Jenna Herr, Technical Services Specialist in the City of Waukee’s Community & Economic Development Department, was recently honored with the Courage Award as part of the Inspiring Women of Iowa program. This award program and fundraising event for the Girl Scouts of Greater Iowa aims to honor nominees of any age, background or career level who demonstrate the particular characteristics that many girls develop while in Girl Scouts.
Herr joined the Community & Economic Development Department as an intern in March 2014 and was hired full-time in July of that same year. Since then, she has been a true asset to the Department, building relationships within the business community, focusing on technology improvements for developers working with the City and organizing many facets of economic growth in Waukee.
Mentor and West Des Moines Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Carole Chambers nominated Herr for this prestigious award. In the nomination letter, she wrote “I have come to greatly admire and respect Jenna for courage she has shown – at such a young age – in order to even be considered for this new award. What she has accomplished and what she aspires toward for future success demonstrates why she is so extraordinary and worthy!”
Growing up in rural Iowa, the child of an incarcerated mother and a father in poor health, Herr moved out at the age of 16, five months pregnant. In spite of the fact that teenage parents are unlikely to graduate high school--let alone college – she graduated from the University of Iowa with degrees in Finance and Economics by the age of 22, all while single-parenting her young daughter, Aaliyah.
Besides setting a positive example for Aaliyah, Jenna’s desire to give back to her community is one of the greatest motivators of her success. She is involved with local organizations, including Iowa Homeless Youth Centers, MOIsson Breakfast Club and the Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute Community Connect program. She also serves on the Tippie College of Business Young Alumni Board.
Herr accepted this award at the Inspiring Women of Iowa luncheon on Wednesday, Apr. 5, 2017.