Age 37 | Vice president for regional business development, Greater Des Moines Partnership
After studying chemistry at Iowa State University, Meg Fitz moved to southern Texas, where she worked in a hospital pharmacy. But she soon longed for the state she grew up in and returned with her husband-to-be, Dash.
“We missed the quality of life here,” she said. “It was one of those ‘grass is always greener on the other side’ kinds of situations.”
However, Fitz returned to Iowa in the middle of a semester, so had to wait until the summer to take her pharmacy board exams. To pass the time, she took an entry-level position with the Greater Des Moines Partnership, and she said she never looked back.
Now, she’s the organization’s vice president for regional business development, which means she works with small businesses around the metro area. She puts together educational programming for the Partnership’s 24 affiliated chambers of commerce, which are composed of about 4,500 member companies.
“We’ll offer programs dealing with health-care reform or human resources problems,” she said.
Fitz is also an active member of the Junior League of Des Moines and is enrolled in its Mary Louise Smith Women’s Leadership Institute. The organization helps develop women by promoting volunteerism and community involvement, but Fitz said she wanted to get involved because of its legacy.
“I grew up in Des Moines, and League was an organization that I knew really made a difference, so when I finally carved out time, I knew I wanted to get involved,” she said.
Another philanthropic activity close to her heart is Maddie’s Circle, a female-only giving circle named after the late Des Moines philanthropist Maddie Levitt. Fitz said the women give a specific amount of money each year, which funds a financial literacy training program at the Young Women’s Resource Center.
“It gives young women and moms the financial savvy they need – and it goes a long way,” she said.
Five reasons she’s a 40:
• Facilitates collaborations among the Partnership’s 24 affiliated chambers of commerce. While serving in her role as vice president, Fitz brought in two new chambers of commerce to the Partnership, improved programming offered and implemented new technologies to members.
• Active member of the Junior League of Des Moines.
• Past board member of the city of Des Moines’ Youth Advisory Board.
• Active member of Maddie’s Circle, a giving circle named after philanthropist Maddie Levitt. The group has implemented financial literacy training at the Young Women’s Resource Center.
• Currently enrolled in the Junior League’s Mary Louise Smith Women’s Leadership program, which trains women to take the next step in their volunteer work by sitting on an organization’s board.
Fitz is taking an eight-day trip to China this fall. Her itinerary is still in the works, but she said she’s excited to explore the culture, which has a deep, rich history but is also wrapped in a little bit of mystery.