Bystrom to receive Women of Influence award

Dianne Bystrom
Dianne Bystrom

Dianne Bystrom has been selected as one of seven women to receive the 2017 Women of Influence award, presented by the Des Moines Business Record. Bystrom has been the director of the Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women in Politics since July 1, 1996.

The Women of Influence awards celebrate the work of women in the metro Des Moines area who have made a difference in their communities and devoted their lives to doing things most wouldn’t. The annual awards recognize women who have served on boards and blazed trails for other women to follow.

An awards ceremony and recognition event will be held on Thursday, Aug. 10, from 4-7 p.m. at the Marriott Downtown in Des Moines, Iowa.

“I’m very honored and humbled to be selected for this award,” Bystrom said. “The Catt Center and Iowa State University have given me a platform to advance causes that I care about – increasing women’s political participation and public service, leadership education, and civic engagement – with the support of a talented team of staff, faculty and student interns.”

Bystrom was nominated for the award by Catt Center staff members Kristine Perkins, public relations/student programs coordinator, and Sue Cloud, communications specialist. Beate Schmittmann, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; Diane Ramsey, co-founder and former CEO of Iowa Women Lead Change; and Brooke Prestegard, a 2003 graduate of Iowa State and Catt Center alumna, wrote letters of support.

“Dianne’s reach and impact is astounding and difficult to quantify,” Perkins said. “She never turns down an opportunity to mentor a student, travel across the state to present to a group or plan a civic engagement event. She never asks for recognition of her contributions. Giving back is who she is, which makes her the perfect recipient of this honor.”

The other six women chosen for this award are: Jennie Baranczyk, Drake University women’s basketball head coach; Diana Deibler, president of Deibler & Company; Tiffany Menke, president of the Urbandale Chamber of Commerce; Iowa State Sen. Janet Petersen; Mary Sconiers-Chapman, vice president emeritus of Des Moines Area Community College; and Toni Urban, community volunteer and philanthropist.

Two other women will be honored on Aug. 10. China Wong of Salon and Spa W will receive the 2017 UNI Woman Business Owner of Year Award, and Susan Hatten, senior consultant for Holmes Murphy and Associates, will receive the 2017 Meredith Emerging Woman of Influence award.

Full profiles on each of the honorees will be published in the Aug. 4 edition of the Business Record. To view a list of all past Women of Influence honorees, please visit the Business Record website.