Age 38 | Marketing coordinator, Shive-Hattery Inc.

The list of likes in Tina Gray Carstensen’s life is long and varied. Not included is the colon cancer that her husband of four months, Jay, is battling.

“We’re busy trying to beat this thing,” Carstensen said.

That means closing a martial arts studio that the couple operates and moving classes to their basement.

It also means that Carstensen’s considerable involvement in community affairs has slowed a tad in recent months. But once this cancer thing is whipped, she’s ready to add more organizations to her list, many of them involving support groups for cancer patients.

The Newton native moved to Greater Des Moines in 2008 to shorten the commute to Shive-Hattery Inc. in West Des Moines, where in addition to leading the firm’s marketing efforts, she has been a mentor to new hires.

“Tina is energetic, intelligent, insightful, and just plain fun to work with,” said Shive-Hattery’s Bob Bisenius in a letter.

“I don’t know that Tina can ever be told ‘thank you’ enough for the motivation and support she’s given me,” wrote Lindsey Mathews, whom Carstensen mentors at the firm.

Carstensen met her husband at work and went on to be general manager of Kapatiran Suntukan Martial Arts, helping Jay fulfill a dream of being an instructor in the specialized form of martial arts.

Carstensen is an ambassador at Blank Park Zoo, and she created graphic designs for Animal Rescue League of Iowa and Animal Lifeline of Iowa. She has been active with the West Des Moines Chamber of Commerce, West Des Moines Leadership Academy, 100 Men on a Mission and the Big Dream Gathering.


Five reasons she’s a 40:
• As a member of the West Des Moines Leadership Academy, Carstensen contributed to the success of Building Leaders One Kid at a Time and as a result was invited to join the organization’s board of directors.

• A graphic designer, she frequently donates her time to Greater Des Moines nonprofit organizations to help them contain costs.

• She is always willing “to go the extra mile for the good of the cause,” according to a nominating letter.

• Carstensen was the first member of her family to earn a college degree.

• “What really stands out the most … is her heart,” said mentor Rose Breuss. “Tina has the unique gift of genuinely caring and making people welcomed, included, valued and important.”

Mentor: Rose Breuss, chief marketing officer, McGowen, Hurst, Clark & Smith P.C.

Fun facts:
Carstensen designs wire-wrapped jewelry and is exploring the world of duct tape purses and wallets.