EPIC History

The history of the formation of the EPIC Corporate Challenge finds its roots in two organizations – Nexus Executive Women’s Alliance and Iowa Women Lead Change. These two organizations possessed similar goals, and through partnership and collaboration, joined together to grow and retain women in leadership positions in business.

As a result, the EPIC Corporate Challenge was formed, creating Iowa’s first public-private partnership to spur Iowa companies to formally commit to grow and retain women at all levels of business.

With its launch in March 2016, Iowa became the second state in the nation to bring together government – including Iowa’s Office of the Governor and the Office of the Lieutenant Governor – private businesses and non-profit organizations dedicated to working on the vital issues of recruiting, retaining, and promoting women in the workforce.

The Nexus Executive Women’s Alliance publishes the Nexus Index, data regarding gender bias in pay status and barriers that prevent Iowa women from advancing.

2012 – 2015
IWLC and partnering organizations publish the first of six studies on women’s leadership in sectors across Iowa, leading to the conclusion that work needs to be done to grow and retain women leaders in Iowa. View the research.

With invitation and support from Iowa's Governor, Lt. Governor, Iowa Workforce Development, and the Iowa Economic Development Authority, The EPIC Corporate Challenge was launched statewide in March 2016. 

  • The EPIC Corporate Challenge:
    - Seeks to create an environment in Iowa where 100% of the workforce is able to achieve their goals
    - Educate companies and leaders that they are more successful when there is a greater balance of women in senior leadership positions
    - Unites Iowa businesses in the understanding that to stay competitive in today's global business economy, increasing the number of women in leadership roles is a must
    - Creates a community of companies and leaders who are committed to growing, developing and retaining women leaders.
  • In 2016, just as was the case in 2008, it is still equally as important that women rise to the highest levels of leadership in a company. Recent research continues to show that "firms with more women in the C-suite are more profitable."

EPIC hosts the second-annual EPIC Corporate Challenge Annual Meeting and for the first time gives awards for outstanding achievement to:
- Pinnacle: Rockwell Collins
- Champion of Change: Mark Polking, Transamerica
- Most Innovative: Pella Women's Connections Moxie Program
- EPIC Engagement Public Sector: Iowa National Guard
- EPIC Engagement <500 Employees: Delta Dental of Iowa
- EPIC Engagement >500 Employees: UFG

Most Innovative Awards were presented to EPIC members Collins Aerospace (Introduce a Girl to Engineering) and Transamerica (TWIN Steering Committee).

Jeff Russell, Delta Dental of Iowa, and Tiffany O'Donnell, Women Lead Change, are named EPIC co-chairs. EPIC 2.0 strategic plan is developed to increase awareness across Iowa and beyond. EPIC now boasts 101 member companies.

“When groups come together to support issues they are passionate about, great things happen.”

Diane Ramsey, Women Lead Change Co-Founder