Photo by Duane Tinkey
Photo by Duane Tinkey

Working with young people is one of Rose Kleyweg Mitchell's greatest passions.

And though Hy-Vee Inc.'s senior vice president of education and governmental affairs hasn't taught school since a brief stint at Valley High School in the late 1970s, offering advice to students and mentoring young women still get her excited.

"I think I've been a teacher all my career. I didn't always have that title, but that's pretty much what it has boiled down to," she said.

In addition to spearheading a number of initiatives to help Hy-Vee diversify its leadership team, Mitchell has worked diligently to make a positive impact on the community since joining the West Des Moines-based grocer in 1978.

Having served on numerous boards and committees in her 31-year career, Mitchell continues to focus on education.

"That's been the backbone of my career," she said.

A past president of the Simpson College Alumni Association board of directors, Mitchell also has served on the college's board of trustees and has been involved in its finance committee and business advisory board. In 1995, she accepted Simpson's Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award. In 2002, the college named her Greek Alumni of the Year and Advisor of the Year.

She currently serves as policy committee chair for the United Way of Central Iowa and sits on the Iowa National Guard Gold Star Museum's board of directors. Meanwhile, she still finds time to volunteer at Delta Delta Delta, a national sorority, where she acts as a sounding board for college-age women.

"I work with them to help further their goals," she said. "It's a real passion and love of mine.

"That's scary and fun all at the same time, because you touch people in all sorts of ways, and you want to hope that you've had a positive influence," she said.

In 1992, Mitchell became Hy-Vee's first female officer, and in 1995 was the first woman to be elected to the 75-year-old company's board of directors. Last fall, she was permanently appointed to Hy-Vee's board of directors and executive committee.

"Rose has not only been a key leader at Hy-Vee, but she has made a major difference in our community and state," said Hy-Vee President and CEO Ric Jurgens. "She has served as a personal mentor to dozens of other Hy-Vee female leaders. She also helped create the Hy-Vee University, which is a training program for college graduates that helps us attract, motivate and educate women and people of color."

An avid reader, Mitchell stays active in her spare time golfing, riding her bike, walking her dogs and spending time with Jerry, her husband of nearly 27 years.

"I don't sit too often," she said.