Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Iowa announced today the appointment of Bridget Cravens-Neely as CEO of the 54-year-old mentoring organization. Cravens-Neely, a community leader and local business owner, began her position with the organization on Tuesday.
Cravens-Neely succeeds Renee Hardman, who has led BBBSCI since July 2018. Hardman is now chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer and vice president of human resources at Broadlawns Medical Center. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Iowa Inc. was ranked as the No. 3 most influential nonprofit in Greater Des Moines by Business Record readers in the 2022 Book of Lists. Cravens-Neely worked in the insurance industry for 30 years, most recently as a farm underwriting manager at Nationwide. She also co-owns with her husband Bottle & Bottega Des Moines, a wine and art party business located in downtown Des Moines. Her experience includes positions in administration, operations, sales, service, project management and organizational leadership. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics from Illinois State University and a Master of Business Administration in entrepreneurship from Keller Graduate School of Management. She serves the community in numerous roles, and in 2017 she received the Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute’s Alumni Volunteer Award. She currently serves on the Iowa Alumnae Chapter of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, the Des Moines Chapter of the Links, the Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute, and Women Lead Change, among others. She also serves on the Business Record’s Racial Equity Advisory Board and the Chrysalis Foundation’s board of directors. "My mother taught me early in life that it is my duty and responsibility as a human being to reach back and bring others forward with me on my journey," Cravens-Neely said in a press release. "I have taken this assignment to heart. This is why mentorship and sponsorship are so very important. We cannot thrive in this life alone. It takes a village. I fully intend to continue building that village at BBBSCI." BBBSCI Board President Rob Dixon said in the press release: "On behalf of the Board of Directors and staff, we are ecstatic to welcome Bridget as CEO. We are confident her skills and experience in the areas of leadership, fundraising, operations, strategy, and advocacy will continue to make BBBSCI the premier non-profit in Central Iowa."