By Jessica Maldonado | Public affairs manager, PolicyWorks LLC
 
I, along with many women in Iowa, celebrated Gov. Kim Reynolds last week as the first woman to rise to the role of governor of Iowa. I have had the opportunity to work with her on multiple events in the past, and always admired her confidence and in-depth knowledge on issues.
 
But her first speech as governor of Iowa reminded me why she is a true leader, not just a female leader.
 
In her speech, Reynolds made it clear that she wants historians to be able to write much more than "she was Iowa's first woman governor." While she said she is proud of that fact, she wants to be remembered for accomplishments that helped the people of Iowa and that made our state even better.
 
Her speech was inspiring, and serves as a gentle reminder to all of us that we should seek leadership positions for the work, not the title. There are many exciting initiatives in Iowa that are helping to prepare and inspire women to run for elected office, but we need to make sure that women (and men for that matter) run for the right reasons. Women should not run for office simply because of a disproportionate gender ratio, but because somewhere deep in your gut you feel called to serve.
 
Women interested in running for office should remember that the leadership journey doesn't end when you land the role; in fact, that's when your leadership journey begins. Like Reynolds so powerfully showcased, it's more important to be remembered for what you actually accomplish than the title or why it's unique.
 
During her speech, Reynolds told stories from her past roles on the local and state levels, and how they prepared her to lead our state. This serves as a reminder and a challenge to all of us to get involved locally and work hard in whatever role we currently possess. There are valuable lessons to be gained from every experience, and you never know who may be watching and ready to tap you on the shoulder for your next challenge.  
 
We should support women in their quest for leadership positions, and celebrate when they achieve them. However, we need to make sure and keep sharing everything that comes after because their actions, ideas and accomplishments are what we remember. Hopefully, one day, women in significant leadership roles will be so common that gender does not need to be mentioned, and their skills and achievements are what dominate the headlines.
 
While Reynolds broke the glass ceiling in the Iowa governor's office, I truly believe the fact she was Iowa's first female governor will be just an asterisk, not the headline, after a lengthy list of accomplishments in future history books.
 
Jessica Maldonado is the public affairs manager for PolicyWorks, assisting clients with public affairs, advocacy efforts and events. Prior to joining PolicyWorks, she spent nearly 10 years at the Greater Des Moines Partnership. Maldonado is a 2016 Forty Under 40 honoree, a member of Lead Like a Lady and a 2013 graduate of the Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute. She serves on the Community Connect Mentor Council, is a member of Variety's Polo on the Green committee and is part of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs Gala Committee.