Age 29 | President and CEO, Diversified Management Services Inc.


Nobody ever tells you in business school how to run a small company, says Kate Banasiak.

When somebody brings in information about a company 401(k) plan, or anything else a young CEO has never dealt with, that can throw a curveball. But it has been especially important, she said, to learn how to keep a calm and steady presence in all situations – whether in a testy conversation with a client or when an employee gets sick right before a major event.

“There are so many things coming up that I just feel like I have so many things to learn,” said Banasiak, who became CEO of Diversified Management Services Inc. at the age of 27. “At the same time, I feel like I love what we do, so we can kind of figure some of those things out, that are part of being a small, growing business, along the way.”

Her company is an association management company that provides consulting services to nonprofit organizations, trade groups and professional associations.

Banasiak started out as an administrative assistant, but asked a lot of questions and got “incredibly involved in things along the way.” She worked her way through the company, and when the company’s owners decided to retire, they offered her a chance to buy a majority ownership.

Being a CEO has been a learning experience and kept Banasiak busy, but she’s still taking on extra responsibility, though, currently as a member of the National Market Advisory Expansion Council for the Association Management Company Institute.

Banasiak and her husband, Mike, also started Devour Des Moines two years ago, a “Man v. Food”-type fundraising event.

To balance work with having a personal life, Banasiak makes a point to remember that “my relationship and my family is the most important thing,” she said.


Five reasons she’s a 40:

• Became CEO of her company at age 27.

• Works with clients such as CelebrAsian, IowAsia and the World Food Prize Foundation.

• Has raised more than $3,500 for the Iowa chapter of Buy Fresh, Buy Local through Devour Des Moines.

• Her community involvement includes the Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute, the Iowa Society of Association Executives and the board of the Des Moines Embassy Club.

•  “In less than 10 years, Kate’s tenacity and business savvy has managed to set her apart and allowed her to achieve great success in her career. Kate is a true leader, one who leads by example, with kindness, generosity and vision,” said Randi Malone, office manager at Diversified Management Services.

Mentor: Dick Goodson, founder, former CEO and consultant for Diversified Management Services Inc.

Fun fact: How does a young CEO deal with stress? By starting a shoe collection. Banasiak has often made it a point to wear outfits that make people take her seriously as a young professional, but she likes to wear fun shoes to “keep my young flair.” She even has a shoe-shaped chair in her office, which is “a talking point,” she says.


Presenting the 2013 winners:

Desmund Adams, Principal, AdamsDouglas
Lindsay Alderman, Client operations manager, LightEdge Solutions Inc.
Erica Axiotis, Director of development, Mercy Foundation
Kate Banasiak, President and CEO, Diversified Management Services Inc.
Erin Beamis, Senior vice president of logistics and operations, IronWorks
Jonathan Brendemuehl, Marketing events coordinator, Bankers Trust Co.
Curtis Brown, Economic development director, city of Ankeny
Matt Connolly, President, Generation Green Builders Co.
Lawrence Cunningham, Director of business development, Catchfire Media LLC
Angela Dethlefs-Trettin, Director of community investment and initiatives, Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines
Josh Fleming, Digital strategy director, Lessing-Flynn Advertising Co.
Felix Gallagher, Principal, PharmServ Solutions
Lori Gelhaar, Director of career services/ corporate relations, Kaplan University
Tina Gray Carstensen, Marketing coordinator, Shive-Hattery Inc.
Shane Greenleaf, Vice president/commercial banker, First American Bank
Danielle Haindfield, Shareholder attorney, Ahlers & Cooney P.C.
Emily Harris, Patent attorney and shareholder at Davis Brown Law Firm
Matthew Harris, Division administrator, Iowa Arts Council, Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs
Angela Hilbert, Sales and marketing director, Deerfield Retirement Community
Joey Hinke, President, Miller, Fidler & Hinke Insurance Agency Inc.
Hannah Inman, Director of communications, Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation
Keegan Kautzky, Director of national education programs, The World Food Prize Foundationn
John Lozier, Pediatric interventional cardiologist, Pediatric Cardiology P.C.
Dennis McDaniel, Police chief, Windsor Heights
Rachel McLean, Vice president/consultant, Ruan Cos
John Mickelson, Associate managing director, The PrivateBank & Trust Co.
Keith Olson, Commercial associate, NAI Ruhl & Ruhl Commercial Co.
Matt Ostanik, President, Submittal Exchange LLC
Benjamin Page, Director, Des Moines park and recreation
Dustin Peterson, Partner, McGladrey LLP
Nick Renkoski, Director of marketing and communications, Des Moines Metro Opera
Rachel Rowley, Partner, BrownWinick PLC
John Ruan IV, Vice president, financial institutions, Bankers Trust Co.
Jennifer Soma, Business lead, IDI Actuarial and Product Development Group, Principal Financial Group Inc.
Heather Starr, Real estate agent, RE/MAX Innovations
Aimee Staudt, Director of development, Knapp Properties Inc.
Courtney Strutt Todd, Shareholder attorney, Davis Brown Law Firm
Nikki Sylverson, Event Director, Des Moines Wine Festival Foundation
Howard Tempero, Experience design strategist, Spindustry Digital
Tony Timm, Executive director, Central Iowa Shelter & Services