Mary E. Kramer


"Mary’s entry into public life, after a very successful career in the corporate sector, served as an inspiration to others on the value

and importance of public service."
— John D. Forsyth, 2009

 


Mary E. Kramer is a remarkable Iowa leader and citizen. Leadership and support for women have been the hallmarks of her long and diverse career. She has experience as a musician, teacher, wife, mother, volunteer activist, business executive, political leader, and ambassador.
Kramer served as an Iowa State Senator for 13 years. During the last seven of those years, she served as presiding officer of the Senate, President of the Iowa Senate. Kramer was appointed by President George W. Bush to serve as Chair of the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars in 2002. In 2003, the President nominated Kramer to serve as the United States Ambassador to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, where she served until her retirement in 2006. Previous to that, Kramer spent 18 years at Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield, joining the company as its the first woman officer, first as Vice President of Human Resources, then as Vice President of Community Relations. A former teacher and school administrator in Iowa, Kramer also served as the Personnel Director for Younkers, Inc. Kramer's leadership, mentoring and negotiation skills have been widely recognized. She is a lifetime member of the Iowa Society for Human Resource Management and was presented the National Society's highest award in 1996. Throughout the years, through her political, business and volunteer activities, Kramer has been passionate and tireless in supporting women and children, particularly as mentor and coach as well as in providing leadership and support for women in the workplace. She was inducted into the Iowa Women's Hall of Fame in 2009.