Iowa women's leadership advocacy group adds metric for women of color

EPIC Corporate Challenge revises list of voluntary goals for its members

Tiffany O'Donnell

Women Lead Change
Tiffany O’Donnell Women Lead Change

The EPIC Corporate Challenge, a public-private partnership promoting women in leadership, is adding a metric to specifically help women of color attain leadership roles.

Member companies now can choose “increase the percentage of women of color in current and emerging leadership positions, including boards of directors” as a goal.

The group, consisting of 106 businesses in Iowa, the Iowa Governor’s Office, Iowa Workforce Development and Iowa Economic Development Authority, provides companies with voluntary goals for helping women in the workforce.

Existing goals include increasing the number of women on boards of directors and addressing gender pay gaps.

“We know from existing data that when it comes to women in leadership, women of color represent the smallest percentage,” said Tiffany O’Donnell, CEO of Women Lead Change and a co-chairwoman of the EPIC Corporate Challenge, in a statement.

“I’m proud that the EPIC Corporate Challenge is intentional and deliberate in finding ways for companies to move the needle for this underrepresented community of leaders.”

“Opportunities to grow and lead within Iowa’s business community should exist for all women, regardless of race and ethnicity,” Gov. Kim Reynolds, honorary chairwoman of the challenge, said in a statement.

She said she was “pleased” to see the added metric for women of color.


Companies participating in the initiative include Alliant Energy, the University of Iowa, ACT, Transamerica, Hy-Vee and Pearson. The Gazette’s parent company, Folience, is a participant.

To participate in the challenge, companies must commit to one of the voluntary goals.

More than 60 percent of members have increased the number of women in senior leadership positions since joining the EPIC Corporate Challenge, according to its most recent annual report.

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