Women of Achievement

Honoring contributions of historic Iowa women

Women of achievement have inspired, pioneered and championed extraordinary accomplishments through their lives and their work.

2019 Women of Achievement Honorees

iPhone Image F260CB-2.jpgTheresa "Billee" Davis

Major and attorney, Theresa "Billee" Davis of Oskaloosa commanded a classified WWII operation with the Women's Army Corps (WAC), was the first woman Iowa County Bar president and a legal advisor/advocate for all.

- Lived in Oskaloosa her whole life outside of 43 months serving in the U.S. Army WACs during WWII

- First woman attorney to become a member of Mahaska County Bar Association

- Believed to be the first woman to head an Iowa county bar association when she was elected President of the Mahaska County Bar Association in 1939

- Sent to lead 500-woman WAC company to process Victory Mail in New York City after 7 months as a Private at Fort Des Moines
- The Mahaska County Freedom Rock was the first to have a woman on the rock, depicting Billee and recognizing the WAC

rsz_willie_stevenson_glanton_1986.jpgWillie Stevenson Glanton

Civil rights champion, Willie Stevenson Glanton of Des Moines was the second African American woman to be admitted to practice law in Iowa, and was the first African American woman to be appointed city clerk, assistant county attorney and to serve in the Iowa legislature.

- Born in Arkansas, she relocated to Des Moines with her husband in 1951
- Resigned from state legislature in 1966 to take position as a lawyer with the U.S. Small Business Administration where she worked for 22 years
- Served on the Des Moines City Council (1980)

- First African-American chair of the board of trustees for Des Moines University (1999)
- Served twice as an international good will ambassador for the U.S. State Department and Federal Bar Association traveling to Africa, Southeast Asia, China, Finland and the Soviet Union

- The Des Moines Register named her one of the 10 most influential black Iowans of the 20th century

- Founding and Charter Member of the Des Moines Chapter of The Links

millero1.jpgOla Babcock Miller

As an educator and active participant in the suffrage movement and P.E.O., Ola Babcock Miller of Washington County was Iowa's first female Secretary of State where she was instrumental in the formation of the Iowa Highway Safety Patrol.

- Lifelong Iowan born in Washington County
- P.E.O. Iowa State Chapter president from 1908-1909

- President of International Chapter of P.E.O. (1927)

- Active in suffrage movement and Daughters of the American Revolution
- Called the Mother of the Iowa Highway Patrol, the organization was created in 1935, growing from a force of 50 to 150 patrol officers by 1938

- One of the first four women to be inducted into the Iowa Women’s Hall of Fame in 1975

- The former historical building now named Ola Babcock Miller State Office Building

The Women of Achievement Award recognizes the contributions of historical (deceased) Iowa women who made outstanding and lasting contributions to the citizens of Iowa or have advanced the well-being of others throughout world.

This award will be a visible reminder to all crossing the Iowa Women of Achievement Bridge of their contributions to their work, communities, and the status of women.

Nomination Criteria
Nominees will be historical (deceased) women who are one of the following:

  • Were born in Iowa
  • Achieved prominence within Iowa
  • Had been a resident of Iowa for an extended period after achieving prominence elsewhere

Nominees will be selected on merit, not endorsement, in the following areas:

  • Lasting contributions made by the nominee
  • Nominee served as a role model or change agent
  • Impacted the social, cultural, economic or political well-being of the community, state or nation
  • Inspired future generations

Selection Process
All nominations will be reviewed by a committee of community judges and up to three (3) awards will be presented annually to be commemorated at the Iowa Women of Achievement Bridge with honorary plaques.

Nomination Form
To nominate an outstanding historical Iowa woman, please fill out the online form. Nominations for 2019 awards are now closed.

While there is no limit to the amount of information you can provide, we ask that you be brief, include endorsements from others as well as information about why this woman stands above others in her field or area of contribution.

When choosing someone to honor, consider these questions:

  • What lasting contributions have been made by the nominee?
  • Are people better because of the contributions of the nominee?
  • Is the state, nation or world better because of the contributions of the nominee?
  • Did the nominee serve as a role model or change agent?

If you have any questions, contact Amy Eaton at (515) 724-3101 or amy.eaton@WLCglobal.org.


For questions about the award and nominations, contact Amy Eaton at (515) 724-3101 or amy.eaton@WLCglobal.org