S.

Ms. Andringa credits her background in education for her inherent proficiency at leadership and inspiring team members to reach new heights in their personal and professional development.  After receiving her degree from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, she taught in the Iowa public school system and later in Omaha, Nebraska, for approximately six years.  In July, 2013, Ms Andinga was asked to serve as Co-Chair of the Governors STEM Advisory Council of Iowa, whose priorities include establishing STEM-focused schools to offer students more STEM education opportunities, building an online portal to house a best practices clearinghouse, and increasing retention of top math and science teachers.

During her Keynote address, Mary will share her key lessons learned through a lifetime of fulfilling and challenging experiences as a wife, mother, grandmother, former elementary teacher and present corporate and industry leader.  Mary will focus on what it takes to appreciate and make each day count while capturing what’s important for the next phase of life.  Specific issues that she has lived and learned from include finding the right work-life balance, communicating her personal best to every audience and leading with heart and a global mindset.  Hear how her positive and intense focus on living a purposeful life has given her a full and rewarding past, present and future.


12:00-1:30 pm   Lunch

The Way Up Scholarship and Recognition Awards:

* Carol Rocklin Kay Memorial Scholarship
* Eunice A. Dell Memorial Scholarship
* "Kaplan Supports The Way Up" Scholarship
* Recognition Award

5:30 - 7:00pm   Evening Banquet with Dinner Speaker

Dinner Speaker

Betty Vandenbosch,
Provost, Kaplan University

“Nobody Wants to Hear about Your Stomach Ache: Focusing on What Matters for Professional Development”

Betty Vandenbosch is the Provost at Kaplan University. Previously, she was the Dean of Students and prior to that she oversaw the schools of Business and Management and Information Systems and Technology at the University.  As Provost, Dr. Vandenbosch is the Chief Academic Officer, overseeing the schools of Business, Information Technology, Health Sciences, Nursing, Social and Behavioral Sciences, Education, and General Education.  She also leads Academic Affairs and Curriculum and Innovation.

Dr. Vandenbosch came to Kaplan from Case Western Reserve University, where she served as the Associate Dean of Executive Education and External Relations as well as Associate Professor of Information Systems at the Weatherhead School of Management. Dr. Vandenbosch is a two-time winner of Weatherhead's Executive Education Teaching Award (2000, 2004) and, in 2001, was presented with the Masters Programs Teaching Award.  Prior to entering academia, Betty spent seven years as a consultant with McKinsey & Company in Toronto and in Amsterdam. She earned a bachelor's degree in Computer Science, an MBA, and a Ph.D. in Management Information Systems from the University of Western Ontario.  Her book, Designing Solutions, which describes and explains the problem solving process, was published in 2003 by Jossey-Bass. 
In this evening keynote presentation, Vandenbosch will share her journey and the lessons she has learned along the way.  It has been Vandenbosch’s experience that the way you develop and grow is to focus on your strengths and opportunities rather than your challenges and personal shortcomings.  To paraphrase Peter Drucker, when you focus on your strengths, your weaknesses become irrelevant.  Plan to attend this exciting presentation; you will end the day energized with a renewed focus on your strengths and opportunities!

Friday, November 7, 2014

11:30 - 1:15 pm Lunch

Closing Speaker:

Julie Keehner,
Vice President for Student Development and Enrollment Management, West Virginia Wesleyan College


Julie Keehner has worked in higher education for over thirty-five years, serving as a Chief Student Affairs Officer for twenty-five years at three different institutions including Hollins University, Buena Vista University in Iowa and West Virginia Wesleyan College.  After serving as the Vice President for Enrollment and Student Services at BVU for nine years, Keehner relocated to Buckhannon, West Virginia where she presently serves as the Vice President for Student Development and Dean of Students.  In addition to overseeing the co-curricular program at these various institutions, Keehner has been actively involved in developing and supporting leadership development and community engagement programs, as well as other initiatives and services that promote student engagement, persistence and success.

Keehner has also focused her efforts on the leadership development of women, teaching a first year seminar course entitled ‘Women in Leadership’ for several years and co-founding the Center for Women’s Leadership at West Virginia Wesleyan.  Her presentation includes research involving the difference women make in the organizations they lead and also brings together her understanding of student development and effective supervision; her many years of cultivating and recognizing leadership in the women with whom she has worked; and, her personal leadership journey which has involved learning how to ‘lean in’ in very different cultures and environments.  And, she readily admits—with humor and humility—that she has been more successful in some of these experiences than in others!  Keehner invites you to learn from her successes and challenges, and to also put our experiences in the context of the internal and external factors that influence our personal and professional worlds.

During this final Keynote presentation, Dr. Keehner will share her thoughts about the “Lean In’ philosophy of leadership.  Although studies confirm the important contributions of women to the success of the organizations in which they work, participate and lead, many women still find it difficult to ‘Lean In,’ an action coined by Sandsberg in her interesting and thought-provoking books.  How do we become more comfortable ‘leaning in?’ And, as importantly, how do we promote and develop cultures and environments in which other women feel valued and encouraged to lean in and make a difference?  Individually and collectively, we have the ability to make these important changes in our environments for those with whom we work today—and, for those who come after us.  Dr. Keehner will share stories and examples of how we become effective change agents—based on her personal experiences, as well as those of her colleagues and friends. It’s time for all of us to ‘lean in’ and discover the difference we really can make!


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